“With awareness, we awaken to cure what is not meant to be endured and endure what cannot be cured, and from this place, we live in the moment, where suffering is optional.”
Before you learn to drive a car, you take driving lessons. You learn the car’s ins and outs, and you practice driving. You do this before you go and take the test to get your license. But there is no course on how the mind works in our everyday life. When I went to high school, we had a driver’s ed class, but there was no class on how the mind impacts our daily life, no mind ed class. Yes, we might have learned the science of how it works, but not the practical ways it impacts our everyday life. A class like that would have helped me immensely and would have been life-changing. I would imagine it would help everyone to some degree, and for others like me, it would be life-changing.
How many of you have learned to drive your mind? What do I mean by drive your mind? I mean, how many of you have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of your mind, like you did that first car?
Are you driving the mind, or is it driving you?
How much attention do you pay to your thoughts and what they say to you throughout the day? Do you just get picked up by one and then driven to a destination that takes you out of your way? This happens to most people multiple times a day; we are driven around by our minds. It takes us where it wants to go, which may not be where we want to go. Do you know it is possible to get back in the driver’s seat to control where you always go and not get lost again?
It may seem impossible to some of you, I know, because I have been chauffeured around by my mind too. Even after you start driving yourself again, in the beginning, it can be easy to get distracted by the mind and then end up being chauffeured around again. It is much easier to be chauffeured because it takes focused attention to drive yourself. Have you ever been driving your car and driven past your exit or turn because the mind took over? Or have you ever arrived home and not remembered the drive along the way because you were lost in unnecessary thought?
Well, you do not have to be in a car for this to happen. No single person is reading this right now that has not experienced being caught by unwanted thoughts. We have spent years, maybe decades identifying with unsolicited thoughts and being chauffeured around and distracted by these pointless thoughts.
I am here to tell you that you have a choice, but it will only change if you want it to, and that is entirely up to you. You can have greater freedom, or you can continue to suffer.
It begins by using your awareness to wake up to how the mind works. We can watch and pay attention to what it says to us. Please make no mistake; it is sending you unsolicited thoughts, distracting you, disturbing your peace all the time. Maybe even right now, while you are trying to read this, it might be telling you something that is not true. As you begin to pay attention to this, you will be astonished at how misleading it is. . Naturally, this can feel uncomfortable, and of course, the mind will be right there to support this idea so that you stop.
Make the correct choice not to listen to it and get back in the driver seat. You can do it!
We all live a transactional life to some degree. But many never go any further; they never explore real transformation.
What exactly is a transactional life? It means, on some level, there is an expectation of getting something in return for our efforts. This is often a conditioned response, and therefore we all experience it to varying degrees. For example, I do a job for you, and I expect to be paid. The example I just gave is part of our everyday work life, but there are other situations where things are not always that clear. They can end up being one-sided, which can lead to problems for anyone that has unmet expectations. For example, I do something nice for you. I then expect to be thanked. If I am not thanked, then I can feel hurt or become upset.
The following are examples of questions you might want to explore. Let them stimulate your own questions. Does the above example warrant my state being disturbed? Can I control my response in any situation where my expectations are not met? Do I have to have expectations in every exchange?
In a transactional life, the world is no bigger than we can see or feel. Living a transactional life is the easy way. It does not require anything extra, only what we are willing to give at any moment to get what we want. However, living this way brings pain and suffering. This is because when we do not get what we are expecting, life seems unfair. We feel cheated by life, and then we can feel that life owes us because we have suffered. Even if our lives do not fall to this level, we can become trapped in a transactional life and still feel that our life is okay, but have a sense that something is missing. That there must be more to life.
I want to speak to anyone who has this calling to something more significant in their life. Perhaps you have just reached a point in your life where something must change; you just cannot take it anymore. Or maybe you feel something that words alone cannot seem to describe, but a deep soulful yearning persists. Perhaps it feels like God is calling you. Maybe you do not know what is calling you, just that something is. We may describe this call differently, yet we know it must be answered when we hear it, or more suffering and melancholy comes.
