You might be about to discover the secret of life. I know I realised this, once I really saw it. Or rather, once I really felt it.
Picture the scene. It’s the Oval Office, 9am Monday morning. President Trump sits glowering over a mass of newspapers spread across his mighty desk.
His face grows more enraged as he reads about the latest flavour of ‘fake news’ the scornful media has concocted, all pitched against him.
It’s easy to see how the latest news report might be the cause of Trump’s ire.
But is it?
Or is it his thinking about the latest article he’s clapped eyes on?
Something that 99% of us don’t realise is that it is not the outside world, its events and circumstances that causes our feelings.
It’s our thinking.
Somewhere along the way, we forget this. Or we never knew in the first place. Most likely nobody ever taught us, so how would we know?
Now, you’d think it couldn’t possibly be that simple.
But our thoughts turn into feelings so quickly and imperceptibly, if we are not aware, we believe and feel as if it’s the outside world causing us to feel the way we do.
But in fact, it’s coming from the inside out.
If you don’t believe me, try a little experiment.
Right now, as you read this, try to feel angry.
Do you feel it, right now?
If not, could it be that it’s because you’re not currently thinking angry thoughts?
Like many of us, I used to feel irked and fairly riled up (albeit temporarily), when someone cut me off in traffic or didn’t indicate when turning, forcing me to brake when I shouldn’t have to.
Or maybe I’d feel miffed if I held the door open for someone, and they didn’t respond with a ‘thank you’.
If I asked why I felt that way, previously I would have said that it was ‘naturally’ due to what that person had done, or hadn’t done.
Over the past while though, if something like that happens, I’m way more likely to pause and think that maybe that person is just immersed in their own thoughts, and failed to act the way I expected.
Maybe they’re just having a bad day.
It’s all good, even if I do feel a bit irritated, because I understand that my feeling angry or not has nothing to do with them.
It’s 100% to do with me, and whatever thoughts I may have at the time.
This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen, that difficult situations can’t stimulate certain thoughts, or that people don’t sometimes behave badly (and I am talking about something more consequential than not saying ‘thanks!’.
But it’s knowing where our experience comes from that can make all the difference.
But I do know that when you get really quiet, and read about this phenomenon with an open mind, it can arrive as an insight – just when you need it.