9 Mind-Bending Epiphanies That Turned My World Upside-Down

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Over the years I’ve learned dozens of little tricks and insights for making life more fulfilling. They’ve added up to a significant improvement in the ease and quality of my day-to-day life. But the major breakthroughs have come from a handful of insights that completely rocked my world and redefined reality forever.

The world now seems to be a completely different one than the one I lived in about ten years ago, when I started looking into the mechanics of quality of life. It wasn’t the world (and its people) that changed really, it was how I thought of it.

Maybe you’ve had some of  the same insights. Or maybe you’re about to.

1. You are not your mind.

The first time I heard somebody say that — in the opening chapter of The Power of Now —  I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to.

I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else.

If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the center of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.

2. Life unfolds only in moments.

Of course! I once called this the most important thing I ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.

3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.

I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it — and suffering nothing from it. There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.

4. Most of life is imaginary.

Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.

5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.

Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behavior. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.

6. Emotions exist to make us biased.

This discovery was a complete 180 from my old understanding of emotions. I used to think my emotions were reliable indicators of the state of my life — of whether I’m on the right track or not. Your passing emotional states can’t be trusted for measuring your self-worth or your position in life, but they are great at teaching you what it is you can’t let go of. The trouble is that emotions make us both more biased and more forceful at the same time. Another survival mechanism with nasty side-effects.

7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfill their desires and to escape their suffering.

Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behavior other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skillful and helpful to others, others are unskillful and destructive, and almost all destructive behavior is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish.) Understanding this completely shook my long-held notions of morality and justice.

8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.

Believing something is not an accomplishment. I grew up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they’re really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because “strength of belief” is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you’ve made it a part of your ego. Listen to any “die-hard” conservative or liberal talk about their deepest beliefs and you are listening to somebody who will never hear what you say on any matter that matters to them — unless you believe the same. It is gratifying to speak forcefully, it is gratifying to be agreed with, and this high is what the die-hards are chasing. Wherever there is a belief, there is a closed door. Take on the beliefs that stand up to your most honest, humble scrutiny, and never be afraid to lose them.

9. Objectivity is subjective.

Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, unsharable viewpoint. There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this angle, and I only have this angle. Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me. What I do build depends on the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. It means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me. Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all. This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.

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In my life, empowering new perspectives like these come mostly from reading what others have written. Recommended reading on these concepts:

The Power of Now

A New Earth

Buddhism Without Beliefs

Wherever You Go There You Are

Photo by h.koppdelaney


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{ 189 Comments }

Peter Ryan October 13, 2010 at 12:43 am

Hi David,

You remain my favourite RSS by far. The clarity with which you are able to express ideas that have been floating around in my subliminal consciousness but I have never been able to give shape to and voice is frankly quite scary.

You mention politics, religion and science…. which shape our society.

How would the world change if everyone in these fields had the same epiphanies you mention here?

How enlightening would it be if you were able to surround yourself with those that really “got it”?

I’m not suggesting you start a cult here, but I’m glad to be part of your journey, and in turn my own.

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David October 13, 2010 at 6:53 pm

The main reason I write is so that the stuff floating around in my head finally gets to have a definite shape. It’s so much more useful that way :)

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Abin May 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hello David. I do exactly the same thing as you do in writing down the thoughts in my mind. I have tons of notes I’ve written down ranging from religion to evolution to black holes to the universe to politics, etc. If you want my notes, I can send it to you. Mail me.

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Cindy December 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I agree wholeheartedly… It’s like a pinball machine in there. I write mainly in my personal journal, I should let more out in the public forum. Thanks for this post.

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Robin K December 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I find it so hard to agree with the idea that believes are a weakness. Could they not make us individuals, separate free thinkers, would we not accept everything if we had no belief systems. Are they also a sign of education. Strong conviction and passion come from beliefs. Are you talking about learning to surrender.

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Tammy Vitale July 30, 2013 at 6:48 am

I’m with you on that one. That was the one that drew me up and made me stop and think: there is something here that doesn’t ring true for me but I can’t put my finger on it. It is worthy of a session with friends about their take on it (and in fact I got this post from a friend in a group that takes on questions and discussions like this). Great post – very thought provoking.

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Tomato January 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Well maybe you have a hard time reading this because you feel personaly offended by it even if you don’t realize this. People are sensitive about their believes and that is exactly what david is trying to express. believes are just another imaginery illusion that came from our past experience. if you would have been brought up in india, switzerland or russia you would have different believes. and he is not really saying that it is a weakness but more like a threat to your personal and spiritual development. because the stronger you believe in something the less you are open to reconsider yourself even if you destroy you and everything around you

William J. McGrath April 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm

He was saying to question your beliefs and if they stand up to honest scrutiny then keep them. If your beliefs are proved to be unsound then don’t be afraid to trow them away. That way we can live our life with an open mind. If someone can prove to us that our belief is not founded on reason and logic, the we should thank them because they are helping us to grow. Always be willing to accept truth and reality.

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David November 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Hi,

I share the similar many of the ideas found your website. I would love to talk to you about them. Maybe we can make a good connection.

Thanks,

David

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Partha October 13, 2010 at 2:12 am

That was beautiful. The concepts aren’t new, of course, but what I continue to find rather amazing is how well you seem to have integrated all this into your life, your very being (despite not switching to saffron or yellow, and despite still buying shampoo). Very nice indeed.

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mike October 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

…”despite not switching to saffron or yellow, and despite still buying shampoo”…………….priceless!

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David October 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I actually don’t buy shampoo anymore. When I left for Thailand I buzzed my head with a number 2 clipper. Fit right in with the monks.

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DiscoveredJoys October 13, 2010 at 4:14 am

My epiphany which struck with most force was finding out that most of my thoughts happened outside my conscious awareness. Scientists estimate (how?) that up to 95% of our thinking happens this way.

We live in an augmented reality. Much of the information flooding our brains every moment is thrown away as insignificant. Some is dealt with by reflex responses. Almost all the remainder is tagged with emotions or memory to make the information super enriched, more-than-real, which then triggers changes in behaviour. The tiny weeny bit of information that survives this continuous process makes it into conscious awareness. How many times have you thought “I wonder why I did that?” or “I don’t remember the journey to work” or worse still you end up confabulating a conscious story to justify your unconscious behaviours. An interesting book about this is ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ by Timothy D Wilson.

On reflection I think your 9 epiphanies arise from this organisation of the brain into big unconscious thoughts bearing a pimple of conscious awareness. For me this makes your epiphanies more significant and striking – because there is a testable rational explanation for them. Of course you may have other views…..

A most excellent blog and article, thank you.

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David October 13, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I remember hearing that conscious thought is only proportionate to the exposed top of an enormous iceberg. It’s probably a pretty interesting iceberg, if only we could know it better.

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Jessica March 8, 2012 at 3:39 am

I’ve come off my bike when I was on my own, banged my head and been slightly concussed… not enough to black out, but enough to not function on all cylinders (my helmet was in two parts!). I got back on my bike and cycled along, the snow looked purple and yellow, and the amount of thoughts going through my head was phenomenal. It was like an insight into what the brain does outside of consciousness, like I’d just knocked the door open a little and caught a glimpse into the workings of my brain. I couldn’t hold onto the thoughts either; they flitted from one to another, and if I tried to remember what I was thinking of a few seconds ago, I couldn’t. But with each thought I know I felt quite amazed at the insights, but frustrated that I couldn’t hold onto them! It lasted about half an hour, but time also warped and seemed to stand still so I couldn’t really tell for sure. From that experience, I’d say that there is so much going on in the brain that we’re not aware of… there is a lot more iceburg

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mike October 14, 2010 at 9:08 pm

…thanks for the lead on the book..i was able to secure it from the library today…looks really good..

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Christopher Kabamba October 13, 2010 at 4:46 am

That you cannot have a reasonable relationship with someone that you *fear*… and that includes God. What this means to be is that God is NOT what most religion says God is… just what i have suspected all along.

I can never be apart from God … for God and me are not really 2 seperate entities in the sense of what religion has preached up to this point.

I Love my life…

Whatsoever you do…keep writing.

Thanks.

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Christopher Kabamba October 13, 2010 at 4:48 am

By the way… points 1, 2, 4 and 8 re-create my world. Thanks.

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David October 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm

That you cannot have a reasonable relationship with someone that you *fear*

I’ve never heard it expressed quite like that, but I think you’re absolutely right.

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Christopher Kabamba October 14, 2010 at 1:43 am

Actually …. “reasonable and MEANINGFUL”.

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Brian July 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm

What’s “God”?

mike January 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Chris,
I found your comment interesting. I’m an atheist, and Dave’s point of having beliefs based on honest scrutiny and willing to lose those beliefs resonated when I read your comment.

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nrhatch October 13, 2010 at 8:20 am

If everyone understood these 9 concepts (which you have captured so well), much of the world’s unnecessary suffering would dissipate.

Thanks for such a concise outline!

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Maria October 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

Are you really only 30?! One of my most beneficial realizations was that not everyone has to love me.

Thanks for writing this.

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David October 13, 2010 at 7:02 pm

That reminds me of George Costanza. He couldn’t bear that Jerry’s girlfriend didn’t seem to care for him. Someone said “Who cares? Does everyone have to like you?”

“YES!”

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rdon February 7, 2014 at 10:03 am

Oh yes! That was a real eye-opener. BUT, once I accepted that fact….and I did so by turning that thought around and saying….I don’t like everyone so why should everyone like me?….I gained great freedom. I no longer need to impress or be right all the time so others don’t think badly of me. Now I can say inwardly and outwardly, I am me. No apologies. Just kind, caring, silly me.

