Looking in All the Wrong Places

by Brian Tom O'Connor

There's a song, "Looking for Love In All The Wrong Places." Like that song, we've been looking for happiness in all the wrong places.

What are the wrong places? Things or possessions you can get. Pleasures you can experience. Nice feelings you can have. Achievements you can be praised for. Situations you can improve upon. Relationships you can have. Anything about the world that you think should be different or fixed in some way. Anything about you, your body, or your personality that you feel should be fixed somehow.

So what's the right place? Within. Inside. The part of you that knows your experience. That in which all experiences appear. That which has never changed ever since you were a little kid.


It's Awareness itself. It's the background of all your experience, just like the white surface of a page is the background for all that's written on it. Anything you can name is not it, since it's what is aware of anything you can name. It's something that's already here. Like a mirror, which doesn't choose what to reflect, it doesn't choose what to be aware of. All is allowed. And that is unconditional love. And that is happiness. It's you. It's your true nature.

It's an infinite well of joy and peace that I stumbled into when I was trying desperately to find a way out of depression. But the well is tricky to find. So you have to play around it and hope you fall in.

Here's a short game to help you find Awareness


Could I Not Be Aware?

  • Play with this: Is it possible to not be aware? To not be aware of anything?

  • Do you need to actively choose to be aware?

  • Are you ever not aware?

The idea of this game is to see if you have to do awareness, or if it does itself.

In order to find this well within yourself, three steps are required. You have to relax physically and let go of tension or clutching against your experience.


You have to – just for now – let go of your strategies to make anything about your present experience different.


And third, you have to turn your attention around from the content of awareness to pure awareness itself, and look out from there.

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

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