Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Escaping the Trap

The mouse that gets caught in the trap because it can't resist trying to eat the cheese is a familiar analogy for the pain caused by holding onto old ideas that no longer work or false ideals that never worked.

No matter how we get ourselves trapped, our usual reaction is to blindly reach for something familiar that we associate with reward even though it invariably leads to dissatisfaction and disappointment.

The most common way of medicating the pain and ignoring the part we play in setting our own traps is through the subtle and seductive games of the conditioned mind. Our everyday mind avoids uneasiness by seeking special states. Drugs are often used for the purpose but we are proficient at using many things to avoid facing our true condition. Sports, spiritual practices, community service, the list is endless. These special states of mind brought about by participation in ego-flattering activities are addictive because they make us feel good, though only for a short time.

When we don't run away from the mundane activities of life and instead pay attention to how we feel and how we behave, we encounter the extraordinary in the everyday. Our innate wisdom is a natural force that emerges when we stop fighting it.

The radical approach, as incredible as it may sound, is to pay attention to our behavior and to our emotions. Without judgement, we recognize exactly what is happening in our daily lives. Eventually, we decide to stop getting in the way of our happiness.


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