Many people experience social media feeds as their reality, although the world out there may be quite different entirely. People get caught up and emotional by what they see on their news feed, events that may not be based on true facts.
For example, I didn’t watch “live” on the recent “fight of the century” between Pacquiao vs Mayweather, but I was following the real-time updates and colorful commentaries via social media feeds on my mobile device.
From the feeds, I gathered that Pacquiao took the initiative and fought better whereas Mayweather was doing more running than boxing. It was no surprise that the world (the world in my social media circles, that is) was expressing outrage when the judges awarded the match to Mayweather. Many were upset and showed their disgust all over the social media sites.
“Pacman was robbed by the judges! The match was fixed to favor Mayweather.”
“Pacman is the people’s champion. He’s the true winner!”
“Mayweather was more interested in dancing and running than fighting Pacman!”
Out of curiosity, I watched the full replay of the fight as a neutral observer. I had a complete different point of view on the match! I did a rough count on the number of punches of both sides and agreed with the judges score. From what I saw, Mayweather displayed a tactical masterclass and outsmarted the passionate Pacquiao. Mayweather understood the rule of engagement better, used his speed in evasive tactics to great effects and simply outboxed Pacman. Simple as that!
Based on my Facebook feed, Pacquiao was going to win and should have won that fight. But based on my non-bias observation, the right verdict was given and Mayweather was the rightful winner.
In Facebook, when you “like” a certain news in your feed, when you engage in commenting or sharing it, you’ll see more of the same type. The Facebook algorithm will auto-generate more news in that direction based on your interactions and preferences. You see, what you get is actually a narrowed down reality tunnel, not the actual full reality.
Your Inner Feed
Now similarly, there’s a more subtle feed, like an inner Facebook feed in us, we are only ever experiencing our live feed of THOUGHT in the moment, not the world directly.
Our feelings are the result of our thinking, moment by moment. Generally, we have misunderstood that we feel the world and circumstances directly (they are the cause of our happiness, anger, disappointment, sadness etc.), when what we feel has always been the result of our thoughts in the moment.
When you choose to focus on certain thoughts, you would get more of the same which generate certain feelings of the same kind, which in turn perpetuate and reinforce more thinking patterns along the same loop. And that becomes your pervasive “reality”. It’s like getting on a train which takes you further in a particular direction.
The traditional self-help gurus understood this at a level where they thought, “Oh! If you change your thoughts, you can change our life.”
Well, that’s a very tiring approach, in trying to manage the many thousands of thoughts running in your mind throughout the day. If we could change our thoughts that easily, the world would be quite different by now, everyone would have been happy and all the problems would have been successfully managed.
You see, that approach is based on another misunderstanding of what thought really is. It’s like trying to stop the flow of the river or change the weather – you can’t really do that.
Formless Nature of Thought
There is a formless energy behind thought and thoughts flow every moment of our lives. You cannot stop its flow just as you cannot stop or change the weather.
When storms roll in, you lay low for a while and deal with it in a gentle manner, not get angry at the sky. When the sky is clear, you get back out. In the same way, when you are caught up in a storm of thoughts, be gentle on yourself and realize that it will soon pass, if you go easy on your thoughts.Be grateful for your highs, be graceful with your lows. Click To Tweet
Because of the formless energy, fresh new thoughts flow at every moment. When you’re not hard or rigid with your thoughts, you are more likely to catch fresh insights and new clarity into your situation.
You can’t force your thoughts to change but you can allow fresh ones to surface more easily when you’re gentle with yourself. Get off the train of thoughts that is undesirable. Ease off the gas pedal of your thoughts. Slow down. When the right train comes along in the form of new insight, hop on.
Do Not Be Afraid
If we understand the nature of Thought, and the formless energy behind it, we don’t have to be afraid of the negative ones and get rid of the bad feelings.
“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” ~ Syd Banks
If you insightfully understood this (not at the intellectual level), you would realize there is no need to change your thoughts. The ones that appear to frighten you are like shadows. Because you understand the nature of shadows, you don’t mistaken them for real monsters. When the light shifts, the shadow disappears.
Likewise, if you understand the nature of thoughts, and where your experience comes from, you do not have to be afraid of them. Fresh thoughts keep streaming at any moment.
When you are awake to this Principle of Thought, you would realize that the quality of your experience is never dependent on what’s happening in the world – it’s entirely generated from the inside-out.
Be aware that while the world is running in many directions, there’s an inner feed that is streaming from within. What you experience is from that inner feed, not from the world directly.
Be Compassionate on Others
Can you now see that everyone is experiencing their own pervasive reality, shaped by their thoughts? Everyone is living in their own reality ‘bubbles’ unaware. It’s like the fish unaware of the existence of water. Many would also mistakenly think that their ‘bubble’ is the world.
Having awakened to this insightful understanding of the Principle of Thought, one of my life’s major missions is to gently wake people up to this understanding and help them realize the infinite potential they are and the infinite possibilities they possess.
But first, this understanding has caused me to have a greater compassion on others, realizing that individuals respond and react according to their thought ‘bubbles’, not reality. To them, their ‘bubble’ is reality and they don’t know that.
That insight alone has caused me to listen more and be less angry and agitated by things people say or do, gave me more clarity in handling conflicts and tough conversations.
1) If you understand that your feelings and quality of experience come from your thoughts streaming in the moment and not the world directly, what are the implications? How does that make you feel?
2) How can you be more gentle on yourself?
3) How does the awareness of thought ‘bubbles’ as reality cause you to have more compassion on others?