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Keith October 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Wonderful. I check your blog several times a week to watch for new posts. You help me to remember truths that I tend to forget and help me to live more consciously and enjoy each day.
You are also an excellent writer and communicate your thoughts clearly and precisely. Keep up the great work David!

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David October 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Thanks Keith. I’ve dropped to one post a week recently but soon I’ll be back up to two.

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Life October 13, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Life is under no obligation to give you what you expect.

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Victor Verbiest December 28, 2013 at 4:54 am

No, but expactations often seem to have the power to materialize …

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Murali October 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm

As usual, beautifully said. Thank you.

BTW, I just finished reading “A new earth,” and you are right, that was a better book to start with. Thanks, and keep up the posts.

Murali

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Zack October 13, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I discovered the power behind Napolean Hill’s words in his book “Think and Grow Rich”. Definately a must read. I never imagined there was a formula for being successful, and I surely thought it would be impossible for it to be so simple.

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Aaron October 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Pretty good list. Here’s a couple of mine-

1- The egg uses the chicken to make more eggs. Genes use human beings- with all our obvious evolutionary quirks and drives- to make more genes that compete to be proliferated. The animal is just the stepping stone.

2. Evolution was never concerned about constructing a human brain that sees the world more accurately than is purposeful to survival and gene propagation. For example, human beings are absolutely horrible at intuiting statistical realities and probabilities. Fortunately, evolution geared us with the tools to invent a methodical understanding of it, but it only comes through hard work.

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David October 15, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I like those. I actually wrote about the first one here:

http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/the-alarming-purpose-of-life-itself/

It really shocked me too, and I could have included it here I suppose.

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Brad October 13, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Here’s one:

“Oh that I was where I would be,
Then I would be where I am not.
Here I am where I must be,
Go where I would, I can not.

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Angela October 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Life changing thought today: Nothing is really ‘difficult’ to understand. If something seems complex or complicated, it’s likely because we’re not listening, bad communication, or we need to break it down – there’s no real concepts that are just too hard to grasp. Suddenly I want to be a rocket scientist!

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David October 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Yes! When I was in college I took a lot of math courses, which scared be at first, but one day I realized it’s always easy if you know how to do it. It always works. I’ve extended this concept to solving problems in every day life. If I don’t know how to do something, I know what to do: learn how to do it. If I don’t know what to do, I know what to do: sit down and figure out what to do. It’s always simple like that, it’s just that we get frustrated and make things out to be hopeless.

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Rick October 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I’ve found the phrase “man rises to his own level of incompetence” holds true with my thinking also. If I’m confused and uncertain of how to deal with something, then I just need to simplify it to the point that I do understand it, confusion dissipates, and solutions that I’m comfortable with are easier to find. It took me quite a while to absorb that one, but it sure makes sucking air easier.

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mike October 14, 2010 at 9:16 am

…..i feel like im having a steak dinner here….where did ya’ll get this guy???………

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Rick October 14, 2010 at 4:28 pm

David, if “emotions exist to make us biased” and “there is no good and evil”, doesn’t that then preclude the existence of LOVE? I would be interested in your comments about this. I have a hard time believing that love is just a fancy concept that we humans have invented to glorify a basic survival mechanism. It seems more elemental and powerful than that. Without love or “goodness” (and it’s counterpart, evil), there wouldn’t be any fuel for the fire. What would be the point? As Alan Watts said, “every play needs a hero and a villain to make it interesting”.

And to answer the blog post question, the first major epiphany I had was many years ago when I learned “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.

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David October 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Tha’ts a great question Rick. I don’t consider love to be an emotion, but I know that’s not the conventional way of thinking about it.

Attraction is an emotion and I think people often use it interchangeably with love. Now, attraction’s purpose (like fear’s) certainly seems to be to make us biased towards that which helps our survival.

I completely agree with you that love is more elemental than our survival-based impulses. I don’t have a definition for you but to me love seems to be a property of higher states of human consciousness. I see love as being a state beyond fear, not as its opposite.

Some worldviews posit love as a fundamental property of the universe. To my mind it is certainly bigger than a simple neurobiological mechanism to get us to breed. Attraction may not be. This is a gigantic can of worms I didn’t want to get into in this post, but suffice it to say that I’m not talking about love when I’m talking about emotions making us biased. I’m referring mainly to attraction and aversion and their forms (anger, fear, obsession, contempt.)

As for good and evil, it depends on your definition. I think the conventional concepts of good and evil are misleading. They tend to imply that there are good guys and bad guys, that you are one or the other, and that it’s okay to hurt bad guys. Even some Buddhist literature refers to good and evil, but in that context they represent the worldly consequences of human consciousness and human unconsciousness. I think the Biblical perspective on Good and Evil was never intended to mean more than that, but it’s been recharacterized into the good-guy/bad-guy dichotomy, which is the Good and Evil I’m dismissing in this post.

Does that make sense?

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Rick October 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Thanks for the reply, and the clarifications on the context. This was a really great post! I printed a copy of it to keep handy in my desk drawer so I can re-read it periodically.

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Adam October 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I think love is closer to a feeling than an emotion. And it looks to me like there is a subtle difference between the two. I think of emotion as a feeling that relates to situations and objects. So, an emotion is a kind of disturbed feeling. Feeling in it’s purer state along with a quite mind can intuit love.

Loved this post David,

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DiscoveredJoys October 16, 2010 at 3:25 am

In the book I mentioned earlier Timothy D Wilson uses the word ‘emotion’ to mean our unconscious motivation and ‘feeling’ to mean the conscious part of that motivation.

So emotions of attachment or lust or comfort may be burbling along in your unconscious, but they can show up as a feeling of love (including all the cultural modulation of those unconscious emotions).

Same with other basic emotions like anger, fear, disgust. They may appear as more nuanced and less immediate feelings to the conscious brain.

The conscious brain also seems to be the instigator for remembering past feelings and anticipating future feelings… which may not always be beneficial if you get ‘locked into’ those feelings.

mike October 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

..my soap box please…..”I have a hard time believing that love is just a fancy concept that we humans have invented to glorify a basic survival mechanism”…..believe it rick…the notion of romantic love is a relatively recent innovation based largely on the marketing savvy of capitalist…”LOVE” is a multi billion dollar business that continues to produce phenominal Mega profits wherever T.V.’s are plugged in….at one time long ago..and far away..Love was a Decision..a committment ..without emotion…then someone invented lipstick…and the rest is history….

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Aaron October 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I think love is bigger than just something to get us to breed . At the same time, there is a guy who fell out of a tree and bonked his head. He lost his ability to experience love, even for his wife. Other than that he was normal. (from the book “Into the silent land”)

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Amity L. Allcock October 14, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Number eight completely blew me away. I love reading your blog, and I’m pretty new to all this philosophy stuff. I’ve gotten a lot out of what you have to say, and I want you to know that I really appreciate and look forward to your posts.

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David October 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Thanks Amity!

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Brenda (betaphi) October 15, 2010 at 2:36 am

Hey buddy, I think I’m slowly becoming a buddhist too. It seems to be the only thought system that can actually work well for everyone everywhere, despite whatever dogma and other such doggerel might be held. This is an exceedingly superb post. Your nine precepts are inarguable.

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HH October 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I agreed with pretty much everything you said except for the belief part. I think it’s possible to believe strongly in something, but still be open to opinion. If you changed your wording from beliefs, to maybe, party-identification I might see what you’re saying. But when interviewing candidates for a job, I want someone with a strong set or beliefs and principles, someone who’s got their eye on the prize, someone who has integrity that won’t be swayed by momentarily tempting distractions or shortcuts. I also think that as humans we tend to have a set of beliefs that are very core/central to ourselves and that this is unavoidable. Alexander Hamilton once said, “if you dont stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” There’s some truth to that.

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David October 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Ah, I see what you mean. Having been on that side of the interviewing table, I would say that what is prized is certain values that would be beneficial in an employee: work ethic, honesty, etc. Values don’t have to necessarily have anything to do with beliefs. If somebody values hard work, that doesn’t mean that they necessarily get those values from a belief. A belief is a mental position; I don’t think values are the same thing.

I do agree that beliefs are unavoidable and that they have their uses. I don’t necessarily think they’re bad, but it certainly pays to question them. Questioning a belief allows a person to see if it really is serving their values or not.

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Adam October 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm

David,

What did you exactly mean by: “I do agree that beliefs are unavoidable and that they have their uses. I don’t necessarily think they’re bad, … .”?

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Partha October 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Very nicely put, that. I admire your clarity of thought. That absolutely couldn’t have been explained better.

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Terry October 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

Beautiful post David…

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Murali October 17, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Ok, here is what I am discovering. “My ego is stronger and cleverer than I could ever imagine.” What I need is an ego dissolving cream.

Murali

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Tareen Alam October 17, 2010 at 10:11 pm

It is a gift to be able to turn thoughts into revelations. One thing that is unanimous in all your readers is admiring your clarity. Ive been an avid reader and this is the post that took everything I’ve wanted to articulate into actual words. I also commend the humility you exhibit in your writing-its probably why your posts seem more credible and relevant.

Pride in our beliefs truly is a barrier to our growth in life. Great things could be accomplished, terrible things could be prevented, and peace could be more than a goal by the basic understanding of this principle. I’d love to see a post devoted to this.

You need a book!

