How we relate to the world is the way our relationship is with ourselves. Our reaction with the world is exactly mirroring the way we react with ourselves. Our perception of how the world is treating us is merely our imagination. In reality we can’t change the world as the world we perceive is our own, thus making our relationship intimate – ourselves. All our emotions are found right here within ourselves – the world or the stuffs in the mind are merely a show, expressing who we are, by the way we respond to each experience. Happiness no longer needs to be sought when we finally understand that what we have been trying to seek is found in the way we relate to ourselves. In short, our way of relating to ourselves is either from the space of ignorance or wisdom.
We seek for happiness outside simply because the way we relate to ourselves does not generate the happiness we wish to have. We are rarely at peace with ourselves because the ideas that we have taken into our system are in contradiction with the natural flow of our beingness, of nature. Like a boat moving upstream against the flow of the river, we are in constant conflict and battle with ourselves to come into a balanced state of living. We seldom question why we are in an unsettling state. We ignore what we have thrown into our system which causes this upheaval.
There are calls of yearning from our inner soul but the plea is ignored because of the power we have given away to the norm of our society. We sell our soul just to conform to what society require from us. Taking a step back and question the meaning of life is not something we are trained to do. We probably may not even know there exists such possibility.
And that is how it begins – a child is being forced to conform to certain situation, irrelevant to the cry of reluctancy or to the desire to be understood – just for the sake of feeding someone’s need. Overtime, the child lived for others rather than for themselves. Aren’t we, to a great extant, a byproduct of someone else’s need? Their needs can be found in our attitude, character, personality or even career. Due to long term programming, we become lifeless to our life – we live unconsciously in an unhappy state that is not in sync with our beingness – our primordial state and inclination when we begin this very life. Everyone thinks that their need is also another’s need. And we are all enforcing each other with our ideas – a byproduct of our unquestioned life – forcing what we believe is true unto others.
Seldom do we pause and inquire whether what others do unto us previously is encouraging or impeding our naturalness to be wise. As human we are given the ability to discern but rarely do we utilize this ability and thus subject others to walk the same fate as us, imposing unconscious guilt upon them. Our unquestioned mind leads us to think we are right. Are we ignorant or innocent in this sense? Are we subjugated to what society wants from us or do we have a life that is far more than just conformity and routines?
And as we mature into self-discernment, we start inquiring from within what kind of relationship we are having with ourselves that allow others to dictate our needs. We no longer point fingers at anyone but instead come into taking responsibility of our own actions – the very relationship that we have allowed to eat into our core system which has made us feel ideally useless and ignorant – ignorant to the fact that we do have a choice of living differently, not by rebelling or reforming anything on the outside but through introspective journey of questioning old ideas and beliefs that are no longer beneficial to our well being.
It is about a journey of self-discovery where peace abiding is our naturalness, where we can never be controlled by another; except our allowing others to do so. We can never be in bondage unless we allow ourselves to be so. It is about the way we give our power away, the way we do not take a responsive act to the pattern the mind is taking.
Thus to wake up to the reality of our lives, we have to start wherever we are, the journey of awakening to what is within each and everyone of us – questioning honestly what is it that our soul is desiring and yet not allowing it to be surfaced in our space. And to come clean without pointing any finger at anyone except to see the ideas that we have trapped ourselves in is the first and an important step to freeing ourselves from the bondage of misperception.
It is a mandatory journey for all of us to come into our trueness but the time for us to initiate this journey is up to us. The earlier the journey is taken, the possibility of entering into a life where we are true to ourselves is ever possible. For we are the director of our lives.
It is interesting to observe that whenever we love someone, we love the “body” more than the inherent qualities of a person. You may beg to differ but consider what happens when the person whom we love leaves us. If we are truly appreciating the qualities found in that person we know for sure that there is no possibility of owning that someone since those qualities are not found in the body except the mind and as such is irrelevant to hold on to him or her physically.
On the same token, when we dislike a person, we wish for that person to get out from our sight. We are meaning to say that we don’t like to see the “body” around. But are we not aware that regardless of whether the person is around or not, we have now only to deal with what comes to the mind – the upset that we took on. Seemingly it may looks like our upset increases each time we see the person but really, he or she is merely a trigger of what is already in us – in other words our memory is the thing that haunt us. We may have observed that we have carried our anger with us for awhile now whether we see that person or not. What then has it got to do with that person’s existence?
If we really want to deal with our anger, we have to stop giving attention to the “body” out there. In fact it is because of our attention towards the “body” out there that continuously feeds our upset. We are rarely aware of that due to our own ignorance. We see that it is the “body” that is making us angry.
There was an incident over lunch where a father told his daughter that their dog had acted stupidly over a certain event the other day and the child was quick enough to reiterate that it is not the dog per se which is stupid but rather a specific attitude that the dog has acquired to which was what her dad abhorred. Now that is indeed a wise observation!
Are you aware that the mind works according to where it is directed? If you direct it at the body, you will see goodness and badness in the body. If you direct it to the mind, you will see it in the mind. For instance, if your attention is given to say, a guard – your opinions about him will be as a body rather than his attitude. Yes, we normally dislike a person for their attitude, but we don’t get that the attitude has nothing to do with the body. We clump the attitude as an action of the body rather than an effect deriving from the mind. We don’t see the fact that his attitude is what we are questioning, not his role as a guard. In this way we can deal with him easier rather than seeing him as wrong. It is the same as the dog and the father scene.
