The source of pain is not the belief system itself but one’s attachment to it…
Attachment is the process whereby the suffering of loss occurs, irrespective of what the attachment is to or about: whether internal or external; whether object, relationship, social quality, or aspects of physical life. The ego perpetuates itself through its elaborate network of values, belief systems and programs. Needs thus arise that gain more energy as they become embellished and elaborated, sometimes to the point of fixation.The source of pain is not the belief system itself but one’s attachment to it and the inflation of its imaginary value. The inner processing of attachments is dependent on the exercise of the will, which alone has the power to undo the mechanism of attachment by the process of surrender. This may be subjectively experienced or contextualized as sacrifice, although it is actually a liberation. The emotional pain of loss arises from the attachment itself and not from the “what” that has been lost.
One of the wonders of your mind is the quickness with which it can comprehend and categorize things. As Malcom Gladwell wrote in Blink, we are constantly making split-second decisions based on years of experience and knowledge as well as using the same skill to confirm prejudices, stereotypes, and assumptions. Clearly, the former thinking is a source of strength, whereas the latter is a great weakness.We lose very little by taking a beat to consider our own thoughts. Is this really so bad? What do I really know about this person? Why do I have such strong feelings here? Is anxiety really adding much to the situation? What’s so special about_________?By asking these questions—by putting our impressions to the test—we’re less likely to be carried away by them or make a move on a mistaken or biased one. We’re still free to use our instincts, but we should always, as the Russian proverb says, “trust, but verify.”
There are two ways to be wealthy—to get everything you want or to want everything you have. Which is easier right here and right now? The same goes for freedom. If you chafe and fight and struggle for more, you will never be free. If you could find and focus on the pockets of freedom you already have? Well, then you’d be free right here, right now.
Do you have a vacation coming up? Are you looking forward to the weekend so you can have some peace and quiet? Maybe, you think, after things settle down or after I get this over with. But how often has that ever actually worked?The Zen meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn coined a famous expression: “Wherever you go, there you are.” We can find a retreat at any time by looking inward. We can sit with our eyes closed and feel our breath go in and out. We can turn on some music and tune out the world. We can turn off technology or shut off rampant thoughts in our head. That will provide us peace. Nothing else.
“There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness:One With Life.Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.”—Eckhart TolleHmm, so no longer a secret.
“The cause of my irritation is not in this person but in me.”
In the mid-twentieth century, there was an Indian Jesuit priest named Anthony de Mello. Born in Bombay when it was still under British control, de Mello was an amalgam of many different cultures and perspectives: East, West; he even trained as a psychotherapist. It’s interesting when one sees timeless wisdom develop across schools, across epochs and ideas. Here is a quote from de Mello’s book, The Way to Love:“The cause of my irritation is not in this person but in me.”Remember, each individual has a choice. You are always the one in control. The cause of irritation—or our notion that something is bad—that comes from us, from our labels or our expectations. Just as easily, we can change those labels; we can change our entitlement and decide to accept and love what’s happening around us. And this wisdom has been repeated and independently discovered in every century and every country since time began.This wisdom or insight came to me quite unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. I had been bemoaning my elder* brother’s negativity. It was making my conversations with him challenging, frustrating and well, just plain irritating. Then out-of-the-blue, I real...read more
This sense of being wronged is a simple awareness problem.
Part of the reason we fight against the things that happen is that we’re so focused on our plan that we forget that there might be a bigger plan we don’t know about. It is not the case that plenty of times something we thought was a disaster turned out to be, with the passage of time, a lucky break? We also forget that we’re not the only people who matter and that our loss might be someone else’s gain.This sense of being wronged is a simple awareness problem. We need to remember that all things are guided by reason—but that it is a vast and universal reason that we cannot always see. That the surprise hurricane was the result of a butterfly flapping its wings a hemisphere away or that misfortune we have experienced is simply the prelude to a pleasant and enviable future.
This present is in our possession—but it has an expiration date, a quickly approaching one.
Today notice how often you look for more. That is, wanting the past to be more than what it was (different, better, still here, etc.) or wanting the future to unfold exactly as you expect (with hardly a thought as to how that might affect other people).When you do this, you’re neglecting the present moment. Talk about ungrateful! There’s a saying—attributed to Bil Keane, the cartoonist—worth remembering: “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” This present is in our possession—but it has an expiration date, a quickly approaching one. If you enjoy all of it, it will be enough. It can last a whole lifetime.
Socrates, perhaps the wisest person to ever live, used to say that “nobody does wrong willingly.” Or as Deepak Chopra said “People are doing the best that they can from their level of consciousness.” Or “All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” —Brené Brown. Or as Jesus said, praying from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”Meaning that no one is wrong on purpose either. Nobody thinks they’re wrong, even when they are. They think they’re right, they’re just mistaken. Otherwise, they wouldn’t think it anymore!Could it be that the slights you’ve experienced or the harm that others have done to you was not inflicted intentionally? What if they simply thought they were doing the right thing—for them, even for you? It’s like the memorial for Confederate soldiers at Arlington (obviously a cause that was wrongly fought for by people doing wrong), which states in part, that the Confederate soldiers served “in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it.” Again—they understood wrongly, but it was their gen...read more
We’re all complicated people. We have multiple sides to ourselves—conflicting wants, desires, and fears. The outside world is no less confusing and contradictory. If we’re not careful, all these forces—pushing and pulling—will eventually tear us apart. We can’t live as both Jekyll and Hyde. Not for long anyway.We have a choice: to stand with our Self and focus strenuously on the inside, or to behave like a leader of a mob, becoming whatever the crowd needs at a given moment.If we do not focus on our internal integration—on self-awareness—we risk external disintegration.