If you really wish to see clear, see yourself, see the world around you as it really is – not only through the filter of what you think – a kind of purification has to take place in you.
I claim that you cannot really see clearly, live and love fully, if your view is blurred, and your view is mostly blurred, because of what you assume, think, believe in, and what unconsciously makes you behave reactively.
Therefore – as long as you hold on to what you think and believe in, your mind is overloaded with stuff, and therefore your seeing remains blurred, fragmented and unclear.
If you can recognize this fact for yourself, you automatically have a kind of choice – either to stay in this state of fragmented seeing and reactiveness, or to move on and beyond that state.
Not to hold on to what has been taught to you, to what your mind is saying to you, and what you believe in, is not to hold on to your own conditioning with all its norms, traditions, belief systems and so called truths about you, humans, life, world.
But not to hold on to this conditioning does not necessary mean to, reject, fight or rebel against it. It means to remain critical, open, and to question it. Otherwise you are running around loaded with all possible human-made nonsense in your head, so that this noise never allows you to see clear and live and love fully.
You can disagree with me on this. I am very fine with your disagreement. I am only addressing those, who wish to find out, if that what I am suggesting is true. If you think, that you can see clearly with your way of thinking, with your convictions, your beliefs, your understanding of yourself and the world, then it is fine with me. Then this writing is definitely not for you. My words are exclusively addressed to those, who have found out, that they actually have been looking at life through filters of tension of thoughts and beliefs. I really only write for those, who have recognized that what they have learned about themselves and life until now, cannot be quite true. In short, I am writing for those who would like to see more clearly.
So the purification from the old ways of thinking and believing has to find place. How does it happens?
Through awareness. Through detached, neutral and yet compassionate observation of yourself and everything else. When and if awareness becomes more and more important in your life, things that were given and taught to you, and until now have been thought to be true, and acted out mechanically, automatically, habitually and unaware, start to become more and more visible.
And if there will be a neutral seeing of all this stuff as it presents itself from moment to moment, there will also be an immediate choice – either to continue in the same manner of thinking, believing and acting upon what your mind says, or to stop, and question whether all that what you think and believe in is true, and whether you really wish and must act according to those thoughts and beliefs, that push you to say this and don’t say that, to do this and don’t do that.
If you are able to recognize, that a lot of what you think, believe in and say is not true, and even harmful for yourself and others, you will have a choice not to hold onto those thoughts and belief systems anymore.
In this way the purification of your mind from useless, harmful and often very ridiculous stuff, which in years and decades has blurred and dulled your perception and sensitivity towards yourself and life, becomes possible.
To take a little, seemingly harmless example I can tell you how it actually can work, or is working on me, yet it will maybe not be the same with you. We all have different stuff in our minds that blocks clear seeing. So use it as an example, and see if you also can become aware of your own stuff, that makes you tense, closed, prejudiced, limited, hard and rigid, because of your ways to think, because of the beliefs you unconsciously have cherished until now.
Since I became more and more aware of life, meaning aware of myself and my surroundings, of my body, my mind, my own behavior, the way I talk, the way I act, the way I feel and look at myself and others, I could for instance recognize nervous, restless tensions that have accompanied me since early childhood, since I can remember… These nervous tensions are not pleasurable, does not allow me to fully relax, and cause me to be harsh, demanding, dishonest and at large dissatisfied with myself and others. Such state of mind pushes me often to speak and act reactively, to harm others and myself, which makes the misery only greater. There are actually innumerable expressions of this nervous tensions, most of which are very unpleasant in their consequences. I will try to limit myself in order to describe one of them.
The situation is as follows: It is weekend. I don’t have to work, I have a lot of time, the most important duties in the house have been fulfilled, everything is wonderful, I am sitting, reading, writing something or simply doing nothing, suddenly a tension arises. Urgent, obtrusive thoughts are telling me to do something more important or productive. Thoughts are telling me that I am lazy, because I am just sitting and writing here. Thoughts are telling me that I am wasting my time, and I feel, that – unless I do something “more important”, more productive – something bad is going to happen. A kind of punishment. I don’t really know what kind of punishment should it be, but I can’t relax. I get up and start tidying up, or going around frantically, being busy.
Because all this is in conflict with the fact that I actually need to relax, that both the body and the mind are grateful for this relaxation, I become more dissatisfied, and start to complain about my husband. Because he can sit relaxed while I MUST work hard. Suddenly I remember all the things that MUST be done in the house and in the garden. A quarrel with my husband begins. It makes me feel even more dissatisfied with myself about the negative energy that I produce, and I get angry because I cannot relax, and also “because” my husband is so lazy and “never” helps me with the housework. Such dissatisfaction usually attracts a lot of negative thoughts, so that there is even greater field for possible arguments and quarrels, and the feeling of being unhappy becomes stronger. I will not go deeper into the matter, so that all possible outcomes of such behavior are listed.
