Life is working on us...
It seems that life is designed to bring us to our deepest truth. To take us to who we are. Every situation, every relationship, every problem, and every challenge takes us deeper. Deeper into ourselves and deeper into our truth. Surrender to that truth....
Most of us believe the truth is that we are these bodies and our mind. We truly believe that this is what we are. That these bodies and this life we are living, the things that happen are who and what we are. That life is only about doing the things we do; like working, shopping, watching TV, reading, driving, relating... And the things we think. That those thoughts in our minds are the truth of who we are.
It is so far from the truth but it takes a true seeker to find that truth. It is a truth that can be read about but that does not drive it home, it is a truth that can be thought about but that does not do it either. A desire to know the absolute truth and a dedication to a practice to find that truth is the only way to access it. Many have spend decades of their lives completely dedicated to seeking their true nature. We cannot think or talk our way to it. We cannot read or study our way to it. Our true nature is waiting for us...
A few of us have had a spontaneous glimpse of our true nature but this seems to be a rare occurrence not many have had. Our true nature must be experienced directly and when it is we are set free.
Our True Nature
I am trying to be clear about this.
There is a "you." The authentic one, the absolute real you. It is not your body and how you look. It is not where you are from or what you have done. It is not your mind or the thoughts you think. All of those things are there and part of your identity but that identity is not you either. THERE IS A REAL YOU... And once you have contacted that authentic you everything changes.
By changes, I mean that when you stop and remember that authentic one you realize that all your worries, stress, thoughts and life situations are not as important. They do not have to stifle you or hold you back from growth and self-mastery.
Not only is there an authentic you but there is an authentic you (them) in all others too.
Once you discover your true nature there is more to discover about others Who are they? Take time today to really look at another and get that they are totally as much a you as you are. There is actually somebody there. Often we go through life not really noticing the realness of others. We do not see them, or have real contact with them. They are just there and often they are just in our way. That may not seem true of our significant others or family members but it is certainly true of that person who cuts us off in traffic or who takes the entire aisle of the supermarket with their cart. Rather than see them as an obstacle in life. Contact the authentic one. The authentic one who is as real and substantial as the authentic you.
Often we are so focused on what is going on in our heads and our life. All those details. We forget that everyone else is experiencing life in much the same way we are. Their circumstances are different, their influences, their background but realize that there is a sameness with every one of them; something in them is like you.
The Nature of Suffering
“In this sense, pain is like a watering hole where all the animals in the forest – all the mind’s subconscious tendencies - will eventually come to drink. Just as a naturalist who wants to make a survey of the wildlife in a particular area can simply station himself near a watering hole, in the same way, a mediator who wants to understand the mind can simply keep watch right at pain in order to see what subconscious reactions will appear. Thus the act of trying to comprehend pain leads not only to an improved understanding of pain itself, but also to an increased awareness of the most basic processes at work in the mind.” Thanisaro Bikkhu
In the book The Power of Now, Ekart Tolle describes how the mind spends a lot of time either in the past, retraumatizing us with thoughts of what has gone wrong in our lives, or in the future, thinking about what might go wrong in our lives. This is suffering. In Buddhist thought this is about attachment. Attachment to what has gone before (our thoughts identify us with these events and memories) and what might happen. We become stuck in a loop of pain in our lives. One school of thought is that a person’s experience of reality is a projection of his own mind. Therefore, if one is unhappy or even if one is physically sick it is because the person’s mind is generating that unhappiness or that sickness.
It is generally understood that there is something for one to learn from that projection of unhappiness or sickness into the field of material reality. And the task is to enter into the process of listening to the unhappiness or sickness to understand what it is showing the individual about the state of his mind. By firmly placing responsibility for the nature of our reality in the hands of the individual, we understand we are not a victim of the Universe. We are not powerless to the circumstances of life. If we have the power to create a negative reality through addiction or through our thoughts or a recurring physical problem, we have the power to create a positive reality. It is simply a matter of understanding how one is generating one’s own suffering. Through coming into an understanding of how we generate our own suffering, we become able to grapple with the causes of our symptoms or life problems.
One of the most important insights leading up to the Buddha’s Awakening was his realization that the act of comprehending pain lay at the essence of the spiritual quest. By taking responsibility for our pain, we can stay focused on what pain is telling us about our experience. Staying close to the pain and following its evolution through the different levels of being provides a very important grounding mechanism as we seek to understand ourselves.