Category: Zen Living Written by Mwendwa Mbaabu
Where does suffering come from? Most of our suffering happens in and from the mind and the stories we are telling ourselves and believing. it is not from the things happening to us from the external world as we often believe. It is our reactions to events and people, how we choose to perceive them, and the meaning we attach to these things that cause our suffering.
Events in and of themselves are neutral. It is the meaning we attach to them that causes our misery and perpetual suffering. Our perceptions are our suffering.
Let’s taken an example: someone cuts you off in traffic. You get angry, worked up, and insult them in your heart or verbally. Who is the source of your anger and misery at that moment? Is it the other driver and his car? Of course not. He could be completely blissful and unaware of your suffering at the moment. It is your reaction to what has happened that is your distress and not him.
You could just have easily been indifferent, observed the car cut you off, and just noticed it: “There it goes, a car cutting me off, okay, this means nothing, has no power to affect me.” Just by witnessing without any emotional attachment, the whole thing would have meant nothing. It would have had no effect and you would be on your merry way creating a happy day.
But your reaction of anger and negative thoughts targeted at the other person is a seed you have now sown, and which will become a harvest for you. Your thoughts and feelings about the other driver are an effect you have set into motion, for you are the only thinker in your world. Your thoughts and feelings are creative.
By not being aware that your reaction was a seed you have planted, and not dealing with it there and then by an act of release or self-forgiveness, you set into motion a series of events. Later when you get to work in this negative mood and mindset, you may hit your toe against your desk or get into an argument with someone or make a mess of something at work. You may then think that life is unfair, and people suck. You forget that you set this into motion through a seeming meaningless reaction to someone in traffic. And most likely there were prior habitual and similar reactions before that, that you did not catch and rise above.
This series of miscreation’s that begin in traffic can therefore end up causing a ripple effect of unwanted experiences that can go on for weeks, months, or years.
This is how life is happening over and over in the majority of people’s daily lives. It is a cycle of recurring harvests based on the planted seeds of past experiences, assumptions, negative opinions, reactions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about other people, life, and self which go forth to attract after their kind. For this is the law of life; cause and effect; sowing and reaping.
By learning to be the silent, inner observer of your mind, however, and of things as they come and go, and rise and fall without attachment, this kind of drama can be avoided. Remember that you are the pure awareness that is aware of these things but these things happening “out there” are not who you are.
The drama is all in the mind
The EGO creates all this drama in the mind because it gains its false identity from the external world. It is the ego mind that gets OFFENDED. Why? Because it has something to DEFEND and PROTECT. It feels wounded because it has been seemingly THREATENED and wounded by someone or something, and so we react to protect it. Yet it is a false identity and ILLUSION that we are protecting.
The real self is the pure presence within, always undisturbed, perfect, complete, the great eternal silence and witness of the shadows of this world. The real self has nothing to defend because it is perfectly complete and secure. It is DIVINE LOVE.
Jesus said, “blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Matthew 11:6
Identify with your true mind, not the ego mind
As we identify more with our real self and less with the ego self (this body personality), we start to notice that we have less and less to defend. And eventually, the ego collapses as it loses its false sense of power. It has nothing left to protect. Living as the ego is suffering. It’s a constant battle of protecting, defending, offending, and being offended. It is a constant drama that wearies the soul and robs one of peace, vitality, and harmony.
The strange thing is that this drama is only happening within, in the mind. It’s therefore self-inflicted. A drama of creating villains, victimhood, me vs. them stories, and horror shows. At any moment one could just as easily tell a new story and exit this bad dream. And it is a dream.
Awareness heals the mind
Awareness is power. It is to be ever present in each moment aware of what’s happening within and questioning: “What am I thinking, why am I thinking this, why am I feeling this way, Why do I believe what I do, Why did I just react this way? Is it really true?” Noticing, witnessing, wonder, and curiosity.
When the ego is questioned, it starts to crumble. Awareness is a flashlight of truth. As the light illuminates our beliefs and thinking patterns rooted in darkness and ignorance, we begin to move into self-mastery. Now we can create space between our thoughts and reactions through questioning and holding everything against the TRUTH and light of love.
In this spaciousness, love begins to transmute everything we pass through it, and our thinking is purified and transformed. We start to laugh at the ego stories and drama as we see how ridiculous and false, they are. And then next time we want to get angry in traffic we laugh instead. How ridiculous to get into a rage because of something that means absolutely nothing. So, what if I get cut off in traffic by thousands? What DOES it mean? Nothing to my real self. Why do I want to win in traffic? I don’t. It’s the ego that does. How ridiculous. Do you see?
As you watch your unloving reactions, therefore, you also start to catch yourself sooner with loving compassion instead of guilt. And you simply remind yourself of the truth, thus transmuting your previous reactions.
The next time someone insults you or says something rude to you, you can watch them and witness them through loving compassion and understanding. You can notice their ego and send love to them instead of also reacting from the same mind. This ends the drama in that interaction and has more power to impact the other person, as love never fails. You see what they are doing, and you understand it. You can only love them. As you do this more and more your ego identity crumbles, and your true self comes to the surface. You start to live more and more as your true divine self which is love.
This way of living gradually moves one to wonder, curiosity, joy, and a loving understanding of all people and situations. The peace, calm, and poise that’s your true nature, rise to the surface, and nothing moves you. Emotional reactions become less on both spectrums (high and low). You can say like the apostle Paul “none of these things move me” Acts 20:24
Practicing this way of living in this school of life, you will gradually find you have nothing to be offended by. You let life happen, judging no one and nothing. You know your only “duty” is to love. Love never fails.
Peace on your journey,
Mwendwa’s profound, yet simple teachings about how individuals create their reality through their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, have helped many find freedom from suffering, helplessness, and victimhood and regain their divine power and freedom. She is dedicated to helping people live more empowered and fulfilled lives.
Mwendwa’s teachings often bring to life the mystical and spiritual truths of the bible and Jesus to a modern generation, lifting the veil of religious dogma to reveal the universal truths of oneness.
Mwendwa’s first book, Reality Creation and Manifesting: A Collection of Essays on Manifesting and Deliberate Creation, was published in December 2020
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