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Jason October 17, 2010 at 11:36 pm

“No matter what kind of behavior other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skillful and helpful to others, others are unskillful and destructive, and almost all destructive behavior is unconscious.”

This is semantics. All you are doing is relabeling evil as dumb and good as smart. You say you understand all motives as deriving from wanting to increase pleasure or avoid pain. What if my method of fulfilling my desires is to rape, murder, and steal? You would call this dumb because it isn’t your method? That puts you right back in the same place as before.

Some people’s desires are to hurt others…you are trying not to judge but end up doing it anyway because you know it is wrong to cause suffering to others whether it gives you pleasure or not. We all know this (aside from the psychopaths). You can and SHOULD not try to escape moral judgment. You can and should question your basis for judgment (whether from religious beliefs or secular ethics) but justice and judgment are real and inescapable because they are based on our real and shared conscious experiences.

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Tobi March 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I know this was said a while ago, but I have to (at this time) agree with this. Judging someone as ‘evil’ or ‘dumb’ is still judging them. There are actions that are negative and actions that are positive. It doesn’t matter what name you give them. This little part has been bothering me, so I’m glad for this comment because I have no ability to put things into words what-so-ever. Or at a very limited one, lolz. I don’t want to think that all actions are neutral and it all depends on perspective, because then it makes everything feel pointless.

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Jason October 17, 2010 at 11:50 pm

“Objectivity is subjective.”

This isn’t quite earth-shattering if like me, you think it is simply a rewording of philosophical solipsism or the idea that one cannot prove that anything exists outside of one’s own mind or perspective. I question the value of such arguments. If you really thought your viewpoint was so unique and unsharable, then why bother with the blog?

In perspective, there is no “subjectivity” or “objectivity;” there is conscious experience. And your experience can be measured, compared, and corroborated by others by, for example, language.

Real objectivity does exist in the same way that reality exists even if it is not encompassed by an individual conscious perspective.

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Tobi March 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I like what René Descartes has to say about it.

“Because God is benevolent, a person can have some faith in the account of reality his senses provide him, for God has provided him with a working mind and sensory system and does not desire to deceive him.”

I changed the first ‘he’ into ‘a person’ because it was a little confusing, lolz.

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TL October 19, 2010 at 3:57 am

Very nice article. Thank you for sharing your beliefs

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Nell October 19, 2010 at 5:14 am

how wonderful to be part of such a share of thought

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Drew Tkac October 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm

The interesting thing about most of these concepts is that they are concepts of the mind. That is the mind mentioned in item one. It seems necessary to enumerate these concepts to let our mind know that it can stay out of the picture and let the rest of us, the non-mind part of us, do what is necessary without the mind interfering.

Take for instance item two. The concept of past and future is a mind concept. When the mind stays “neutered” the rest of us is free to enjoy the present.

I am in no way mitigating the need for this enumeration. I think it is the only way for our mind to know when it is safe to go into “park.” Just knowing this list is a good start but assimilating the concepts is the real lifelong work.

It happens so often with me that I get completely absorbed in a thought about the future or past before I realize that I am not in the present. In fact I think I am rarely in the present.

It is ultimately up to each individual to choose the mind / no-mind mix that is right for them.

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Sam Hight October 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

You have a very interesting blog with a fascinating collection of thoughts and ideas that many people should come face to face with regularly throughout their lives.

Not only that, but you seem to lead a very interesting life, or you are good at observing life and making what you see interesting.

I would like to question your approach to “strength of belief”. My understanding, coming from a fundamentalist Christian point of view, is that the strength of a belief relies upon the coherence and validity of that belief; and its ability to accurately portray the world consistently.

I’m curious to hear if you have ever come across such a view?

Any belief is only as strong as the object of that belief!

Keep writing, my friend!

Sam

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The Rev. O. B. L. Aden October 22, 2010 at 5:20 am

It’s good someone brought this aspect out. I too am a bit uncomfortable about this new-fangled new-age stuff, and am glad to see some old-fashioned belief being talked of, finally.

I too come from a fundamentalist point of view, and I too agree that the strength of belief relies upon the coherence and validity of that belief.

I also fully agree that any belief is only as strong as the object of that belief!

And my boys and I, we’re very strong on belief. Very much so.

Here’s to belief! Cheers!

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rdon February 7, 2014 at 10:21 am

It seems to be of great importance to distinguish between beliefs and values. They are not the same. Values are the moral and ethical “lines in the sand” each of us draws when conducting our lives. They are mutable to a degree but not nearly as flimsy as our beliefs ‘should’ be. Beliefs are ideas…thoughts…suppositions that should be challenged as our lives evolve thru our own experiences, trials and successes. Values shape our cores, beliefs shape our conceptual ideals. Values can be re-visited from time to time to hone and maybe challenge for the better but to me, beliefs are always subject to innumerable, ever-changing circumstances. Therefore….beliefs are continually revised by the information offered thru everyday living awareness.

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Drew Tkac October 22, 2010 at 7:16 am

I have a little different take on this belief stuff. I think that many of the current western religions have manipulated the original intent of the writings of those religions to control the believers. These religions are fear based. Be good or you will go to hell. No true spirituality can grow from fear.

The original intention of all religions is to communicate that which is not able to be communicated and to assist the believer to find that spiritual part in themselves. It is a tool to transcendence. The experience of spirituality is different for all of us and our pathway there is different for all of us.

But the object of belief, namely a god, has become the target to believe in rather than a tool to experience the spirituality.

The closed door comes about when you believe in one religion as told by the salesmen of that religion. Joesph Campbell suggests that we look at other religions that are not familiar to you. Ones that you have not been influenced by growing up.

Respectively Rev. Aden when you said you were “uncomfortable” with the new age stuff, that’s exactly why you should study it. Anything we are uncomfortable with is an indicator that growth and open mindedness could happen if you let your self explore.

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San Hight August 23, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Hi Drew,

Sorry for the late reply. I came across this article again almost a year later and was prompted to reflect on these things again.

You’ve said that you believe the western religions (christianity in particular?) have been manipulated so that people can use them for their own ends. I’m wondering if you still believe this, and if so, when and how do you think christianity was manipulated? Specifically, we have a reliable record of the writings dating from the first century, I am wondering when you think this information was manipulated?

I also agree with you that the “uncomfortable” is well worth exploring. Challenges are a lot of fun!

Thanks,

Sam

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Cass October 22, 2010 at 7:05 am

David,

Wow, wow and wow. I am not new to learning about Mindful Awareness but I am new to practicing it, both formally and informally. Reading this article just reminded me why I chose to pursue this lifestyle in the first place.

Thank you for an amazing article. It will be printed out and added just a precious few “treasures” I have found that spoke to me as this has.

Thank you…please keep them coming.

Cass

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Gustavo October 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Hi David,

Thank you for this post.

This is my favorite raptitude post so far. Almost all your ideas have being around my head, one time or another, but I couldn’t forge them into clear concepts. You’ve got a gift for synthesizing.

It made me think a lot. Actually, I could not decide which point was the one that shocked me the most. I finally opted for n.7. It is really liberating taking that proposition in mind before judging people.

Something else about it: it really strikes me to consider that both what you are trying to escape from, and what you are desperately searching are hidden in the same place.

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ARYA October 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for putting that in words. Wonderful!

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ekim October 26, 2010 at 6:06 pm

…………………………this better be good..!……………..

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Tracie October 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I’m struck by two pieces of understanding right now. I’ve also been eating your archives for the last several days, and having finally caught up, am looking forward to some digesting time. Thank you for writing all of this, for sparking thought and motivating action.

1) It’s only possible to do one thing at a time. You’ve written about this, and it’s something I’ve spent much of the last two years learning. I still struggle with doing any one thing truly mindfully, but I learn from every attempt.

2) I do not need to be attached to identities or labels, even the ones I’ve chosen for myself. I struggle with admitting to the world (and to myself) that something that was true about me before is no longer true. We all change, and being comfortable with the changes in our beliefs, preferences, and goals would surely be more peaceful.

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Markus @loimp November 5, 2010 at 3:44 am

This blog :)

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Andy November 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Hi David,

I have had many of these same epiphanies and continue to try to find the truth in them, with yours along with others help I would like to add. I know you are sharing these as personal epiphanies but I wonder about the universality of them and wonder if you have thought about it, as well.

While these thoughts resonate with me, I have the luxury of resources and time to ponder and apply them. However, I think I would have a hard time believing in these “truths” if I were in a desolate circumstance. How could I then believe my quality of life is dependent on my acceptance of these circumstances. It is one thing to have a flat tire, but totally different to be in a worn-torn country ravished by genocide.

The questions that arise make me wonder about the validity of any of it no matter how “right” it feels.

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Henway November 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm

My most mind being epiphany is that people are naturally selfish, and are always in the mindset of “What can you do for me?”. I’m not cynical, or negative. In fact this epiphany has caused me to release some of my negative feelings about the world. I know people don’t really hate me, or are acting unfair towards me – it’s just the way we are born, and wired.

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Dinah November 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

I live in a world that is my own. Yet I have to share it with a few billion others who also live in their own worlds. So we use the trappings of society to set rules so all these separate entities may exist with one another. The problem arises when you don’t wish to conform. When you personally believe “the rules” are no longer a benefit to you or ever were. It can be lonely and it can be dangerous. So how does one sidestep the ruling dogma of this existence? I’ve read a few of your articles and these are things I have also considered and thought upon but we live in a world of conflict. Of people. Of variation. Not to mention that the easy way out is usually the first choice. How does the human race rise above its natural tendency to coerce and conform and settle for less than its worth?

