This has been a year of staggering change for me. On the level of the story that is. On the level of BEING… everything is exactly as it ever was, nothing has changed at all.
Have you ever noticed that?
That in the midst of all seeming chaos or even all seeming loveliness, there is something in you that is unmoved. It's that very same thing that makes you say things like, "I'm _____ age? I don't feel ____ age!". Because there is something of you that knows nothing of that. It knows nothing of "time" or of "age" or of "beauty". It knows nothing of "richness" or "poorness" or "bad" or "good".
It knows, simply, undeniably, that it IS. As it is.
Then thought comes in and paints a grand drama, an epic saga of life for "me"!! ;) With lots of plot twists and turns, and lots of reasons, and meanings and who's and why's and what-for's. And that is every bit a part of what IS, but it's just the play, it overlays the BEING that is always here, knowing itself as this play.
I used to believe I was the "thinker", that I was somehow affecting this play, and that I could change my thoughts, and fix "myself" by choosing different thoughts, that I could be "better" or "wiser" or more "successful" or what have you. And then one day I saw that that was a belief that was simply not true.
Can you stop thoughts from coming? Can you stop them in their tracks? Can you choose to only think comforting pink fluffy happy thoughts? If you could, why on earth wouldn't you? Of course we all would if we could! Can you choose what thoughts you believe and don't believe, or do you just believe certain thoughts until you DON'T (and then you say, why did I believe that so long?). Can you predict your next thoughts? Can you choose to never think an unhappy thought again? Check it out for yourself. I mean really look.
At this point thought might say something like, "yah, but sometimes I can control it and sometimes not" -- and if you look again, isn't that just another thought that is saying that sometimes thoughts match up with what (another) thought says is "right", and sometimes it does not? Isn't "sometimes I can control, and sometimes I can't control" really actually mean no control? For example: if NASA built a test rocket ship and said "We absolutely control this ship. Sometimes it does what we want, and sometimes it bursts into flames, we have no way of knowing which it will be at what time" - would that be considered control?
Is it not true that thoughts just show up, seemingly out of nowhere, and no "control" over them can truly be found? Check this out. Really check this out. It is a tough pill to swallow, I know, but it's the most liberating thing I've ever seen.
This belief that we are somehow deciding what thoughts show up to us, and whether or not they are believed, is the dirt on the back of this elephant. Sure, it seems to be cooling, and quite needed for awhile, but eventually... it has to come off.
When I believed this I was a constant failure to myself. Why couldn't I stop or change the thoughts that came? What was wrong with me?? Why had I done this or that?? What was I "thinking"?? Why couldn't I eat the way they eat? Why couldn't I choose a career like they did? Just look at the immense SHAME this belief creates, when you believe you are the thinker of thoughts, and the thoughts and subsequent actions don't match up with the picture thought says is "best", there is a great deal of pain and a feeling of unworthiness that continues no matter how much "self-help" you do.
Really and sincerely looking into the nature of thought is like shaking the elephant. When the elephant shakes hard enough… you begin to see the ghost.
The ghost of something you thought you were, or could do. The ghost of thought, and its constant stories. It's utterly insubstantial, those thoughts… but the elephant (that which you are) is the beauty that is always here… even as the ghost swirls around it.
The difference is that when you truly see this, you realize you are always free… no matter what thoughts are visiting, and no matter what the thoughts are saying, and no matter what emotions are felt as a seeming result, there is never a time when you are not whole or free. They can say what they will, they can play out their story, they are just part of the unfolding grand EXPERIENCE of life.
You are not a "thing" IN life, YOU ARE LIFE… this sweet unrepeatable ride of the tides, with all its hardship and all its glory. It will break your heart to a thousand pieces, and make it shine like a thousand suns. You can't hang on to any of it. It's constantly slipping through your fingers, and that is what makes it so absolutely precious. This incredibly astounding, utterly amazing, absolute privilege of an ORDINARY LIFE.
It takes a great deal of courage to shake the elephant. To see if this really works the way you thought it worked. To see if you really are who you believed yourself to be. You should NEVER take anyone's word for ANYTHING, you should always look for yourself.
Yours is the heart that has the answers… every answer you've ever looked for… you're the ONE. What do you find in the still of your being? What does it know, beyond concepts?
That is where the veil burns thin, and life becomestruly, (madly, deeply) alive.