On Truth Is A Beautiful Thing

One of my favourite bands released a new album earlier this year titled Truth Is A Beautiful Thing.

Now aside from the album being absolutely stunning, there’s something about that statement that I just feel in my bones.

The beauty in discovering principles is that they are true by definition. They’re not just sometimes true. They’re not just true when we believe them. Or true when we want them to be, or true when it looks logical.

Principles are foundational truths about how something works. The principles I share in my work are the three principles of mind, consciousness and thought, the spiritual forces that underlie every thought, feeling, sensation, memory, decision, and experience we’ve ever had.

And as helpful as it is to learn about these principles, if it just looks like a good idea or a nice concept or a more comforting perspective, then the essence of what makes it so transformational and powerful, the fact that it is always true all of the time, is lost on us.

We are always having an experience of mind, consciousness and thought, nothing more, nothing less. What we see as reality will always be a product how these three principles are operating in us in any given moment.

There is not a single moment of our lives where we could be disconnected from the energy and intelligence of mind.

There is not a single moment of our lives that is brought to us by anything other than these three principles. The system simply doesn’t work that way.

And granted it’s also a truth that we’re not going to see this all the time, our level of consciousness is always shifting allowing us to see more or less about what’s universally true for all of us.

There’s just something incredibly helpful in seeing what’s going on behind the scenes. Knowing that when I get a new solution, have an insight, receive fresh helpful thinking, see life clearly, feel pure well-being despite my circumstances, have a completely transformed relationship with someone or something, or feel an undercurrent of peace in the midst of physical pain, it isn’t a fluke result that I lucked into.

It isn’t a random occurence of something going my way, it’s simply the system operating how the system is designed to operate. Fresh thinking arises. Levels of consciousness shift the reality we perceive. Peace of mind is the default.

Our experience of life always comes from the inside out; that’s how it works even when it doesn’t look like that’s how it works. Even when we don’t see that’s how it works; even when we don’t believe that’s how it works.

Truth is a beautiful thing.

On Bouncing Back

Anyone who knows me knows that I love and honour sleep. Lately I have been sleeping on an incredibly comfy memory foam topper and it dawned on me how helpful the metaphor of memory foam is when attempting to describe the lasting effect of our day to day experiences.

We are innately resilient. All humans have a core of well-being that can’t go anywhere and can only be temporarily obsured by thought.

Thought comes through us, gets brought to life within us, results in an experience and then moves on to make way for the next experience. Our experiences don’t stick around any longer than the amount of time they’re on our minds.

They come, they go, they come, they go; constantly in movement.

It sometimes seems like experiences we’ve had in the past are still affecting us today, but past experiences can only ever be felt in the present moment.

Whether conscious or subconscious, whether we’re aware of it or not, any experience we’re having has a present moment thought behind it.

It is an unbreakable link; it only works one way.

How this relates to memory foam is that I can press any shape into the foam and for the duration that the shape is there, the memory foam holds that form. But the second I move my arm, adjust my neck or change sides, the shape that the memory foam was holding disappears.

A new shape, a new form, takes its place instead and there’s no lasting trace of the previous form.

I press my hand into it and it reflects the shape of my hand for as long as my hand is there. As soon as I take my hand off, it bounces back to default.

Our experience works the same way, for as long as we have sad thoughts we’ll have sad feelings. The instant those sad thoughts change, the sad experience disappears.

Unlike the memory foam which has about a one second delay, our human operating system works instantly.  We’re constantly being bounced back, so quickly in fact that we often don’t notice it.

We are all naturally wise, well and clear. And the minute a particular thought isn’t being pressed into the metaphorical foam of consciousness, we bounce back to default. 

Experience only lingers to the extent that we think, believe, and act as though it does. What happens in our past has no inherent power over us. The only thing that has inherent power over us is thought in the moment.

So any moment it seems like past experiences have power over us, we’re just feeling thought in the moment, brought to life by consciousness. The minute that thought leaves, the perceived power it has leaves as well.

We don’t have to do anything to make experience keep moving, it happens naturally. And as soon as that happens, the form leaves the foam and the foam is once again neutral with no lasting imprint, ready for the next shape to take form.

On Communication

Communication is often thought to be the be-all, end-all in relationships. So often I hear people say “well if only they were better at communicating” or “I need someone who really values communication”… but here’s the thing about communication: its only as good as the feeling it conveys.