The calling rises from somewhere deep within; however, it is often overlooked. We become lost in routine and repetition. Others become lost in their pain and caught by thought, making it easy not to hear this calling. Eventually, though, they cannot deny it; however, some will resist until their last breath.
The mind often steps in to offer direction through thought. However, if you pay attention to these thoughts, you will find that they are not as helpful as they seem. Many have traveled the religious or spiritual path for decades, making changes yes, but never reaching their desired destination or expected goal.
If we begin to question our thoughts, we can eventually see what is truthful and false. We can wake up to hearing the mind’s misguiding ways and realize that we do not have to identify with any thought. That this is just a habit, but it can be a choice.
Now, how many of us live a transformational life? A transformational life does not require money, notoriety, or anything the mind may think. It only requires the willing, those that feel a calling for something more to life and can no longer resist that call. A person who lives a transformational life uses their pain and problems for their highest good. With awareness and discernment, they use their thoughts, pain, and problems to awaken to their true nature. Remember when you are curious, you learn, but when you are desperate, you discover. Learning is limited, but discovery, is life-changing.
Therefore, I encourage you to begin to awaken to your true self. Take the time to notice where your life functions as a transactional life and question it. Use the following to get you started. Notice, would you be disappointed if your expectations were not met in any given situation? Is what I am expecting to get reasonable or selfish? Is there a need to have this expectation?
You will never regret beginning to question your thoughts and expectations because a transactional life without awareness will always lead to suffering. A life with awareness and transformation will always lead to more joy. Yes, there will still be transactions, but you will be doing them with awareness, which changes everything.
If there is breath in the body, a fresh viewpoint is always available. Right or clear vision happens in the gap. The gap is devoid of beliefs, concepts, judgments, conditioning, and thought. What feeds all of these and our troubles in life is identifying with the endless flow of unsolicited thoughts we have every day.
Experiencing the gap is simple but often misunderstood or thought to be hard, impossible, or only for a few. Which is funny because what causes us to misunderstand or think it is hard, impossible, or only for a few is the very same mind that is causing our problems in the first place. Therefore, experiencing the gap is not the problem. The problem is the thought that says you cannot experience it or that you do not know how to do it. Once you identify with a thought that says you cannot do it, it becomes impossible until that thought is no longer believed. The mind will do what it must to keep you distracted and reinforce the impression that it is impossible. Seeing this becomes very clear in the gap.
We put our complete trust into something that misleads us all the time, our mind. We do this by identifying with whatever arises in it. Once we do, there is no opportunity for discernment or to question the information’s validity. When we slow the mind down, even a little bit, it creates some space to begin to question what it is telling us and to see that most, if not all, is false.
How do you begin to slow the mind down? By questioning what arises in it, which guides you into the gap. Can it be that simple? Yes, it can. But it does come with some challenges for many of us. We have developed a robust habit of identifying with our thoughts without question. And now, this habit is anchored in place after many years or decades of reinforcement.
Once we begin to see how incredibly untrue our thoughts can be, it can be unsettling at first. However, do not let this discourage you; it means you are onto something. So instead, let it motivate you and propel you forward. Continue questioning your thoughts as often as you can. Begin to question who you are. Are you the body, your feelings, your thoughts, or your personality? Are you something more significant than just those things? What is your true nature, your true self, do you know? Have you had direct experience with it?
Your true self or true nature refers to the aspect of your being that is entirely aware of its expanded nature no matter what you may be experiencing in your life of personhood. The gap I am speaking about is your expanded nature. It is stable and not bound by time. Our personal lives, the psychological self, on the other hand, is bound by time, and it is the one that experiences problems and suffers.
Now you may find what I just said hard to believe, but of course, that is just a thought. Is it based in fact or an assumption? Notice that thought can be observed.
We have all experienced our real nature or true self. In truth, everyone has experienced timelessness. Think of an experience where you lost track of time. Perhaps you were watching a sunset or enjoying the company of a friend; I am sure you can remember an experience like this where time ceased to exist or flew by. You were not distracted by thought during this time, but instead, you experienced oneness or presence.
