Everyone I work with is essentially learning about reality-formation. And it makes logical sense that, as individuals, part of what makes us an individual is our own unique set of compulsions and fears.
There are things we move towards that others have no attraction to. Likewise, we can experience resistance in situations where others feel comfortable. These pushes and pulls give our personalities their ‘shape.’
Because that is the case, it means that each person arrives to their training with some central strength they are unaware of. And the reason they have trouble recognizing it, is because most of their identity is built around whatever central fault drove them to contact me.
Our egos don’t want to rest until they rid us of our ‘faults.’ But these aren’t really ‘faults,’ they are ‘traits.’ And to be rid of them would be to be rid of ourselves. Instead we are better to simply allow ourselves to be, without argument or debate.
Our challenge is that we’re surrounded by other walking, talking, thinking machines. They think all of the time, and all of their representations about reality come from their thinking, whether those thoughts are valid or not. And by doing that around us, they can coax us into too much thinking if we’re not careful.
A student’s defense is to learn about mindsets and how they can change them. But even once they are trained, since my students are new, I know that almost all of them will eventually have what they perceive as a relapse, because our soul still needs an ego to help drive it forward. It’s why I always leave a couple hours in reserve off their course time. It’s for when that central issue shows up.
I’m generally pleased when it happens, because without their apparent ‘failure,’ I wouldn’t have the opportunity to prove to the student that they are more capable than they are giving themselves credit for. I accomplish that by reminding them of whatever small detail they’ve forgotten.
The reason this consistently works is that we all live ‘now.’ Our thoughts are about before and after, and our ‘problems’ emerge from the words and ideas that represent our resistance to reality. But once we surrender that resistance—which is only a thought—we are made immediately better.
Today, a wonderful student called because she had found herself back where she was when we started. She felt like she had failed, and wanted to know what she got wrong. But, the truth was, she didn’t get anything wrong. She just forgot that reality is a verb, not a noun. And she forgot that other people’s thoughts about us, is their problem, not ours.
It took us all of about 10 minutes to have her feeling much better. She realized that it is impossible to ‘lose’ this ability since it is innate. We make ourselves unhappy with the same mechanism that makes us happy. So the ‘failure’ helps reinforce that reality, and it reminds us that our responses to challenges should come from how we function.
It’s generally our central challenge in life that will incite these revisits to our suffering selves. And we are never rid of that challenge. The existence of a path necessitates the existence of a not-path. Our movement between these two worlds is what makes us, us, just as it makes others into who they are. There is no life with no suffering.
That said, we can all have lives with limited suffering. And that is, in other words, a way of saying that all of our lives are worth living to the fullest. So free yourself. You are your own worst enemy. Learn how to defeat your ego. It’ll keep coming back. But each time, we get better and better at preventing it from confusing, or hurting us. And that is the best kind of growth there is.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.