People relate all events that effect them in any way as if they have come to be just for them, as if it has not only anything, but everything to do with you. We indirectly believe that God, the universe, or other people are doing what they do specifically just for us.
Stop imagining that you are the centre of the universe. If it was not you, it would be someone else. It is just the body that is there at the time which receives the effects of the event. Accounting for rare exceptions, it has nothing to do with you personally.
We often see a movie in which some event happens, or in real life, a natural disaster, and the effected people cry to God and ask why is this happening to them.
Lao Tzu taught in the Tao Te Ching about how to view reality. I use the example of the tree falling. If you put your tent under a tree that is old and dead, and the tree falls on your head, it is foolish to ask why this happened to you, yet that is what people do. “Why did this happen to me?” “Why did you do this to me?” The reality is that it could have been anyone.
A tree will fall. If you are unconscious of events that are indicating things are about to happen, or unaware of the current conditions, then you will not think before you act and things will happen. At the time of an event, you can accept responsibility for your actions and choices and ignorance and lack of effort, or you can blame God. It is much easier to blame God or the government of course.
The fact is that all things will happen, earthquakes and natural disasters to humans are a normal part of nature and life of the planet. We live on a living being. The planet is alive in the sense that it is a moving being. It grows as the molten levels below the surface crust are boiling and flowing which shifts the surface plates, it has moods which we call seasons, it has ice ages and warm ages, it is alive in that it is in a constant state of geological movement and change. There are sea shell fossils in the rocky mountains 10,000 feet above sea level, and we are concerned about the ocean rising as if that is something new.
You Kill Millions Daily
Do you think about the millions of cells you kill every time you scratch your body? Yet in fact, with every scratch, it is a natural disaster in which millions of cells are killed. Or with every step you take in the grass or forest, countless bugs are squished. We quickly, easily and without thought, kill thousands of creatures a day, accidentally as well as consciously, yet we never stop to acknowledge the disaster that it is to that colony.
Spiritual humility is to remove arrogance and replace it with a realistic view that all things exist and we are merely interacting with each thing. Each thing has as much right by the law of nature to do what it does based on what it is, meaning its need of food, its growth and death and its instincts. The law of nature is to eat and be eaten, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The one who eats or chooses not to eat is the stronger. We have the option to raise our individual selves to a level at which we can avoid being consumed by the events which effect us.
When we take up residence in the mountains, and a bear rummages through our rubbish or comes in the house to get some food, we forget that we are in its neighbourhood. The bear didn’t pick your house to pick on you, rather you put your house in his. So who is to blame? When you go to someone’s house, or country, it is their rules that you must follow, be that man in nature, or going to another culture or planet.
Objective view of reality, that is what brings freedom and happiness.
Things happen, and if you get hurt by things, then take responsibility for making the mistake rather than blaming others.
When the storm is over, the sky clears, that is nature. If you look outside, you will see that a storm is coming and take shelter. If you stay outside with your golf club, holding it in the air as the lightning storm hits, then you deserve to get struck. Do what must be done and when it is over, move on. This last sentence can bring you complete peace and balance in your life.
Now we must look at how we can, as individuals, avoid as much trouble as possible. The reason behind our getting into the middle of trouble is due to lack of awareness. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have acted differently.”
Our goal in this case is to develop the quality of awareness to see what is going to happen as much as possible. You will never be able to avoid all troubles, but at least you can avoid some. To be aware is to be awake. If you examine your thoughts through the day, you will find that 99% of the time you are not conscious of what is going on around you. This is being in a conscious sleep. Our goal is to wake up.
In order to wake up, you must first realise you are asleep. Your greatest strength is in knowing your weaknesses.
The process requires two steps
- To realise you are asleep by constant self observation and testing.
- To do the exercises to maintain a conscious wakeful attention at all times.
To achieve the second step takes great devotion. The only way to get that devotion is to be fed up enough with your present state and condition. Let me know when you are ready.
When you realize it is not all about you, then you cannot get insulted or hurt.
It is the way you are letting your mind work. You get upset by things when they have nothing to do with you in reality.
You only get upset when you take it personally and think it is related to you, when nothing is in fact ever related to you. That attitude is the self-centred ego, the nafs is what we shall call it. Even if you can convince yourself that someone at work is deliberately and specifically attacking you, that negates the other persons life and troubles and pains that make them attack. The most dangerous animal to approach is one that is caught in a trap, it will bite the one who approaches to set it free.
Everything is just going on, whether you are part of it or not, so it has nothing to do with other than you are the body in the place at the time. Realize your insignificance with the exercise of thinking about any situation that you are involved in, at work or in the world, then think about it again but this time, remove yourself from the scenario, once with replacing someone else you respect and then without you or anyone in the part you played. Play it out the same, same actions same words and see if there is any difference in the result.
This is so simple and obvious, it is only the nafs that is killing you, making you think that you as an individual are the target of what happens or what other people do.
Siddhartha Guatama, the historical Buddha said; “O house-builder! Thou art seen. Thou shalt build no house again.”