Josh Schwarzbaum, MD, MBA

I’ve been privy over the course of my life to bear witness to some of the most joyous and some of the most devastating moments in life. Through working in emergency rooms, addiction centers and on ambulances I’ve seen birth, death and everything in between. 

With that, I’ve seen the whole spectrum of emotions, some expected, some unexpected, some surprising, and some curious. I’ve noticed that even in the same circumstances people respond very differently. But before the confusion and the chaos, what is our natural emotional state? Is it something that is different for each one of us, or is it something that we share?

Throughout my career, I’ve been looking for these answers both in academics and what holds true in my life and the lives of the people I care for. 

What I found out is something that a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists may not tell you. Our natural state of affairs is one of love, happiness, joy, connection and tranquility. 

You can see it quite clearly in children. They are born into the world with laughter and smiles and can effortlessly get through whatever life brings their way. 

If you have a chance to visit a pediatric hospital ward, you’ll see kids who are going through some of the most difficult life circumstances but are doing so with a smile on their face, with an eagerness to get through it and a natural resilience that is part of our creation. 

But then something mysteriously happens. We grow older. We encounter different circumstances, hardships and challenges. We start to see the world differently and are led to believe that life is complicated and stressful. We’re taught that we need to work hard to get back to our joy, happiness, connection, and our place of growth when just a few years ago, we had that natural ability to get through things. 

I’ve come to notice that ability is still within all of us. As kids, it’s so present that we don’t give it the real attention it deserves. It’s so ordinary that we don’t even take notice of it. Before we know it, life goes on and stuff starts happening to us. We notice those things, the things that hurt us or impact us negatively. We notice that newness and how it doesn’t feel so good.  

So we start to pay attention to those things and unwittingly lose touch with the place inside of us that is pure love, joy and connection. The place of resilience and effortless growth. 

As humans, we are very sensitive to change and our senses are designed to pick up even the smallest amount of it. It’s what helps us survive. 

The negative happens, we pick up on it, we live in it, and before we know it we’re immersed in it. Through it, we’ve created new habits and thinking patterns. We see the defects within our lives and within society, and we’ve innocently lost touch with that wholesome peace inside of us. The peace that we’ve had all along that’s now simply covered up by the new thoughts that have come our way. 

That is where the key lies. The fact that it is already inside of it. It always has been and it always will be. It doesn’t go anywhere. We just may lose touch with it temporarily. 

I’ve found in my life and in my practice that by rediscovering it and getting back in touch with it the downs, the negatives, the stress, the anxiety melt away and we’re left with the peace within. That part of us that powers us, our growth and our natural resilience. 

We then allow ourselves to enter into a new dimension, into new patterns and habits. 

I’ve noticed that in the most critical times of life – when experiencing the death of a parent, spouse or child, a major accident or illness that when we’re able to connect to the natural state within us, we are able to exude a sense of peace, serenity and tranquility no matter who we are, where we’ve come from or what’s going on external to us. 

What stops us from doing that though? Why are we told that it takes years of therapy to get back into the state that’s already within us? 

I’ve found that we’re innocently led astray. We go searching long and hard, far, and wide for something that’s actually right in front of our nose. When we find it, our brain chemistry, emotional responses and physiology change in relation to what we experience. Our lives change for the better and we are more equipped to handle whatever comes our way. 

I’ve witnessed even the most hardened people connect to it and when they do, a great change occurs. A change in their  reality to one of peace and tranquility, and a feeling that everything will be okay.

It’s something that is accessible. Something that doesn’t take years to develop. It’s something that we’re born with, and that is already within each one of us.

As children we’re more connected to it because we’re more ready to let go of our thinking and the crazy thoughts that pop into our head. It’s in our childhood that we don’t hold onto the negative because we automatically look for what makes us smile and laugh.

Today, we each have the chance to reconnect with it, to let go of some of the negative thoughts that have come our way. The ones that we would have let go of as a child, and we may just find ourselves in the gift that we all have access to – the natural state of feeling good.

Dr. Josh Schwarzbaum is a triple board certified physician in emergency medicine, addiction medicine, and emergency medical services. He consults for organizations and coaches individuals helping them find their natural resilience and peace of mind no matter what life brings their way.

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