All the time, we hear people say things like “Life is really crazy right now, but deep down I know everything’s going to work out,” or “Deep down I know I’ll be fine, but right now I’m really scared,” or “Deep down I know there’s a reason for this.”
We say those things as passing phrases in the middle of stressing about something like a breakup or losing a job, and then we dismiss it and go right back to worrying about whatever’s going wrong in our lives.
But what if deep down is actually a place you could live? What if that part of us knows that no matter what we’re going through, everything is going to be totally okay in the end? What if deep down was your default setting?
When you’re saying “Deep down I know everything is going to be okay,” you’re admitting that there is some kind of knowing inside you that is bigger than whatever part of you is concerned with what is happening in that moment.
You’re aware that a space of calm is there, but it’s so far removed from your experience that you actually call it something different.
We say, “Deep down I know that everything is going to be alright,” instead of just saying, “I know everything is going to be alright.” Or just simply, “Everything’s fine.” We choose to identify more with the worrying than with the knowing deep inside us.
What Holds Us Back
If we know that place is inside us somewhere, why don’t we access it and live from that place all the time?
It’s probably because our minds don’t actually want everything to be okay. Our minds are constantly looking for new problems to solve because problem-solving is what our minds are built for. The mind believes that if all of a sudden we didn’t have any problems to solve, then it would be out of a job.
Our minds come up with thousands of reasons why we’re not okay in any given moment. We’re too fat, we’re too skinny, we don’t have enough money, we don’t have the right relationship, we’re not good-looking, we’re too good-looking. We’re always looking for reasons in our external circumstances to prove why we shouldn’t be happy.
But with all of these crazy thoughts running around our head, somewhere underneath all that madness is the knowing that regardless of all of that, we are perfect, we are loved, we are love.
Most of us, as a society, choose to not live in that deep-down knowing. Instead, we live in the shallow place of believing what the mind tells us about ourselves and our circumstances.
Because the majority of people are living in that place, when we want to feel connection, instead of just connecting with ourselves deep down, we end up connecting with other people at that shallow level and everyone just ignores that deeper place within themselves.
That’s why many guys connect to each other by watching football instead of sitting in a circle talking about what they are actually feeling. Some guys sit around in circles talking about their feelings, but mostly they are feelings about football.
It’s great to connect on those types of things, however, connecting primarily through things like that has also helped train us to live in this surface level of life and not see beyond the external circumstances into the truth that everything is always working out and that there is never a reason to worry about anything.
We buy into the fact that we need to fix the world around us and that there are all of these problems, but underneath that belief is the understanding that everything we see with our eyes is part of the perfection of life that is constantly growing and evolving.
Through meditation and inner work, I’ve become more and more aware of that voice that is always trying to fix things on the surface level of life. As I just sit and watch that voice trying to solve and create problems in my mind, I start to feel the presence of a deep knowing almost wrap around that voice and let it know that everything is going to be okay.
It’s almost like that voice is a kid that is having a tantrum and deep down is like the parent that is just watching and comforting the child.
Moving Into Deep Down
What if you knew you could think anything and still be loved? What if you could think the most judgmental, spiteful thing and still be loved? What if you could feel any emotion—anger, rage, guilt—and you’d still be loved no matter what?
Well, you can. Your mind will try and convince you that if you think or feel a certain way, you are wrong or bad somehow, but that space deep down is just like a loving parent that will guide you back to the truth that nothing about you is wrong.
If you move into that space of deep down and start to move from the perspective that loves everything about you, you can allow all of those things you’re ashamed of to come to the surface and allow them to be loved and accepted. As a by-product, they will actually lose the power you’ve given them and will start to dissolve.
It’s like a bully that feeds on someone getting annoyed and putting up a fight—as soon as you don’t react to the bully and even find things that you like about them, your relationship loses its dynamic and it’s not fun for them to pick on you anymore. I wish I knew that in middle school.
So these thoughts can show up one after another, and if you’re more connected to deep down than the belief that you are those thoughts, you’ll start to find that those thoughts don’t own you the way that they used to. You won't be afraid of them anymore, and instead of picking up some addictive thing to distract you from those thoughts, you can connect to the space that can totally see through all of those illusions.
So, what’s changed for me over the last several years is that instead of just visiting deep down in those moments of chaos, I’m starting to actually live in deep down.
It’s actually possible to live in a place of not just optimism or positivity, but an actual experiential knowing that nothing can go wrong and nothing you think or feel is wrong. It’s a place of total acceptance of yourself and others that gives you a safe space where your mind can become creative and expansive instead of living in fear of repression and shame.
It’s our job to start living in deep down before we do anything else. Instead of living in chaos, when you start to live in deep down, problems will start to disappear because you’ll realize that many of the problems you had were really just in your mind.
You start to move from a foundation that is rooted in natural optimism and excitement for life instead of having to manipulate your external circumstances in a way that finally allows you to feel freedom and peace for a moment.
We can’t take truly powerful and meaningful action in this world until we have transcended the mind's need to fix and solve the endless surface-level problems that it creates.
But what if deep down wasn't a place to live, and it was actually just what you were?
Excerpted from I Hope I Screw This Up: How Falling In Love with Your Fears Can Change the World by Kyle Cease. Copyright © 2017 by Gallery Books.