Please verify what I am saying for yourself by beginning to watch your thoughts. See them slow down and notice how this affects your state of being. Perhaps you will feel more peace or joy, pay attention, and see what is different. As you practice, you will find at some point that you have dropped into the gap. The mind is no longer your master but has become your slave. Now it can be used when needed and no longer has the power to interfere with your life in the same way. It can only disturb you when you give it the ability to do so by identifying with what it has presented to you through your thoughts without question.
Are you feeling frustrated because things are not going the way you want in life? Perhaps you are looking for a job, relationship, or you have a desire that will not manifest. Maybe your fearful of all that is happening in the world today.
Do you know what the root cause of your disturbance is? Does your mind immediately tell you that it is another person, outside circumstances that cause it, or maybe it is something you perceive to be out of your control, like covid19 or something personal like your age?
Have you noticed that all these reasons that show up in the mind are entirely unsolicited? They do not come from critical thinking; they just show up spontaneously. What would happen if you did not immediately identify with these thoughts? Would your life unfold differently if they never appeared?
Let me answer that last question for you; yes, it would be very different because your thoughts would no longer be in control of guiding your life. You would be free from doing things in the same conditioned way you do them now, and you would have a stronger connection to your intuition. You would be free from frustration and worry, or it would be significantly minimized. You would have more energy, and your life would change in many unexpected ways.
The question is, how do we take our power back. I can offer you a simple process that works. It may feel challenging at first because we are unconsciously habituated to listening to and identifying with our thoughts without question. The extent of this varies for each of us. But we have been doing it for years, if not decades, so do not think that you are the one person not impacted by it.
Most of us will make gradual progress over time rather than giants leaps or the expected instant gratification the ego wants. Our progress is based on our ability to connect with greater awareness and then bring this awareness into our experience, which may feel uncomfortable at first. Particularly for some people, they notice the volume of unsolicited and negative thoughts; previously unseen is much greater than expected. Many of these thoughts can sound ridiculous once we start to pay attention to them.
So, what is this simple process? It is the observation of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that arise from them. When we can observe them occurring, without identification, we create some space or freedom from them. The mistake many make is trying to stop them consciously. You will only find yourself identifying with them more, a subtle trick of the mind to distract you.
When we no longer perceive ourselves as the thought, we notice that all thoughts come and go, just as everything does in personhood. This is an essential recognition because we often begin to THINK that uncomfortable circumstances will last forever. Our thoughts reinforce this misunderstanding. You can verify this by looking at past experiences. By having this erroneous perception, we begin to experience frustration, anxiety, fear and worry. We begin to have pointless conversations with ourselves in the mind that reinforce this story and keeping us stuck. We can no longer see a way out, which causes tremendous suffering. Suffering that is unwanted and unnecessary. The desire to not have this experience can intensify our suffering because we now have conversations about how bad it is, so the cycle persists.
We must regain command of the mind, our thoughts, and feelings if we ever want to be free from suffering. Therefore, I offer you this simple and effective way to begin breaking the habit of the cause of your suffering. Begin today, observing your thoughts and any feelings that arise as often as you can. Notice when you get pulled into a conversation with the mind and question if it is essential. Are there body sensations that clue you into being caught by the mind? Notice and see. Bring more awareness into watching this unfold in your daily life, and I guarantee that you will begin to see how much time is wasted being dragged around from one meaningless thought to another by the mind. Feelings arise from these thoughts, and cause disturbances in the body, pay attention.
With some attention and awareness, a little practice, and some time, you will begin to master this innate ability, and your life will change. You will experience more peace, suffer less over things that do not need your attention, and find your way back to the present moment.
Many years ago, I had a severe back injury. I was diagnosed with bulges on four of my five lumbar discs. To make a long story short, after suffering for many years, I was eventually told by my doctor, a neurologist, that I would live in pain for the rest of my life. I was informed that there were no other options except to learn to live with it and manage the pain.
At the time, I could not explain what happened next except to say that I heard a voice. Yes, a voice as clear as if someone was standing next to me that said, do not listen to him, you will find something that will help you. Now I know that that was my first mystical experience.
