Maybe it’s been so long since you started to walk this path, that you don’t even remember what it was like to live without being aware of the thoughts dwelling in your mind.
Once we become aware of the thoughts we have, we cannot simply “shut off” this awareness and pretend they don’t affect the way we feel and experience life.
Self-knowledge is a path that, when initiated, has no turning back. There is no way to “undo knowledge”, there is no way to ignore the existence of our mind and our constant prerogative of choice.
Even if we don’t have peace as a priority, we know that everything we feel is due to the choices we have made. That is, circumstances, people, and facts do not have the power to influence what we feel. Our thoughts direct the way we experience the world.
At the end of my holidays, I came across a situation in which I noticed that I was very irritated. It was with a person I liked a lot, but who at that moment was bringing up some sort of irritation in me. As the situation unfolded, I thought, “This has nothing to do with the person in front of me. It’s my decision. Why is this making me so angry? Why don’t I choose differently? What do I need to learn from this situation?”
I could not get rid of the whirlwind of thoughts in my mind, and when the situation was over, I went to sleep upset, in a bad mood and frustrated because I knew I had so many tools and still wasn’t able to choose love in a seemingly simple situation.
I woke up in the middle of the night and it was still pounding in my mind. It got to a point where I shouted (silently – laughter): “Stop the world, I want to get off! I need a break from this spirituality business, and from now on, I no longer want to pay attention to my inner world.
It took me a while before I could see that I was very unloving and unkind to myself.
I remembered once hearing the words “where there is kindness, the ego cannot be” and then I understood that the ego was the director of my mental scene. I realized that it was not the exercise of being aware of my thoughts that was upsetting me, but my judgments about myself not doing it “properly.”
My only responsibility was to understand how I was feeling, not judge myself for thinking that I should not or could not feel that way. That was when I experienced a beautiful miracle in a deep moment of self-forgiveness when I embraced myself and understood that sometimes I still chose fear like in that situation, but that it was okay. I just had to be aware that there was a possibility to choose differently, even if that still wasn’t the case.
The next day, I met the same person and was confronted with the same situation, but this time, I was able to look at that person and be truly grateful that he made me understand such a profound lesson. The point, unlike what I imagined, was to be able to accept myself, with all my limitations. Then, from this loving and kind space, I was able to embrace the person with all my attention and presence and understand that he was asking for love not only for himself, but for me as well.
by Juliana Kurokawa