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David November 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I know what you’re saying Dinah, and I agree with you. Each of our private experiences in life are subject to shared cultural conditions. I don’t know if we can really sidestep it. If I believe the laws against something are wrong, it doesn’t mean it’s smart for me to ignore the law. I like to take a pragmatic approach towards how I respond to cultural expectations of me. Sometimes it makes sense to conform, but it is always worth examining why we live how we live. Sometimes we do things that don’t serve us out of a sense of fear or conformity.

As for rising above this natural tendency, I think all we can do is become aware of our natural tendencies, and decide consciously how we’re going to field our conformist impulses when they arise. I don’t expect we’ll find a cure for the problems caused by these human tendencies in our lifetimes, but we can develop smarter ways to respond to them, with conscious effort and attention.

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eetwo November 14, 2010 at 11:12 am

You need to try DMT or Ayahuasca. Then you can repost this with 10 mind-blowing epiphanies. But likely end up being 50.
Much of what you say I have realized myself over the last 10 years… but now I know their is an ‘other’.
I don’t yet know what it is but I have a few ideas. Self-transforming linguistic machine elves is what comes to mind. They create visual language and speak to you.
These aren’t drugs, they are plants. Symbiotic with man. DMT is produced in your brain as well as many plants across the planet.
Research before rebuttal.

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Riverman November 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm

You awakening is going nicely sir. How’s the inner peace going?

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Riverman November 14, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Sorry for the double going. :) I meant awakening is flowering nicely.

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r November 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I think #10 is my favorite. *smile*

xo, r

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Maddy Mud November 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

My biggest epiph was — Nothing matters and everything matters simultaneously. Ultimately, nothing matters, because we all die. But, because we are currently alive — everything matters. Those two are always in play in every moment. I find nihilist and super cynics to be like mathemiticians who use only negative numbers and dismiss the other side of zero. Same goes for yellow-post-it positive message people …

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Dinah December 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

We are all and we are nothing. The dichotomy of the universe.
Its beautiful and terrible at the same time.

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John December 1, 2010 at 12:36 pm

One of mine was the epiphany that ‘My life is none of my damn business’. All I can do is my best in each moment and the rest is completely out of my control.

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nrhatch December 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Similar to one of my favorite quotes:

“What you think of me is none of my business.” :)

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Seamus December 3, 2010 at 12:53 am

looking at the solipsism page is hard…..

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shane December 3, 2010 at 5:36 am

Hey man, I really liked your post and so decided to tell you one of my epiphanies. I tend to think a lot… a lot. One of the conclusions I came across was that everything we do is selfish. We love to receive love, we give because the act of giving makes us feel good personally. We tell someone we love them so that we can hear them tell us they love us. The majority of our sentences involve the letter I. We get into relationships so that we can make someone ours, sort of like our favorite toy as a kid (nobody can touch it but me) resulting in jealousy. All it is to me is a mutual control/ownership between two people. Maybe it’s just me but I, to this day, can’t hold open a door for someone without thinking about it afterward. Everything we do is for personal growth, people donate for praise and so that they’ll feel like a better person, we give hugs so that we may receive one, we are nice so that we are treated nicely. I guess that’s why they call it the golden rule. We are symbiotic. Selfish to the point that in order to get what we want, we have to give.

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David December 6, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I agree with you and I think about that a lot. Selfishness (or self-interest) drives just about everything we do, but for some reason we still treat it like it`s some kind of moral transgression to serve yourself. I think the most effective ways to serve yourself are often ways that do serve others. I think serving yourself at the expense of others usually isn`t that helpful in the long run.

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Mark D September 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm

im sure this wont be seen by original author, but just stumbled across the article. What you are talking about is called psychological egoism. it is essentially the moral groundwork of the philosophy of Ayn Rand. And its kind of a non starter as far as ethical implications.
If you define every possible human action as in some way selfish. You will even say mother Theresa was selfish about the afterlife or some completely unverifiable claim. Then you are basically setting the meaning of the phrase human action = self interested action. So when you say all human action is self interested, youre saying all human action is human action, youre saying nothing of any substance. It doesnt mean anything unless you can do something with it, and you cant, ethically speaking, unless you say everyone for themselves. You have to start ethics after that point, acknowledging that there are human actions which, though self interested by definition, appear to be altruistic. It is clear that these actions are necessary for any account of how to act ethically. So who gives a hoot what you think of the inherent interest, if everyone goes around acting altruistically in spite of it.

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Vick December 9, 2010 at 10:43 am

Even if one belives that all there is to the world is the objective material world that makes up are minds and bodies so to speak you are a brain an organ, even in this matter that makes up what you call yourself if it be your mind, or whatever by chance is reading and observing this right now, this material is infinite. This matter is infinitly divisible even though some do search for a god partical (the undivisible partical), one could still say what makes up this part of the god patical, and so on and so forth. So even if you hold that what we call matter, (All things that we deem observable currently) is the only thing that exist, you the person reading this are infinite in a very material literal scientific sense.

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Devin December 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

You should look into Buddhism, alot of your mind bending revelations are basic buddist philosophy. If your serious about these revelations look further into Buddhism, you will be pleased about your findings.

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Steve January 18, 2013 at 10:24 am

Agree. Budda taught these concepts 2500 years ago! And still being taught today.

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Vilma December 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm

First of all, I really enjoyed reading this and it is quite “mind bending.” I didn’t really understand your first point when you said that thoughts are no more fundamental than other senses. How can thoughts be places in that category when all inventions and theories come from the thoughts of one person? Thoughts lead to reason, action, and judgment; whereas smells, sights, and sounds cannot do the same things as thoughts.

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David December 31, 2010 at 8:58 am

Thoughts do have different characteristics than sense perceptions. But what I mean is that they arise in awareness the same way, and can be observed the same way. They are sensations that inform us, just like sense perceptions. The point is that because we can remain aware of a thought as it occurs (just like, say, a sound) then we’re no more our thoughts than we are the sounds we hear. After all, what is it that’s aware of the thought?

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Dee January 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Really really good stuff… I enjoyed this! Happy 2011 :)

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LunaJune January 6, 2011 at 9:09 am

love it when I refind things I’d read before and it makes it’s point in a whole new way.

love the way your mind hums
:~)
keep it coming

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Sam January 21, 2011 at 4:19 am

Simply beautiful! I have had some of theese thoughts also, just was not able to quite put it in words, thank you for this, truly makes me smile :)

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Fonzee January 31, 2011 at 5:26 am

First of all– this is great. I love the topic. Here is an exercise for what ever it’s worth. I’m changing all concepts of your epiphanies to see if other perceptions also make sense. Not as a counter argument, but as a way to liven up the extend to which we can mind-bend our concepts and stretch them beyond the limits of concepts.

1. You are not your mind.

mmm, nope, don’t think so

1. You are your mind!
(Unless you take drugs, then you are out of your mind).
Man is mind. The only reason to think you exist outside of your body-mind system is fear of death and the unknown. Once you accept you are scared to not exist and it’s your ego doing that to you, you can embrace the one and only mind-in-movement you have and nurse it well. Be your mind! Really own it. Take responsibility to continuously re-esthablish it.

2. Life unfolds only in moments.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so

2. Time is an agreement, so are moments

Even little moments are a creation of perception. Time is an agreement, so are little moments. Ego is the lens of your mind. You can FOCUS it on moments and details or a year or a millennium or endlessness. Just like you can focus a lens on something near or far. Moments don’t exists unless you insist to focus on them and make them your epiphany.

3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so

3. Quality of life is accidental.

People who think they can beat nature will also die in the end. If you are lucky, you will not suffer too much. A lucky mix of IQ and EQ will get you a better hand then your neighbor. Being good for your mind and knowing yourself (in movement) betters some things. But on the whole, luck is better.

4. Most of life is imaginary.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so

4. Imagination is thought.

Imagine all the people. Imagine peace. Image this word. Imagine a fart. It’s all thought. Man is mind. Mind is thought. You are thoughts (which includes silence). If you experience emotions, they only become part of your awareness system when you focus on them and reflect on them.

5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so — there is no ‘goal of existence’ and certainly not suffering.

5. Natural processes include suffering and procreation.

You laugh, you cry, you live, you die and o, yeah, fuck. Pleasure and pain are involved. It doesn’t mean a thing. You are not controlling that. A plant does not control changing sunlight into growth. It just does. It grows and withers. May I say we are very successful in procreation? There are an estimated 7 billion people now on earth.

6. Emotions exist to make us biased.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so — it’s probably a definition thing.

6. Emotions are you surviving

Fear, anger, joy, make us run for danger, fight enemies or hitch up. All basic survival tools. They are never biased. Natural behavior is not the bias. Rational based doubt of instinct and cognitive dissonances like “Emotions exist to make us biased” ARE biasses. People who are looking to fill a void of uncertainty in their existence are biased to believe epiphanies that sooth their ego’s to sleep.

7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfill their desires and to escape their suffering.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so

7. People live their lives mostly unconscious, without any idea or direction whatsoever.
Consciousness is overrated. Just like intelligence. People are mostly herd animals copying each others behaviors and repeating the same mistakes. They have a hard time distinguishing between pleasure-aimed behavior to relief short term agitation and long term health balancing actions. Hence they tend to repeat stupid habits and suffer.

8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so — it’s not about pride or shame. Believing is the result of feeling safer through repetitious claims on solving the anxiety of existential fear.

