“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.”
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.
We have a choice when we go through difficult things; we can either become wounded or wise. The inherent benefits within challenging times can only be seen with greater awareness and directing our attention in the proper direction. When we follow the minds unsolicited thoughts, they guide us towards suffering.
When we start looking for the benefit or opportunity in the problem, something different will be seen.
Know that your joy has never left you, but you have pushed your joy aside through your thinking. It can no more leave you than the blue sky above. It can appear to be gone by the cover of clouds, but above the clouds, it is still seen. So point your attention towards what you want, and once you do, the clouds will float by revealing the joy that never left.
As we journey down the spiritual path, we find countless options to wake up, become the person we think we should be or find enlightenment. We can even believe if we connect with our divine self, we will finally be free from problems and live in endless happiness. Sounds good, right, but is it true?
With so many options, we struggle to decide what to do. Should we take this workshop, read that book, or work with this person or that practitioner, etc. For some, this can become an addiction with the mind supporting you every step of the way. It will tell you what a great job you are doing. It will tell you how you are better than those who do not do this exploration. It will tell you that you are so close to getting there, only to have that mark moved year after year, decade after decade. Sound familiar?
And yes, you have made progress, you know that you are different. And yet, something still does not feel right or complete. You thought you would be further down the path and even arrived at your intended destination by now.
This continuous shopping around becomes a ploy of the mind to distract you. The thought that you must reconnect with your real nature seems complicated, something separate from you, even distant. This thought is another distraction, another lie.
Thoughts arise that tell you that you are so close; if you only go to this next workshop or do that next thing, you will finally feel and be the way you want. So, you take the workshop coming home on a high. You feel so good about what happened, what you learned, what you let go of, and your progress. And then it happens, someone does or says something to you, or perhaps something insignificant happens like misplacing your car keys, and you get upset, maybe even angry. You say to yourself, but why, I have done all this work on myself. Why is this still happening to me?
You must realize that what you have been doing is not working in the way you thought or intended when you started your journey. Even though everything you have done has added value to your life, it has not done what you thought it would, and if it hasn’t by now, will it ever? You must see this if you want to wake up; otherwise, you will continue to follow your mind’s guidance and schedule that next workshop or appointment. Understand that I am not telling you not to do these things. I am saying to do them with awareness, and not out of a compulsion that they will be the answer to what you seek.
We are talked out of doing things by our thoughts all the time, even when they for our highest good. Have you ever wondered where those thoughts originate? Have you noticed they are unsolicited and appear out of nowhere? If that stirs something in you, then start observing your thoughts, and it will lead you to remember your real nature, which is and has always been with you. The thought that you must find it is a lie. Direct experience of your true nature helps, but it is about remembering who you are, not finding something outside yourself.
Prove this to yourself, do not take my word for it, or believe it is true. Just having a belief will end up being more thought and distraction through the mind. Look with the intention to prove it to yourself. You have a choice to identify with whatever thoughts are coming up now and telling you this is nonsense or that it will not work. Or you can observe what is arising and choose not to identify with it. It is your choice, not the minds.
When it comes to having a direct experience of our true nature, the paradox is, we find what we are looking for when we stop looking. Your mind does not have to accept this for you to know the truth.
Note: To help you see how subtle the mind’s deception can be, if the act of observing is observable, then the mind is once again playing a trick on you. When we are in our true nature, it cannot be observed from somewhere else; that is impossible because there is nothing outside of it.
If you want, take a moment to get quiet, see if what I have said in the paragraphs above applies to you, maybe you already know it does. But if not, find a quiet place, somewhere free from distractions. Draw your attention down to the heart area of your chest. You can even place your hand there to bring your attention from the head to the heart if you are having trouble.
Know that the truth will not come to you through your mind in the form of thoughts, and it will not come from all the knowledge you have acquired. It will arrive directly from your soul, consciousness, Divine Creator, or God if you prefer. It will come in the form of insight or direct experience.
Become empty of thought by keeping your attention in the heart area. If any thought arises to distract you, notice that it is observed, and let it go. The key is not to identify with it. If you don’t, it has no power. Body sensations, emotions, or images may come. Notice that all of this is observable.
More thoughts will arise, that is a given. They might say I do not know how, or I cannot do this, etc. Stay connected to observing what is happening, instead of being in the movie, watch it play out. Do not identify with anything, and do not imagine. Now the mind may come in and say this is hard. You observed that as well, now let it go.
Once you feel ready, ask any question you want. For example, from what was said above, is this true for me? Perhaps you will hear a reply, feel something, or come into more clarity. If it seems nothing has happened, be watchful of your thoughts not getting caught in a new story. Trust that something has happened and watch over the next few days to see if anything is revealed or changed in some way. It will not come through the mind but will reveal itself in a moment of insight. You already know what it feels like when the truth is shown to you. You just know somehow, don’t you?
