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The Inside Story on Stress and Worry

Key Lesson: > The smaller the mind, the bigger the problem.

Free Yourself From False Suffering

We may deny that we value our aches, but on the other hand, we think about them all the time. We have yet to recognize the fact that our thinking about any painful event as something real, solid and unavoidable is one of the conditions that perpetuate it. Take one thing out of the mix of elements that make up any moment in life, and it is no longer the same event. When we stop giving our life energy to any moment which seems overpowering, it loses its illusion of power. In that moment is also lost our prior belief that we have to submit to its punishment.

This shows us that no negative state or event has any individual, independent existence. We can begin to free ourselves from the event when we understand the truth about its power over us. Until now, we thought from our suffering instead of toward our suffering. Now, however, because of our new understanding, we can see through our suffering instead of through its eyes. And what a world of difference this distinction makes!

What we see is that our perception produces what we experience, and our experience is made up of many different small elements that by themselves mean nothing. When our perception combines and organizes these events, and connects itself to them through an expectation or desire, the thing takes on a kind of life. It appears to us as a whole, dark, permanent entity that has the power to hurt us, but it isn't that at all. It's only a confluence of events that has conditional dependence, and the primary condition that gives it power is our perception. When all these conditions are stirred up and "baked in a cake," that cake has reality to us. But in fact, the cake is made up of individual facts that will simply pass if we let them.

Why have we not seen this for ourselves? Why have we not let those facts just pass by without grabbing onto them? It's because we have become so used to being in a storm, we aren't at all sure who we are without something to suffer over. As strange as it may seem, we welcome the painful experience because it makes us feel real. But who is it who feels real? It's the false self -- the intimate enemy.

Can you see what good news this is for those of us who wish to free ourselves from false suffering and find the higher life? It means that all those conditions that seemed so real and painful are just the creation of faulty perception. Our belief that the event had the power to hurt us is what made it so punishing and continued its existence, but now we understand that if the events are left to themselves, they must move on. The expression "This too shall pass" is now revealed in all its wisdom. Every temporary coming together of events must pass as long as we don't keep it going through our own thoughts.

The bitter cake can't exist if one of the ingredients is displaced. In our own lives, we have kept the achy cake baking; but now that we see the facts, we no longer need to be a victim of our own misunderstanding. We can inwardly say to that suffering state, "You are not a power. You only feel like one. The knots in my life that have me all tied up have no power over me outside of my own misperception. That misperception put the stone in my shoe, but now I will learn to see things as they really are."

Now that we know negative events are not powerful in themselves, we can turn away from what we perceive as permanent punishment toward what can be called permanent pleasure. This is the same thing as turning toward Truth.

This article is excerpted from Who Put That Stone In My Shoe?.

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