A trick of the mind?
What I perceive to be my external environment (“out there”) and the thoughts in my mind (“in here”) both seem to be so inherently impermanent. My thoughts can change in a millisecond and as I sit in stillness I can experience my environment in an entirely different way, just by focussing my attention on different aspects of that environment. For example, I can sit on my sofa at home and notice either the comfort of the cushions beneath me, or the jarring sound of the building works outside. Both “out there” and “in here” are in a permanent state of flux, with one influencing the other, moment to moment.
I used to think what was “out there” and “in here” was the true nature of who I am, but how can something so impermanent carry any kind of certainty? I might consider that the true nature of who I am is simply an ever changing myriad of experiences, but that excludes something I know that feels much more permanent - the awareness I have that is observing all that I have written about so far.
This awareness is omnipresent wherever I go. It does not alter from moment to moment like “out there” and “in here”. It is just always there, observing. Permanently observing. So is the true nature of who I am simply this awareness? And the things “out there” and “in here” are just projections that allow me to form some kind of meaning beyond awareness alone? In my experience, those projections almost certainly come from others. I then internalise them, and if I accept them, perhaps that’s when I identify with them and they become the impermanent version of “me” that I have for so long confused as being my true nature?
Perhaps my suffering sits within these projections? I don’t think that awareness itself can feel suffering, maybe it can only observe it? Perhaps when I suffer, I have fallen for a trick of the mind. Perhaps in these moments, I have allowed the mind to trick me into believing awareness does not exist. When I’m suffering I often say things like “I am hurting”. Given what I’m exploring in these words, it would be more accurate if I were to say “I feel hurt”, or “I am aware of hurt”, but I’ll admit the latter sounds a bit weird. Perhaps when I start a sentence with “I am…”, I collude with the trick of my mind. Because maybe the true “I” cannot be anything. Maybe it can only observe. To say “I am…” is definitive and conclusive and appears to exclude an opportunity for there to be awareness.
My good friend said that “whilst we may sometimes feel we cannot handle the suffering we find ourselves in, our awareness can always contain it through that very awareness.” I think that’s a pretty incredible insight, because if, as I have explored in these words, it is not “out there” or “in here” that is my true nature, if instead awareness is my true nature, then that must mean I can always contain my suffering, so long as I have awareness. So long as I do not fall for the trick of the mind.
I'm Adam, a U.K. based Life Coach working with people across the globe.
I struggle the same as every other human on the planet, but I think that’s what makes me credible. I’m just a regular guy, with people skills that I enjoy using. My sole focus is to help others improve their lives, which is ultimately how I improve mine.
I am a curious humanitarian and I speak as I find. I love to travel and I buzz off meeting new people. I live in Manchester, U.K.
Read more at www.mebeingadam.com.