I awakened the other day with the word transition in my awareness—something we all experience many times during our lifetime. For example, a change in jobs, where we live, or a relationship, to name a few. I have never seen so many people experiencing a myriad of transitions simultaneously, at least not that I can remember in my 63 years.
During these times, many of us do not know what to do. We feel lost, fearful, anxious, or worried, maybe all of them. In some cases, we can feel excited about our new transitional prospects. Of course, excitement is not the word I would use for our experiences with Covid-19. And yet I can assure you that many of your thoughts around these events are not valid if investigated. And when investigated for their truth or lack thereof, we can calm our state. Of course, you must be willing to look and feel what you need to sincerely without resistance. Coming from greater awareness always leads to insight.
In our efforts during transitional times to find security and peace, we often move too quickly. We want things to go back the way they were, so we can feel safe, or at least the illusion of safety.
Decisions are made from a place of old thinking, beliefs, habits, conditioning, and behaviors. So, we make choices based on how things used to be instead of how they are now. We do not take the time to know what we want or who we have become in life. Do you want to make different choices moving forward? Choices from a more aware and awake state that lead to a more peaceful and joyful life? Then you must take some time to figure out who you have become, who you really are, and what you want. You must turn your autopilot off.
When we do not do this, we can easily make choices that send us right back where we use to be. The story looks different for a while, may even feel exciting, and then we end up one day feeling like before. And many of you have experienced this; you make a significant change thinking it will fix everything, and it solves nothing.
For example, I have seen many people come out of a long-term marriage and immediately look for a new relationship. They do not feel comfortable being alone or feel they need companionship to be happy. Therefore, they go looking for comfort and feeling happy from someone else instead of finding it in themselves. They find someone who feels like the one only to have it fail or find out later that they still do not feel the way they want. This is more common than you think and can happen in many different areas of one’s life.
Not taking the time to get to know who we are and what we want, not just what we think we want, only leads us down the road of suffering and making poor choices.
Trying to push and pull our way through life, thinking we are in control of it all the time is an illusion. Your best efforts to control everything in your life have failed, haven’t they?
I assure you that life takes care of life. It is time to live in the present moment. Wishing things to go back the way they were will change nothing. Instead of wanting things to go back the way they were, doesn’t it make sense to move forward from a new awareness instead of creating from old behaviors and conditioning?
Awareness is one of our greatest gifts and can change how you experience life. Taking the time to slow down and get to know ourselves from a more meaningful place is how we find the peace that is our birthright. It is always available to us and always with us. You only need to rediscover that underneath all the unsolicited thinking that tells you otherwise. You can do this by paying more attention to your thoughts.
Is this something you can do, or does your mind tell you otherwise? Observe your thoughts, and you will see the truth, or you are free to continue to follow their guidance without question. Will you follow the mind’s guidance or your souls? It is up to you to decide no one else can do it for you.
There are so many people on social media today that know the truth. They become frustrated, even reaching states of anger, anxiety, and depression, why because they know they are right, and the other person is wrong. And these truths that each believes are opposites from one another. Who is right, you ask yourself, and you say why I am, of course!
We find and post articles and studies that support our beliefs. We post videos of others who say what we believe, and therefore, that makes us right, and that rightness becomes even more locked into our psyche. We see ourselves as our beliefs, and we lose connection with our true nature, our heart, our soul. You may think I am exaggerating here, but anger, anxiety, and depression do not arise from our true nature, heart, or soul, it arises from who we believe ourselves to be.
You cannot see clearly if your mind already knows the truth. You hold onto those beliefs so tightly that nothing else can be seen or heard. Nothing else can get past the wall of beliefs you have built. You will fight to the end to make your point because YOU are right.
Any parent has experienced this with their child at some point. The five-year-old wants what they want, and they know they are right. The teenager has done the research; they know what is right, and no one can tell them otherwise. Our age does not matter. Perhaps you can remember being that way as a teenager. Are you still that way, or have you become that way?
Has everything from your past that you thought to be true still valid today? Can you find examples throughout history and the world where someone’s truth caused death and destruction? Have wars started from believing that something is right, and then it turns out not to be true?
Have you ever thought about this? Probably not much, most people don’t. We quickly move on to the next thing that keeps us distracted from being present and staying connected to our hearts. We spend all our time in the mind following its guidance without awareness of where it is leading us.
The mind works this way, jumping from one thing to the next all day long, all lifelong. Without awareness, we identify with the thoughts, and then we create beliefs, concepts, and stories around them, and then we become right, and everyone else that does not believe the way we do, is wrong.
Is there a truth that never changes? Yes, we can find them but are they valid for everyone or just for those who believe them. The one truth that never changes is that many things condition us. If you can see this truth or feel it in your heart, you are waking up. Continue to question your thoughts. Are they true, or are they a distraction from truth? Observe them as they arise entirely unsolicited. Only the unconditioned-self can answer truthfully; your mind will only find a way to convince you otherwise; to mislead you and distract you from living an honest, authentic life.