Usually when people say they need someone who really values communication what they mean is that they need  someone to tell them positive, loving things frequently. Which is fine, and I suppose pretty normal to want, but when that isn’t happening, communication isn’t the culprit.

Truly, it all comes down to state of mind. When we don’t have much on our minds and we’re not lost in our thinking, we naturally feel good. Our default state as human beings is one of peace and connection.

From that state, we will have positive, loving interactions with people we come across. Our communications will be positive in an effortless way; they’ll come forth from a light heart and they’ll tend to be really responsive to the moment.

And when we’re not feeling that natural connection it’s just because we’re up in our heads. We’re experiencing busy minds spinning in lots of thought, and we’re going to feel that thinking as reality because that’s how our human experience works: we feel our thinking, not our life.

Communication itself is neutral. George Pransky describes communication as a neutral transport container, that it carries whatever feelings we have.

If we want more closeness in relationships, communication only serves us as far as it carries positive feelings. If our state of mind is off, our communication will be off.

When we communicate from that peaceful, quiet place within us, we draw the other person into the peaceful, quiet place within them and good feelings are felt by both parties.

If we’re feeling stressed, anxious or angry (aka our thinking) and we communicate with someone, there’s a good chance they’ll pick up on that feeling, regardless of the words we use or the content of the conversation.

When we’re back in a good mood, a positive feeling will be communicated to the other party in a way that deepens the feeling of connection we all share as humans. Before all our thinking about ego, identity and roles, we naturally connect with each other. Connection is the default setting.

So if we’re not feeling connected, that’s okay. It just means the default is getting covered up by our thinking. But because the nature of thought is fluid, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll feel connected again.

From that peaceful state of mind, our communications are effortless and compassionate.

And the whole communication issue kind of becomes a non-issue. As a carrier of a feeling we’re either feeling good and that feeling is being expressed through us naturally, or we’re not feeling good and we can take that as a sign to let our thinking settle before we communicate more than is necessary at that moment.

So simple, and yet so incredibly helpful to know to keep the feeling of closeness and connection in our relationships.

 

On Confusion

When we’re confused, there’s one thing surely going on: we’re not seeing clearly.

That’s it. It does not mean what we’re confused about is inherently confusing.

When we’re feeling confused or that life is really complicated, we simply aren’t seeing clearly in that moment.

We’re not seeing clearly because we’re up in our heads. We’re caught up in a lot of thinking that’s obscuring our natural clarity in the same way the sun gets covered up by a lot of clouds. 

When our attention is on our thoughts, what they mean, how they feel, what we think they’re trying to tell us, and what ones we need to listen to, our attention isn’t tuned into the space before thought.

That space is the space of pure peace, calm and clarity.

We’re either looking at what is already created or we’re looking to where those creations come from.

The beautiful space within where all thought ebbs and flows has a different feeling to it.

It feels open, expansive, alive, and peaceful; very different than when we’re buying into the illusion of thought as reality.

When we’re using the raw potential of thought to create images, form and content in our minds, it’s so easy to lose sight of what’s underneath it.

We don’t see common sense solutions. We don’t see obvious answers.

We don’t see how simple life is… until our thinking falls away and all we’re left with is simply life, unfiltered.

When we’re at home base we see clearly because clarity is our default. As humans we are naturally gifted with wisdom, common sense, creativity, peace, compassion and love. 

Yet we’re also gifted with the power of thought. We can rev up our thinking by getting into it: thinking longer, harder and more analytically until we’ve completely clouded over our innate wisdom.

Confusion is the opposite of clarity.

In that state of mind it feels like things can’t be easy, no simple solutions exist, our intellect is needed to solve problems, and we have to make tough decisions that require effort, sacrifice and difficulty.

But most importantly, confusion feels like something we need to take seriously.

It feels like there’s definitely a right and wrong decision, and if we make that wrong decision, we’re screwed. The stakes are high and everything is very serious.

This is how we know we’re not seeing life clearly. The stakes are never as high as they seem because our innate health and well-being can’t ever leave us.

It’s purely unconditional, ours for life (because it is the energy behind life) regardless of our circumstances, our habits or our choices.

We can’t choose anything that will cause us to lose our innate well-being. It can feel that way, but it’s just another thought-created illusion.

If we can allow our personal thinking to settle and listen for our wisdom, what to do next becomes clear.

Our wisdom is simply the intelligence behind life showing up within us as fresh, helpful thought.

The same intelligence that knows how to make carrots out of seeds and fuse broken bones together will provide us with helpful ideas.

