We do not really love or dislike external circumstances but we fall in love or are disturbed by the images we create in our mind as a response to those circumstances.
If the world that we experience is primarily an image in our mind, then the most direct and obvious consequence is that it is not in what happens to us that problems and their solutions lie: it is what we ‘do’, in our own mind, with what happens to us.
Are all of us really like divine artists crafting stories in the theaters of our consciousness and enjoying or suffering their dramas? Are we truly birthing our own realities in the cradle of our mind? Do we really have the power to make ourselves happy or miserable?
The answer seems to be a definite ‘yes’.
If we look at ourselves with sincerity, we cannot fail to realize that most of the sorrows or pains we experience are generated by mental images that we treat as if they were real things although they are made of the stuff of dreams.
Pain, either physical or triggered by loss or conflict, is real but suffering is not. Suffering is the way we react to pain – what we ‘do’ with it.
Pain, just like pleasure, is most often short-lived, but suffering lingers, sometimes for life. It is about grief, guilt, regret, resentment or insecurity, negative imagination and worries.
Pleasure and pain are of the now. Excitement and suffering are about the way we project what is happening in the now on the past or the future. ‘Why?’ ‘Why me?’ ‘What is going to happen now?’ They relate to past events that we replay in our own consciousness or to hypothetical futures that we rehearse and experience in anticipation.
Most of what we believe is done ‘to’ us is, most of the time, nothing other than what we make, in our own mind, of what happens around us: what people say, do or what circumstances appear to be.
It is not what is happening in our life that elates or hurts us, but it is what those events mean to us. The meaning we assign to them is relative. It can change.
Now, let’s learn a new skill – a great skill.
On the basis of what we have just described in relation to consciousness and how we primarily create and experience life in our own mind, pause for a moment, relax, open your mind and consider this:
In relationship to people, you do not have a problem with a particular individual but you have a problem with the image of that person you have formed within your own mind.
This image expresses nothing more than the way you interpret their behaviour based on the programs recorded in your brain. It only tells you what you believe about them. The ‘reality’ of that person as well as their real intentions may be quite different from what you actually think it is.
If this is true, then it implies that it is before all in your own mind that you need to make that relationship move in the right direction, and this means starting by questioning the assumptions, definitions and judgments you hold about them.
If you can change this relationship within your own mind, you are well positioned to solve it in the ‘real’ world.
On the positive side of the coin, you are not in love with any particular individual but what you are in love with is the image of them that you have passionately carved in your consciousness.
You probably idealize or ‘upgrade’ this image to meet your needs for affection, romance, security or meaning; it can be distorted by your own fears, worries and lack of self-confidence – in any case, you are probably upset when it doesn’t match the actual behaviour of that individual.
Here again, it is in your own consciousness that you can objectify the way you see the other person so that, whilst still sharing love and affection, you do not deceived or hurt yourself.
We cannot really understand another person as they are. The only thing we can know with a reasonable degree of certainty is what we think about them.
Yet, people exist. They have a reality independent of our perception and it is in our interest to at least attempt to perceive it. There is great beauty and potential there. Most of all, there is reality and seeing reality is always empowering because reality is powerful whilst what is unreal doesn’t exist.
Everyone is ultimately a mystery and the only person we can realistically hope to know is our own self.</p>