Why do so many people choose pain? For example, someone chooses relationships with abusive partners, one after the other. Or someone carries around the burden of anger and hatred for another who they believe wronged them. Or it could be minor where someone feels unappreciated for whatever reason. We see examples all around us of people suffering needlessly. It is said that we do not suffer from things we do not know. We suffer from things we KNOW that just aren’t so.
I don’t believe anyone consciously chooses pain, but the choices they make appear to make no sense in light of the fact that other choices could end the pain. So why, do people choose pain when other choices would liberate them?
First of all, people do not intentionally choose pain, to do so would be insane. But when controlled by their thinking, they really have no choice. They believe they are their thoughts (their conditined mind). So choices are really not choices at all. Their ‘choices’ are controlled by their conditioned mind. The ability to truly “choose” depends on how conscious a person is at the time of ‘choice’. True choice can only come to a fully conscious mind.
Many or even MOST people live life in a completely unconscious state. They believe they are their mind or their thinking. A real awakening takes place only when they realize they are not their mind or their thoughts. We are the ‘witness’ or the ‘watcher’ behind the thinking. When we finally realize thoughts come and go of their own accord without our own volition, we begin to awaken. Not to be able to stop thinking is an affliction and almost everyone is suffering from it.
Many live with a tormentor in their heads that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. It causes untold unhappiness and even desease. One of the best books ever written about the unconscious mind is Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now. He asks the question; “Can you be free of your mind whenever you want to? Have you found the ‘off’ button?”
He further explains if you cannot free yourself from thinking….”Then the mind is using you. You are unconsciously identified with it, so you don’t even know that you are its slave. Its almost as if you were possessed without knowing it, and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself. The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity – the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.”
As the watcher or witness, begin watching the steady stream of thought as it rolls through your mind. Don’t judge it, rather watch it as an unattached observer, You will find that most of these thoughts are repetitive and useless. These thoughts will cover the present moment with worry and fear. These thoughts will keep you constantly in the past or future….never in the present moment which is the seat of all action. These thoughts will beckon you to solve perceived problems in the future. You can never solve perceived problems in the future. But your mind will tell you that you can and will occupy you endlessly with scenerios that drain your energy. The past is gone, your repetitive thoughts about it accomplish nothing. The seat of action is in the present moment of now.
To the thinking mind (the egoic mind), the present hardly exists. The past and the future are its playground. The present moment is not important and is only a step to the future or a step away from the past. The mind is essentially a survival machine. It is good at attack and defense against other minds. It is good at gathering, analyzing and storing information, but it is not creative. Creativity comes at times of mental quietude. Einstein said thinking: “plays only a subordinate part in the brief, decisive phase of the creative act itself.”
When you find you are suffering from endless thinking, bring yourself into awareness of this present moment. Ask yourself, “In this present moment, what is lacking?” The answer is always….. nothing. The present moment is your shelter. It is where you find peace and harmony. It is where you will handle anything that comes into your life. You have solved all your problems in a moment of now. When you are fully present inspiration will come to you, peace is there. Practice being in the now. Feel your breath, focus on it. See the beauty around you. Be grateful. When we are fully present and only when we are fully present can we truly make choices.
Eckhart Tolle in his closing chapter writes; “Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity. They happen because there is not enough presence in you to dissolve the past, not enogh light to dispel the darkness. You are not fully here. You have not quite woken up yet. In the meantime, the conditioned mind is runing your life.”
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