The same intelligence that’s renewing our cells, digesting our food and beating our hearts works for us psychologically as well.

We can listen for the soft, gentle voice of wisdom and allow ourselves to be guided by it instead of our personal psychology. Choices made from a loving, free, peaceful space tend to unfold beautifully.

The best way to hear that soft bubbling stream of wisdom under the loud calamity of our thinking is to do nothing with our thinking. Just wait.

Have enough patience to allow the self-correcting nature of the mind to self-correct.

It’s designed to clear old thought to make room for fresh thought.

Once we allow this to happen, clarity will be felt, stale thinking will have dissipated and our wisdom will give us the answer we’ve been waiting for.

On True Happiness

Happiness can feel so fleeting. One minute we have it, the next minute we’ve lost it and we then try to figure out what we need to do or change to get it back. But this relies on a misunderstanding – that happiness is something we get from the outside world.

I’m sure you’ve already heard that happiness comes from within. But no matter how many times we hear it, it still feels elusive and still looks like it’s coming from external circumstances. Our cultural misunderstanding is reinforced hundreds of times each day because almost everyone believes we live in an outside-in paradigm of psychological experience.

Happiness, along with joy, gratitude, and love, come from within because every experience of life comes from within. The only thing we can ever experience is our thinking in the moment. Feelings of happiness are the shadow of thoughts of happiness. Feelings of sadness are the shadow of thoughts of sadness. Regardless of the form of the experience, it only ever works inside-out.

Moment to moment, thought is creating our experience and consciousness is making us aware of the creation. Moment to moment we feel what is on our minds, not what is in our lives. If we have anxious thoughts, we will feel anxious. If we have happy thoughts, we will feel happy. And when our thinking quiets down, we default into a beautiful feeling of peace and contentment.

Your anxious, sad, happy, or joyful thoughts are not caused by anything external; they’re not coming from ‘real life’. We have a collective social and cultural misunderstanding about what is the cause and what is the effect of our experience. That external happenings cause certain thinking in our minds is a myth we fall for everyday.

We’ve been taught our whole lives that some situations and circumstances are inherently unhappy ones. We can try to cope with them, numb from them, or change them but we certainly can’t experience a natural happiness while they’re occurring. Not death, not divorce, not debt.

We’ve been taught to believe our minds are like cameras, collecting snapshots of life the way it truly is with little, if any, subjectivity. The truth is that our minds function more like paintings, our thoughts are the paint creating an image on the canvas we call “reality”.

Rather than the cause being the situation and the effect being our thinking, we start to wake up to the fact that the cause is our thinking and the effect is that we experience that thinking as our reality. We are constantly creating our personal realities, we always have been and we always will be.

Fortunately as human beings peace of mind is our natural state. When we live in a clear mind and a light heart, good feelings are felt automatically. We will still always experience our thinking but when that thinking settles down, as it naturally does, we just feel at peace.

We feel at peace without having to do anything or rearrange the outside world in any way, and that, to me, is true happiness.

 

On Understanding Turbulence

Recently on a flight I saw an interesting example of our thinking and level of understanding creating our personal reality. The plane had just flown into some turbulence and as I was enjoying the rocking and swooping motions, I overheard passengers complaining and opened my eyes to see a lady across the aisle gripping her seat in terror, her body rigid.

It just hit me. Oh. She’s experiencing fearful thinking and doesn’t understand how safe she really is.

When I was young my parents took my brother and I on a trip to Disneyland. On the flight back we experienced heavy turbulence and I didn’t know what was going on. My dad explained that when planes fly through different weather conditions it causes the ride to be bumpy. It’s not dangerous, even if it feels like it might be. The plane is designed to handle it; it’s a normal part of flying.

It just clicked in my mind, in that moment, that since turbulence is weather that’s not dangerous to the plane, there’s nothing for me to be afraid of. I didn’t have to do anything to not be afraid, I simply wasn’t fearful because I knew the truth of what was happening.

During this tubulence the scared passenger and I were living through the same outer circumstances. My side of the plane was no less bouncy than hers.

If our circumstances were the cause of our experience then we would both be having the same terrified experience. Logically speaking the heavier the turbulence, the higher our level of fear.

This is the outside-in model we all grew up with: something out there in the world can make me feel something inside my mind and body. It’s simply not true.

Our consciousness brings our thoughts to life as reality. Because we had different thoughts and a different level of understanding, we inevitably experienced different realities. I was completely calm and enjoying the turbulence while she was terrified and hated it.

