The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.
In Ram Dass’s book – Becoming Nobody he explains how we are all “relational”.
In other words, we are who we are because of how and who we relate, to other people and things.
So what if the root of much of your suffering and discontent is in the unconscious definitions you have created in your brain?
When I say ‘definitions’, I am referring to the files that your brain created in order for it to manage and sort the 11 million bits of information it receives every second.
These files have been added to throughout your child and young adulthood and subsequently determine who you think you are in the world, and how you experience it.
This is what we call your “model of the world” and within that you have definitions for and of everything.
The Definitions that cause you the most distress can be summed up with one word.
I should work out
I should get up earlier
I should eat better
I should be a better mum/dad/spouse/daughter/sister (and so the list goes on)
I should be happier
I should be further along than this
I should be making more money
I should be better
The definition of should, from the Brittanica Dictionary is:
used to say or suggest that something is the proper, reasonable, or best thing to do
But according to who?
We Are Taught to Learn, Not to Think
I wouldn’t be surprised if you have never questioned your should’s, because as children we are taught to learn, not to think.
And so we never question whose model of the world we are using to make our decisions and life choices. The morals, values and beliefs that we unconsciously inherited are directing our brain, on a daily basis, without our conscious awareness. We are literally just “doing as we’re told”.
When you begin question your model of the world, you can consciously direct your brain and design a new model that serves you. A model that increases your happiness and joy, connects you with a deeper and more fulfilling life experience and helps you manage the inevitable sh*t times that we all experience in life.
Ready to go a little deeper?
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
What if we suffer not only because we are running a series of “shoulds” based on definitions we did not choose, but because we are disconnected from the bigger picture?
“The fear is simply because you are not living with life, You are living in your mind.”― Sadhguru, Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy
Sadhguru, an Indian Yogic and spiritual luminary has been a constant source of inspiration during my own journey with understanding my mind and emotions.
He says that we suffer because we create illusions of separatenes and division in all aspects of life. We create boundaries for ourselves by categorizing everything—deciding if things are good or bad, right or wrong, and so on. Whilst this can be a useful survival tactic that helps us make sense of things, when we want to move beyond survival mode and make changes in our lives, it works against us.
Maya – The Veil of Illusion
In yogic philosophy, this illusion of separateness is termed Maya and is defined as the veil that covers our real nature and the real nature of the world around us.
So when we are in the “habit of being human”, we experience and define our world through the information received via our senses, which is filtered through our existing files, and instantly given meaning.
But that doesn’t mean it’s true. You could say it’s our personal illusion!
The 6 Vedic Illusions of Life
(The phrase “Vedic tradition” refers to the teachings and experiences of various lineages of sages who lived on the Indian subcontinent in ancient times)
Space: We think “I am HERE” vs I am EVERYWHERE. We’re are not in any specific space—we are technically part of the whole field of consciousness, so we are everywhere.
Time: The past and future don’t actually exist. All that ever exists is in the present moment.
Attachment: Always wanting and pursuing more in life causes us to focus on something other than what is here and now. When you trust that every moment is complete in itself, you step into the freedom of life.
Knowledge: As the concept of maya indicates, almost everything we think we know is actually false. We know very little in the way of absolute truth. It is “I know this, but not that” thinking. When you tap in to the field of Infinite Possibilities, you are in a state of all knowing.
Human creativity: All creativity is from the same source—the creative whole that is consciousness. Individual humans don’t have any other source of creativity.
Fear: Fear is just the absence of love, and it’s used as a mechanism of control. When you realize that everything else is an illusion, you also realize there’s nothing to fear, and then you can access true love.
Ouch, my brain
I understand that this might be a lot to take on, and if you’re not ready for that yet, that’s totally ok. You will receive the exact information you need, when you need it.
I have spent the last 10 years devouring “all the stuff” and one of the biggest mistakes I made in the past, was relying on one source of information, one perspective.
So I simply wanted to offer you another concept to consider on your journey for greater self awareness, understanding and development.
Perhaps you noticed how the “black and white” thinking of illusion has been the source of some of your discontent or suffering?
Or maybe you have already recognised some definitions that have been limiting your happiness and fulfilment?
I encourage you to take a moment to think about/journal on where definitions and illusions have been holding you back – whether from knowing yourself more, creating change in your life or feeling a deeper sense of joy and fulfilment on a daily basis.
Our freedom is understanding our model of the world and creating one that lets us live as ourselves, more fully.