We’re so much bigger than all of this.
‘This’ being our identity with our suffering in life. You are not your pain. You are not the circumstances causing the pain. And, you’re not the story you’ve made up about why the pain has happened to you.
My pet story about myself is that I’m replaceable. I have lived my life like I can be replaced at any time. I choose partners and friends who have no problem filling my spot with another. But, that’s not who I am. Who I am isn’t even slightly affected by what happens in my life. My true nature knows this isn’t real. What my mind says about what has happened isn’t real. The stories that whoever hurt me had made up resulting in their behavior aren’t real. This is all stuff of the mind, not of the soul. The soul is quietly waiting for you to notice it. Then you can live. Then you can truly love.
Sri Swami Satchidananda’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras says
“It is not only valid knowledge that creates thought waves, but erroneous impressions also.”
What he’s referencing are the stories our minds make up. This happens constantly. These stories take up more of your thought life than reality. And we believe them to be true.
We also love to adopt the stories others have about who we are. A parent, teacher, or peer tells us we’re ________, and we believe that for the rest of our lives. We integrate it into our being and how we occur in the world. We come from the space created by all of these stories rather than from the space of our true nature.
So how do we sort out reality from our version of it? One way that I’ve learned through my training is to see what really happened versus what your mind made up about what happened. You see a situation for exactly what it is, minus the mind-chatter accompanying it. For example, an expected phone call didn’t happen (or your spouse/child doesn’t behave the way you expect). That’s all that occurred. What didn’t occur is the rejection, disrespect, dishonesty or whatever label you choose to apply to the missing call.
How often are things not at all what you assumed they were? I’d say that I’m wrong significantly more than I’m right. But I assume and create ‘realities’ that cause me pain. I convince myself that whatever story I came up with regarding why that phone call didn’t happen is truth. ‘That person obviously doesn’t care about me. They’re off doing something that would hurt me, so they’re avoiding me.” And on and on.
This can go the other way too. Someone is showing you exactly who they are and instead of accepting this, we make up a different reality about them. We pursue this story until they’ve hurt us so badly that we can no longer deny what they were showing us all along.
Take what is for what it is. No analysis is needed. Our fear whines, ‘But what if I get hurt?’ Living from your true nature allows you to experience life without attaching yourself to it. It allows others to attempt to label you without it impacting who you are. Those in your life may truly live without your restriction as you attempt to put them into the box you believe they fit into. Living from your true nature allows all to simply be. And your peace comes from allowing yourself to simply be as well.
We don’t need the change anything. Accept what is. Our attempts to change a person or a situation is what causes suffering. What is already is, no matter how much we reject it. Rejection only causes turmoil for yourself. Acceptance of your situation and those in your life exactly as they are opens up a space for you to live. It allows others to live around you without being met with your judgment and manipulations.
One of my favorite Eckhart Tolle quotes is:
“Dying is the stripping away of all that is not you.”
We can strip away much of what is not us in this lifetime. That’s why we’re here: to get to our true nature. It’s the part of you that existed before your physical body was created and will go on after ‘you’ return to dust. It is a part of the whole that makes up everyone and everything. And I can promise you that it doesn’t have concern for that missed phone call. Its only concern is love.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta