I’m writing today with an offer. An offer to shift your perspective around the human experience of this thing we call our life. On the other side of that shift is everything we’ve been looking for.
This image is a useful way to see where I’m inviting you to look. Most of us have grown up entirely focused in the content of experience — what’s going on in this apparent reality in front of us. Then some people might move into therapy, counselling and coaching which encourage the exploration of the self and programming as something to be fixed — why is this happening, where did that belief come from, let’s make it better. I’m pointing you to true nature as the source of all of life, the real ‘you’ behind the imagined ‘you’.
By looking at life in its entirety we start to understand the mechanics of the whole system—where our experience is coming from and who we really are. The more we look at this, the easier our experience of life gets, and the programming and the content take care of themselves.
This post describes what we can look and listen for, to shift our perspective to the top of the stream, and to shift our perspective to see the mechanisms of the whole thing.
To help you listen for these things, I’ve used an episode from Phil Willcox’s Emotion at Work podcast to point to where fresh perspective is found. It’s an episode where the interviewing chair is swapped and Phil is being interviewed by Mark Gilroy about his experience of the previous two years with chronic pain and the emotional journey of all that.
You can listen to the podcast here but before you listen, read the post. Why? Because it will help you listen differently. With an exploration into the system behind our psychology, this post will guide you to look beyond the content of Phil’s experience to how that experience was created. How it’s created for all of us. Moment to moment. It’s a new place to look so please do get in touch if it brings up questions and curiosities. There is great freedom available when we see what’s really going on.
I’m going to begin where Phil and Mark end:
“What you might see isn’t necessarily what’s going on. There’s always more going on. There’s always other stuff going on than we think, see, hear or feel” Phil
I’m not sure if Phil realises how truthful and profound this quote at the end is. We often don’t. I experience it all the time when clients speak profound truth but — in not knowing what’s available when that truth is really heard, in not knowing what to listen for— it’s passed over.
And a step further from what Phil said — what you think you see isn’t ever what’s going on. We are physically incapable of experiencing ‘reality’ directly. The odd exception is when people have profound awakening experiences, but these are rare and temporary — although they leave a lasting knowing within.
If you’re interested in the science of our experience, check out Anil Seth and Donald Hoffman. There are differences to how they’re approaching their research into our conscious experience but both are pointing to the fact we have no idea what’s going on ‘out there’. Not really. In fact, not at all. We’re living in a thought-created virtual reality.
On a more practical, day-to-day level, the more we see how the system works, the more we see through the stories of programming and the more we see we’re creating our reality. A creative moment-to-moment process. As Mark said at the end, quoting me, ‘what are you making it mean?’. We are meaning-making machines, story-tellers, creative beyond our wildest dreams — we are always making things mean something. And the more we really know this, rather than it creating an experience of nothing like the intellect would tells us, the more it creates an experience where life becomes a playground. It opens up a world where we can experience anything. Working with the system, rather than inadvertently against it.
Now, to the things to listen for while you listen.
First, as you read this, notice what peaks your curiosity the most, and maybe begin by just listening for that.
*How the wisdom in the system guides us thru challenging times. Whether adjusting work routines, exercise types, lying down during the day. Whatever is needed for this moment right now. It knows much more than we could ever know.
*How life gets us from A to B even when, as we look back, we have no cognition of how we got from A to B. Life has us.
*How, when we imagine the way we should be for others, we take ourselves out of connection with others and with life. Even though those others — and life — have no idea of that limited rule we’ve created for how we think we should be.
*How, when caught in personal thought (meaning-making and believing it’s true), and therefore experiencing the associated feelings, that we lose clarity about our needs in relationship to others.
*How it’s only in our attachment to this kind of life, being this kind of person, being able to do these things that we suffer, and suffering further with a sense of loss when they go. This is in fact a wake-up call, not advice to avoid loss again.
*How it’s only in our resistance to these circumstances, this illness, this experience that we suffer, and that the more we push against it, the greater the suffering gets. This again is the perfect wake-up call.
*How when we think we’ve lost ourself, all we’ve lost are familiar ideas that we’ve got so used to telling ourselves and others that they really seem like this is who we are. And yet in that period of ‘lost’ you were still here, things were still getting done – so who was doing those things?
*How, when we can’t imagine going through that experience again, we don’t think we could handle it, that this is an imaginative creation of the intellect based on its limited knowledge and based on its mistaken belief that by telling you this it will keep you safe. In fact it keeps you limited, less than you really are. Suffering. And it feels really real, which makes us think it’s true, but the intellect has no idea.
*How behind all the stories and worries, practical steps are being taken and practical decisions are being made that are heading in the direction of maintenance of a healthy state, based on what makes sense right now.
Because behind all the stories is what we really are – much bigger, much more alive, much more capable than we could ever imagine. It’s beautiful there.
So get your curious hat on, enjoy the podcast, and tell me what you hear.
With love, Helen
I work with people who want a quieter mind and a more fulfilling life. They’re smart, passionate people who are curious about there being a better way. They’ve worked hard to get to here and yet something’s still missing: ‘is this it?’. In our work we explore and reconnect to innate brilliance so they rediscover a quieter mind, fulfillment and balance. Find out more here.