So you’ve had that life-changing realisation (or a series of mini-realisations) of…
“Woah! I’m NOT my thinking, I’m just the awareness of my thoughts! Nothing ‘out there’ can make me feel anything!”
…and now you’re now wafting about, loving the planet and everyone on it? Your spouse’s discarded socks and tissues are no longer having a fingers-down-the-blackboard effect on you, those old issues with your boss seem laughable now you see that the stress was all made up by your own thinking, and your children’s dinner-time foibles are actually quite charming instead of chimp-tea-party challenging.
By my reckoning, that gives you a week, at most, before you start panicking that those lovely feelings, all that compassion, calm and happiness, are going vanish as fast as they came.
So will it ‘wear off’?
Mmmm… yes and no. No, it can’t go anywhere because it’s a fundamental and inconvertible truth about how your mind works but yes, your thought in the moment can make it seem like it you’ve just gone and misplaced the best thing you ever had.
Sometimes, you’ll forget your thinking is just an illusion – how very human of you – and when you do, your feelings will look like they’re coming from the outside world. You had a lifetime of thinking that things happen that way around so it’s not surprising that sometimes you’ll flump back into that comfy old Chesterfield Armchair of Thought with the perfect view of a widescreen television that’s hitting you with the drama of guilt, blame and fear in glorious and convincing Technicolour.
How do I stop that happening then, Dagnammit!?
You can’t but you don’t need to – a two-sided sword of frustration and a relief if ever there was one.
Sometimes you’ll take that ol’ armchair seriously and you’ll be glued to that TV, feeling every emotion as coming entirely from the drama on the imaginary screen, maybe you’ll do that for hours or even days at a time but there will be a moment that you’ll see it all for the illusion that it is and you’ll hear yourself saying ‘Nothing real to see here, move along.’ and the armchair will vanish in the haze.
So, how will I remember it’s an illusion?
You can remember by remembering your true self – the perfect, still awareness behind every thought.
Sometimes, you might find that just reflecting on the infinitely powerful source of thought is enough for you to remember that there’s a whole lot more to life than an itty bitty, fleeting thought in each moment.
Sometimes you might go for a walk and soak up the miracle of nature – and realise that it’s the same awesomeness that’s creating our experience of life (that one blows my tiny mind over and over.)
Sometimes you might immerse yourself in the wise words of Syd Banks or another teacher, your coach or a friend who will remind you of the truth.
And sometimes… Boom! Your incredible, innate wisdom will just trump illusory thoughts.
So Thought is the enemy, right?
Nope, we are designed to be in and out of seeing through the illusion of our thoughts – without it, we wouldn’t be capable of having that gloriously messy, sexy, fabulous, confusing, icky and meaningful experience of life that is being human.
Thought is the friend that will be with you your whole life so enjoy it, feel it, experiment with it, play with it, create with it, see through it and laugh at it. When you do that then you might not feel blissfully compassionate, calm and happy all of the time but life will just feel more comfortable (and that’s waaaay more comfortable than the cosiest of armchairs.)