I would much rather show what this behavior may be rooted in.
First: years of brainwash at home, followed by belief that you should always clean up in the weekend, that everything has to be flawless, because if someone comes to visit us, the person will talk badly about us, if it is not clean enough.
Second: Years of brainwash followed by an unconscious belief that being lazy and doing nothing, is bad and will have unwished consequences. According to the motto: “If you are lazy, you will achieve nothing in life, you will be a loser” or ”A good person is an active person” or “Sitting with your hands in your lap is selfish and useless”. With other words: “to live” means “to do”, while simply “to be” is of no value.
Thirdly: fear suppressed for years, saying, that if everything at home is not perfectly clean and all duties aren’t fulfilled, then there will be a kind punishment. My mother either becomes angry, dissatisfied, unloving, hard, angry, violent. In other words – a deep rooted habit of escaping fear and punishment by doing a lot.
Fourth: unreflected, unconscious reaction to the dissatisfaction and frustration that comes from the conflict between what I really need (relaxation) and what I think and believe I should be doing. A reaction which is a precise imitation of the behavior of my own, dissatisfied and constantly complaining mother, who likewise couldn’t relax trying to find a scapegoat for her own frustration.
Fifth: an avalanche of other mechanisms, reactions, thoughts and beliefs that may follow the first ones, all of which you can actually see all at once if you are aware, but listing and analyzing them would take up too much space and time, and would not be in the spirit of this article, especially because you have your own mechanism to watch, not mine.
But let’s look at all the four issues that make my body tense and my mind angry and frustrated. Let’s look at if whether they are true, meaningful, good for me and others, as well as why and how they blur my view, how they make clear seeing and love impossible, as well as how is their connection to the actual reality.
The first claim and belief, namely that I should clean my house every weekend. How does it match the actual reality of my situation? The house in a satisfactory condition in my and my husband’s eyes, we do not expect or wish any visit, we do not even know whether our potential visit has the same sense of cleanliness as my mother used to have. So is it true at all, that the house needs cleaning, and if yes, for whom? And then the other questions may follow, like for example: Why is it so important to me what my visit thinks about my cleanliness? (Very important question, which deprives many of their sleep ) or: Why I look at my house with the eyes of my mother not with my own eyes? No answers, just questioning and looking…
The second claim is very dangerous, even able to ruin your whole life because it destroys the peace of mind and the joy of simply being yourself. It is an old rooted belief followed by the great fear of judgement of the society. Judgment saying that “I am not worth”, that “I am nothing”. I am nothing when I do nothing, or do something what society considers to be useless. But is cleaning up more valuable than writing or reading, or sitting? Who decides that? The fact is that my body needs rest, but the mind tells me that this is not right, that this is useless and worthless.
Even in my own house I am more concerned about my image as the valuable society member, than about how I really feel, what I like or what I need! And maybe I also believe myself that I am nothing, that I am useless , and should do something what seems to have more value than just sitting or writing (unless I earn money with the writing, says a voice, who’s voice?)
But let’s look at the facts. How is the body when it relaxes? I read, write or just let my soul dangle, satisfied, fulfilled, without desires, doesn’t want anything, doesn’t need anything… How does it feel like? And how is my husband when I am content and relaxed, friendly and open? And how does it feel, when my anyway tired body begins frantically to clean the house, complaining, struggling, striving, fighting, being uneasy?
Which way to live and be is more valuable?
That of hectic activity because one believes that one otherwise is worthless or that of being relaxed and happy, enjoying the well-deserved rest after a working week?
Number three and four: In my childhood it might have been a good strategy to do everything to the mother’s satisfaction in order to escape punishment, but does that have to be the case in my own home too, where the mother is not anymore? My mother has even changed in the meantime and has become much more relaxed in terms of cleanliness, but I still feel the old fear, and the urge to do something in order to to escape an imaginary punishment?! The reality is that there is no criticism, no complaint, no punishment and anger, unless I start to produce it myself.
So what is actually happening here? Am I crazy? Do I really need it?
And not enough with this. In many years I was not only used to do things in order to please an old image of my mother, I was also trying to escape an tension of imagined punishment by imitating my mother and punishing my own husband! For what? For being relaxed, while I was reacting to an old tension, an old fear, believing the bullshit society has told me about cleanliness, weekend visits, and uselessness of simply being.
So… This is just one of many situations that makes clear how one can take one’s own mind, thoughts, ideas, outdated beliefs seriously, and thereby torment oneself and others.
Isn’t it wonderfully laughable? For me it is. Especially now, after I started to look and understand the mechanisms behind the all this.
Unfortunately most people I meet, aren’t really aware of those mechanisms. The mechanisms operate unseen, while people tend to find good justifications for this acting and reacting on the basis of thoughts and unquestioned beliefs. I did the same before I became aware. I used to take many of my thoughts and beliefs very serious, and have been living in many years in this way, always finding justifications for my behavior.
