Haiku – beyond thoughts

calm young woman with shadows on face

Photo by Anderson Martins on Pexels.com

You are not your thoughts
Discover what’s beyond them
Find Your Middle Ground


One of the biggest steps towards awakening is to realize that we are not our thoughts. When we sit quietly we begin to notice that our thoughts come and go. We are not the thoughts themselves, so we can come to witness them, our beliefs and the stories we create about the world, our ourselves.

As long as we believe that what we think and believe is the truth, we will stay in an unawakened state. In yoga this is called Avidya, or ignorance.

This is especially hard right now, with all the conflicting stories, beliefs and versions of the truth that we are being exposed to.

Taking time to pause before reacting to whatever you are reading or watching is key. This is when you can step back and see if this is true or not. It may be contrary to what you believe, and therefore you think it is wrong. Or it may be exactly what you think, and it becomes the truth.

Be discerning rather than judging right or wrong.

This is a time to become a witness to our thoughts and stories, and our own susceptibility and gullibility as human beings.


* Perception, Seekers of Truth and Avidya

“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.”— Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani, as quoted in the Talmudic tractate Berakhot (55b.)
Anaïs Nin also reflected the same idea. Seeing is not believing—believing is seeing. Our perception is shaped by our previous experiences.

What we say, and how we approach something is always through filters of our making.

I started to ponder today about how other’s perceptions of themselves and their relationship to us, informs their message for us.girl sitting on bench

As spiritual seekers, we look to the words of others to show us the truth.

As patients we look to the words of the doctors to show us the truth.

As someone facing challenging times we seek out friends for support and help, and hope that they too will reveal the truth.

In doing so it is easy to become attached to the words of others. We begin to count on them. We grasp at the hope that things will turn out the way we want.

Yet in our heart of hearts we know that the truth doesn’t lie there.
We have become attached to the outcome that we hope for, rather than seeing clearly all of reality.
In yoga this is called avidya – not seeing things as they are. We become attached to how we want things to be.  We mistake the impermanent for the eternal.

flowers in the rain

Today I woke up and saw the messages as a reflection of others’ perceptions and experiences. In seeing this I was able to detach and face a bigger reality.

There must be a letting go of what we are attached to, in order to truly find our middle ground and inner peace.

The ultimate attachment we have is to life as we know it and life itself. Accepting impermanence over life is not an easy thing. We may understand it intellectually, but facing it and living it can be so darn hard.

I find comfort in this version of the Buddha’s Five Remembrances, offered by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Plum Village Chanting Book.

  1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
  2. I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
  3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
  4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
  5. My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Photo from Karen Huber’s blog http://www.kmhubersblog.com

May you all feel the warm embrace of compassion and understanding for this fear filled path called life.  For those of you facing this ultimate reality, may you find a way to let go and be at peace.