Real But Not True

I discovered a very simple and powerful thought that’s helping me find my way back to the present moment. It’s the notion that thoughts and their underlying beliefs are real but not true.

Psychologist and Meditation Teacher Tara Brach explains this wonderfully: “[Thoughts/beliefs] are appearing, they come with a very real and painful experience of fear or hurt or shame in our bodies. But they are interpretations of reality, mental images and soundbites we have produced that represent the world and entrap us in a confining trance. They are not truth itself.”

According to Tara, our core beliefs are often based on our early and most potent fears. The greater the stress or trauma we experienced, the greater likelihood of deeply rooted fear-based beliefs.

For example, imagine you’re a child asking your mother a lot of questions. She responds to a lot of your questions but ignores others. She may be having a bad day and may yell at you and tell you to stop asking so many questions.

You may not remember these incidents when you’re older but these memories may influence the way you behave in certain situations. For instance, you may be reluctant to ask questions because you think people will get annoyed or question your intelligence.

When we believe that thoughts are real but not true, we can better manage the impact of these fear-based beliefs. We can rid ourselves of these outdated observations that halt our curiosity.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

I’m writing this from Beijing. Just 2 days ago, I was climbing the Great Wall of China. And days before that, I was at the Forbidden City with thousands of other tourists marveling at the architecture. Though despite these precious experiences, I still found myself giving energy to made-up worries. Worries for work that hasn’t yet started, things I said and things I wanted to do.

The strange thing is that this stress felt like home. I was able to recognize myself through the stress. This led me to a fascinating thought — wherever you go, there you are. There are no shortcuts to finding inner peace. It requires hours upon hours of mental training.

Continue reading “Wherever You Go, There You Are”

Four Minutes of Gratitude Challenge

I challenge you to take 4 minutes of your day to say thanks. I guarantee it will set a positive foundation for the rest of your day. Close your eyes and look inwards or write in a journal.

Be thankful for your health, the love that surrounds you, your support figures. Food, warmth, lodging. The hardships you’ve faced and conquered. The task you recently completed.

When we take something for granted, we’re devastated when we lose it. When we can count our blessings we appreciate the smell, taste and texture of every moment.