“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.”
The mind and our conditioning tell us that we should never suffer, feel pain, or have difficulties; that the perfect life is problem-free, and this becomes our belief and pursuit. Many religious people think and are taught that if they find God, all their problems will go away, and the spiritual seeker often believes that enlightenment will free them from all of life’s complications.
Is this your experience? Can you tell me that this is true, that you have escaped the challenges of life through these pursuits? Following this concept of freedom, when presented by the mind, will only keep you trapped in an endless quest. You will always feel that you are getting closer to your desired destination, why it’s just one more step, the mind will say. Yet somehow, you never seem to arrive.
If we want to be free, then we must awaken from the mind’s blinding influence. We must be willing to take a step back from what it is saying for a moment because real freedom comes when we allow all of life to flow through us. We cannot continue to follow the false narrative that the mind presents, where there should be no pain or suffering at all.
We must allow and feel whatever arises, to embrace and experience it. Being mindful when resistance appears, because whatever flows will go, be transmuted, or transcended. Whatever we resist will get stuck and persists.
Take a step back, become the observer of your thoughts, and watch how the mind frequently influences your life. Then let your unrest awaken you to the present moment and your True-Self. Let feelings and facts destroy the imagined storytelling of the mind and be open to receiving grace and the guidance of your True-Self that is always available to everyone.
Do you mold your religious/spiritual teachings around your life to self-satisfy your egoic actions? This can be seen today by many who put their political party and personal interests over their religious ideology.
Or do you embody your religion/spiritual teaching and put it first, by questioning your words and actions and always correcting course when errors are seen?
You can see these two very different ways of living playing out around the world, which will manifest two very different outcomes. This observation is not new; they can both be seen by looking back through history at how men and women have treated their fellow human beings, the planet, and themselves.
If you observe your thoughts, you will find they lay the foundation for your unhappiness. The mind creates a story through them about your circumstances and your life that you come to believe. Once belief sets in, dissatisfaction will arise.
Let fact destroy the fiction of this story, and it will disappear. Watch as your mind comes up with justifications and creates another narrative to keep you trapped in this seemingly endless cycle, a habit that has become so ingrained in your life that it goes completely unnoticed. Without awareness, it will continue to bring discomfort to your life and physical body. You have every ability to stop this cycle of self-abuse and wake up to your True-Self.
Be careful when you read the following. Your ego may feel threatened by my words, and it may want to strike out, or it may feel attacked. However, if you slow your thoughts down and listen to them, or notice how you feel emotionally and physically, you may begin to wake-up and see just how ludicrous or ill meaning they are.
Social media political posts are nothing more than the expression of our ego. It does nothing to change the course of political opinion. It alone will never alter the mind of any person who has the opposite beliefs. In fact, it only agitates them. To verify this, you only have to look at how you feel when you read a post that disagrees with your politics or beliefs. What thoughts do you have when this happens? Does your body become tense? Do you become angry, anxious, or frustrated?
Making these kinds of posts only satisfies your egos desire to be right, feel powerful, or make yourself feel better in some way. Then these very same desires cloud your ability to see or hear the truth.
The only way to change what we do not like in life is to engage life in more meaningful ways, and when it comes to politics, voting is at the top of the list. Therefore, if you are one of those people who post political information regularly on your page or elsewhere, ask yourself, what is my intent? Is it to show everyone I am right? Is it to feel powerful? Or is it to make myself feel good, or some other ego-driven reason?
Could you spend that energy in a different way to have a more significant impact? If your answer is no, then, by all means, continue to make your posts. However, if it is yes, then I encourage you to engage with life in more essential ways. Because I can assure you, your posts do not make a significant impact on your life, the country you live in, or the world. They only feed your ego.
I remember when I was growing up that calling someone a zero meant that he or she was useless or worthless. Now here I am decades later writing about becoming zero but from a loftier understanding.
You will notice with a little bit of awareness that everything in personhood comes and goes, including the body. Life is not stable from the perspective of the person. One moment you can be upset, the next laughing and then the next anxious. When we take pause, this can be noticed, but it is something that usually is overlooked or ignored, not by choice, of course, but by habit, a habit that took shape so the mind could remain a controlling authority.
Let me tell you with one-hundred percent certainty that becoming zero is the most stable state you can experience. However, I do not expect you to believe me; but instead, I want you to experience it for yourself because it is only through having a direct experience that you will come to see the truth.
When you are curious, you learn, and when you are desperate, you discover. The mind wants to learn and will have its own interpretation of what becoming zero means. It will put up roadblocks every chance it gets to distract you. Therefore, it is up to you to use your awareness to awaken to these distractions and stay focused on what is evident.
