Our lives are lived inside a score of assumptions acquired through conditioned, adopted belief structures. We tend to automatically project these assumptions onto the world and people around us. Whether we tend to easily change our minds about what we believe to be so, or stubbornly hold onto what we think, the solidity of our current experience generally seems unquestionable.
Reality only manifests for us in concert with our assumptions and attendant feelings.
Believing Assumptions Are Knowable
Irrespective of the specific beliefs to which we subscribe, the core, underlying belief driving our assumptions is that they are “knowable” – that is, we tend automatically presuppose that we recognize and know what is true and real. This is particularly true when we like what’s happening. When we’re satisfied and fulfilled, we’re not concerned with what we are thinking, or the veracity of our thoughts. Rather than analyzing what is happening, we just enjoy our experience.
But as soon as we’re unhappy or stressed, our thoughts can preoccupy us, magnifying in our minds. At such times, we typically take our thoughts very seriously. We listen to and struggle with what we think, uncertain about what is or isn’t true, yet attaching ourselves to certain belief, assuming they reflect the truth.
Essential Wisdom Teachings: The Way to Inner Peace
Peter & Penny Fenner
- Self-Awareness (also called Mindfulness)
Ability to observe what we are experiencing.
Ability to relate to ourselves with understanding.
Ability to be present with both pleasant and painful feelings.
Ability to respond to ourselves with warmth and caring.
- Wise Self-Care
Ability to act in ways that promote our long-term well-being and happiness.
Wise self-care extends beyond any narrow conception of self-interest and leads us toward being compassionate to others. Taking care of ourselves, we take care of others. And, taking care of others, we take care of ourselves.
This Difficult Thing of Being Human: The Art of Self-Compassion
How can we expect to deepen in understanding if we do not live an ethical life? Living without integrity, we endlessly create the conditions for unpleasant mind states and feelings to arise.
A commitment to integrity is a commitment to living a life without residues, a life of loving kindness and freedom. Words, thought, and actions of loving kindness and integrity leave no trace of regret in our minds and hearts.
The Buddhist Path to Simplicity
If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.
Boredom is never a description of reality, but a description of a state of mind superimposed upon reality. Boredom is often a surrender of sensitivity, clouding our capacity to see, listen to, and touch each moment as if we have never encountered it before.
The antidote to boredom is not more sounds, sensations, and experiences, but recovering our capacity to see anew each moment. The world we think we know, the people we think know, the sights and sounds we have encountered countless times before, come alive in new ways each moment we give them our wholehearted attention.
The Buddhist Path to Simplicity