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 Labelling Experience

We humans love to label and diagnose things. I think it’s because we feel a sense of relief, normalcy, predictability, and safety in having a nice neat little box in which to file our experiences under.

The depression box, the anger box, the anxiety box, the insecurity box, the obsessive compulsive box, the addiction box, the stress box, there’s no end to how many we can come up with.

Then once we have an experience of anything we don’t like, we just put it in the box accordingly and chalk it up to  “it’s just how I am” or  “given that I have depression, of course I’m going to feel depressed”

What it doesn’t take into account is that this is an illusion. The illusion is that there’s something we have or something we are that determines what experiences we’ll have.

And that’s simply not true.

Labels and diagnoses are after-the-fact. They are not causal, nor could they be. Depression is not the cause of depressed thinking. Anxiety is not the cause of anxious thinking. An anger problem is not the cause of angry thinking.

The one and only cause of these experiences are thought in the moment, that’s it.

A depressing thought comes into our mind, gets brought to life in our sensory system by consciousness (which make it look and feel as though it’s reality) and then we have the ensuing experience until it passes.

If we don’t know that’s what’s happening, and especially if we think our experience is caused by something outside of us, we’ll tend to take that thinking really seriously.

And because we take it really seriously, we shower that kind of thinking with attention, energy,  judgment and resistance.

So the next time a depressing thought happens to come into our heads it gets our attention in a bigger way than it did before, which makes it feel even more real, which makes us take it more seriously.

And then when we have a habit of taking depressed thinking seriously we noticed that we’re in a depressed feeling a lot of the time!

Which of course leads us (and other well-meaning medical professionals) to conclude that we have depression as a condition, an illness, a solid thing… as if depression is anything other than depressed thinking taken seriously over time.

It really is that simple. I know it sounds like it’s too simple to be true but what’s truly at the heart of all labels and diagnoses is that certain types of thinking are taken seriously and believed to be reality in an attention, meaning, misunderstanding spiral until it becomes a mental habit.

And yes, of course brain chemistry changes. But our biochemistry changes as a result of thought, it’s a domino that falls when our thinking knocks it over.

Biochemistry is not the cause of thought changing, thought is the cause of biochemistry changing.

What freed me from years of suffering from anxiety was when I insightfully saw that my anxious thinking was just normal thought that I was taking seriously and making meaning of because I mistakenly thought the outside world of circumstances was the cause of how I was feeling.

Once I got clued into the inside-out nature of life I realized that I was in hours of anxious thinking each day because I was taking that thinking to be true, misunderstanding its source and becoming extremely hypervigilant about it.

It stemmed from a misunderstanding, but after so much energy, attention and resistance was placed on my anxious thinking, it showed up more and more.

And then the icing on the cake was adding the label ” I have anxiety” or “I’m an anxious person” which keeps us more locked in to the same experience, seeing more of what we expect to see, and completely discounting all the times that our experience is contrary to the label.

The irony is that the label and diagnosis that was supposed to make us feel better in the first place ends up causing way more suffering, habitual thought and downward spiralling than if we had just let our experience be whatever it happens to be in the moment, nothing more, nothing less.

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 Burnt Cookies

What makes a conversation about the nature of human experience so different than talking about the details of the human experience is that it looks to the root, the origin, the very foundation of what makes something so.

Almost all, if not all, of psychology, self-help and popular advice is focused on the content of our thinking. By contrast, learning about the principles underlying our psychological experience directs us to the moment of creation instead of the details of what is already created. 

A metaphor that I absolutely love for this is that of baking cookies. Imagine we were baking cookies and a batch didn’t turn out well. It could be for any number of reasons. Maybe they got burnt, or we accidentally used the wrong ingredients, or they taste too salty or not sweet enough; the why is not important.

If we don’t realize that we have an infinite supply of cookie dough, we’re quite naturally going to do our best to remedy the failed batch. Maybe this means covering them with icing, dipping them in milk or scraping off the burnt parts.

But once we see that we have unlimited cookie dough, and constant access to an oven, we’re free to just toss the bad batch in the trash and bake some fresh ones.

Once something is already formed, whether it’s baked cookies or thoughts, it’s really difficult to try to reform them.

It’s so much easier to allow new form to be created than to exhaust ourselves working on what has already formed. 

We do the mental equivalent of trying to scrape the burnt bits off our cookies when we try to think positive, talk ourselves out of how we’re feeling or otherwise ‘fix’ our experience.

Once thought is being brought to life by consciousness and creating our reality, it doesn’t serve us to dig around in our thinking to try to control our experience. It doesn’t help us to muck around with what has already been created and is naturally on its way out.

Once we see for ourselves how temporary that experience is, we can look towards the next batch of thinking, the fresh cookies that are going to look, smell and taste much different. 

We’re not stuck with the one batch that didn’t turn out well, thought is always being created within us, making up our reality as we go along. There’s a constant flow, like a never-ending river.

It’s so reassuring, for me at least, to know that we don’t know what we’re going to be thinking even an hour from now, let alone a week from now.

Most, if not all, of psychology and self-help are in one way or another picking up the burnt cookies and asking questions like:

“What’s wrong with this person that would make these cookies wonky?”

“What happened in their past?”

“What personality traits should they develop to prevent this from happening?” and so on.

The inside-out understanding doesn’t concern itself with what form the cookies happen to take in any given moment, because that’s just the form energy took in that given moment. It doesn’t mean anything about the person, their current life situation or their future. 

The self-correcting the mind is always working to clear away old thought and bring us new thought. Fresh cookies are always on the way. We’re never stuck eating the batch that didn’t taste good or wasn’t good for us.

