The most ridiculous question you can ask is, “Do you believe in God?”
Why ridiculous, well it would be like asking, “Do you to believe in music?”
When I ask my clients if they believe in music, you should see the puzzled look on their face.
It would be absurd to think that you can believe in music because music is an experience it has nothing to do with what we believe or don’t believe, it has nothing to do with what’s happening in your mind.
Music and God are experiences.
But…and this is a very big but, for most us our identities, our definition of self, is created in the mind.
It’s all about belief.
I am a good person or a bad person, I like Republicans or Democrats, I’m a caring mother a bad employee, a brilliant entrepreneur, I’m worthwhile because I’ve made a lot of money or I’m successful or I’m a failure.
These are all ideas.
The curse that René Descartes left us, was his statement “I think therefore I am.” (Of course if I am to be consistent with previous arguments I have made, it’s also a blessing in multiple ways.)
Our identities are so locked into what we think, that our question about God – and just about everything else – is based on a belief system.
My observation is that when people have a religious or spiritual experience, it’s not about what they believe, it’s just that, an experience, just like the experience of listening to music.
Trying to access God through belief, through the mind is like trying to get a TV picture on a portable radio.
The mind is a very useful tool, it has created the extraordinary technologically sophisticated world in which we live and it is a great problem solver and creator of new things and it totally brilliant at doing that, but for the rest it’s a disaster. The mind is largely speaking clueless at working with emotions and it has no way to truly understand or connect with God.
Most atheists and agnostics have come to their conclusions through their minds. If my argument is correct, then their conclusions have no foundation in reality.
The mind can’t do reality. It can only do thinking.
How The Mind Lies
I watch these wonderful documentaries by Ben Vogel who travels around the world interviewing people who live in remote areas. I watched one recently about a family living in the middle of nowhere in Namibia. The camera follows the farmer on a hunting trip to kill a Gemsbok with his rifle. One such animal will feed him and his family for 6 months.
It’s a matter of survival.
A Gemsbok is a really, really beautiful animal.
So I watched my mind going into major resistance against this killing.
But I happily ate lamb chops for lunch that day and in fact really enjoyed them.
Had I watched a video of the sheep being slaughtered in an abattoir – far worse and more cruel conditions than the way in which the Namibian Gemsbok was killed – I probably wouldn’t have been able to eat my lunch.
We psychologists call this repression or denial. These mechanisms enable us to lie to ourselves.
My mind was lying to me when I was enjoying the lamb chops by pretending that the horrific conditions in abattoirs didn’t exist.
Was it also then lying to me when I was horrified by the killing of the Gemsbok?
If you’ve ever been in intimate relationships you will know that you fall in love with someone and you think that they best thing in the world and after six weeks you start to find everything that is wrong with them and then if you manage to stay with them long enough, things that you thought were awful about them become okay or even lovable.
The mind changes, it unreliable, it’s a liar.
I met a wonderful yogi once who said, “The mind always argues in its own favour.”
Which means that the mind believes something because it is useful or makes it feel good rather than because it’s true.
If you’ve read any of my blogs before you will know that I often say that our fantasies about life are the biggest cause of our suffering.
Fantasies reflect quite simply the lies that the mind tells us. I’ve also talked about excitement being a fantasy. Any business deal or person or event that you got very excited about is a lie if that excitement isn’t matched by reality. And that is the case, in my experience, most of the time.
Many people know the pain of going through a romantic lie whether around personal or business issues and then they retreat to the opposite extreme, cynicism.
Cynicism Is Also A Lie.
To put it another way, from the romantic position nothing is as good as we think it is and from the cynical position nothing is as bad as we think it is. If we don’t see this we are lying to ourselves.
There is a wonderful story told to me by my first therapist 35 years ago.
There is this a farmer living in a far-off country and one day a magical horse arrives on his property.
All the neighbours say, “Oh you are so lucky”. And the man says, “Good luck… Bad luck…I don’t know.”
And then one day his son is out riding on the magical horse and he falls off and breaks his leg and everybody says, “Oh that is such bad luck.”
And the man says, “Good luck… Bad luck…I don’t know.”
Then war breaks out and all able-bodied men are called up to go and fight but the son of the farmer has a broken leg so he can’t go and all the neighbours say, “Oh you are so lucky that your son has a broken leg.”
You know the reply.
It is the mind that is thinking, “This is so exciting, it’s such good luck, oh, this is so depressing this is such bad luck.”
It’s all a bunch of lies.
How many times in your life have you been really anxious about some event, a talk you had to give, a new project, the outcome of a conflict that needed resolving and when the event arrived it was absolutely fine. All of your anxious thoughts were lies and you believed them!
I had a client last week talk about his immense anxiety about a business project. This week he tells me, “Oh it fizzled!”
He didn’t say to me, “I’m just amazed at how my anxiety was a total lie!”
You couldn’t wait to get the new job, car, house, relationship and 3 weeks after getting it, there was zero gratitude for it, or maybe just moments, nothing like the fantasy of having it.
I find it utterly astonishing that we can go on doing this, over and over and over again, and still we believe that the mind is telling us the truth.
Have you ever watched a movie and been horrified when someone gets killed. You know it’s just someone acting, but your mind lies to you and you freak out.
You watch another action-disaster movie for the second time. You know the hero isn’t going to die when confronted by dark forces, but you get anxious. You know it’s a movie, you know it’s not real and you know the outcome, yet you still get anxious.
Our gullibility is overwhelming.
Can you see how you do this same thing every day of your life?!
A Basic Premise
My basic premise is that if you buy into reality – as opposed to fantasy – you are going to have a more peaceful and happy life. Stop believing the lies, start to smile at your mind at the games it plays, see through the delusions and illusions it projects onto experience and you start to transform your experience.
I know I sound glib when I say this, my apologies.
It’s hard work.
What makes this difficult to do is the depth of our conditioning that makes us fantasize and lie and how this has corresponding energies in the body.
If you’ve always been frightened of public speaking that fear is deeply embedded in the mind and the body and the instantaneous response in the body/mind is going to take some work to dislodge.
Just reading the truth about the lies here is unlikely to do it.
Hundreds Of Times
Hundreds of times a day, your mind is saying, “I must have that chocolate, I must read this FB post, I must have the answer to this question, I daren’t be late.”
It’s all lies.
Start to see the truth of this and you are free.
In fact, feeling into the truth of this will enable you to begin to discover what is there, beyond the mind.
I have this weird diet.
I can’t eat any fruit.
I haven’t had any for 5 years.
I love fruit.
My partner Sue is on a detox and I’m cutting open this beautiful, truly beautiful (Can you feel the lie coming?) pawpaw which she is going to have for dinner.
In the old days I used to just adore pawpaw and banana smoothies.
I’m intoxicated with the picture of how it tastes.
So where is the lie?
If I had a pawpaw now it would actually taste incredible, that’s true, but only for about 10 minutes. Slowly I would become accustomed to the pleasure and it would recede.
I don’t really have to have pawpaw now!
There is a complication here.
Isn’t there always.
When our body is out of sync we may crave sweetness because we lack nutrition in some form and research has shown that under stress, the body craves sweetness and carbs. The craving may be an out of alignment, an imbalance that needs fixing. How to find that and fix it…another tricky journey.
If you would like to meet face to face or via Skype to discuss this, drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org