Over the weekend, I meet a friend at Starbucks and we were discussing our businesses. She asked me if I had to summarize my core message in one line what that would be. I answered; “The mind is a liar.”
I can think of numerous events where I believed my mind was telling me the truth. When I was staring at a bottle of sleeping pills, and writing the suicide note. My mind convinced me that I “wasn’t worthy of life.” How can that be? My wife loved me; why wasn’t I able to see this?
Another time, I was laying in the hospital bed at age 37 unable to walk. After a few weeks, a doctor walked into my hospital room, and nonchalantly told me that I had multiple sclerosis. As quickly as he delivered that news, he walked back out of the room. No big deal to him – he wasn’t the one laying there suffering! After that news, I remember laying their crying. I could feel myself slip into a deep depression. My mind convinced me that “life was over.” I simply gave up hope that I would lead a normal life. Once again, why I was convinced that the opinion of the mind was the truth?
Our thoughts become the dangling carrot that we’re always chasing for happiness. We have to catch the carrot to be happy and content.
On the rare occasion we reach the carrot, and then we find that the carrot isn’t satisfying. Then a new, juicer carrot appears, and we begin to chase this one down. Then we do reach this carrot and we find the same result of the previous carrot. We are stuck in a loop, and we become obsessed with our thoughts and life isn’t satisfying.
I stopped chasing carrots by doing less. Doing less for me was finding my meditation and mindfulness practice. My initial practice was five minutes. For five minutes a day I did less chasing of thoughts, and this little activity started to quiet the mind.
I had beliefs about everything: doctors, medicine, food, relationships, religion, death, etc. I can reflect back and see that beliefs that I took as the truth, were only true from my limited perspective. But I took them as the truth for everyone.
These beliefs created a lot of conflicts when others that did not align with my viewpoint. I also had numerous beliefs about my health, and believed doctors would fix me. Sticking to these beliefs kept me sick, since I wasn’t fully in touch with my body.
So, are beliefs harmful? A belief is a just a story from the mind that was created from an out of control thought machine. The mind creates over 50,000 thoughts a day, and only a small percentage of thoughts are useful to solve issues. Most thoughts are stuck reflecting on the past, guessing the future, or creating limitations through the various beliefs.
Beliefs create blind spots from knowing what is really true. I would urge you to examine all your beliefs, and drop the ones that do not serve your best interest to stay relaxed and healthy. If you have a firm opinion about something, this is good sign that is fixed to a belief. Is that opinion the absolute truth?
Through my simple meditation practice, I was able to get separation from the thoughts, and I freed myself from the beliefs.
Sitting around being sad and depressed was my normal way of life. Sometimes this would result in hospitalization to insure that I would not harm myself. I often had strong emotions of not being enough or worthy — I had a lot of self-esteem issues. I had a habit of taking all my thoughts as the absolute truth.
My emotions were felt thoughts. For example, someone that is afraid of heights can image themselves on a high building looking down — their heart rate will increase and their palms will get sweaty. The brain is easily fooled into believing thoughts are the truth, or the current reality.
After the science and nonduality conference this past weekend in San Jose, John took me out to dinner at a local pizza restaurant. The TV was on, the resturant was showing the football game between Washington and Dallas.
John was facing the TV, and my back was to the TV. He mentioned that Romo was injured on a play, and the TV then showed the owner Jones.
He mentioned that Jones must be worried about Romo.
And I asked, “Why do you think that? Perhaps he is worried about the potential loss to the business, and has no real concerns for the players’ health.” I then mentioned that his mind is creating a story about everything he is seeing, and that he is unable to know exactly what Jones is thinking.
Earlier this week my father was near death after kidney failure which triggered septic shock. He was in the intensive care unit (ICU) with an uncertain outlook.
My father has had a lot of health challenges over the past five years. Most of his health recoveries have been slow and difficult. After being in the ICU for several days, he is being transferred to a normal room. I began to wonder why he recovered so quickly this time around, what is different this time?
My father is in the intensive care unit with kidney failure in septic shock (blood poisoning). We’re unsure if he is going to survive, but I have a hunch that the worst is over. Deep down, I realize my father’s spirit is perfect; it is his body that’s damaged.
When I reside in the present moment, I understand the situation clearly. If he does drop his body, I know he has simply returned to his natural form of pure consciousness.
My mind is always producing thoughts, always looking for a nugget to take me out of this moment. The mind is a storyteller trying to get me hooked into a story. I fell into the mind trap for decades and suffered great pain.
Read the news, and you will be presented with the daily tragedies.
“Ukraine says Malaysian Airliner with 295 Aboard Shot Down”
“Gaza Toll Near 340 As Israel Presses Ground War”
This one headline captured the essence of the violent world:
“Oregon shooting: ‘This is becoming the norm’ — but will anything change?”
There’s no rational explanation for our society’s cycle of violence. Nor is there a rational explanation for why someone would take innocent lives, whether in the form of a school shooting, downing an aircraft, or kidnapping and then killing the innocent, which starts a war. All those events succeed to keep us living in a state of fear.
Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear is a very powerful force; it keeps the mind busy with ‘what if’ scenarios, always thinking of ways to keep us safe when there is no immediate danger. If there is immediate danger, we must take action or perish.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, and Psoriatic Arthritis. I was part of the growing epidemic of those diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “More than 80 diseases occur as a result of the immune system attacking the body’s own organs, tissues, and cells. Some of the more common autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and inflammatory bowel disease.”
There are many factors to create an autoimmune disease. One factor is the environment. Food, water, air quality and mental state. also contribute. I was frequently under a lot of anxiety and stress, and later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I never knew how my mental state affected my health, and I was not diagnosed with my autoimmune disorders until a period of time after my bipolar diagnosis.
After stepping out of the shower, I see my nude reflection in the mirror. Immediately, the mind begins to point out the flaws of my imperfect body.
Getting dressed is another challenge. The mind is telling me not to wear a certain pair of pants because they make me look fat. Then the mind is telling me to tuck in my shirt or I will look like a slob.
During breakfast the mind is dreading another day of the same crap. The mind begins to plot out the day making sure to note, “Don’t do something stupid!” I am now concerned about my words and actions. I’m afraid to be honest with anyone, since I want everyone to like me.