So next time we’re tempted to figure out our issue, solve our problem, fix our anxiety, manage our depression or otherwise change our thinking about certain things, we can take comfort in the fact that the next batch is already in the oven and there’s infinite more batches right behind that one.

On Self-Correcting Minds

Did you know human beings are designed to evolve, to improve, to heal? I didn’t always know.

In fact, when I first heard that the mind is self-correcting I didn’t believe it.

I totally believed that if the mind is to be corrected, it was up to me to actively correct it. It felt irresponsible not to! When I was feeling anxious I thought I was responsible for fixing that feeling, so I would try techniques or tools that I was told would make me feel better.

I didn’t know I didn’t need techniques. I didn’t know I didn’t need to fix, change, resist or ‘work on’ my anxiety.

And I especially had no clue that all of that work and effort were actually counter-productive to having a different, better experience of life.

The mind is designed to self-correct. Naturally, when we cease interference, healing happens. The same way our body heals cuts, scrapes and bruises, our minds heal stress, anxiety and depression.

The same intelligence powering our physical healing powers our psychological healing as well.

So if this is true, why do we so rarely experience it?

We never leave our thinking alone long enough to let the natural processes work. We’re so conditioned by the belief that our mental distress is serious, problematic, personal, and caused by something external to us that we do the mental equivalent of poking and prodding our cuts and wondering why they’re not healing.

It’s a vicious cycle, because we believe we have to do something to feel better, we keep looking outside ourselves for what we think will make us feel better. When they don’t work at all, or only work a little, or only work for a short time, we feel the same, if not worse, and we feel hopeless.

And then when we feel hopeless we take that as evidence that our anxiety, stress or mental distress really is bad, really is serious, and really does need to be fixed. So once again we look outside ourselves for some way to feel better and the cycle repeats itself, never allowing us the time and space to see what happens when we stop interfering.

We never leave our minds alone long enough to see the natural healing occur.

When I was invited to try leaving my experience alone, even when it was scary, even when it looked like I should be doing a lot more than “nothing”, I discovered that what I had heard is true: the mind has a propensity to self-correct, to heal, to improve, and it was the most natural thing ever.

Within months the anxiety I had struggled with for as long as I could remember fell away. My obsessive-compulsive tendencies stopped being compelling. Negative memories from the past lost their gripping emotional charge.

And the best part was I didn’t have to “work on” my experience. It changed on its own, as human experience always does, because that’s its nature.

If I didn’t understand that my interference was doing more harm than good, I would still be trying to work on thoughts and feelings I didn’t like.

But when you really get that the way to let unpleasant experiences pass by is just to leave them alone and let them pass by, you tend to let that happen a lot more.

Of course as all humans do, I still sometimes get caught up in my thinking and innocently obstruct the natural flow. But give it enough time and I either wake up to the fact that working on my thinking is counter-productive or I just notice after the fact that the unplesant experience has passed and I feel like myself again: calm, peaceful and full of love and wonder.

If you don’t know the mind self-corrects, it’s not likely you’re going to allow it the time and space to self-correct. It does, and it will, and it’s so much more simple, effective and freeing than having to effort our way to change.

Change is always occuring, all we have to do is see that so we can allow it to occur more easily and naturally.

On Misunderstanding Worry

Worrying is our imagination running wild making up all kinds of possible future scenarios. These scenarios then require solutions, so we make up “solutions” to all our what ifs. We make up what could go wrong, we make up how we’ll react in the moment, and we make up what needs to be done, avoided, changed, prepared for, on and on until we’re exhausted.

We believe we’re feeling bad because of the thing we’re worrying about. We believe that thing causes us to be worried, so naturally we engage in some worrying, and eventually we feel better.

Because we eventually feel better, we tend to conclude there’s some usefulness in worrying and overthinking. 

It seems logical: something happens to us that causes our anxiety, we feel anxious about it, we use our brains to cope with it, and at some point we feel good enough to carry on with life.

Without really giving it much thought we make two mistakes: we reckon something outside of us can cause us to feel a certain way and we reckon that worrying about it can help us to feel better.

This is simply not true. Our brains have innocently made a connection between what happened before we felt better and our feeling better. We’ve been played. We’ve fallen for a trick of the mind.

We feel more settled because mental health is our default. It’s our home base. Our natural disposition.

Thoughtstorms, like real storms, pass on their own because they’re part of a larger natural order.

Our minds clear hundreds, if not thousands, of times each day. Yet we rarely notice it because we’ve never been taught that’s how it works. When we don’t know how something works, we tend not to look towards its natural workings and see what’s always there.

We live in a world of thought. Thought is so prevalent in our life that we don’t really notice it come and we don’t really notice it leave. Though it’s easy to miss there is always a natural movement – that’s just the nature of thought.

Yes, we felt better after worrying… but that good feeling was going to be felt anyway. Your mind was going to clear anyway. Your thinking was going to settle anyway. Your peace of mind was going to be felt anyway. 

That’s the default. It’s how the system works.

You are feeling better now, not because you successfully accomplished something with worry, but in spite of it.

Humans naturally experience internal weather: ups, downs, sunny, cloudy and snowstorm kind of days. It’s not tied to our external circumstances, as much as we’re tricked into believing it is.

It’s just faulty logic to think our worry paves the way for our secure, peaceful feelings. Our worry can cover up our peace of mind, but it can’t create it as a by-product. 

Our habitual worrying is based on a misunderstanding of usefulness. It’s not.

Our minds are designed to clear. We naturally bounce back from stressful, anxious or worried thinking. And that whole naturally healthy system functions a lot better the less we mess with it.

 

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.