We need to know ourselves in order to have a positive impact on our lives. But where do we look?

The first place that may come to mind to look for yourself is inside. That is, if you identify yourself as your body and you close your eyes to look inside. But this brings about the first problem; If you are your body, why then do you have to close your eyes to find where you are? If you were your body, it would be clear for you to see who you are with your eyes wide open. Looking inside would mean we look not to the body but somewhere in the body for who we are.

Only this is not clear cut either. When you close your eyes you see nothing, notice thoughts and feel sensations. On the other hand, when we look outside; what we see are people, cars and buildings, moving, coming and going. What’s the difference between them and what’s going on inside? We have just as much control over the next thought that going to pop-up in our mind then as over what’s happening outside. We can only decide what’s happening next by purposefully choosing our next thought, in the same way we decide to move our arm.

Viewpoint #1

And so the spiritual point of view states that what we experience inside and what we see outside are in reality one and the same. It are all just things popping up, coming and going. Sensations, thoughts, the cars outside and the moving of your body (this could mean that we are both what’s happening inside of us and what’s happening outside.) The difference between what’s in our body and outside of it exists only because we make that distinction in our mind. Which brings us to viewpoint number 2.

Viewpoint #2

Things exists because we make them so. It is stated (I.G. in quantum physics) that thoughts are things that can shape our reality. And that to have certain thought about something, that object or thing is altered because of what I think. In short, the mechanism behind this is that all things are not in a definite state but consist of a plentitude of possibilities. The way we view that determines how they are perceived. This would go both for things that are outside and inside of us, again going beyond the traditional idea that we are our bodies or what’s inside our bodies. But there is another view that builds on this.

Viewpoint #3

Everything that we can perceive, we are not. In viewpoint #1 we discussed that there is no difference between what goes on inside and what goes on ‘outside of us’. There are two ways of approaching this; We are either everything we can perceive (inside and outside) or we are none of it. No matter the experience, we can be aware of what is happening to, with and around us, so we have to be there with the experience somehow. And that ‘being there’ is always the same, no matter what is perceived. And so it has to be something else that is changing all the time (thoughts, feelings, etc.). It is by this being aware of what is happening that we can remember something that has happened in the past. If we were only that happening, there would be no one to register it and to be able to recollect it later.

The best way to look at this is from both sides, like Nisargadatta Maharaj stated:

‘Wisdom tells me I am nothing, love tells me I am everything and between the two my life flows.’

Recap

So then we have three point of view:

#1 Inside and outside are one and the same;

#2 Our thoughts create our circumstances;

#3 We are nothing that we can perceive or we are all that is being perceived

So how does all of this relate to having a balanced life?

To be balanced, we need to have a point of reference. For anything to have a balance there needs to be a middle point to lean on. Just like the wheel of a car spins around a middle point to which it is attached and thus generates movement. We can either pick one of the one points of view for this or combine them (my suggestion).

Viewpoint 1 helps you to accept what is happening in and around you and understand your relation with the rest of the world (yourself, other people, emotions, thoughts). Viewpoint 2 helps you purposefully direct your thoughts and emotions and thus create what you want. And viewpoint three can free you from the tyranny of thoughts and emotions, letting things go by seeing they don’t have anything to do with you.

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To your homecoming,

Tobias

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