An enormous liberation occurs the moment it is realised that reality is not an objective truth. That it changes in appearance, meaning, association, import with the perceiver.
This is huge.
Because up until that point it was believed that the world was exactly how it appeared. There was no space. Life was just a continual attempt to control, manage or deal with an objectively fixed reality. Until one day, a teacher speaks in such a way that their words create a crack in the concrete and, through that crack, infinite possibility is revealed. The world is not fixed and separate. It is changeable. It is created. And the creator is perception.
The creator is perception… but who owns and controls that perception…?
The obvious answer is ‘Well… me. I do.’
‘They are my thoughts. I’m the one seeing this reality. So it is me. My thoughts create this reality.’
And instantly that glimmer of the absolute, the portal to peace is slammed shut.
Because now, not only am I living in a reality in which I am not thriving, in which I am stressed, lonely, rejected, destitute, unemployable, failing, ill or whatever is going on in my life… I am somehow creating this through my thoughts. All the stress is my life is because of me thinking the wrong thoughts.
And the teacher is telling me that I am ‘the thinker’ and I just need to change my thinking and all of it will be gone.
And I’m trying to. I’m trying so hard to. But how do I do that? I don’t seem to have any control over when a thought comes in and how believable it is, of how long it stays. I look at the rent bill or my children having problems or my health issues and I try to magic it away by thinking different things but they are still there. I can’t change my thoughts. And therefore I can’t change my reality.
And so there I am. Not just stressed with everything going on in my life but now locked into the overwhelming self-blame that I am somehow actively creating it all.
This agony of hopelessness (and self-flagellation for the hopelessness) seems to be a platform that is perhaps not the best one at which to alight from this train of exploration.
So let’s keep going…
We’ve had the realisation that reality is not an objective truth and that it changes, is created even, according to perception.
And previously we had stopped at the belief that it is MY perception. An unquestioned, unexplored ‘my’. And that’s where all the futile attempt to control and change came in.
Alternatively, we could continue this enquiry into reality and ask what that ‘I, me, my’ actually is?
What is it?
It appears to be the deciding force, the controller of everything, the active entity that is keeping everything working and safe.
But is it really? Already it is clear that the ‘me’ is not in charge of thoughts, or beliefs.
When this body learned to talk or walk was there really a ‘me’ dictating how that would happen? Or was talking and walking just being learned?
As this blog post is being read, what is doing the reading? Is there really a ‘you’ controlling the transformation of words from screen to understanding? Or is that just happening…?
There is no controller. There are actions happening because they have been learned by the system.
There is no me deciding what will be believed. Beliefs are created.
The only place this leads to is that the self is not controlling the thoughts… it is a thought. The self does not decide what is believed… it is a belief.
The mind, brain, body system is not being controlled by the self. The self idea is a product of the mind, brain, body system.
So no wonder the idea that the self should control the thoughts creates more suffering. It is one mental creation fighting another, with no solution. Just more thoughts.
What are the implications of this for the experience of stress?
We could dismiss it with a, ‘Well it’s just your thinking. Change your thinking.’ but not only would that be a denial of the very real experience of that individual. (Would we really say that to an inmate of Auschwitz?), it would trample over the information that the stress is providing.
Just as pain is a prompt for the physical body to move or to be attended to. Stress is a sign that the system is not thriving, that something is out of alignment.
Stress is an invitation for the whole system to be freed up to flourish. Starting perhaps with the falling away of a controlling, identified self. As the mental exhaustion of thought fighting thought settles, the infinite intelligence of the system is revealed. It is an intelligence that needs no controller or decider, even if one were possible.
Life in form finds its way to thrive, perfectly, seamlessly, effortlessly.