8. Belief is people repeating other people
Believing is based on repetition. In order to believe something, you have to remember it. You remember it because you repeat it. Believing is habit created by repetition. Say it enough and your thought will think it automatically. Our entire language is based on repetition, rules and beliefs. It’s makes us the superior animal. Planes are build based upon the believe we can fly. Your cellphone is a believe system. The internet is a system through which we exchange all our believes 24/7. “what if i talk to my screen and it will write my thoughts” is a believe that can induce the creation of an interface without keyboard.

9. Objectivity is subjective.

oopsie, nope, don’t think so — it is not a solipsistic world in which you are the center, just like earth is not the center of the solar system.

9. Objectivity is a very exclusive, important agreement

You need more then one person to create language and identity. One person is nobody. Language is the tool to point at another, creating ideas of another. You and me. Remembering you and me creates permanent subjects, who then can agree on things like objectivity to agree on the idea we are talking about the same thing. Objectivity is the key to agreement on the content of our communication being the same for you and me. It is all about really establishing the best possible connection. In calculus, it means you make the beams that support the building exactly the numbers and sizes in the drawings.
Things collapse otherwise. Communication collapses if it is only subjectivity.

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Dave February 28, 2011 at 12:20 am

“Oopsie, nope don’t think so” is at once juvenile and patronizing. You are egoizing. Making an intellectual game of the article ensures that you miss the points.

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Tim March 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I like the blog and this response. These subjects run deep. 9. Direct experience is both an immediate empirical and a metaphysical encounter with some aspect of the relative forces which act within and upon nature. Objectivity is the recognition of the natural impact and influence those forces exercise over perceived reality. Objectivity is personal acknowledgment that the dominant forces in nature dictate the predominant flow and rhythm of the relationship of things. Such as those things which stand out as self evident in themselves. Thanks,T.C.

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Tree Olivas July 20, 2013 at 9:06 am

I’m really coming late to the table, 2-28-11 to 7-20-13! Are you still in existence?

I’ll give it a try. I was sorry to read your response to Fonzee. I read both of your opposing views and found considerable merit in both. A tremendous amount of thought went into each others views. Even though Fonzee seemed to be trivializing your article I seemed to have a feeling he might have meant there might be other answers too. I would like to think that he was not demeaning your article but adding to it.

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Om February 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Buddha

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Rose Siboney LaLuz February 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Hmmm… God is observing God and is the ultimate observer that collapses infinite possibilities into realities. Interpreted as “I am, that I am”. Just a thought on #1.

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Anthony W Raduazo February 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm

We are the Universe, Come to know its self. God must have been bored for millions of years before he allowed us to reach this state of evolution. Can you imagine, having no one to communicate with! He must love observing you David. I know I do! Very interesting. Question is, where do we go from here? We may yet observe our self one day.

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Lamiand February 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm

You may live in the present moment, but the outcome of what you do in the present doesn’t take full effect until the future. Example: in the present you are talking on the phone with your friend and making plans to hangout. Now this did only happen in the present, but it has effected the future. If you don’t consider the future how would you make plans or set goals you would like to achieve. I understand What you meant, but maybe you should revise to to say that your worries should only be held to the present because happiness should be throughout. What would life be with out reminiscences of our failures and success in the past? We wouldn’t learn anything about who we are or how to act in the present. It is the reflexion on ourselves and the person that we want to become that creates what we are now.

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David February 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I never argued against planning or reflection. Both can only be done in the present anyway.

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Tina April 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Fantastic article, fave point was ‘if you can observe your thoughts then what are you’ – going to go spend the rest of the day contemplating shit now haha

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Stephen May 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

i’ve had a majoy mental revamp lately. i’d like to thank you for this website. reading what you’ve discovered has.. validated, for lack of a better word, some things i’ve been curious about. i was wondering if you had any thoughts on interconnectivity. if there is a paper already or any resources available i’d appreciate it. thanks again for your hard work.

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janet July 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I stumbled upon this and have shared it to great enthusiasm on my FB page. It’s been cross posted by at least 5 other people that I know of just in the last couple of hours. Thank you for posting it.

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zulema avendaño July 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Since I read this post several months ago, I understood my life in a way never done before.
I think you helped me in many ways.
I have to say thank you very much, in many ways:)

sorry, my english is bad

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tomas heikkala July 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Grief is good and it helps to make a life worth living

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Nevu September 5, 2011 at 4:28 am

I have just found this through a link from the Guardian uk. This is undoubtedly some of the clearest and freshest expressions of this material I have read in a long time. I will leave other comments when I read more of your blog, but I just wanted to say how grateful I am to read this and thank you.

Often something (which might have been previously been known) expressed through the filter of another person unlodges something and refreshens our understanding. thats my experience anyway! Thanks again
Nevu

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Meredith September 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

This is fantastic. The biggest epiphany I have had (to date) is to never allow someone else to dictate how I feel about me and how I choose to live my life. Everyone has their thoughts, opinions, beliefs and such…but, as you have so eloquently written, “I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me.”

Thank you,
Meredith

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Jean-Michel September 17, 2011 at 5:30 am

“1. You are not your mind.”

So true…
If you like to get an eye-opener on this subject, I recommend the movie REVOLVER, by Guy Ritchie.

A tough movie about money, power and survival…well that’s what they let you think… ;-)

Without revealing too much, I can say this movie does its best to give you a wake up call, and turn your mindset upside down.

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dc October 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm

That last comment is great, because of the amygdala. An impulse reaction gets to your fight/flight before your frontal cortex gets a chance to deal with it. But if you can delay a second or two — and just feel the emotion and not react… well that’s teh whole ball of wax right there ain’t it?

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diego November 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm

number 9 is just stupid objectivity is subjectivity i agree in all the others

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Inara Menduno January 12, 2012 at 6:20 am

The world inside our head is a very interesting space. There are so many elements waiting to be uncovered.
As far as the many thoughts that run through our heads. I have been able to key in on what is my own inner voice. It is very clear for me. It has always guided me. I have also keyed in to thoughts that are not my own that come from others around me.
You know it is very interesting to pay attention to what thoughts are running around in your own head. That way you can then start to change the unconscious patterns that happen.

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Marie Morohoshi January 13, 2012 at 2:17 am

Thank you for getting the buddhist teachings out to the west. So promising to see so many folks in the US resonating with these ancient teachings. Keep up the good work David!

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taimur February 25, 2012 at 1:29 am

simply and powerfully articulated, david. no fancy, unnecessary display of vocabulary, no gimmicks of philosophy; great clarity of thought.

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Sarah February 27, 2012 at 7:08 am

I love stumbling upon writing like this.. It’s the kind that reaches into my soul, connecting with mine and there is just a pure acceptance and understanding. It’s rare to find such a thing in my experience, and I’m lucky if I’ve met 2 or 3 such people in my 31 years. My first paradigm shift/epiphany happened when I was quite young, and it blew my mind apart. Lying in bed one night aged 10 or so, I realized that the universe just went on and on and on forever and no one could tell me how the hell we came to be here or why or when or what the hell this total madness really meant. It completely freaked me out that the billions of people on Earth just went about their daily business unconcerned by this lack of knowledge. They worked, complained, went shopping, cooked dinner, blamed their parents for their lot in life and felt unsatisfied with the size of their television. They seemed not to notice the glaringly obvious insanity in this concept of an infinite nothingness arriving without an explanation. We are all stuck on this volatile lump of muddy rock in the middle of an infinitely dark, shapeless, limitless expanse of absolutely NOTHING. Why am I the only one here that’s concerned with this? Seriously, how the hell did all this just “happen”, and what the hell was here before the universe just decided to “arrive” unannounced with it’s up-sized to infinity voucher? Oh, you don’t know… but you’re late for the bus and you have to run. Well that’s just great. So that was that and I never looked at things the same way again. So having reconciled the rip this caused in my mind long ago, its this “gap” in the knowledge base of empirical, objective, scientific reality that now makes me laugh. How come they can “explain” light/dark, gravity, movement and speed but they cant tell me what the hell is with this thing called a universe… I now see that it is all within my own mind…Where else but within our own minds can reality exist? Everything you see, touch, feel, think about etc goes through your mind by default… If it didn’t, you wouldn’t be aware of it and therefore it wouldn’t exist. Objectivity is a myth… it’s a concept that’s propagated by an outwardly focused mind that seeks to slot itself into some rank or position in the external, separate, outside space we know as pure objective “reality”. How silly… it can only exist in your own mind anyway, in the end that’s all there is…

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Kiki February 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Hi David,
I just happend to stumble across this post today and I found it very similar to the ideas in the books I have been reading: the Conversations With God series by Neale Donald Walsch. I find the ideas to be very enlightening. The books go at greater lengths to explain some of the ideas expressed here and more. As well as provided a larger context answering the how and why questions. I was wondering if you have read these books. I would also like to know if you got your inspiration to write from anywhere or if it just came from what was in your head.

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David February 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi Kiki. I haven’t read Conversations with God, no. I get my inspiration to write from everywhere — the goings-on in my daily life, what I think about the goings-on in my daily life, and of course what I read.

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John March 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Eckhart Tolle. “The Power of Now”

This is basically a summary of his teachings.

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Elaine March 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Hi David,

Thank you for this wonderful post. I always believe those who are the real winners at life reflect upon their own experiences. Reading through your words made me very admire what you have become and want to meet you in person in the near future. I already felt we are friends although we have never met each other.

