Whatever is occurring in physical manifestation at any moment is “What is”. The way that we perceive and interpret what is occurring is what creates our experience of life. This unique spin is formulated by our conditioning. Our conditioning comes from the way our parents, teachers, and other authorities reacted to and taught us about life experiences. Their stories came from their parental and authority influences and so on…Many other factors may also contribute to the creation of our conditioning but the important point to realize is that we see through the filter of this conditioning and add our unique combination of interpretations to everything that happens in our lives. No matter how popular or accepted our point of view may be, it is still only our spin. To quote Shakespeare, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
We live in a self-created illusion, a story we tell ourselves and believe with all our hearts. This is what creates our suffering. It also gives us meaning, but we become slaves to this meaning. We hate in the name of our stories. We kill to uphold our stories. Our stories cause sickness and depression. Whichever way we see or spin "what is", whether we designate it good or bad, we are being manipulated and driven by our fears of losing or not getting our “cravings and aversions’, as the Buddha said. The degree to which we are attached to our stories is the extent to which we are not free. Dropping our stories can seem impossible or frightening. What would happen to us if we had no story? Would we still exist?
One way to begin to see through these filters of conditioning is to put our beliefs through an inquiry. A powerful inquiry which Byron Katie teaches in four questions, goes like this: 1) Is it true? 2) Can I absolutely know that it is true? 3) How do I react when I think that thought? 4) Who would I be without the thought? Eckhart Tolle says these questions of Byron Katie’s… “acts like a razor sharp sword that cuts through that illusion and enables you to know for yourself the timeless essence of your being. Joy, peace, and love emanate from it as your natural state.”
Imagine being free from the illusion and being in a state of joy, peace and love. Byron Katie says the only beliefs which we need to inquire about are the ones that cause us suffering. After doing her work for over ten years, I can attest to the fact that there IS something much greater than our stories and our beliefs. Our stories become increasingly boring and limiting as we begin to become free of them. After all, whose story do you want to live, the limited version of your conditioning which came from other’s beliefs around you or the expansive timeless essence of your being in your natural state, in which “joy, peace, and love emanate”? I’ll take the latter!