Despite what we’re led to believe, we can only ever experience our thinking. Our thoughts about turbulence, not the turbulence itself, is the cause of our experience.

If she understood (not just understood intellectually but really got it the way one gets a joke) that she is completely safe even though the ride feels bumpy, she wouldn’t be able to take her fearful thoughts seriously and her experience would change in an instant.

She would effortlessly bounce back to her natural state of calm. She would be free to feel all the ups and downs while secure in a deeper understanding that the turbulence is not the cause of her fear. Her fear comes from her thinking about the turbulence; nothing more, nothing less.

And if you haven’t already guessed, plane turbulence is just a helpful metaphor. It works the same way with our emotional ‘turbulence’. Once we really get that our default nature is peace of mind, health and wisdom, life looks different to us. We see how safe we really are, even when the ride feels bumpy.

We don’t worry when we’re in a low mood because we know it’s temporary. We have an awareness that we’re simply caught up in our thinking and that thinking is always changing. We get that our moods are simply internal weather. We understand that there’s nothing to do but wait it out.

The same way planes are designed to handle weather turbulence, we’re designed to handle emotional turbulence. Our moods rise and fall yet we’re fundamentally rooted in our innate health, it can get covered up but it can’t go anywhere. As soon as we see through our thoughts to the space in which they arise, we’re right back to enjoying the ride, however bumpy it may be.

On Brewing Insecurity

Feeling insecure is nothing more than experiencing insecure thoughts. Insecure thoughts tend to make us feel anxiety, fear, discomfort, or unease.

Understanding how our experience of life works means waking up to the fact that we are always feeling our thinking. Our thoughts create our feelings, always and only.

Insecure thoughts, like all thoughts, feel really real. They feel like they are informing us of the outside world; that they’re the effect of whatever circumstance is causing our insecurity.

The gift of consciousness brings our thinking to life for us in a way that makes it appear as if it is ‘out there’, when truly the process is operating entirely within us. Consciousness is the metaphorical hot water that brews tea. If our thoughts are the dried tea leaves, consciousness is the expanse of water that takes on the taste, colour and smell of a cup of tea.

This is the nature of consciousness, it does it regardless of what leaves you throw in. The same way hot water added to chamomile, peppermint, oolong, and rooibos produce teas that look, taste and smell different, consciousness brings our thoughts to life, producing a variety of experiences that look, sound and feel different. In both cases the process is the same, all that changes is the resulting experience.

Insecure, anxious, excited, angry, or joyous feeling states depend solely on what thoughts we’re thinking at any given moment. Every feeling we’ve ever had has been brought to us through this gift of awareness.

We feel thoughts as though they are true, and so naturally we fall for the illusion that they are true in some objective sense. Our thoughts are not reflections of our outside world, they simply look that way.

Thoughts are temporary energy that appears in our psychological system, gets brought to life within us through consciousness, and disappears into whence it came. Which is probably the coolest thing ever, and yet the hardest to wrap your head around because it’s so profoundly different than what we’ve been taught. We’ve been taught to trust the illusion.

So when we have insecure thinking we can become aware that that isn’t an accurate reflection of reality. We don’t need to pay attention to those thoughts to factor their “information” into our decisions about life.

They are simply creations of our thinking: things we have imagined, what ifs we have stressed about, hypotheticals we have worried about… and they’re all made up! All of them. That’s just how thought works.

Because they look like actual things we need to stress about, what ifs we’d be stupid not to prepare for and hypotheticals that deserve our time and consideration, we suffer.

We’re not suffering because of the thoughts, we’re suffering because of our relationship to the thoughts. We’re suffering because we’re taking the thoughts seriously, believing them to be true, and misunderstanding where they come from. It’s all so innocent, but this misunderstanding is the cause of our suffering.

Luckily, insecurity is not something you need to “work on”. You don’t have to spend hours talking about your insecure thoughts, getting caught up in the details. Therapy is not the answer. Wrestling with your mind is not the answer.

Taking seriously what has already been created isn’t going to help you wake up to the fact that we’re constantly creating. The water is always boiling. The tea is constantly being brewed.

You don’t have to do anything with your thoughts. Really. Understanding where your experience is coming from takes care of that for you.

The system is never stagnant. Whenever we step back from obsessing over our specific thoughts and allow space in our minds, new thought arises. That new thought is infinite creative potential, it could make any kind of tea you could imagine, just in case you were getting sick of drinking your insecuritea.

A fresh experience, a new taste of life, is just a thought away.