I have had an epiphany recently, and it was shocking. I realized how much my life has been driven by my mind.
I thought I was free. I thought I had control. But really I had been a slave to my thoughts, just like a puppet on a string.
The Source of the Problem
The signs were evident, but I hadn’t put all the pieces together. I often felt stressed and pressured. I have to do a yoga practice, I have to accept that next client, I have to keep everything in order.
Things looked pretty good on the outside, but I realized how much I had been resisting people and situations, as in, I want him to want what I want, not what he actually wants or I don’t want things to get in my way.
Get the commonality? It was all about me – what I thought should or shouldn’t be happening.
What about a quiet walk on the beach or the space to just be? What about listening and letting life unfold? These are the things that got put on the back burner while my thoughts were leading the show.
It took a week in silence to reveal the problem. And here is what I discovered: I had been living a mind-driven life. All the troubles, the stress, the doubting, wondering, and confusion. The source of all of it was letting thoughts drive my life.
The Lovely Effects
It’s been over for just over a month now (why I haven’t been writing here), and the shift has been dramatic. I don’t believe or give attention to one single thought – not one. And the results are:
- No more resistance to anything that happens – ever. (It takes a belief or expectation to resist.)
- No more stress. (Stress is based on should’s, have to’s, and must’s – all thoughts.)
- No more person who thinks she must be in control. (“Gail” is seen as simply thoughts, preferences, and feelings. There is no real entity that is “me.”)
- Endless peace.
- Persistent contentment that never goes away.
This doesn’t mean that thoughts don’t appear – they absolutely do. But my desire for peace is so unwavering that I give them no attention. Like emptying the gas tank, thoughts without attention simply lose their oomph and eventually grind to a halt.
I am discovering that thoughts can wriggle in almost undetected if I’m not vigilant enough. When I am the least bit off – irritable, nervous, cranky – I need to return to the conviction for peace and determine how a thought has taken hold.
The hidden treasure is always here. Somehow mind has taken charge, but the power of dissociating attention from the thought leaves me simply aware. Not aware of anything in particular, but conscious, alive, and oh, so peaceful.
Which brings me to the core realization of the end of the mind-driven life. And here it is: Your true identity is not the separate you, the man or woman who you think you are, your needs, preferences, history, hopes, relationships.
Who you are is the space in which all of this arises. You are aware presence, conscious and alive.
My friend, Rupert Spira, offers the metaphor of a room full of furniture. Who you are is the space, not the furniture. And the space is undisturbed no matter what is in it.
Anything can appear – beliefs, expectations, strong feelings, illness, pain. You, the space, are at peace with all of it. You are infinitely non-resistant to everything, welcoming completely yet remaining untouched.
If you are interested in the end of your troubles, begin experimenting to make your own discoveries.
- Take a look to see how much thought controls you and your life.
- Take some time to be quiet, then see what you experience when you think thoughts and when you lose interest in them. This exercise helps you understand that you can choose peace, always.
- Notice that no matter what you think, feel, or do, you are aware. Put your attention on the awareness instead of on the thoughts and feelings. Let life reveal itself without your control.
image: Yes, those are my feet 🙂