I left the doctor’s office bewildered, not knowing what the voice was, where it came from, or what it meant, but from that moment forward, I knew I was going to get better. I did not know how, but with a strong belief and unbending intention, divine guidance, and desire to heal, I live practically pain-free, and the journey continues. I have gained so much more than freedom from pain; this healing journey has changed my life forever, and in more ways than I ever thought possible.
In December of 2018, I started having nerve pain in both elbows at the same time. The exact cause is unknown, but I believe it occurred using improper form weightlifting. And once again recently, I was told by a medical professional that the pain I have in my elbows would probably never go away. When I heard him say this, without hesitation, my first thought was, that is not the truth. This time I did not need any encouragement from that voice. Not only did I think it, but I immediately heard the words come out of my mouth, telling the practitioner I understood his thinking, but that I was choosing not to believe it and that my elbows will heal.
What I am pointing to in these stories is an essential lesson for healing and living a life that is aware and awake. Once we identify with and believe what we are told, it becomes our truth. Our life then becomes a living expression of this belief. It does not matter if a medical professional tells you that you will live in pain for the rest of your life, or someone else tells you that you are not worthy.
I am not saying that we should ignore medical advice, far from it. I am saying that we must question what we are told before we accept it as truth. A thought is no different; unsolicited thoughts appear in our minds all the time. If we identify with them without question, then we become the living expression of these thoughts. Our problems begin here and end with the manifestation of anxiety, emotional pain, worry, stress, and suffering.
At some point in your life, you have experienced someone saying something about you that was not true. It was only their perception about you, and if you believed it, it formed how you interacted with others after that point in time, or at least until you were able to rise above their comments. Sometimes when we hear these things, they have no impact all or only for a short time, and then some words or judgments can influence our lives until the day we die.
Only through the grace of awareness can we free ourselves from this self-punishment. Awareness is one of the greatest gifts in our life of personhood because it gives us the ability to observe what is taking place. The mind will always want to blame someone or something else outside of ourselves for our problems. You may have noticed this in your life but have certainly seen it at playout in someone else’s life.
Freedom comes through awareness, not by watching or blaming others, but by observing our behavior and paying attention to our thoughts. We can watch our unsolicited thoughts arise with awareness, hear the conversations that we have in our minds, and wake up to see that what the mind tells us is nonsense and usually, if not always, untrue. The mind is needed and useful. However, there is a big difference in using it and allowing it to use you.
Can you ever recall having conversations with yourself about what might happen if things did not go a certain way? Then, fear arose, and a conversation continued, maybe even a whole story was created around this thought about what was going to happen. Your fear grew, worry and anxiety came, but the story that you created never happened, and in the end, all your worry and stress was for nothing. And because of this, you missed the present moment; you lived in an imaginary future.
A single thought that you believed in misled you down a path of suffering for no real reason. This happens to everyone more than once and continues to happen to us until we notice it occurs through awareness.
Therefore, I encourage you to take the first step, and that is to notice and question just a few thoughts you have each day. Notice when you get pulled into a story about something that is not real. Notice if you find yourself thinking about what somebody said to you that made you mad or upset. Catch yourself having a conversation with your mind about something that is not important or true. Just notice, it is that simple.
Now it may start to become uncomfortable because you might be surprised how often this is occurring. Let this be another opportunity to notice how the mind operates. Notice that it has an opinion about this process and wants you to stop or tries to distract you somehow. Notice if your body is uncomfortable in some way. The uncomfortableness is a clue that you are caught again by your thoughts. Find the signals that alert you to wake up to these thoughts.
Know that this becomes easier as you break down your old habits of identifying with thoughts and building a new habit of using your awareness to catch them before they catch you. This is not about being perfect, so do not beat yourself up if you forget or get distracted by the mind. The mind can be very subtle, even tricky, in its efforts to mislead you. Respect its cunningness but remember you oversee the mind, not the other way around, even though it may feel that way as you begin to bring more awareness into your daily life.
