Burning the Paper Tiger
Life is unpredictable. It only lives in the timeless breath of now, but mostly you move through life unaware of your breath or now—lost in the endless gyrations of your mind. As you navigate the ever-changing landscape of your life you can find yourself plodding along following the path that everyone else is following unknowingly a slave to time, desire, pleasure, and control—a slave to your own mind. Liberation is rogue. It is a radical departure from the well-worn path just about everyone on this planet is mindlessly following—a radical shift in consciousness. This shift represents reaching down deep inside crashing through the surface of your mind and all ideas of your soul to muster the uncommon courage to trust the unseen intelligence of your heart. Trusting the unseen is the path of liberation upon which very few tread. What is this unseen intelligence? And how does it end the slavery and even torturous thoughts of your own mind?
Naturally, you tend to trust what you can see, what you can touch, feel, taste, and hear. But strangely the one thing you cannot see that you tend to trust emphatically without question is the endless stream of thoughts flowing like a river through your own mind. All of your thoughts are naturally infused with whatever you perceive and feel through your five senses simultaneously processed by the power of your brain as well as the mysterious consciousness that flows in you and through you. It simply never occurs to you to simply question what is real going on inside your own head. But what exactly is your mind? How does it work? What is really causing your tumultuous relationship with the ever-changing events of your life?
If you don’t know anything about how your mind works, it is only natural to find yourself preoccupied with trying to control the ever-changing events of your life. This powerful survival strategy to get what you want, and keep what you have, keeps you stuck on the treadmill of life only catching an occasional glimpse of the all-illusive happiness you seek. This vain attempt to control the uncontrollable lives in the idea that if you could just get your life moving in the right direction you might gain some iota of happiness, but instead you end up following in the footsteps of everyone else rushing around at break neck speed filling your life with unending activity and all the drama it entails. Like everyone else this limited perspective of your own mind unknowingly keeps your life shallow.
This great trick of your mind traps you in the insidious belief that if you could just change the constantly changing events and people in your life then by some unforeseen miracle you might finally realize happiness, or peace, or love that hopefully will satisfy the gaping grasping void inside that longs for happiness, but is never fully satisfied. This singular belief keeps you stuck on the well-worn path of striving to control your life to produce what you want instead of what you don’t—the endless struggle to attain the holy grail of nirvana—unending happiness. Sadly, this approach simply doesn’t work. It is not even logical. How exactly can your endless attempts to change everything that is constantly changing really produce any sort of contentment, happiness, peace, or love? Just this single question is enough to stop the insanity of your own mind.
The unseen magician of your mind fools you into believing the events and people outside of yourself causes everything you feel, but is this really true? The mind actually has no life apart from your consciousness. If there is no consciousness the mind does not exist. The first time you hear something like this it can be quite a shock. It begins the process of wondering what is really going on in your own head. What is really causing whatever you are feeling?
At first it can seems like it is definitely the events in your life that cause the myriad of your reactions. The natural tendency is to blame someone else or the events unfolding in your life for whatever you might be feeling. It does not appear to have anything to do with you, but in actuality what you are feeling has everything to do with you. Your instant agreement with the thoughts flying in and out of your mind actually generates your emotional responses—not the events unfolding in your life. But this happens so fast it seems to be the other way around—this is the great illusion generated by your mind. It is this lightening fast speed of agreeing with your mind that is the source of all conflict and the roller coaster of emotions you experience as you move through life.
This can seem to be out of your control. Feelings seem to just happen based on whatever is happening in your life. In a flash of light you instantly agree with the thoughts that appear in your mind filtered through whatever you perceive through your five senses combined with the three primary powers of your mind to remember, imagine, and project. It is the speed of the agreement in unison with these three primary powers of mind combined with the powerful sensations generated by your senses that makes this very difficult to perceive. You have to be very still and quiet to even have the slightest chance of noticing that your instant agreement with your mind is what generates whatever emotion you are experiencing.
It seems very much like whatever is happening outside of you is causing your reaction, but the reality is your reaction is based on the thoughts you agree with—if there is no agreement there is simply no reaction. It is the mind itself in unison with your ego, or deep feeling of ‘me’ inside you, and your five senses that generates your emotional response to whatever happened. In response to this illusion the mind also generates the strategy or idea that if you control, or fix and change, the people and events in your life it will give you whatever you perceive that you want. The ego produces the deep-seated belief and feeling that you are in control—but are you? What if an unseen presence was always in charge?
Naturally, the idea you are in charge or in control of your life provides you with a sense of power and safety. After all, if you don’t control and direct the movement of your life—who will? The natural fear is your life would simply spin out of control if you weren’t at the helm of the proverbial ship of your own life. But if you look back over the moonscape of your past—did anything really unfold exactly the way you had envisioned it in your mind? The moment you stop and intimately examine your life you can instantly see there were many moments of unexpected twists and turns, moments of intense heartbreak, loss, even moments of extreme excitement when the winds of fate brought some desperately needed change, which is also intermingled with the expected, the boring, and the mundane.