I hope you have a fascinating life.
Eliane

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Alexander April 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

What a great post! Point 5 and 7 were sort of new to me and they seems to make a lot of sense.

For me, one thing that really helped me get on with my life was the simple realisation: life’s not fair.

About eight years ago, when I was 19, I fell seriously ill. I had leukemia, and I’ve have been battling it ever since. The actual leukemia is gone now, but I still suffer its consequences every day: tiredness, heart problems, back pains and more.

“Life’s not fair” may not be a very positive revelation, but it made me stop feeling sorry for myself and I finally had a ‘explanation’ as to why I’d gotten ill in the first place: because life’s not fair.

Best regards,
Alexander.

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Angela April 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm

This is the most reasonable and articulate article I have stumbled across. I am at a minor cross-roads in my life and appreciate this article so very much.. it neatly expresses all the truths I’d come to accept, at one point or another, and had forgotten. Thank you.

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Barry Kort April 17, 2012 at 6:24 am

I also had an epiphany on the subject of emotions and beliefs, leading to a deeper insight of the role of emotions in learning and the role of one’s beliefs in shaping life’s dramas.

“Cognition, Affect, and Learning”

http://knol.google.com/k/cognition-affect-and-learning

https://sites.google.com/site/barrykort/home/cognition-affect-and-learning

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Wendy Naarup May 8, 2012 at 8:25 am

Hi David,
I enjoyed your objective/subjective point the most…nicely stated. I think the thing that turned my life upside down was the realization that the adversity in my life was a blessing. With out hardship I would have been shallow, judgmental, and much less compassionate. One day it occurred to me that the crap is priceless.

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Da Young July 4, 2012 at 4:40 am

David, your wisdom astounds me! It’s amazing how liberating these epiphanies are, but it’s also amazing how hard some of them are to accept. It’s much easier to go on thinking that our biased perception of the world is true and correct, and it’s much nicer to our egos to think that there are those that are “bad” and those that are “good” (especially if we consider ourselves part of the “good”!). Thank you for such a thought-provoking post.

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BillyMayshere July 13, 2012 at 8:06 am

Philosophically, your points are not coherent. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that most of our thoughts do not come from us. You are saying that there would be absolutely nothing that is actually us other than our perception of what is occuring. If this is true, then none of your other points would need to be elaborated on as they would be self evident. By taking such a deterministic stance, then there is no choice of even how to take things, whether they be taken in a positive or negative light, because that would involve thought, which would involve us not thinking those thoughts but experiencing those thoughts come into our heads from an outside source. We would essentially be puppets and then the great responsibility of living and interacting would be sucked dry of any meaning. I would appreciate you re stating this idea if you could, because it seems to be a dangerous line of thought that sheds blame from the self, rather than accepting the responsibilities you truly possess.

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David July 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

One of the things we perceive is that we have will and intention. My take on free will is that we may or may not have true free will but it is irrelevant because obviously we feel like we do.

We perceive ourselves as being able to act and decide and take responsibility, and therefore we can. We perceive different possibilities and therefore there are possibilities. I don’t mean we’re locked into some kind of ride.

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Lloyd July 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm

“If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the center of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.”
I would like to follow this Idea, how might I read more?

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David July 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Recommended reading: On Having No Head by Douglas Harding, Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor

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Curt Tallard July 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I was just thinking that the internet is wasteland of lies and mediocrity. Thanks for this collection of gems of immeasurable value.

And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
T.S.Eliot

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Heather July 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm

It may be that each person acts only to relieve their suffering or fulfill a desire, but that doesn’t mean there is no good and evil. You failed to take into account the desires themselves. Is a person who harms many people by acting to fulfill a desire to control others and make himself more powerful no more evil than someone who harms no one in the pursuit of more peaceful desires?

You are trying so hard to be profound but the world isn’t as simple or as neutral (I’m lacking a better adjective) as you’re trying to make it.

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Zach Rosen July 27, 2012 at 1:21 am

Hey David,

Thank you.

Zach

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Andrew Bailey July 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

something just went “crackle” in my noggin reading that.

“you are not your mind” – I have heard that before, in my mind.

to see it written down gave me shivers.

bravo.

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240 August 22, 2012 at 5:55 am

My mind was really blown when i heard about nr.3 for the First time. The quote said: “Don’t Complain. It does not change anything. Either accept it or change it!” Not exactly the same but the basic Idea is.

Another thing i came across is the fact, that strong feelings are a way of the unconscious to tell us something about a Person. If you find out why you are thinking these things you will learn a lot about yourself. (Same thing if you hear others talking about their feelings)

If you combine theese two and decide to either accept or change the reasons why you hate this person you can stop disliking and hating. If everybody did this, the World would be a better place.

Tried to put this in an Infographic: http://imgur.com/aOPOw

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Jayme August 24, 2012 at 6:21 am

Even though I am on the cusp of my fourteenth birthday everything of what you have posted makes perfect sense, how is it that others my own age are not able to see things so clearly? i realize that i am unlike others my age but it would be beneficial if others my age could see outside of their emotions and egos, if only they could see that the sun will rise tomorrow and that the only time that matters is here and now. not what happened yesterday or last week or what will come to pass tomorrow. Can you teach philosophy to our grade nine class. maybe then we may have some humanoid creatures going on to high school?

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Omnivash September 7, 2012 at 4:03 am

First of all, pardon for my poor English. Such a great read, “you are not your mind” got me thinking what i really am inside if not for my thoughts. A lingering soul inside a vessel that produce sensations and experiences to it?

For me, the key for my well being no matter where i am is – balance.
Balancing between my thoughts, emotions, actions, desires and so on..
Buddha once said, ” tune your well being to the energies around you. Balancing is the key. A guitar stringed loosely can’t be played properly, once tuned in balance, it is perfect harmony.

The world that you experience is a mirror of your own consciousness, what you put out is what you will see back, always. You create the reality you want to be in.

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Alex Lee September 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm

The only thing I really have an issue with in this article is that humans have evolved to suffer and it’s just a way of life. That’s what the men behind the curtains want you to think so that you will continue living your daily life and not question what is being done with the world. We don’t have to suffer, but it’s the Takers life style to do it because we were told that we are the supreme beings of this solar system and that everything was meant for us. That’s pretty arrogant I’d say. If we stand up to get our true humanity back, and the true basis of humanity is to grow and expand, then we don’t have to live in suffering anymore.

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Mark D September 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

You should try to avoid equivocating the mind with thoughts. The mind is not simply thoughts, and the mind is certainly more fundamental than other senses as they all go through the mind in order to be realized. The mind is what enables you to think, it also enables you to perceive and have experience. It sound like you are saying you identity is captured in the whole of your experiences and thoughts and actions and sense perceptions, but all of those things are housed in the mind and inextricably linked to it.
Also, I see what youre going for with #8, but it seems like your point is really “dont be dogmatic” which is a great point, it also seems that you may only be thinking about political beliefs. Because to say that we should not be passionate about our beliefs is actually pretty deplorable. The way our society is structured, socially and economically, deems the best way for people to be empowered is for them to be active in their democratic and economic choices. This trend for western “high minded” thinkers be to “above politics” is toxic in that way. The idea is obviously that you have well thought out arguments for your beliefs that you are equally passionate about, not just that you decide to be passionate about a random belief.
I would not like to see a world where people are not passionate about their beliefs. If you feel passionate that humans should be treated equally, its ok to feel passionately that the color of your skin shouldnt define your rights, and to take that passion as far as it leads you. If everyone decided to not feel strongly about anything for fear that it will make their mind closed, what would ever challenge the status quo? We cannot just have a society of contemplative armchair philosophers.

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jiohdi September 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I would not say we evolved to suffer, however, seeing peace of mind as the goal behind all goals, as you only move when you lose it, I find that a dynamic system such as a human being, must always be in motion to avoid energy balance = death or energy explosion = death. very often we wander between boredom =too much skill not enough challenge and anxiety = too much of the reverse and on rare occasions we find the perfect mix of the two which, while we are engaged, feels the best of all experiences, some call the flow… those moments we feel so immersed and joyful in what we are doing while we are doing it that we do not even notice hours going by.

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Daniel September 25, 2012 at 1:52 am

The lyric is

“As life gets longer it often feels softer”

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아자씨 September 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Thank you for this insight. I’m in my 20′s and after a lot of hardships and betrayals, I finally learned how to let go of everything. I left my family, I left my friends, and I left my past. I learned to shy away from the social scene because I found peace and happiness in solitude. I am now able to enjoy what ever life throws at me. Somehow, I feel so much freedom when I’m not tied to societal norms. I don’t have to live up to someone else’s expectation, and problems just seem to disappear the more I disconnect myself from others. I live alone, but happy. I will probably be one of those cat ladies in the future, but I don’t totally mind growing old with a cat. :)

I no longer suffer like I used to. At least for now. :)

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Rock Solomon September 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Once I realized this, my life changed forever. “The key to inner peace, joy & enlightenment is instant forgiveness.” As a person who has been wronged a least my fair share in this life, I had to learn how to let my feelings about these people go in order to be truly free my own existence. I eventually learned how to forgive people as they are wronging me in the very instant that they are doing it (I also got better at realizing I was getting the high hard one quicker). I learned to accept that for some reason that I don’t have the personal history or knowledge of, they are simply doing what they think they are suppose to do, or have decided to do, and most likely they are not aware of the damage that they actually cause themselves as they attempt to afflict it on me. (it comes back to that whole “we are all one” thing…) Anyway, all the things attached to the anger I normally would have had toward them, also went away as I forgave them silently in my mind. It was an experience that made me like water in some respects, as only thoughts & feelings attached with a balanced neutral buoyancy (to use a SCUBA term) would remain in me, as everything else became to heavy or too light, and then would sink or float away, either way, not staying in the center of my world.

