Where Does My Suffering Come From?
You can't think your way to awareness.
Awareness comes from a deeper place. It doesn't come from your intellect, from thinking about it. It's not something that can be explained and then you get it. It doesn't work like that. This is something that you have to see with your spiritual eyes. Awareness comes from a deeper place of understanding, that place where wisdom lives, in your spirit - your deepest part - where you're one with God.
Awareness can't really be explained (although I do my best to try) but it is something you can point to. I can point to it and say "this is how it works," "I woke up to this and I would love for you to wake up to this realisation too.
When you wake up to this fact, you will find that 99% of that stress that you experience every day, and that you've had your whole life, is not going to be there. Of course, stress comes and goes, we have negative feelings - that's part of being human. I'm not talking about being happy and on a high all the time. But when we understand this truth and we really wake up to it, we realise that we've been causing so much of our own suffering and that it's unnecessary suffering.
Think of a problem that's been on your mind. The misunderstanding that we go through life with, is that this problem is caused by something out there. The problem is my job, my boss, my colleagues... If there's a relationship problem, we usually believe it's the other person's fault. Perhaps there's not enough money in the bank account or you don't like how you look in the mirror.
It's always something that's outside of us and, because of this misunderstanding, we go through life reacting to things that happen. Obviously, we feel helpless because we don't know what's around the corner. When you don't know what will happen tomorrow and you're worried, it's a very dis-empowering and stressful place to be.
You have no power. Life is just happening to you. What's life going to throw at me next?
However, the fact is - and this applies to everyone who's a human being (whatever your background or beliefs etc) - the way we have our human experience is from the inside out. Consequently, when those things happen outwardly, we are responding to what we think about them. The secret here is that you're only ever feeling your present moment thinking.
Think about it for a minute. If you're feeling stressed about something, that feeling is coming from a thought that you have about that thing. It's the thoughts that you have about that particular thing that is causing the stress and the upset and the suffering. Let me give you an example.
Waking Up to New Thoughts
Let's say you wake up tomorrow with a case of amnesia and, for the entire day, you don't remember anything. You don't remember anything but your life circumstances are still the same - you have the same job and family etc. Do you see how the way that you think about them would be completely different because you wouldn't have that entire life history of those thoughts in you already? You'd be open to some fresh, new thinking about your life and the people in your life and the circumstances in your life. Yet, outwardly, nothing will have changed.
When you wake up to the fact that, it's not because of that thing/person/circumstance that I'm upset, it's because of my thinking around that, this can revolutionize your life! This is when you can see that you're only one thought away from a different reality.
It's an inside out understanding that we need to understand spiritually, because we're talking about going beyond the realm that we live in, which is the realm of our thinking.
We're very conscious of our thinking and our feeling - that's the realm that we live in - the psychological realm. But there's another spiritual realm. You can tap into a deeper part of you.
When you're in that place where you can zoom out, you can look down on yourself and the clouds around you. Imagine dark clouds that represent your thinking: thoughts about what could possibly go wrong, what's happened in the past that's ruined my life, this situation, that person etc. - these are all thoughts which you can think of as clouds.
Zoom out and, just for a moment, see what you're doing to yourself by having those thoughts. Realise where your experience is coming from. When you see this, spontaneously, those thoughts lose their power. They lose their power and their hold over you. This is when you don't need some kind of technique to think differently. You don't need anything. Just the ability to zoom out and see what's going on.
Once you have this realisation, this awareness, you just drop those thoughts like a hot potato. So much of the suffering that you go through is unnecessary once you realise how our thinking works, how thoughts naturally come and go and how you are more than your thoughts.
You're more than your thoughts because you are a conscious being who can realise that they're thinking.
“Life is what you think it is.” ~Sydney Banks