Despite the fact that it probably looked really hard from the outside, I’m still having a really enjoyable month thanks to my students. Due to the constraints of my role in parent-care I have very few slots available, and it’s often difficult for interested parties to match those. So most are waiting for the pandemic to end to work in person.
But lately I have had the good fortune to meet several new students who all align with when I’m available. Importantly, none are anything like any of the others. They are all fantastic people who are very interesting and kind-hearted. And their differences also serve to illustrate a point.
Despite the fact that they arrived as very different people, with completely different challenges before them, all have gone through a uniform set of realizations that has led to a specific set of feelings –most of which I had predicted when we started.
So the same week one felt confused they all felt confused. Another week they all felt lighter. Another week they all felt acutely negative. Another one they are filled with wonder. And by about six, seven or eight sessions in, they are steadily arcing upwards into better and better feelings.
It appears curious, but it’s easily explained by the fact that their personal realizations led them to notice a shared layer of reality that they hadn’t noticed before. They shared the same feelings because they were reacting to the same layer.
That also explains why living with this ability is applicable to everything from alcoholism, to patience, to anxiety, to a better golf swing. Gaining a greater understanding of how our mind relates to ‘reality’ is useful in any ‘real’ situation.
Ultimately, I don’t really spend much time working on people’s problems. We’re too busy building a personalized mental tool for them to manage reality with. From that headspace, rather than focus on their problems, they begin to see opportunities that were hidden by lower consciousness.
Once they have a certain level of awareness, they always come up with ingenious and delightful ways to resolve what’s bothering them. It’s like they spent years trying find ways ‘around’ their problem and suddenly they got shown a way ‘over.’
I have been studying how minds work since the accident when was only five years old. We make a lot of sense. But the way the world teaches us to see ourselves and the world itself, is an illusion that was accidentally created by language. But that innocent impression is wrong and it’s what leads us to suffer.
As the Buddha states, the world is an illusion. This is not to say that it doesn’t exist. It means we must come to recognize our role in determining what comes to exist by way of how we choose to use our own mind, our consciousness, and our thoughts.
As a part of that progression of experiences, with the exception of the teenagers, as they all continue to get better many will hit a phase where they will become angry with themselves that they did not learn this sooner. It makes sense that they feel that way. They wish they could have saved themselves from past suffering.
But that idea only hurts because it is our ego’s act of ‘wanting.’ But seen the right way, that reaction is good news too. It begs the question, why did they wait? And the reason no one shouldn’t feel badly about when they started to learn how reality works, is because they came when it made sense. Prior to coming, they weren’t ‘ready’ yet.
Without realizing it, most people suddenly find themselves willing to tackle their worst feelings as soon as the emotional cost of not dealing with them is regularly exceeding the perceived emotional cost of the intervention.
A suffering person is primed to create a narrative about reaching out that features them ‘losing,’ which is what generates their reluctance to seek care. But the fear of the suffering can come to outweigh the fear of the reaching out.
That ‘weight’ emerges from who we are. So everyone who voluntarily goes for help, always goes when they are ready. And when they use this approach, they tend to love learning about reality over obsession about all of their problems, which just inflates them in their psyche.
We all get good at what we practice, and since I started at five, I suspect I have done as much thinking about thinking as anyone. So like I might go to you for a car repair, or to get my teeth maintained, it’s not a ‘loss’ to recognize that there might be people skilled at refining other’s abilities –even if those abilities are in the area of teaching us to manage our consciousness.
Our bodies are run by our minds, so athletic coaching is coaching the mind more than the body. Mind work simply means we are coaching the mind regarding physical and non-physical aspects of life. And that helps a lot. Because working with someone to create a personalized psychological strategy is what ultimately leads to the only real ‘winning’ any of us can do –which is to live rewarding lives.
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.