Let’s face it your life has been a kind of whirlwind of the expected, unexpected, excited, heart wrenchingly painful, as well as the miserably boring moments and all the emotions this constantly changing drama generated. But what if there is another way? What if there is a path that leads to indescribable contentment, happiness, love, and peace during the good times as well as the unavoidable rough times or the intense heartbreak of loss we all experience in life? Not by changing yourself in anyway—but instead by simply noticing the unseen within you and all around you. This noticing begins with the intimate embrace and acceptance of all your perceived flaws. What if real liberation from the torture of your mind begins with loving yourself exactly as you are fully embracing your hopelessly flawed humanity? Humbling shift in perspective isn’t it?
What if the path of liberation has nothing to do with your mind, ego, or control, or any of your endless strategies to get whatever you think you want? What if real liberation is simply a deep relaxation into the living presence within you that leads to the naturally deep enjoyment of this moment exactly as it is—a deep acceptance of whatever is unfolding in your life right now? Normally, your time and attention is consumed by all your attempts to change yourself and control your life, which only serves to steal your energy. This stifles and suppresses your natural joy. It actually suppresses life itself and locks you in the prison of your mind. It keeps your experience of life dead and almost completely devoid of your natural happiness.
All attempts to control and change your life bind you to the limited perspective of your mind. It is the path of slavery and the torture of the mind that plagues almost everyone. This is the path of the paper tiger. The endless chasing after the illusion of pleasure in all that is seen, tasted, touched, heard, and felt. This hot pursuit fuels the lightening fast pace of your life and the extreme arrogance of your mind that you are in control—the false promise that happiness, peace, contentment, and love lives outside of you in the world. This is the great illusion of this world—maya—the great sea of samsara—the great mirage that leads to eons of suffering.
The paper tiger bursts into flame the moment you stop believing everything you think. This naturally shifts your attention from the seen to the unseen—the deep dive into the invisible realm of your heart. In order to directly experiences this liberation for yourself requires the courage to unflinchingly fall into the endless abyss in the core of your being. This unseen realm is the invisible intelligence of all that is—the vast indescribable consciousness we collectively refer to as God. This intelligence is unbound by any limitation of time and space—it is the unseen providence that knows the way and has been in control of your life for your entire life.
This is a simple shift in perspective. The wings of freedom live in the unwavering trust in the sublime intelligence of this unseen presence. Freedom is living your life from the invisible realm of the heart. The great challenge is to first notice this invisible presence then emphatically trust this vastness instead of the miniscule and limited perspective of your mind. This has nothing to do with right or wrong decisions—it is simply not possible to make a wrong decision in the infinite realm of the heart.
The instant you shift your attention from the inherent limitations of your mind to the vast indescribable wisdom of your heart you can begin to experience the deep natural feeling of contentment, peace, happiness, and love that is free of whatever events or circumstances constantly changing and unfolding in your life. It is a deep return to your natural happiness.
If you trust this invisible intelligence your life catches on fire with love and bursts open with the deep satisfaction of living from the infinite depth and wisdom or your heart—a deep embrace of living without any fear of death or limitation of any kind. No problems exist in this realm. The self-torture of your mind has no power in this invisible kingdom. The source of all your suffering—your mind and ego—vanish in the vast intelligence of this omniscient presence.
Indescribable freedom awaits you the moment you muster the courage to go rogue and leave the crowd plodding along on the well worn path of suffering. It lives in the courage to crash through the veil of your mind and dive deep beyond all ideas of you or your soul and simply trust this unseen presence. The moment you trust the unseen your life is instantly fresh, alive—NEW.
This does not mean you are powerless to change or that you should stay in an abusive situation or with a person who is abusive. It simply means, if you trust emphatically in the unseen, you will have the deep courage and conviction to allow your old ways of thinking, reacting, blaming, and doing die. If you totally trust the unseen you will have the natural courage to walk away from any unhealthy situation.
Liberation is total trust in the unseen that always knows when its time to leave or when its time to make a change and time to simply relax—living intimately with the living truth—there is no greater guide than the wisdom of your own heart. This is total trust in the omniscience that knows the way—the silent voice that’s been guiding you all along.
The mind is tricky and leads to suffering—but your heart is indescribably vast and supremely intelligent—the eternal abode of wisdom. Perhaps the greatest challenge is to let go of the false sense of safety your mind and ego generate, but how challenging can it be to let go of an illusion? Is it really difficult to let go of something that doesn’t even exist?
To live powerfully, joyfully, in sublime contentment simply means total trust in the unseen intelligence.
This vast presence is always everywhere and never changes.
How can you leave this unseen vastness?
It is simply impossible.
This is certain.