So if I meet this person that you've just come up in your mind that you like or the person you dislike, my mind, again, behind the surface creates a different story. It kind of constructs the person. If you said they're a good person and I went into this and my mind, in the same way, the color projects all those attributes and stories of who that person is, and when my mind does that, if it's a person you dislike and I've been given that news from you, I kind of get a bad feeling. And since I don't know that I'm thinking, it seems as if this is real and my feeling is a direct interpretation of actually who this person is or isn't at the same time.
It's kind of like the story of my friend, John. Now, my friend John worked at this legal firm in England, and they had a secretary, and she had to go away on maternity leave, so they replaced her for nine months to a year with a new girl. We'll say that her name is Jean. Now, Jean had just come out of school. She was 18. She was very pretty, had an amazing energy and really, really was excellent at her job. Everyone loved her. She was so quick. She responded to emails quickly, and she bought everyone coffee and doughnuts every morning. Everyone loved her and secretly they kind of wished that she had stayed with the company and that the other lady, we'll call her Janet, wouldn't come back but would have a happy life with her new child.
Then one day my friend John's friend, Jack, came in, and Jack came to take him to lunch. He was from another company. And as they went to lunch, Jack said, "Hey, John, you know that secretary you've got?" And John goes, "Oh, yeah, Jean, she's really great. Everyone loves her. She's great at her job. She's so happy. She's so cheery. She's easy on the eye. She brings us doughnuts in every day. Everyone loves her. Secretly we hope that Janet never comes back but she has a happy, healthy life with her daughter, her new child." And Jack says to John, "Yeah, she used to work for my wife's company and she embezzled the company out of £10,000 for the charity fund." In that moment, John's opinion on Jean instantaneously changed with that new piece of information even though he hadn't seen it for himself. That's how malleable our experiences are. The illusions that we see through and how quickly our mind can change about certain things.
The thing is we're not seeing people for who they are, we're really seeing their stories being projected from our minds on top of them from the information that we've gathered up to that point. We're not truly seeing them, it's an illusion that you'll be introduced to at that moment.
It's kind of like you walking into a school when you were a youngster and you had a crush on somebody, prince charming or the prom queen, and you really had a major crush on them. And when they came towards you, you almost had butterflies in your stomach and you started to feel certain things. Almost imagine they had some kind of a magical spell. Yet when the same person walked over to your friend, your friend would have absolutely no feeling whatsoever. And this went on maybe for many months, many years in school.
And then years later, you had other relationships and you're walking down a street and perhaps you see that prince charming or you see that prom queen, you see him through a different lens because you see him from different experiences now. And you might say to yourself, "Oh my God, I can't believe I ever had such a crush on that person. I don't see him that way at all anymore. Oh, my God, I can't believe I actually had a real crush, really liked, really fell in love with that person." That's not who I am anymore. It was all a psychological illusion, a game you played inside your own head. Now, what was happening is, your mind was making up a different story when you were at school to a different story many years later. It's still the same person, your mind is projecting different stories and you're seeing him through different lens.
For example, if you have the label of, "I have low self-esteem," then essentially it's the same thing. You know, your mind will make up who you are. You know, this guy over here is called Casper and he has good feelings, and this guy over here is John and I have neutral feelings for him, and this guy over here is Stan [SP] and has bad feelings, right? It's just different stories being projected on different people in different moments. It's the same with your feelings and the labels you have for yourself.
Now, in the same way your mind will make up stories about Casper or John, when you're in a low mood, your mind will make up stories about how you feel, all the horrible things that have ever happened to you and why you suck and why the world sucks and why things aren't going your way and why you're such a loser, yadda yadda yadda. But you forget that you're thinking. You think that it's truly going on, this is truly who you are. But you see, all your feelings come from your thoughts, so your identity with the content of those thoughts are actually changing moment by moment who you are. So you could have goals to make more money, to get in better shape, but if you're still reinforcing the old illusion, your being reinforcing the illusion is identical with those same thoughts. So you'll stay stuck with the low self-esteem, stuck in not being able to make any more money, stuck in able to release weight.
And when that happens, just inside your head allow a warning, warning like a red siren has come up inside your head that you've been identified with the content of your thinking and you've forgotten it's just thinking. It seems as if it's you. It seems as if it's real, but it has nothing to do with who you are. Whoever you think you are in a moment can never be who you truly are. It just can't be. You can't have the concept of understanding who you are. None of us can, because it's a thought, it's an idea. It's a temporary experience that comes and goes. How could it ever be who you truly are?
Now, better thoughts may emerge, too, and if you identify with them, you might get good thought-feelings, but you can't be them either because you have to realize if you stay attached to them, it's just a temporary experience that comes and goes. It's a mistake of monumental proportion to identifying with thoughts and thinking that you're identical with the thought. You're not, you're ever-changing. You're happy one moment, you're sad the next. You're excited one moment, you're angry the next. They're just feelings, and all these feelings come from your thoughts, and your thoughts are in your head, the movies that you play. And even if you don't think you're playing movies, trust me you are, but you're probably just doing it so fast you don't even realize.
And I'd like you to keep listening the way that you'd listen to music. Just kind of bathe in the idea, and I'd like for you to think of a mirror. Just think of a mirror. Think of the nature of a mirror. Now consider a mirror. You know all the stuff that can kind of happen in a mirror, that get completely reflected in a mirror, an ugly face, a confrontation between people shouting, screaming, fighting, a loving couple embracing, a smile, all these things that can be reflected in a mirror. But no matter what gets reflected in that mirror, that mirror never takes a shape or form of that which is reflected. So the mirror doesn't turn ugly or violent. The mirror never takes the shape or form of what's temporarily reflected in the mirror. Otherwise, the mirror would be changing objects all the time, anytime, anything else walked past.
Now, conscious in and of itself is a bit like a mirror. Body sensation appears as consciousness. Thoughts, images, feelings, mood, but consciousness in and of itself never take the form or shape of what it appears. There's an illusion going on that we get angry or that we get scared or anesthetic, not anesthetic, aesthetic, but it's not really the case. Because once you're aware that it's a thought and it can only be a thought, then when you are aware of that feeling of that thought, it can't really be a feeling state. As soon as you become aware of that mood, it can't be identical with the mood because the transitioning experience is a temporary experience and it comes and it goes.
So I'd like to invite you to think of a negative memory from your past, something you wished that turned out differently or something that you'd handled better. Just pick any particular memory like a feeling, an image, something that just hits your consciousness and just allow it to open up. And as you do this, feel it, experience it, I'd like for you to notice you're not identical to the experience. Consciousness is like a mirror, that of which you are aware of, and the thought isn't the feelings and thoughts. It can never be. You're more than that. It's much like when you're meditating and you're breathing, and at some point you realize are you breathing or are you being breathed? The main aspect of being aware of your thoughts and your feelings, being aware of your breathing, means you're more than your thoughts. You're more than your feelings. You're more than your breathing. You're meta to that situation if you will.
I'd like for you to have that experience and notice that you're not identical with your experience, with your feelings, that consciousness is just like a mirror, that which when you're aware of your feelings and thoughts aren't the feelings and thoughts. You are not the feelings and thoughts and you never can be.
Stay Tuned For Part 3 Tomorrow...
Luke Michael Howard PhD
Toronto and Ottawa Clinical Hypnotist