THE MIND IS THE CAUSE OF ALL SUFFERING
When you look at the problems in the world or your own personal struggles, this statement may seem ridiculous, insane, disrespectful to learning, ignorant and lacking in empathy and compassion. On the other hand, if it is true, it offers the path to freedom for your life.
Consider the problems you are dealing with in your life right now. Ask yourself a few questions about one of your problems.
· Would this situation always have been a problem in your life, at any age?
· Would this situation be considered a problem by every human being?
· Was this problem one of your problems a year ago, or 5 years ago?
· Have you ever changed your mind and realized that what you thought was a problem actually was a growth opportunity, or even a blessing?
Objectively consider whether your problem meets all these conditions (yes, yes, yes, no). Also, look back on a significant problem in your life that you handled, overcame, and became better because you learned and grew from the problem. In fact, hasn’t most of your growth and healing been the result of problems you didn’t want to have? Can you see that a problem is just something happening that you don’t want to happen, or you don’t want to stop happening. Could you instead call the problem an opportunity for growth and healing?
As an example, consider how people view a rainy day. For one it is welcome because their garden needs water. For another it is a problem because they have planned an outdoor party with many close friends. You can come up with many of your own examples. Don’t these examples show that the problem is related to your preferences and not the actual situation. Your preferences are the result of past experiences that you liked or didn’t like, and these choices are a product of your mind. Not only do other people have different preferences, your preferences have changed often in you own life.
How is your mind involved in this matter? Doesn’t the voice in your head constantly identify problems and then tell you what to do? Does it ever become quiet inside if you follow its advice? For example, you may have decided to cut back on eating sugar. You are offered a piece of cake by a friend and you want to say no. But your inner voice says that you don’t want to offend your friend and one piece of cake won’t hurt you. So, you go ahead, accept and eat the cake. Then the voice tells you how much of a loser you are, you can’t stick to your commitments, never have and never will.
As a friend of mine once told me: “Nobody can beat me up like I do in my own mind!” The good news is that this habit can be stopped.
Why do you listen to this voice and why is it so neurotic? Is your mind this way because it is reacting to your core belief that you are not okay/enough, that there is something wrong with you? Because of this deficiency, your mind is constantly resisting reality and trying to control it so you will be more comfortable. You have become co-dependent with a dysfunctional computer like device that can never be at peace. It operates from the assumption of you being deficient for handling reality as it unfolds in your life.
What happens when you define something as a problem? First off, you are bringing up your past, because you could not define any current situation a problem if you were not comparing it to something that happened in the past that you didn’t want to happen. This causes you to lose both your objectivity and creativity. You will be in fear and operating from the limited ability of ‘fight or flight’. More importantly, you will be feeding your belief that you are not okay, and not capable of handling your life.
To turn this around you must be aware that your real problem is that you believe you are not okay/enough and as a result can’t handle many situations in your life. This belief is then directed to what you are thinking about the situation, that you don’t want it to happen, that you may not be able to handle it. This all leads to further believing you’re a victim of life and often powerless to handle what happens (again reinforcing that you are not enough or deficient). You have become lost in your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about yourself (lost in your mind and heart). To regain clarity, you must step back and observe your thoughts and emotions in order to see that they are the seeds of your problems and suffering. What have you ever gained by resisting the reality of a moment? NOTHING!
From your deeper self you will find the wisdom and strength to handle any situation that your mind tells you is a problem and that it shouldn’t be that way. This reaction is a tantrum over the reality of the moment (which is the reaction of the consciousness of a 2-year-old), and is the cause of your suffering and the belief that you are not okay.
Invest in the rest of your life. Could anything be of more value?