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Marc Jacob October 4, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I find your thoughts really strange. You seem like an intellectual, a truth-seeker, a person who knows what he wants out of life. You contradicted yourself in everything you have written. You have come across some incredible ideas, but haven’t come to a solid conclusion in anything. Your opinion is quite cool, but what’s an opinion with no facts behind it – maybe not 100% truths.
‘Objectivity is subjectivity’ – then the word objective would be redundant and only the word subjective would be needed, as well as various rules and laws throughout the whole world that every culture will have.
I really would have enjoyed this a lot better if you didn’t sound like you wanted to cry the whole time when you were writing this. It’s a good job emotions are all biased. Oh wait, they are not. Or are they. Whoa. I just sounded exactly like you.
Irony.
Ps. I love you. Reply back soon :)

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Joy October 11, 2012 at 9:54 am

David, A dear friend sent me your “9 Mindbending Epiphanies…” blog post with high praise attached. She is 70 and in 2 days I will turn 66. I am blown away by your clarity and wisdom and sure hope you continue sharing your experience and insights.
Since 1975 I have traveled on and wandered from a winding path of conscious (and sometimes unconscious) transformation. Several spiritual teachers, some psycho therapy, much meditation, lots of reading and investigation, silent retreats,…you get the drift.
For the last 15 the “teachings” of Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism and Eckhart Tolle have made the most profound impact on the quality of my life. And, of course, meditation…always meditation. After 30 years of mantra meditation, I discovered mindfulness meditation. It “fit” perfectly with my deepest desire – to live fully in the present moment (which is, of course, the only place you can live) – mindfulness sitting, walking and pausing often during my daily rounds.
I’ve read and “studied with” several vipassana/mindfulness teachers, US and Canadian.

A couple years ago I discovered a teacher who more clearly and comprehensively combines Buddhist teaching, mindfulness meditation, psychology and loving kindness than any teacher I’ve ever come across. She is a mindfulness meditation teacher, a clinical psychologist, a social activist and the head of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington DC.
I listen to her weekly talks and sometimes my husband and I host a sangha gathering in our home (in the mountains of Western North Carolina) and watch one of her talks. Her name is Tara Brach. She wrote Radical Acceptance and the soon to be released True Refuge. You can find more about her and her teaching at tarabrach.com or imcw.com. I think you might have a resonance with her and her teaching.

I look forward to reading every one of your posts.
Thank you for this gift you share with the world.

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Josh (Porter) October 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I have never before seen anything come close to describe ‘the way I think’. This does. This lays out quite eloquently how it is I don’t stress over anything.
Those that have known me for a while will understand and probably know the internal argument I had over number 9.
It makes sense though. Thank you for posting!!!

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stuart mcarthur November 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

“A New Earth” changed my life because Tolle cleanly articulated everything that I felt I was slowly rounding in on, and the whole thing clicked. Your nine discoveries are very much in line with A New Earth’s spiritual revelations.

You asked for more discoveries so here are two of mine.

1. Make everything your fault:
There is usually a way to make yourself the cause of all your problems, and you should always try to find it. Then, instead of feeling wronged, or unlucky, or disempowered, or angry, you feel empowered, stop blaming, stop being angry, and you don’t become old and bitter as this powerless victimhood accumulates. A simple example is road rage. As soon as you acknowledge that you could have planned ahead and avoided being stuck in traffic, your anger disappears. As soon as you manage to empower yourself by taking responsibility for your misfortunes, you then simply forgive yourself, look at what you can do or change to avoid it happening again, and move on. But if you stay disempowered (the tempting and easy option) not only do you miss all those wonderful opportunities for wisdom and growth and learning, but you build a reservoir of anger and bitterness that will make you a very unlikeable and unhappy old man.

2. By definition, beliefs can’t be inherited.
Beliefs should be the result of hard thoughtful work and, as you say, honest and humble consideration. By definition beliefs can’t be inherited. That is brain-washing. Most religious and political beliefs are inherited, so they aren’t beliefs at all. It’s the lazy option to hook yourself to your parents’ or some organised institution’s religious or political beliefs, because then you don’t have to do the work. To then defend those inherited “belief”s violently or dogmatically is compounding the crime. Ironically also, as more lazy adherents attach themselves to an organised religious institution, the religion becomes bogged down in dogma due to the unbending nature of these lazy believers. Instead of searching for truths, which is the purpose of religion, the organised religious institution becomes close-minded and resistant to truths.

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Sandy December 1, 2012 at 9:51 am

Your statement on good and bad is something I believe strongly in. I don’t believe anybody truly wishes to hurt others. I think if everyone could they would be perfect and always treat others with kindness. But that is simply unrealistic. If everyone were perfect we wouldn’t be human. I’ve been going through a rough patch lately and reading this really helped me realize I can’t change the things I’ve done and I don’t know what the future holds. All I can do is maintain a positive attitude at this moment and accept whatever the outcome may be. I have been dwelling on things I’ve done and although I did what I felt was best for me, I’ve let others tell me I was wrong. I have allowed myself to be my own worst enemy. I now know others may never understand my actions, but I know I did what was right for me.

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Lori December 11, 2012 at 10:16 am

Point 5. Human beings have only been alive for thousands of years, not millions as stated.

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Gabe Hughes December 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

“Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all.”

For this to be true, it would have to be an objective statement, and is therefore self-defeating.

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Reza December 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I just stumbled upon this article. Thank you for taking the time to write this and share your wisdom. It means a lot to me.

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Melayahm January 20, 2013 at 11:59 am

5&7

Suffering, and hence ‘evil’, comes from fear. Fear of pain, death, loss, being without something (money, friends, love, house, status, you name it). If you look at any evil act, you will find that those who did it were afraid of something, even if they wouldn’t see it that way. Even Al Qaida fundamentalists, they are afraid of not getting into heaven, or not obeying their leaders, or appearing weak in front of others or some other thing that I have no concept of. How should we hate people who are constantly afraid? And as we all suffer, how can we hate people who are just like us?

Very nice, clear, succinct list

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Cindy January 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Thank you very much. I also “Stumbled” to your site and am moved by this essay.

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Raquel Williams February 19, 2013 at 12:19 am

#8 is a home-run. I agree with the gist of #9 that objectivity is a pretend concept like “normal” or “perfect”. As for #6, I think you’ve got the wrong handle on the right point. Truly, emotional states are no more ‘absolute truth’ than rational thoughts… however, emotions are experiences (and all experiences are valid because they are real, –interpretations however, are another matter): thoughts are constructions (also valid because they are real, –their functions however, are another matter). They are no more incompatible than blizzards and beer cozies: just different brain paraphernalia. It’s important to remember their purpose(s) as your brain unleashes them onto your (sub)conciousness! Great thoughts overall and best wishes.

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John Mackie February 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Something that I have discovered about life is that being offended is a choice. I now find it impossible to be offended by people. say for example someone says to you that they think you lack confidence… at this stage you can get offended, but try this instead. Decide whether or not you value or respect that persons opinion. If you dont value their opinion then it’s just that, an opinion from a by stander however if you do trust their opinion (say for example it’s a parent) then you know you should perhaps change. Also think on this quote I came up with “how intelligent is the human brain?… so intelligent it just asked itself that question” – John Mackie

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Kooplee February 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I came here trying to find how to cope with the fact that my life has no meaning and to be honest these sort of “deep thought” provoking epiphanies seem elementary and at many points wrong, can anyone who agrees with me point me in the right direction toward a solid thought provoking article.

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chavez moran April 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your
site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with
it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures.
Maybe you could space it out better?

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Janus May 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Holy shit. Each one hit home with me. My discovery of your blog couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Here Now Brown Cow May 14, 2013 at 9:12 am

Wow, this is a great list! 4 and 9 are what I’m trying to grasp at the moment. Doing my head in, but going to stick at it and hopefully get somewhere (or nowhere?) with it!

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Jeremy June 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm

David,

I’m been studying buddhism and philosophy for a wile now and I loved this article. You eloquently, simply and in a conversational manner summed up some very complex issues into the nature or reality, the mind and human behaviour like someone casually writing a blog about their recent travels. Well done, you have a gift and I look forward to following you and reading more of your articles.

Jeremy, Sydney Australia

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Donna July 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Love your thoughts, I always look for someone who can give some explanation with the limited vocabulary we are taught. I have read so therefore I have a larger repertoire of the english language. I still have trouble getting my thoughts clear enough on any subject. Let alone be ready to write them down. Good job!

