“Each person has an average of 60,000 thoughts a day! That’s one thought per second in every waking hour! Amazingly, 95 percent are the same thoughts repeated every day. On average, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative. Unfortunately, our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones. That’s right, our brains are designed to take in and register negative experiences more deeply than positive experiences. This served us well—in fact, it was critical for survival—when we were foraging for food centuries ago, paying close attention to anything that might place us in danger, like a saber-toothed tiger. We even have a name for this type of thinking—negativity bias—and it’s not a great prescription for happiness.”
In this piece you will discover the illusions that are keeping you from experiencing a solid foundation of consistent peace in each and every day.
What is happiness?
The first thing I’d like to say is that happiness doesn’t really exist. Yes, there are certain things in life that can make you happy, but there is a more concrete and sustainable version of happiness, and that is peace.
In order to begin to understand how to experience peace, you have to understand how the mind functions. The mind is the storage bank where all thinking takes place.
If you remember from the statement above, you will see that we have on AVERAGE of 60,000 thoughts per day.
So what does this mean?
It’s safe to say that human beings think, and we think A LOT. But there is the more sheer and in-your-face fact that the mind is addicted to thinking.
The mind is an addict to thought no less than the alcoholic is to alcohol or a druggy is to drugs.
So where does all this thought come from?
Thoughts just happen, they come out of nothingness and they pass and go right back into the nothingness. Every thought that happens to you is happening as a function of the collective mind, or the world mind, outside of you from the past.
The second thing is that there are two basic components to all thoughts.
The number one goal of the mind is to ENSURE its survival.
After all, humans are survival creatures. More on this later.
From the time we are born going through our toddler stages, and beyond, we have no other choice but to borrow the thoughts of the surrounding world, and what I mean by borrow is that we can think for ourselves but those very thoughts are hardwired into the mind, from a world from which we are trying to learn how to survive.
After all, we would not be able to walk, talk, read, write or eat (the basic needs of survival) if we did not borrow the thoughts from the world, or forms of conditioning.
Learning takes time, and, because it takes time, we have to remember what we have learned.
In order to actually be able to put the things that we learn into action, we have to remember the information that we received.
Memory is the basic function of the mind that allows us to know how to walk, talk, read, write and eat.
Then there has to be some sort of anticipation for it until we do it enough until it becomes autopilot.
When we are first learning, we imagine putting ourselves into action with what we have learned, and we do that until it becomes second nature.
Now what is memory?
It is the past.
What is anticipation?
It is the future.
You’re using your past to put action into the present for the future.
The mind is a storage bank of everything that you have learned in the past so that you can utilize it to survive, which is for the future.
The mind fluctuates between memory and anticipation, from past to future.
“95 percent are the same thoughts repeated every day.”
As you can see here, thinking patterns are repeated day in and day out, showing that past continues to regurgitate itself over and over again.
So why is it that “On average, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative?”
This is where the “POSITIVE” revolution has come to its plateau, to its peak, to its limitation.
For you positive junkies out there brace yourselves. No amount of positive thinking in the world can sustain your well-being nor give you a rock solid foundation of peace throughout each and every one of your days.
This is not about negativity either, and, in fact, it is your dual nature of positivity in that it relies on negativity as they are two sides of the same coin, and that is why positivity is limited.
Positive is relative to negative, just as negative is relative to positive, both of which are subjective or different based upon the culture and, even more micro, the individual.
So, how exactly do we obtain peace, and sometimes even joy, which is vibrantly alive peace?
If it is not through positive thoughts, then how is it?
The very first basic fundamental start at ever learning to experience peace, and I mean the absolute knowing, with unshakeable certainty is that….
You are Not your mind
3 years ago when I started the journey towards my personal growth, I began by reading all the self-help material that I could get my hands on.
But really what I was doing, and the foundation of self-help, is to strengthen one’s self image, or one’s self-perception.
This self-image of who you are is created from the mind, not the true self, which is beyond, mind.
What this did was help me to experience a greater version of pleasure, but it did not help me to sustain a deep level of peace.
So the first thing you have to know is that you are not your mind.