Most of our unforgiveness comes from directing at the body rather than the mind of another person. Wars are fought because of bodies. Religions are separated because of bodies too – my teacher is better than your teacher. Relationships are affected because of bodies – the ownership of it. Ultimately to direct our unforgiveness at other’s mind is also a misperception – barking at the wrong tree – as the house on fire at that moment is our mind, not elsewhere. Unforgiving state has to be addressed as it is without targetting to anyone else including ourselves.
The way you experience and feel about yourself is not determined by those around you. It is determined by how you look at and think about them. If you look at a situation as wrong, it has to follow naturally its own path of discomfort, not because there is some kind of a higher force that you are subjugated to for punishment but rather a natural effect of what arises from misperception. Right perception, right effect. How would you know whether there is a misperception? When you are in pain.
Truth is not something I can think about. To think, is to miss the Truth. Truth is beyond intellectual rationalizing, beyond concepts, beyond words. Ironically without all these, Truth cannot be conveyed. Here lies the heresy – when Truth is being conveyed, like the finger pointing to the moon, whoever takes the Truth, takes it by the letter, out of ignorance, thus making the pointing finger, the moon. Throughout my own personal journey of knowing myself, I came across many imitations of Truth. Many are just understatements. All the wholesome mental qualities the world is seeking to advocate are simply imitations of Truth. Truth is, Truth can’t be created. When Truth is seen, wholesome qualities naturally follow, not the other way round.
Take for instance, forgiveness. We are told to forgive. We encourage our friends to forgive whatever bitterness they hold on to, but yet I am not sure whether we ourselves can handle forgiveness when it is our turn to be in the shoe. But the point is not about our ability to forgive, it is about forgiveness that does not have a “to” preceding or attached to it. When we try to forgive, we miss the point of this lofty quality. We think we can just pull out this thing called “forgiveness” from our closet and close the chapter of what we are bitter with. Talk is cheap, as the saying goes. Actually, it is free! We tend to imagine the mind to be like a magician hat where we can simply pull anything out of it to put out whatever we are experiencing. If it was so damn easy the world would have been a great loving place to live in as whenever we are sad we can pull happiness out from the mind and become happy! Isn’t that what we are doing and yet failing? I would say the mind is more like a Pandora box giving us unexpected surprises, simply because we are not aware what we have hidden in it!
We are taught to be good, to forgive, to accept, to be patient, to be resilient, to be courageous, to be detached – a long list of do’s and don’ts – and we pass on the same messages to others. At the same time we struggle with all these lofty qualities, failing again and again, never questioning our inability to arrive at those saintly states. Instead, each time we fail, we beat ourselves up mentally by thinking we are not good enough to be so, and we never stop at there. We keep trying again. To stop means to fail, and probably a cause for depression too. So we put up a front of nice faces or go to a quiet place to cry our hearts and souls out, or worst, bang our heads on the wall or stand at the edge of the building, unsure whether we ought to leap or not. There are many strange and dangerous things we do except to inquire why we need to be this or that or why we are still who we are.
What is the cause of it? The price of ignorance – the inability to differentiate between the pointing finger and the moon; and instead make the pointing finger, the moon. Our ignorance to the unfolding nature of cause and effect – actions and results – taking place in the mind. We have not been educated to recognize that to every experience there must be a cause to it. The experience cannot be created but can be caused by it. In other words we cannot make to forgive, as forgiveness is a result of something else prior to it. We are always taught to focus on the qualities rather than the mechanics that arrive at these qualities. We are, in other words, imitating what can’t be imitated. The result is disastrous as we force to take on what is impossible when the root cause is not programmed for such. Putting the horse before the cart is a silly thing to do but yet our mind is constantly working towards that direction.
Our inability to forgive is due to a certain idea etched in our mind that we are reluctant to address. Our idea is the cause, the unforgiveness is the effect. Instead, we see the outside world as wrong. We may paint a hundred pictures of self-righteousness, from betrayals to errors in others, but so long as our idea is deeply ingrained within us, we can never and ever be able to arrive to forgiveness. And the painful truth is this, on one hand we wish to get out from that mental pain, but on the other hand, we are holding on to what prevents us from releasing the pain. Indeed a queer scenario. And that’s what ignorance always does.
It is not about who is right or wrong as that is out of the equation. In fact the problem occurs when we bring this equation into the picture and for that, block ourselves from seeing the law of nature of cause and effect taking place within us. Our right and wrong are ideas that we do not question which haunts us when a situation arises. So when we finally “force” ourselves to forgive, either due to pain, resignation or peer pressure, without releasing the tenacious righteous idea held strongly by us, the result is obviously irresolvable, probably resulting in us, just deeper pain.
Obviously the key to address here is ignorance – ignorance to the fact of how the mind works, and to do that, the first step is personal mental hygiene – redirecting attention to what wrong views we are holding on which are costing us our joy and freedom. We may not see the views as wrong in the beginning, but through clear comprehension and prolonged observations, we will recognize the web of ideas that led to our bondage, similar to the insects stuck in the web of the spider. This is a journey of Truth realization, unblocking what blocks the Truth – falseness.