I haven’t been able to go through the whole blog posts but did catch my attention on the part about love as an emotion or something way bigger than that. Thoughts on evil and good! Yin and Yang. The Sun has no shadows. Darkness casts shadows. Remember what Jesus kept telling his disciples. “Keep awake” he went on to warn them that the devil is lurking and to keep awake as the “Devil walks about seeking to devour someone”. The question is “How are we devoured by evil”? What did the apostle Paul mean when he talked about the struggle between doing what was right and the opposite always won! We struggle every moment to stay in the moment. When we look away for a second we could loose it…we are distracted by everything in the physcial. We are taught in this consciousness to look to the physcial to solve all our suffering. Love permeates all of that-if we stay in the arc – the flow of consciousness – ride on the wave instead of under it. That means we awaken to our true nature and once we are there we still have to stay awake – distractions are lurking at every corner seeking to destroy that ‘moment’. Being still like a tree- just being- not planning or discussing thinking or doing just – being still! Learn how to incorporate that into every moment and things slow down until you can see the air moving air prana~ You can truly see that every individual on this planet is YOU! I am that I AM No good or evil just void and in that void the disconnect sends us reeling, spinning, toppling, hanging on for the ride, instead of taking control of the wheel and direction of the wisdom we have naturally. Each and every individual is the universe expressing itself in all forms. We salute each and every all differences in everyone. From the murderer to the thief to the politician. We are naturally flavored with the ability to stay young in mind and body, to heal ourselves with our inner doctor, to accumulate what we want as well as what we need. To balance ourselves with the energy from the sun and moon. Live long Namaste ~

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Mike G July 12, 2013 at 9:43 am

Hello, and thank you for the interesting post. A lot of what you said is really thought provoking which I can always appreciate. I’m commenting solely to just address that I feel your emotional bias seemed to sway towards atheism. I’m not here to say that that has taken away from your validity in advice or perspective. I just feel as though your wording is definitely in favor of that subjectivity. I’d like to offer my perspective, especially on #8 which is directly regarding beliefs which you state, “Beliefs are nothing to be proud of”. In essence the statement is blasphemous, but I’d like to evaluate the accuracy that the statement does have. Humans are limited in our observational abilities. No matter how much we do know, or seek to know, there will always be that which we can’t observe. Beliefs are inevitable, tying in with #9 on your statement of life’s subjectivity. Your wording then, that we shouldn’t be proud of beliefs is slightly insinuating that beliefs are too be ashamed of. In that case, it is flawed considering we are all humanly incapable of knowing ultimate certainty. An example where you could be proud of your beliefs would be this article in itself. You have experienced your subjective life, learned things that you “believe” to be true, and share them with others in the form of statements. If someone then related to these statements and bettered their lives because of it, you can then be proud of your beliefs or what you find applicable in your life. It holds true to say that consistency in a belief is a reliable one which isn’t held by “closing doors”, but by furthering the interest of yourself and others. Thanks for reading

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David July 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I am not an atheist.

“Beliefs are nothing to be proud of” is not the same as “beliefs are bad,” or “beliefs are something to be ashamed of.” I was commenting on the common implication that strength of belief implies some sort of wisdom or strength of character, when it probably is a better indicator that one is stubborn or closed-minded.

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Micaela Climer July 14, 2013 at 7:57 am

magnificent pictures tammy….

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Yotan July 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Headstands.

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Joshua August 7, 2013 at 1:40 am

Hello, I enjoyed reading. I wanted to comment on what you’ve said here.

#1 Your mind is part of your soul and you are observing it with your spirit. Man is made up of body, soul and spirit. *You* are doing the observing because you are a complex unity.

Thoughts proceed involuntarily when there is a lack of awareness of the underlying processes driving them, emotional, spiritual or otherwise. A repressed experience of abuse, for instance, will drive a whole array of mental and emotional processes which in turn create involuntary thought patterns.

#2 We should not worry about past or future, but we wouldn’t know how to deal with the moment either. We cannot comprehend what we are looking at without knowing what truth is.

#3 Your quality of life is determined by your spiritual condition, and the default for man is that it is irrevocably broken.

#4 The thoughts you are thinking have deep roots; don’t dismiss them as white noise. Explore them and see what you find.

#5 Suffering is a feature of this world, that much is true. However, your conclusions don’t necessarily follow from that premise. The real cause of suffering is a broken spiritual condition which is not under our control.

#6 You can’t suppress your emotions or rationalize them away because they are part of who and what you are. Your emotions come from your soul. You actually deceive yourself when you think you have suppressed them or have them under control (or that you’ve “outgrown” them) because then you fail to see them still subtely influencing everything you do.

I will also note that love transcends feelings.

#7 No matter how you slice it, when you eliminate good and evil you are left with nihilism, and nihilism can be used to justify any kind of behavior. If any behavior can be justified, no behavior if preferred. If no behavior is preferred, then killing babies is exactly the same as feeding them.

#8 Do you believe that?

#9 A schizophrenic has the same perspective and they need to be told what is real. How do you know that your real life is any more trustworthy than what a schizophrenic sees?

True or false?: There are only two ways to know truth; either you are omnipotent, or an omnipotent being reveals truth to you.

If false, please explain what another method of knowing truth is, and how you accessed it?

I am claiming the second option; it was revealed to me by an omnipotent being (God) that He exists and that Jesus Christ is His Son. God bless.

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Beccy August 8, 2013 at 9:26 am

I wonder how to communicate some of these things to a child. Mine is only 8 but some of these could probably help him cope more, suffer less.

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Akasha August 14, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I wonder how you could communicate these epiphanies to yourself? Don’t worry about your child. He is as fine as you are.

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Eddie August 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I am with you in your revelations.

I do have some issue, especially with the idea that we have evolved to suffer. We suffer because we have not evolved!

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Julia Carter October 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

Thank you very much for this well written article. It perfectly describes what has happened to me in the last couple of years. I have had a series of realizations that have come to me seemingly out of the blue and like a bolt of lightning and they stay with me completely unchanged. My thoughts and old patterns sometimes get in the way but those thoughts don’t have the same power over me as they used to. It is incredibly liberating and I find that I love everyone, even people that I have spent a lifetime resenting for what I thought were really good reasons. :) The best part is that I have stopped taking myself so seriously and live more joyously every day.

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Curious Chap October 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Hi david. I was wondering what book was the source of your insight? Thanks :)

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Bryan November 5, 2013 at 7:51 am

Hi David, I just read this from the “expanded consciousness” blog site. I thought it was brilliant and insightful so I wanted to see more from the author, but didn’t realize it was from you (I’m already big fan of your work btw). You’re a unique person, keep up the good work!!

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Michael Eisbrener November 7, 2013 at 7:41 am

You end with the beginning! ‘Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, unsharable viewpoint.’ For me the worst part is I can only describe it, barely, after the experience… another experience and if I am not careful an infinite loop of standing still. The future as possibility exists too. The more time I spend on her, the more of us there are to bring a world that works for everyone, with no one left out and no one left behind, into reality today.

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Elliot November 7, 2013 at 9:19 am

David, When you talk about beliefs, do you also mean religious beliefs? Should humans abandon their religions?

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Daniel Goers November 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

I have been recently exploring the philosophies behind consciousness and being your true self. I am trying to understand the concepts of the human mind and beyond. This is a general overview of what I have realized. “When a being is aware of their own consciousness, your true self has the power to make the choices that paint your life.” Does this make sense? Thanks in advance to any responses!

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Kees Blok November 11, 2013 at 6:13 am

Dear David,

Thank you so much for writing this AMAZING blogpost!
I have a question regarding human suffering. What do you think is the cause and solution to all problems? Beause I didn’t realy catch that one.

Kind Regards,
Kees.

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Simon November 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I have had all these epiphanies already. So now Im feeling very wise. But i have also learnt that that feeling usually means i am being stupid.

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CrazedLeper November 29, 2013 at 8:55 am

Author has clarity.

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Momo December 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Clear seeing. Thanks for sharing.

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Laren December 29, 2013 at 12:17 am

David,
I would like to give you a copy of my book “The Power of Perception”.
You can read about it here and contact me.

http://www.larengreyumphlett.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Perception-Laren-Grey-Umphlett-ebook/dp/B00EXTZX7E/

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Bobby Masri January 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Number 8 is a little unbelievable.

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Melanie January 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Hi David x
Great article – I have shared some of the epiphanies you describe here and they’ve made a huge difference to my happiness and to everything really.
Here’s another one…
I realized that Love is inside me. I used to think that I needed someone else – someone very special – to make me feel that expanded state of bliss and happiness called love. But then I realized that you can feel it inside yourself any time you want to. You just have to look. We think we need someone else to help us feel that, so when we find someone who seems to give it to us, we cling desperately to them. We pretend to be someone else to please them. We start making demands. We start thinking we need something from them to make us happy. I realized I was trying to control my husband and how he lives and even what he thinks – that’s not love! When I realized I don’t need anything from him, it left me free to love and be loved in a much more open, relaxed and deeper way.
Love
Melanie
x

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george puharich February 9, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Well reasoned out…goes along what I’ve been thinking all along (I’m 63) especially the stubbornness of those who are “proud of their beliefs”, I think they are called zealots and there are a lot of them running around (and running the world).
Perhaps the next evolution in Darwin’s theory will be when we as a race can let go of our “proud beliefs”…but I think that may be a long way off, yet.
Still, we must carry on – one thought and one person at a time.

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web page April 20, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an email.
I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

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Adam October 16, 2010 at 6:01 am

DiscoveredJoys,

Your whole comment feels true to me. You’re right We’re normally NOT aware of our feelings in themselves, in their originality; we’re mostly aware of our feelings that associate with our emotions. It looks to me feelings at root are neutral. The source of emotions are thoughts which are continuously chained to feelings. I also tend to think of a belief as an emotional connection to a thought. Physical sensations tend to act as an interface between feelings, emotions, thoughts and physical life. What I stumbled upon a few years ago in my late 20′s, and which seemed like a miracle to me at the time, was that when I shifted my attention from thoughts to sensations occurring in my body, the strength of emotions dissipated since my feelings where no longer tied to my thoughts. I hope it all makes sense.

I think it was the Buddha who said, “All things converge in feelings”. That quote always resonated with me.

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