What We Don’t Need

SmPinkFlowersI love Pema Chodron. She has a way of making things seem simple. She says we cause our own misery. I’m guilty. I’ve turned perfectly harmless situations into what I think is terrible. Then I feel awful. I get so focused on how life affects me or others that I lose sight of what is really happening.

I don’t think anyone sets out to be miserable.  But we create it when we insist things are right or wrong, good or bad. In those moments we’re biased, rigid, narrow-minded. We start believing ideas we’ve heard from others or fabricate some on our own. Our thoughts are like fairytales (or sometimes nightmares) that we’ve convinced ourselves are real. This is what causes our misery.

So why do we twist events into things they aren’t? Pema says we “reify our experiences”; we make abstract things very solid, very real, and this is the true cause of our suffering. It’s never an event, but what we think about the event that determines our happiness. Circumstances are not going to change because of what we think about them. How much we enjoy life is always determined by what we’re thinking about it.

If you insist on holding on to your thoughts, that’s okay. But know that your beliefs cause torment. Life is exactly as it should be. No one is wrong or right, they’re just living from what they were taught, and what they’re thinking. We don’t need anything to change. We just need to see things in new ways. Take a look.

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