It is very useful to be reminded often that the world we live in is not coming from outside, but it is created inside of our minds.
It is very useful because it truly seems that the world is out there, that things happen out there, that things happen TO me, but actually things don’t happen to me but ‘I happen’, and then the world is constructed: when the mind is positive and happy the world is perceived as positive and happy, and when the mind is sad, depressed or negative, the world is perceived as difficult; but that happiness or difficulty is in the mind, not in the world.
The best way to deal with our minds is not believing in our stories, and every problem we have is a story. For example, a person may be sick. Sickness is not a problem per se, is only a situation that needs to be dealt with. But the thought, ‘I should not be sick’, for example, is a story, and that story is the problem, not the sickness.
And the best way to be able to see our stories, is to find space in the mind, to find silence in the mind.
In that silence the story may appear, but then I may be able to see that the story is only a story, not the truth. And in that silence, in that opening, the possibility for a new way to see, to perceive the same situation may arise. Not by thinking, but by allowing the silence to connect to the situation.
One of the most important exercises I teach in my classes (and in everything I do, really) is the possibility to create space in the mind, to learn to slow down the mind; not to stop the mind, but to create an opening in which new light may enter.
How do we slow down the mind? By simply looking, hearing, sensing, connecting to the moment; by seeing what we see, hearing what we hear, by paying attention to what is in front of our eyes. To continuously, continuously, continuously coming back to the moment, coming back to the senses. There is an old Zen saying: ‘When you walk, walk. When you eat, eat. When you sit, sit.’ It may seem simplistic, but it contains enormous wisdom! I mean, what do we often do: when we walk, we think, when we eat, we think, and when we sit…yes, we think!! And to say thinking is actually giving us too much credit…most of the time we are not really thinking, but are lost in thought.
There is truly not a problem at all in thinking, in understanding, in planning, in creating, in remembering; these are all beautiful possibilities that the mind has. But most of the time we are not thinking but are regurgitating the same old thoughts, old ideas, old problems, worries, anxieties, fears.
Find yourself when you are lost in thought; catch that moment when you realize that your mind was lost without your intention or decision; recognize that moment, and see it, taste it, feel it. Became aware that it is a habit of your mind, and bring the mind back to the moment.
We have plenty of opportunities to practice this as getting lost in some thought or another happens about every 3 seconds.
When we are lost in thought, it is our past – our conditioning – what creates the stories, which creates the world.
But with attention and intention, it can become our wisdom what creates the stories, which in turn will create the world.
There are only stories, but if the story is a happy one or a sad one makes a whole world of difference.
There is a physical world out there that is created by nature.
But there is also, in here, a world made of happiness, or unhappiness; made of love, or pain; made of forgiveness, or resentments; made of light, or misery. We have no saying in the world of nature (or we could say, very little), but there is much, very much, that depends on us about the world of our minds.
What kind of thoughts are we allowing in our minds?
The world we feel is not coming from outside, but it is created inside, in our minds. It is the world created by each of our thoughts, by each of our responses to what happens.
What kind of world are we creating?
We have a choice.