“The world I see is but a projection of me”. Wonderful words to remind me of who I really am when I get sucked into “them” or the outside world as being separate from me, especially if there is a strong emotional reaction to my view of “them”. I can blame everyone and everything in the world as much as I want, but until I take responsibility for the thoughts in my mind, I will never find peace of mind.
And so it becomes a matter not of what is happening ‘out there’, but rather what my thoughts are about what is happening ‘out there’ and the way those thoughts make me feel and act.
We make so many snap judgments every minute of our lives, that it takes a continual stepping back from our thoughts to see that they are only thoughts, not necessarily the truth, and that we have become those thoughts. But step back from them we must, if we want to really see what they are and how they affect us.
Snap Judgments Aren’t Who They Really Are
When I say “He shouldn’t do…she should…why don’t you…he is…she is…” etc., then I have already clouded my view of that person. I am looking at them through my eyes of how the world should be. When I say to myself, “These thoughts I am having about this situation are NOT WHO I AM, but rather who I think I am”, then I make a space inside myself. I can begin to see that these judgmental thoughts are a way of thinking and that is all they are. And when I become detached enough from those thoughts, I also give the other person space to be more authentic. We all project thinking that isn’t who we really are and sometimes that is all that can be seen by others.
Who Would I Be?
A key question in Byron Katie’s “The Work” at www.byronkatie.com is “Who would I be, in the presence of this person, if I didn’t think this thought (or these thoughts)”? The mind doesn’t want to let go of the judgments. They swirl like autumn leaves in the wind, enticing with the emotion of superiority (I’m right – they’re wrong), and they most certainly want to retain their hold on the mind.
Yet creating a space between who I really am and all those judgments is what begins the healing process inside. There is only one person that we can heal, and that is inside each of us, and ultimately that one person is all of us since we are all one at a deeper level. You cannot separate the ocean from the ocean at its deepest level, though you may separate the waves on the surface.
I have found this to be applicable to any situation in my life. If I don’t like the look of the environment I am in, or the situation, I can still separate out what I think about this situation or environment, and who I really am.
Politics currently in the USA is a great example of this. You can’t turn a TV or radio on without being bombarded by the ‘terrible’ things one of the candidates has done or said – depending of course which ‘side’ you are on. And then there is the endless stream of ‘expert analysts’ to explain it all to you.
A recent poll showed that more people watched the daily political news instead of the Olympics in Brazil. One of the reasons is the powerful emotions that are set off when people like these dominate the news cycles. Whether you are ‘for’ or ‘against’ them and what they say and do doesn’t matter – the fact is that really deep emotions of right and wrong are generated and they become addictive. These emotions are on the surface – they are a part of each person’s personality – they are not who the person is deep inside.
Looking Beyond the Personality
Detaching from mind and its dramas enables us to see further into the person who seems to be the source of these judgements. We may then be able to see some of their insecurities and fears that cause them to act in such a manner. And going even deeper, we might sense the bottomless well of oneness that we all are. We may not understand the reasons behind what someone says and does but we can sense that the Universe has it all under control and there is some deeper and mightier purpose than our minds can conceive.
So each person and situation we come across can be seen as a magnificent teaching tool to show us where we are still stuck in thinking and judgements of the mind. And of course, each person can also reflect where we are at peace in our inner being and the qualities that support that peace. This is even more important because if we are able to see the true oneness beneath the personality, and we focus on that instead, the world we see becomes a clear, vital, alive and exhilarating world.