I coach from the understanding that the reality we live in is a projection. That our entire experience of self, life, other and world is created in thought.
This means there is nothing ‘out there’ there to deal with. There is just a creation from a state of mind. It is thought that creates our fears, insecurities, worries, anxieties and…
Hold on. Can you hear that sound?
It sounds like burglars, con-merchants, terrorists, business competitors, opposing teams, national enemies rubbing their hands together in glee. It sounds like they are laughing.
Here we are philosophising that there is no such thing as ‘reality’, that all we are is love, that we are all fragments of one being. Meanwhile, the actual real world could be getting on with taking our money, winning the match, stealing our clients, wallet or partner, jacking our cars, bombing our cities. Gloating at what a dopey, easy, tra la la, fingers in ears target we are.
Are we doing people a giant disservice in introducing them to this understanding? Are we turning people into doormats that let a real world walk all over them?
Because, let’s face it, many of us, me included, have spent our lives up until now protecting and defending ourselves, battling it out in meeting rooms to be the one that looks good, steering away from the cheats, guarding against people that range from cheeky f****r to downright evil.
And it’s not just us we have to protect. There are people out there who can hurt, disrespect and damage the people we love. If we don’t have to be watchful for our own sake, then we certainly have to for others who are more vulnerable.
Doormat? No way.
So how does this work with this whole projection, created reality idea?
Is it possible that part of our experience is created in thought and that there is another part – perhaps the stuff on the news or business results or crime or politics – that has nothing to do with thought? Stuff that is objectively, universally bad, that must be avoided?
Does it work differently with different people? For example my experience of my children is clearly a projection of my state of mind but my boss, Donald Trump and the latest shooter are not. They are categorically bullying / crazy / dangerous.
Let’s have a think… ummm…. No.
It cannot be. One hundred percent of our experience is perception in the moment. All stimuli, light and sound waves, pulses, pressures coming into awareness via sense organs and a mind that interprets, ignores, analyses, assesses, fills in the gaps, associates, imagines, fabricates and creates an experience.
So how does this help us in a world in which people steal, cheat, hurt and lie? How can we live as love and awareness when other people do not? Should we only step outside when we’ve made sure that the entire world has the same understanding and is therefore as honest, spiritual and pure as us…?
Well that makes zero sense.
It is mixing up two worlds that do not exist together. It is straddling the real and the unreal (we’ll look at which is which in a moment) and trying to pull them together. Like trying to stand with one foot on a solid platform and the other on the back of wild horse.
To use the analogy of my brilliant coach Garret Kramer it is as ridiculous as watching a film and seeing the lead character, pull off their costume and say ‘Cut! I need a break’ then coming back into the film ten minutes later.
As long as it looks as though there is a me or a mine that is separate from what I see out there, talk of love and spirituality is just another way to point to separateness
‘I am more spiritual than most other people I know.’
‘He can’t help being so evil. He’s just caught up in his thinking.’
‘If only she would realise that we are all one being, she would be so much nicer.’
‘Their unkindness stops me from realising my true nature is love.’
None of this makes sense. Two worlds that can never combine.
There is a world in which there is a me and there are other people, events and circumstances to choose or to defend against. There are possessions to acquire, a body to keep fed and safe, a family to keep intact, a house to protect. There is good and bad, kindness and evil, help and hindrance, desirable and undesirable.
This is the world that, whenever we think about it, is automatically, obviously real. This is the world with serial killers and missing children in the headlines, victims and villains on netflix, bullies in the playground and the office. This is the world of our own very real experiences of being stolen from, insulted, ignored, wounded or abused. This is the world of people we love who we want to protect and stand up for.
This is the world where we believe it is our fears that keep us safe, stress that keeps us motivated, desire to beat the opposing team that keeps us winning, the guarding of our possessions that keep them in place, the concerns about our children that mean we are good parents, the surveillance of our partner that keeps them with us.
There is something about this ‘real’ world that isn’t quite convincing. We get the sense that it isn’t quite as it seems. That it seems to shift and change. That is moves from one extreme to another. That sometimes we do just fine without the fears, stress, guarding, concerns and surveillance.
So how about that other world?
Well before we go there, let’s just have a chat about how we get there.
Because we can’t get there from the world of the me and the mine. There is no doorway there. No matter how hard I work on myself, no matter how much I acquire or give away, no matter how much I sacrifice myself for others. As long as there is a me and a not me, there is no access.
So if we can’t get there through the ‘real’ world, then how do we get there?
We get there in those moments when there is no self and there is no other. And we have these all the time. We have them while we are walking down the street or doing the dishes or writing a blog or laughing with a friend or playing ball with a child or filing our papers or speaking in a meeting . These are simply moments of no self consciousness, no separation, no judgement, no desire for anything different.
Unremarkable, mundane, every day and yet miraculous. They are the moments when we come closest to the truth of who we are – simply being, simply doing what is obvious to do, simply being alive.
This is the real world. With no inverted commas around the real. It is the world in which the stories fall away, the meanings dissolve, the assumptions fade. The world of being and doing because there is no possibility of not being and not doing.
Two colleagues that I most love listening to are Grayson Hart and Adam Ashe, both professional rugby players. It is fascinating to hear them describe the flow of play knowing, even in top international finals, that nothing depends on the score.
And the fascinating, extraordinary thing is that we know this is real.
Deep down we know that winning and losing are the same, that neither says anything about who we are, our value or our worth. With this clarity, then if we are playing, we are playing full out. Nothing we can do to stop it.
Deep down we know that loving someone, genuinely loving them, means wanting what is right for them whether that is with us or not. And that it is only in that knowledge that we can ever truly be with them. Nothing else makes sense. We know that clinging, manipulation, desperation and need for possession have zero to do with love and everything to do with a made up idea. Love is real. The freedom that love brings is real. Nothing else comes close.
Deep down we know that money, clients, business results are unconnected to our security and well-being. We know that any idea of money being gained or lost, stolen or earned, of clients coming or going, of results going up and down is only ever a story we tell ourselves. There is nothing to seize or secure or pin down. And with this knowledge we have fun in the made up game of saving, spending, investing. We love and serve our clients knowing we are them and they are us.
Deep down, we know that terrorists and bombers, a boss, a President, a shooter are only ever creations in thought. That in the moments when we don’t see this we live in danger, insecurity, fear. And when we do see it, we meet those thoughts with love. In love with our experience, whatever it is, we see there is nothing to change. Knowing there is nothing to change, we move into politics and international relations, we work in prisons, we teach in schools, we open a youth centre, we write, give talks, are present with our own children, we are active, engaged. It is our stories of fear and danger and evil that hold us back, that make it impossible for people to hear us. Without the stories, we are out in the world, clear-minded, loving, open. Being and doing what makes the most simple obvious sense.
This is where the doorway can be found. The door to peace, clarity, love and excellence is open wide. And of course there is a mat in front of it. A doormat with words written large and clear: ‘Welcome Home ’.