But if there is seeing of it, than there is a choice too.
Yet the seeing must not be judgmental. That would be just a super ego, another thought telling you, that you should not act and react ridiculously and destructively. Such an assertion is in fact useless because the reality is that you are acting both ridiculously and destructively.
If it is about my own story, the seeing of all those mechanisms was not accompanied by judgment or condemnation. There was neither condemnation of the society that have spoiled me so much, nor judgement of my mother, who has programmed me for fear and insecurity in so many years, or of myself – blindly believing and acting out all those fears and beliefs so many years later.
The seeing of my own reactive behavior was an simple insight about uselessness, untruthfulness and harmfulness of my own thoughts, ideas, beliefs, fears which blocked me from breathing free and joyful, which blurred my vision and my happiness.
So what to do if such one or other insight reach us? My experience tells me that the seeing and understanding is enough.
If the tension is there and I can’t leave it alone or relax into it – I go and clean, or do whatever the mind tells me, watching all this in a neutral manner. If I continue to complain – I watch it too, and listen to myself. If I have to argue – that’s just the way it is. Suppressing the tensions will only result in releasing the pressure in different ways, which will be equally unenjoyable for myself and others.
My observation is: the more awareness and understanding of the senselessness and harmfulness behind my actions, the faster those tensions that cause me to act, fall away.
Sometimes it only takes a one good look at it, and the tension will never come back. Other times it takes much longer, when it’s about deep-rooted, deeply unconscious fears and beliefs, which may not be real, but are very much perceived as real. Such tensions tend to return, and who knows? – maybe they will stay forever?
Everything depends on how much it means to us to see clear. To see the reality as it really is, and not clouded by our outdated, untrue beliefs.
So once again – the tensions in my story (and remember, that you may have completely different stories behind your tensions), have blurred my reality totally, until I started to understand them fully. In my example, in many years I couldn’t see that I myself was satisfied with the cleanliness of my house, I did not see that simply being and relaxing was beneficial, I was just focusing on my assumptions about necessity of cleaning once a week or about laziness of just sitting doing nothing “useful”. I did not see that my mind controlled me, caused me to react and that the reactions were harmful to myself and my environment. I did no longer notice the beauty of the day, the clarity of the sky, the cat in my lap. I could neither hear nor see. I only lived in the narrow tunnel of my tension and the story about cleanliness, laziness and a possible, critical weekend visit.
and I was not aware of all this until I suddenly could see and understand the mechanisms, which purified my seeing.
The story about cleaning up is just a tiny part of what pollutes my mind. I have a lot stories like this one, that make me react when unseen and not understood. Together they can make my life to one great tension and to hell in the middle of the paradise life actually is.
But because I observe, I also know, that I actually always have a choice between life in joy and fulfillment, and life in tension, dissatisfaction and frustration. The second is always connected to resisting the facts, the reality, and the natural needs of the present moment. It is a consequence of following my mind, meaning – following some old, worn-out ideas, thoughts and beliefs from the past that rarely match the reality of the now.
It may be that you cannot see yourself in my little story, even if I have quite often observed behavior and comments made by others with regard to cleaning, laziness, uselessness, worthlessness , that were very similar to my own thinking. But of course it may be, that your parents were never particularly clean, or hard-working. It may be that you were not told a thousand times that “doing nothing” is like “being worthless”, so you never came to believe this.
Therefore, you have to find out for yourself how and in which situations your own tensions arise. What are your triggers?
Please remember that those tensions are usually a sign that you are resisting life, resisting what is, resisiting present moment. They mean that your mind wreaks havoc again. That there are some old wounds, fears and beliefs that you have never checked. Therefore, you are easily seduced by those thoughts, feelings and tensions. In order to get rid of or justify them, you react, in doing or saying something, which is mostly harmful for yourself and others. It is harmful because it is in conflict to what really is, which means what really is good for you. Being in harmony with what really is, is namely the only thing that is really good for you. Only in this way the tension relaxes, and peace, joy, satisfaction, openenness, clear seeing step into the foreground.
Therefore an alternative to reacting to those tensions, to following the mind, would be – to take a closer look at those tensions and feelings of dissatisfaction, to experience them consciously, to feel them, as well as the beliefs and stories behind them. It would be wise to recognize them and check for truthfulness. It would be wonderfully liberating to find out how ridiculous they actually are.
This is what awareness-work makes possible. Without awareness you will simply continue being thrown back and forth like a puppet by these old tensions, fears and outdated beliefs. You will react to these impulses again and again like a robot, and produce more tension and more dissatisfaction for yourself and the others.
In consequence you come to miss what beauty this world has to show you. You will miss it because of your own tense and noisy mind .