We all want to be happy, healthy, and live in peace with ourselves and others. If we look at the disorder in the world and in our own lives, we can see that is not at all easy. Why is that?
The disorder in the world is a reflection of the disorder in the human mind, which we all share. We may think we are unique because we identify with the content of our memory, but our minds function in similar ways. We all have many psychological needs for example, which we are not aware of, and which we expect others to meet. We get frustrated when these needs are not met and can blame the other person or situation for the frustration and unease we feel. This is just one example of how our minds work in similar ways. We all experience the same emotions, want to be loved, feel secure, feel valued and important and want more and more pleasure.
Many of these patterns of thinking that cause our sorrow, anxiety, depression and conflict are hidden from our awareness. We just assume they cannot be changed and it is just ‘human’. Preventing these problems from arising in the first place, by understanding the mind they come from, is so much easier and more important.
Since all our problems begin in the human mind, the solutions must also begin there. We can do this by understanding ourselves and how our minds work, by simply observing our thoughts as they arise and then exploring what lies behind them. This understanding brings wisdom, which can transform our life. Because we understand ourselves clearly, we can understand others and this leads to more harmonious relationships. With the clarity that this understanding brings, our problems can dissolve.
We find looking within and trying to understand ourselves difficult, because all through our education we are educated about the world around us, but not ourselves. We know much more about mathematics and science than loneliness, anxiety, or the art of happy relationships.
This understanding brings a natural sense of stillness and peace, without effort. If we live with anxiety, we may say ‘I am going to try and not be anxious’. All these efforts do not work for a simple reason. The ‘I’ that is trying not be anxious, is part of the same thinking process that creates the anxiety in the first place.
If we want to be healthy we need to look after the body and the mind. We know how to look after the body through exercise, eating well and Yoga. We do not know how to look after our mind because we do not understand it. Meditation as it is currently practised may bring some short term calm, but the underlying processes which cause our problems continue, because they are not understood.
By exploring the reasons behind our unhappiness we may avoid them and discover the secret of happiness. By exploring the many ways our relationships break down, we could live in harmony with others. By understanding the causes of anxiety, conflict and sorrow, we may discover a sense of inner peace.
This understanding is not complex, and is open to anyone who is willing to look within, accept what they see and question themselves. The book Understanding Me Understanding You is part of the non-profit Human Enquiry Project and enables everyone to understand themselves and how their minds work. You can find more details at humanenquiry.com, or on the Facebook page @humanenquiry. Please join us, to help make the world a better place.