What do I mean by becoming zero? It means you do not have any attachment to your thoughts and feelings. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not saying that you should not think and feel. Of course, you will. However, you will do it by choice. In other words, your thoughts and feelings will not control you and operate unchecked. They will still come and go, and you are free to pick them up at any time. Moreover, it certainly does not mean that somehow your life will be dull or boring. In truth, just the opposite will happen.
Can you feel the freedom that comes with having command over what causes your psychological suffering?
Remember, a thought, feeling, or emotion has no power over you until you believe it. I can have a thought that says this is amazing, and someone else might think it is awful. When we believe something is amazing, we feel good, and if we believe it is awful, we suffer. I am sure you can access countless instances of this in your life — for example, a new relationship or the break-up of one. Therefore, without belief, a thought, feeling, or emotion has no power, and therefore it will pass like a cloud floating across the sky.
Now, this is very simple to do. First, we create some space between our thoughts, feelings, and emotions by not believing in them automatically. We begin to notice or question what arises. This is accomplished by bringing awareness to them and becoming the observer. It is from the position of the observer that we create the space we need to stay unattached to what comes. As long as we are watching and not grabbing hold of the thought, feeling, or emotion, there will be some space creating a moment free of reaction, which will lead to stability. You will feel a sense of freedom in this space.
Now I did say this was simple to do, and it is; okay here comes the but, the challenge happens when things start to bubble up from underneath, i.e., conditioning, beliefs, feelings, etc. You have years or decades of automatically going with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions; it is a habit. To break the habit, you will need to come back to observing as the mind distracts you repeatedly. And it will try to distract you because you are taking your power back. Remember, nothing will stick unless you believe in it. You break the habit of attachment by becoming the observer.
There is no need to struggle. If it feels hard to do, then notice that that is a thought. Step back into the observer position, and the hardness will soften, letting go with ease. Any struggle signifies that you are attaching to a thought, feeling, or emotion created by the mind to distract you.
“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” -Blaise Pascal
Start here first, and do the best you can because the smallest step toward your authentic-self transcends the mind and brings about tremendous transformation.
We have become so narrowly focused on all the things occurring outside of ourselves, that we feel a loss of control in our lives. Of course, this kind of thinking leads to anxiety, stress, worry, and fear. These types of psychological problems are becoming all too common for us these days.
External problems can appear to be the same to specific groups of like-minded people and not as problems at all to others. That is because of each person’s conditioning, and the beliefs created out of that conditioning. In other words, it is how we think about things that tell us whether or not it is a problem.
The conditioning we receive is instilled at such a young age, much of it before the age of seven, that it is never questioned. This conditioning becomes the foundation that we build on to become who we are now and what we believe. When enough people believe and think the same thing, it creates what we see in the world. That is because we make choices based on our beliefs.
Could we have been misled or built our views on incorrect information? Is there more to us than what we see with our eyes and think with our minds?
If you narrowly focus on one thought long enough, then it can become the truth for you, and then all your choices going forward will be based on that new belief. This unreliable information then makes us think things that are not true. For instance, I am not good enough, I am not smart, or I will never be happy again.
Many have come to the point where they are at the mercy of their thoughts and feelings. At times, they find that their thoughts and feelings are overwhelming. There seems to be no way to be free from them, which again creates more anxiety, stress, worry, and fear.
When you slow your thoughts down by paying attention to them, and you begin to question them, you can start to discover and unravel your conditioning. Self-inquiry like this will lead to freedom from your conditioning and creates a very different life than what you are experiencing now.
We unconsciously attach to our thoughts and habitually follow them. These thoughts arise spontaneously without any conscious effort on our part, and you can see this taking place with awareness. They are not based in fact but often accepted as fact. They are born out of our false foundation. It will require effort for most people, particularly in the beginning, to break these habits, to uncover their True-Self, and to shed the skin of who they have become.
Know that anyone can be free, no matter what your mind and thoughts tell you. The challenge is not to believe what the mind tells you and not to be tricked by its subtle and cunning ways. This is because you are more than your mind and body. The only way that this idea becomes a reality for you is to have direct-experience of your True-Self. Otherwise, your mind will use this lofty concept to keep you a prisoner, and you will be lost in a maze of thoughts leading down a path with no way out. Rest assured, in my words, that there is always a way with awareness.
We are, by essence, adaptive and evolving beings, and when we are not, we suffer, and if it continues long enough, we perish. This is a lesson we still have not learned from nature. The earth will survive long after we are gone because of our arrogance and greed if we do not change.
When human beings and human rights come second to money, then we all lose. We have to question the choices we are making. We must begin to make decisions that are morally right and start to live from a place of higher wisdom. Otherwise, we can expect things to continue to be how they are now and gradually become worse, creating more suffering for everyone.