If you regularly read my blog, you will notice this post is slightly different from how I usually write. However, I hope you will find it enlightening. As with all my posts in recent times, they point you toward your true nature and awaken you to the conditioned-self, if you only begin to do a little self-inquiry.
Over the years, I have heard many clients say they need to find their purpose or wonder what their purpose is in life. Many of us will ask this question eventually during our lifetime. Most of us have had a clear purpose at some point, maybe even experiencing more than one as life progressed for us. In other words, our sense of purpose may have changed from time to time. Some people feel they cannot find their purpose. And others who never thought about it much or felt they needed one.
I could say a lot about purpose, as you can probably tell from the paragraph above. Or I could say our purpose is about survival and leave it at that. For this post, I will not expand on all that could be said, but ask that you contemplate the following questions.
- Does the idea that you must have a purpose feel like an instinct, intuition, or does society condition us to believe that we must have a purpose?
- Could the desire for a purpose or the search for one hinder your enjoyment of life?
- Could the idea that you should have a purpose cause problems with your state of being?
- Do you need a purpose to live life fully?
I hope that you took some time to ponder these questions rather than skimming them. Because if we do not delve deeper into who we are and what we believe, we will remain trapped by our thoughts and conditioning. Notice that our intellect and knowledge can become a problem because we can think we already have all the answers.
Here are a few thoughts and observations on the questions. Again, take your time and contemplate what I put forth here. Do not just identify with it or throw it away without spending some time questioning it. Do not let your mind and conditioning give you the answer. Experience it for yourself from a new place; verify it for yourself, do not just agree with your first thoughts.
- When our purpose comes from intuition, it is heartfelt, and passion arises; it comes from deep within our soul, we have a sense of knowing that we must follow through even though there may be some resistance or obstacles in the way. There is no question. We must move forward.
- When we feel a need to find purpose, it is often coming from the conditioned-self. We will face struggle, experience worry and anxiety because we think that if we do not have a purpose, our lives will have no meaning, that we are not contributing. These thoughts are not based in fact, and this kind of thinking causes problems for us. Not having a purpose will never cause you to suffer; only your thinking about not having one will.
- An intense desire to have or find a purpose can be very distracting from living life fully. Purpose can show up at any moment once we are free to receive what life is offering. Living life freely and with joy can be our purpose. It can be a positive force and potent energy for everyone you encounter, do not overlook this fact. Do not think that just because your mind tells you that you do not have a purpose that you are already not living it. So, live your life as if you already had a purpose.
Let me clearly say that if you are struggling with finding your purpose in life, I encourage you to let that struggle go. Your struggle could be keeping you from seeing your purpose. How would you feel if you never found a purpose? Would you go through life sulking every day, or would you step up and live life to the fullest? If you feel that you would be depressed, disappointed, or some other unfulfilling feeling, then is this desire for purpose in your highest good? Is this how you want to live your life? The choice is yours, so I leave it for you. Just remember, if you are alone and miserable, you are in bad company, and it is now time to look for better companionship. And the only way to that is to change the thoughts that led you to be in this lousy company in the first place.
We are, by essence, adaptive and evolving beings, and when we resist this call of life, we suffer. If we do not adapt, evolve, and wake up, we perish, a lesson we still have not learned from nature. The earth has and will continue to survive long after we are gone because we ignore this truth out of arrogance and greed.
When human beings and human rights come second to the desires of the ego, we all lose. We need to begin to question our thoughts and the choices we are making. We must wake up to the conditioning we have carried for generations; something many perceive does not exist because of this very conditioning. Otherwise, we will continue to make the same errors of our ancestors. We must make morally enlightened decisions and start to live from a place of higher wisdom. Otherwise, we can expect things to continue progress in a direction that makes us even more uncomfortable than we are now.
The soul is always crying out for us to live from our highest wisdom; we ignore this call by identifying with our thoughts and not questioning them. Pain and suffering offer us the opportunity to begin listening to this call. They always point toward the light if we open the door to see it. When we keep the door closed through our denial and resistance, it becomes impossible to see this light. Therefore, allow your pain and suffering to crack the door open because even the tiniest of light can change everything. The choice lies before you, will pick it up or follow the thought that says, I know I am right; it is the other person who needs to question their thoughts, not me.
