FREE YOUR MIND #4 – Achievement isn’t what you think it is

Gratitude, compassion and clarity are not accomplishments. But you could easily think they are when you read books, blogs and articles or listen to podcasts.

For example, I often hear people say that compassion is a skill we have to learn and that gratitude is a feeling we have to practise and cultivate.
But the truth is that these feelings are natural human qualities that arise effortlessly when our minds are free and unburdened.

Surely it’s not that easy I hear you ask! Some people are impossible to work with right?  Some situations surely require the patience of a saint.

I used to think this way. And I used to wish I could be more patient or tolerant with others and even with myself. I thought my lack of patience was just my personality or in my genes.

Then I learned more about how the mind really works. I discovered that there’s only ever ONE thing that gets in the way of our natural compassion, understanding and connection with others.  And that one thing is an innocent misunderstanding of where our feelings and perceptions come from and what generates them.

As human beings, we tend to believe that our state of mind (feelings,mood, perceptions) can be driven by a multitude of factors including :-

  • Other people’s behaviour
  • Our financial status
  • The weather
  • Environment
  • The past
  • The future

But the only way that we can experience any emotion or perception, is via our own thinking. There is no such thing as an ‘irritating’ person.   The only way we can experience someone in that way, is because we are thinking thoughts that give us the perception/feeling that we describe as irritated. Like a movie projector, we project our thoughts onto a person or a situation. And because thought instantly creates feelings and perceptions, we either don’t realise or we forget that the felt experience we are having in that moment is coming from our own thinking and not the person or situation.

Do you know people that seem endlessly patient while others seem to get frustrated really quickly?  Have you ever heard the same boss or colleague being described one way by one person and differently by another?  Have you ever noticed that your level of patience with a person or situation can differ depending on the mood that you are in?

The inconsistencies of feelings and behaviour are always explained by the same thing – our understanding of where we think our feelings and experience are coming from.

Notice that when your mind is not full of unkind or impatient thoughts, what’s left is love and understanding.
And notice that when your mind isn’t full of thoughts about what is missing or what is wrong with your life, you feel grateful or content.

There is no situation, person or circumstance that has the power to make you feel a particular way. It just isn’t possible.  And as you see this more and more for yourself, you’ll automatically stop blaming people or situations for your feelings/ state of mind.  Or you’ll stop being dependent on people or situations for those good feelings that you want to experience as you realise they are already within you.

There are many things that you can achieve in life but your own feelings are not on that list.  You already have those unconditionally. Knowing this, will free you from the mental clutter of misunderstanding and from this space, you can more easily achieve those things that are most meaningful to you.

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