If there is dust on the lens, then what we see through the lens looks dusty and dirty. We see a flower that is dusty. We see a car that is dusty. We see a man who is dusty. We clean the flower, the car and the man. We look through the lens again. We find that the car, the flower and the man are still dusty. Why is this so? Its obvious, isn’t it? There is dust on the lens and no matter how much we clean the objects we see through the lens, they are still going to look dusty because the lens is dusty. So what to do? Its obvious again, isn’t it? We have to clean the lens, that’s right. Then we find that the flower, the car, the man are all clean.
On a deeper level, all the suffering in the world is not because of the world, but because of the way we see the world, the lens, our mind. We think the problem is out there and we try to change the world, the other person but that is not going to solve the problem. We need to realise that the problem is in our mind and if we can clean it, then we can find peace with ourselves and the world.
How to clean the mind?
There are possibly many ways, but consider this: The Work by Byron Katie.
It consists of:
THE FOUR QUESTIONS AND TURNAROUND
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know it is true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
Turn it around in the opposite way, then find three specific, genuine examples of how that turnaround is true in your life
A story often makes things clearer. Listen to this:
There was a little boy who once got out of his bed on the wrong side. Once he realised it, he felt that the day was going to go wrong. He saw his parents arguing and they ignored him. He felt bad and had a thought that it would be better if he did not exist at all. At school, his teacher did not choose him for the school play. His friend, another little boy did not want to play with him, and went to play with another girl. He thought that everything was terrible. He felt that nobody cared for him and nobody liked him. He felt life was so unfair. He felt miserable and looked downcast. There was a young man who was watching all this. He called the boy and asked him what was wrong. The boy told all that had happened and what he felt: Nobody cares for me, nobody likes me and Life is unfair.
So the young man went through the four questions:
- Is it true that nobody cares or likes him? The boy replied that it is true because his parents ignored him, his teacher did not choose him and his friend refused to play with him?
- Is is absolutely true that nobody cares or likes him in the world? The boy was not so sure.
- How does it feel, how do you react, what happens when you believe that nobody likes him or cares for him? The boy said that he felt very bad, lonely, rotten, uncared for.
- How does it feel if you are not thinking the thought that nobody likes you or cares for you? How would you feel if you do not believe that thought? The boy said that he would feel very happy and joyful.
Then suddenly, the boy realised that what was making him sad and grumpy was his thinking about his parents, friend and teacher and not the teacher, friend or parents themselves. That was a major breakthrough. It is all in my thinking.
Now the young man asked him to turnaround that negative thought that nobody likes him or cares for him; i.e somebody likes him or cares for him. He asked him to think of three examples. The boy thought:
- Parents: They kiss me, they hug me, they tell me stories.
- Teacher: She teaches me a lot of things, she helped me draw and helped me use the iPad.
- Friend: He eats lunch with me, he saves a seat for me on the bus and shares his toys with me.
The young man went a step further and asked him to think of another turnaround: I care for and like everybody or I care for and like somebody. The boy could easily think of that and find three examples.
The little boy then said: I can think of another turnaround: I care for and like myself.
I will always find whether my bad thoughts are true or not. But I already know they never are.
So, does this make things clearer. I hope so.
Remember, freedom is only a question away.
– inspired by the works of Byron Katie