When you hear the phrase, you are out of your mind; it means that you do not deal with things properly or behave normally. It could also mean that you are stupid or even mentally ill.
However, there is a way to be out of your mind, that is a good thing, let me explain. We often become victims of the mind and the thoughts that originate from it every day. The thoughts I am talking about are not consciously brought forth, but arise completely unsolicited. When you identify with them, they impact your choices, actions, and yes, even your feelings, this can all happen without your awareness.
Once you become aware of these thoughts, you can regain command over your choices and actions, including how you experience your feelings. Especially those feelings that are not based on truth but that are stirred up by these kinds of thoughts. You will notice that these thoughts are usually not for our highest good. You do not need to fall prey to these kinds of unhelpful and hurtful thoughts, but that will only happen when you wake up to them.
We have thousands of thoughts per day. How many do you remember? Do you consciously decide to act upon every one of them or just some? Do you ever act on ones that you are not aware of; I can assure you that you do.
How many times have you chosen to eat something bad for you or overeaten and then regretted it? Was the initial thought to do this a conscious decision, or did an unsolicited thought appear, I want that now. You then identified with it and acted upon it, all without consciously thinking it through to the logical conclusion that it will be bad for you if you do it.
What I just said is very important. Please verify this by paying attention to your thoughts throughout the day. Do not just confirm an existing belief without verification or create a new one that is not based on having a direct experience; you must verify what I am saying is true. Otherwise, what you think is right might not be true at all.
When we are out of our minds in this way, then the usual meaning of being out of your mind is not how other people see you. They will feel or notice that you are different. They will resonate with the peace that you are vibrating because it is an expression of your authentic self, your real nature, and their true nature as well. You will stop listening to your unsolicited thoughts, they will become unimportant rather than all-powerful, and you will be able to respond appropriately in situations and not react inappropriately.
Once you stop identifying with these thoughts, you reconnect with your heart as you drop down from your mind or headspace. Your mind will immediately connect with what I said, to the physical heart in your chest; however, I am talking about connecting to consciousness, the heart of creation. The heart in your body may be used as a reminder or an anchor of this when your mind is restless. A restless mind is called a monkey mind in Buddhism. If you are experiencing monkey mind, then place your hand on your chest and rest your attention there. Where your attention goes, your energy will follow. The heart of consciousness that I am speaking about said another way is the heart of creation. I am pointing to who you truly are, your real nature, your authentic self—the unchanging truth.
The unchanging truth is the part of you that is not born and does not die. In other words, it does not come and go as everything will in your life of personhood. Every thought, every experience, every physical body, and everything in this life is not stable; it comes and goes. However, something always remains, and that is the unchanging truth of who we are. The unchanging truth has everything to do with personhood and nothing at all.
If you do not understand what I just said, it could be because you identified with a thought that said, I do not understand, notice that this thought was observed. You are observing from your true nature, spirt, or consciousness. Question it, is it right, or do you feel something deep inside your soul that knows differently? You would not be reading this post if you were not searching for something that does not need to be searched for, only remembered. This recognition will come without a struggle if you begin to bring more attention to your thoughts and notice the unsolicited ones. This is a simple process, so do not let your mind complicate it. However, it is not always easy to break the powerful habit of identification with these kinds of thoughts. Only those who hear the call will answer. Any attempt to avoid this call will only extend your unneeded suffering. Therefore, I encourage you to step up and answer it by starting to pay even more attention to your thoughts. If you did not understand what I just said it could be because you identified with a thought that arose, perhaps it said, I do not understand, notice that that thought was observed. You are observing from your true nature, spirt, or consciousness. Question it, is it true or do you feel something deep inside your soul that knows differently. You would not be reading this post if you were not searching for something that does not need to be searched for, only remembered. That will come without struggle if you begin to bring more attention to your thoughts and notice the unsolicited thoughts that are not for your highest good. This is simple so do not let your mind complicate it. It is simple but it is not always easy to break the strong habit of identification. Only those who hear the call will answer.