So who are you?
Back through time we go, and again reconsider that the mind as it functions is in the past, memory, anticipation and future.
The one phenomenon, though, that does not function in the mind is your awareness of the present moment.
Only thinking has memory, past anticipation and future.
But when you are utterly present and you can feel your inner body energy, then past and future no longer exist in your awareness.
In the direct awareness of this moment, the inner knowing you are here without thinking about it, memory has dissolved and so has anticipation.
So back to the question, who are you?
If you are not your mind, which also means that you are not your past, or your self-image, which is a collection of the past, and, if you are not the future or the projected idea of who you will be, then that can only leave one option which is not a part of mind, which is your inner body awareness of this moment.
So the question itself is borderline an illusion because you are not a who, because even the thought of a who is still a thought.
You will know who you are, when conscious presence arises and all questions go out of the door, including “Who am I?” In conscious presence, there will be no more need for any questions.
You cannot understand and comprehend this moment with a single individual thought, no matter how wise it may appear. Thought can only understand and only comprehend the past and future.
And that is why you are beyond the comprehending mind.
“I think therefore I am NOT here.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
So the illusion with the positive revolution will say “Just keep positive, keep feeding your mind with more positive thoughts and that will sustain and make you less unhappy.”
But, in reality this is just keeping the mind going; it’s just moving right along with those 60,000 thoughts of yours per day.
And the mind will go back to its natural survival instinct and come back to its 80% negativity.
But why are they negative?
Remember back when I mentioned that we are survival creatures?
That’s right, if you are not your mind, it can ONLY be your mind that is afraid of its own death.
But go back to the nature of time and you will see that the past is no longer here, it’s dead and gone forever, and the future is and WILL ALWAYS be unknown because it is not right here.
And this is frightening to a mind that finds itself inside of time, because it only knows time.
The only thing that we can directly experience and be aware of is right now. So do you see the trap here with thinking that thinking can sustain your happiness?
You subconsciously think that you need to dwell deeply entrenched in memory because you have looked to the past to remember what to do for survival, and it hasn’t let you down up to now.
So, if hasn’t let you down up to now, then it must be the truth, and so the mind dwells on the past.
You have built an image out of what has kept you surviving as a false you.
And you think, because the future is unknown, “what happens if I don’t survive?”
And you know that the mind must look to the future to guarantee it survives past this moment and that also hasn’t let you down, because it has recognized patterns—so you dwell on the future.
Again, which is anticipation because you are alive in this moment.
The mind is constantly being run intensely by both the past and the future. So time has now become a measurement towards death.
The conclusion here is that thought itself can only keep your mind on its survival, BUT it cannot sustain your internal foundation of peace.
When you look to the future for freedom, there is no future. Because you can never directly experience the future, and because you can’t directly experience anticipation itself, you can never look at anticipation for your freedom, which will always cause fear, pain and suffering.
So 80% of thoughts that are negative is not so surprising when you take a look at all of the illusions that our mind creates thinking it will give us happiness.
I have to say, I found it quite liberating to realize that the mind creates its own suffering because it has done everything in its power to ensure its survival.
The fear of physical death and of mind death, thinking that they are who we are in the absolute sense, is the VERY root cause of suffering.
So, no matter what happens going forward, always know your suffering is caused from thinking that who you are is the mind and thinking the real you needs to survive.
And what happens when the inner pain subsides?
You are aware of the peace that is inside, and you are aware of it right now.
There is only one way to sustain peace and that is know you are not your mind, you are this moment, and to start being aware of the now (You) more deeply, more passionately and more vibrantly.
Because we still live in this world, we are still going to use time, to use past, and to use anticipation.
That is absolutely necessary to guarantee the mind’s survival, because it is a beautiful thing to experience this world in its ups, downs and imperfections.
So from a measurement standpoint, assuming you don’t physically die in the next moment (the future is not guaranteed to anyone) we can use this moment to make it the foundation, the purpose of our lives, to let presence happen on a more consistent basis.
That is how you use time. Rather than being a slave to it, you can increase the depth of the peace from within.