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?
“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
~ John Wooden
As a sit here reflecting on the book launch of “I Don’t Dwell,” I’m in awe. When I think of my recovery, a deep sense of gratitude fills my body and tears begin to well up. I think of Lou Gehrig who had ALS, when he said “I feel like I’m the luckiest man alive”.
How did I survive that car accident at 6 years old?
How did I survive being suicidal with bipolar?
How did I survive with being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?
I survived because I had no choice. I like to think that I was in control of my life, but looking back I can see that I had very little control. I was placed on this Earth for reasons unknown to me, only known by God. As Einstein once said “God doesn’t throw dice”. There are no mistakes and no luck; there is a divine plan unknown to us.
The only thing I know for certain is that I can control how I react and respond to my thoughts. That sounds so simple, but it wasn’t easy. It took time to see that I had thoughts, but they were not my thoughts. Through my five minute daily practice I was starting to get separation from my thoughts. It took a lot of vigilance to stick with the practice. My thoughts were in my face, yelling and screaming at me that I wasn’t good enough or wasting my time. These thoughts were impossible to ignore at times, but the more I ignored the mind the quieter the mind became.