In general people read something and access the meaning by relating it to something they already know. But if they keep reading with an open mind, sometimes they are surprised to learn that there is actually a different meaning to what they had instantly grabbed hold of a few moments earlier.
Why do we do that?
Our fast analytical minds cannot handle not knowing something. Our egos demand that we understand it already, after all it's written in English isn't it!
So here i invite you to relax, slow down, and consider a space in which you will learn something new. Something very simple that has been covered up by layers of complication and sophistication as the ideas you have imbibed over the years have gotten more and more complex and nuanced. In that space - where your mind is content to NOT understand the moment it reads the words, and content NOT to relate this information to something you already know, is the space in which you will learn the most, and in that space I will explain what Inside Life is all about.
Let me start with two anecdotes by way of explanation.
I had two different conversations today with two friends that made me laugh. (I like laughing i really do.)
A friend heard some news pertaining to a family member who had just been released from hospital, and contacted me, telling me how she had seen the video of the nurses clapping him out, that had been circulating via Whatssap. This was the jist of our conversation.
Friend: Sarah sent me the video - so amazing
Me: So funny how it went viral, I spoke to my family in the morning and then forgot to check for the video later on in the day that she had said they would send. In the evening someone sent me a message saying she had seen the video and i went woops, i forgot all about it, and quickly checked for, and saw the video before replying to her!
Friend: THAT IS NOT FUNNY AT ALL.
You probably have all sorts of opinions about this all too common scenario. You may think I am right, or you may think she is right, You could be thinking about a time in your life when news travelled faster than expected and how you felt about that. You may feel indignant, annoyed, or you may just have the - shrug your shoulders - 'what can you do' attitude. You may even be annoyed with me, or think 'how on earth could she have forgotten something like that'. Or you could be thinking something else entirely.
I can't know what you are thinking here any more than she could know how I should think/feel about this scenario
Because there is something else entirely amiss here. What's missing in this exchange is a sense of understanding of how our experience is created.
I am calling this blog Inside life, to say out-loud, unabashed and unashamedly, that Life as we know it, is on the inside. Quite literally. It's not going on 'out there' and we poor little earthlings just have to deal with it as best we can with no choice in the matter. Whatever experience we have is created by whatever we are thinking in that given moment. (Don't analyse this or you will get stuck. Just keep it at a basic simple level and more will be explained soon.) So let's not be too abstract, and get back into the conversation with my friend. When you believe that we all experience the world - THE WAY IT IS, and not via whatever thinking we have about it, then surely there are defined and accurate responses to whatever is happening. So that's how you can have a conversation with someone - and even though your experience is comical, if theirs is not, they are left to assume that their reaction must be 'correct', 'normal', or 'appropriate', and if you think differently you must be either be covering up your real feelings, 'NOT normal', or maybe suffering from a severe lack of sleep/nutrients/coffee/reading materials/neurons or all of the above. And if they are nice, caring individuals, they genuinely try to help you with this 'perception problem' and will do things like creating a safe space for you, and try to validate how you are not feeling, on the off chance that really you are feeling how they are feeling, because really deep down you must be feeling that, subconsciously, unconsciously or someplace.
And this happens time and time again.
How do i know?
Cos i do it too! How many times have i said - How can they think that way?
So when i had a giggle at the illogic of that conversation, it was laughter that said, 'and i do it too'. I don't always realise that it's an inside life, and that inside each person, there will be different insights into the meaning and nature of all things.
What's more, even though written down, this looks like a pretty egoistic process (-my thinking must be right), we actually don't feel like that when it happens. Whatever it is that we are thinking can look so real, that we cannot even consider another way of thinking about it. This actually has a name. It is the principle of Consciousness. It's that power to deeply believe something, even though the very next day, we may believe something else entirely. The ability for something to look really real, even thought it's only made of thought.
That brings me to my second story. I have a friend who seems to get hurt on a frequent basis. I'm not sure if that's true - it may be, it's just the impression i get from the way she speaks. I had an altercation with her which I will disguise in case she ever reads this! Long story short, she accused me very publicly of something as a result of a misunderstanding she had of what I had said. As soon as I corrected her in private, she understood but could no longer take back what she said. In the circumstances it would have looked petty.
I could have thought -
“You hate it when people let you down.”
”You hate it when people misunderstand and jump to conclusions”
“What - you’re only sensitive to your own feelings and not other peoples”
And haha - I did think that for a little. I was totally smarting from the incident. I felt embarrassed and wronged, and injured.
Until I remembered that she is stuck in that place in her mind, where was comes in looks very real to her. What she sees is so compelling and hurtful that she had to act on it and call me out on a perceived wrong doing. And when I saw her psychological innocence, in real time, my thoughts calmed down. And then I remembered: “me too”. Don’t we all do things sometimes from a feeling of compelling thought. An urgent fear or anger, or misery, that comes in via thought, but we don’t see it that way, we see it as a situation, and then we take action that later when we rethink it, makes no sense.
This may look beautiful it certainly does to me, because it was only when i saw how every moment gets created that i was able to do things like dropping judgement, erasing worry, experiencing difficult or mundane activities with a sense of joy and mission, and seeing fear as a friend. BUT - it;s all very well to understand how it works, but how should that change my experience?