How to End Suffering and Realize Peace - Stop Believing Your Mind
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Hi! My name is Brian Marc Zimberg, and I’m author of Stop, Smile, Breathe, Be and creator of Access Points, the Modern Life Meditation Plan where we show you how to shift your attention out of the mind, connecting to the most profound peace of meditation. And in that, awakening deeper into your True-OneSelf, from there living a life of greater joy, happiness, and true self-expression. Even more so, being a contribution as that in the world.
In today's video, we're going to take a look at what the root cause of suffering is. What's the root cause of all the struggle in your life? I mean, wouldn't it be great to finally be free of all the worry, fear, doubt, shame? Wouldn't it be great to finally be free of suffering and struggling for life?
So, what we want to take a look at is what is the core, you know. So many times, you've probably done things to try to get over suffering and stop struggling in life. So, if we go to the root of it, we should be able to free you. Free yourself in a new way. And that's really what I, what I want for you. What you want for yourself. And I am here for that for you.
So, the root cause of suffering, if we take a look, is identification with our mind equals separation. You see the minute we believe our mind, we believe ourselves to be a separate entity. And when we're coming from our mind as a separate entity, that separation equals suffering. Why? Well, let's take a look at this. Right?
When we're a separate individual, we need to do what? What is the main program of a separate individual? It’s to survive. To survive, it has to protect itself to make sure it's safe, to make sure it's okay. The number one program is always to protect itself to make sure that everything it does is okay. That it’s always safe. It's always on alert. It's always on a lookout for danger. So it makes sense that fear would run this survival animal, in Access Points, I like to call it the operating system. It’s like the operating system of the mind. Picture it like, you know, like a little Apple computer we put on your mind, and this operating system has some main functionalities. And its first primary objective is protect the body. And as we know in many spiritual circles though, the body-mind, the ego is what it's called. Right? This ego believes itself to be separate. It's self-serving and a lot of circles they think you want to get rid of it. We'll have that conversation another time, but it's not worth trying to get rid of your own mind. Because the only thing it wants to get rid of the mind is actually the mind.
So the root cause of all suffering is separation, is the belief that you are separate. When you are separate, you can be destroyed. And fear is a necessity. If we didn't have fear...imagine that you are in the ocean, there's a shark that starts eating you. You know when you're having your little spiritual..."We are all one. I'm one with everything. Oh hi, Mr. Shark." As he is eating your leg. "Oh you're eating my thigh. Hi, Mr. Shark." Right? The shark eats you alive. But everything is good and happy. There is no fear. So it's not about getting rid of fear. It's not that fear is wrong. It's a function of this operating system. But when we believe our emotions and our thoughts to be reality, to be true, to be who we are, that we believe ourselves to be a separate concept, a separate thing that stands alone. And the truth is, you know, right? We're all one. You see that thought in itself, although it's nice, isn't going to do it for you.
What I want for this show, for you, always is for you to look at deeper: What is the truth of who you are at the deepest level, what we call your True-Oneself. That's who you really are. When you dawn on that, when you awaken to that, when your intention shifts out of the trance of your mind and to that oneness.
It just never ends. The beauty of who you really are is revealed. A full embrace and acceptance comes alive inside of you. A self-love starts to emanate more from yourself. This doesn't mean you become a saint or a perfect person. It means the burden of suffering of life is lifted. You are emancipated from mental slavery. Bob Marley said this so often in his song as he sang it...what was he referring to? "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, and none but yourself can free your mind." What self is he saying can free your mind? Well, what I'm saying is that is your True-Oneself, and hopefully for many of you who are listening right now, you’ve already touched that. You felt it. You've experienced that which is your True-Oneself.
A moment of nature and a spiritual realization, in a book you read, an epiphany, in the birth of a child and the gaze of a loved one, in an awe inspiring sight. You felt the connectivity of love, of oneness, of something so much greater and bigger than “Me”. Me, me, me. So, the root of suffering is protecting Me. So, we all can comprehend and get that the body wants to be protected. The ego structure, the survival animal, the reptilian mind is programmed to protect itself. So, the number one thing the survival animal, the operating system, is to protect its physical body. But one of the biggest things, and this is really crucial, that to get this could change everything for you really if you take it in deeply. If you've already dawned on this and realized this, then let’s take it even further and deeper.
And that is the ego mind is just as much as trying to protect its body and physical safety to not be destroyed. It's also trying to protect its identity with the mind and being somebody and someone. A somebody and someone special. Different. Unique. And that's true in the DNA of who you are. So, I'm not putting down your uniqueness. I’m Talking about the structure of the functionality of the ego mind that wants to survive. It wants to protects its separate identity. It wants to protect that it's somebody. It can be an inflated somebody, I'm the best somebody. I'm such a good somebody. Or the deflated somebody. I'm the worst somebody. I'm the saddest, most depressed person in the world. As long as it substantiates that it is an individual, that it's separate. You see, that's the whole crux of the suffering. Kind of why Buddha said life is suffering because the crux of this thing is that the ego structure trying to survive is also trying to make sure that it's not going to have its identity be destroyed that it's truly somebody and it has to substantiate itself in its survival and prove that it's somebody. In maintaining itself as a separate individual, it also maintains suffering because if you are a separate individual, then you can be destroyed. So, the question we really want to ask ourselves is: do you just want to just survive, or do you want to thrive? To survive equals the fear and the worry and the doubt and anxiety of protecting itself. And to thrive means to live from your True-Oneself. That which is one with everything. That has the overflowing of love and peace and centered. Always here, always full. Fulfilled.
So, if we want to thrive and live from there, we have to see how do we stay stuck in our minds which keeps us separate. You see, what it comes down to, you'll hear me often say that what meditation really is shifting your attention out of your mind. And the moment we learn to shift our attention off of our mind to awareness itself, we discover the truth of infinite peace. We discover the core of who were are. From there, we can thrive. So if it's stuck in our mind, our attention, how does the mind keep us stuck as a separate self? How can we finally be free of that? And therefore, be free of suffering.
So what if you don't believe in the construct and the concept of who you are? The story of me. The story of you. Since you were born and we were told we have a name. And then we believe that name and the program begins. Right? Your parents tell you, what life is about what life would look like, who you should be, what you may be, what's right, what's wrong, what's good and what's bad. What are you going to be when you grow up? We go to school and we learn about winning and losing. Really getting it right and really getting it wrong.
And also, there's something to maybe be ashamed of or something we have to prove. And even more a layer, it gets put it on top of us. And religion, society tells us how things should look and what is good and what is right, what is wrong or how am I supposed to be who I am. Our concepts and ideas that build this idea of me. And then you know, you may rebel against all of that. "Forget all that. I believe this and I think this." But think about how many times in your life have you for sure believe something when you're younger, and then some years later, you totally disagree with what you believed then. So funny thing is that even if we rebel against it, we're actually substantiating it. What are we really saying? We're saying that, "This is me and I disagree." Everything is built in the ego structure to substantiate “Me” as the separate individual. And the hope for mankind, let alone for your own peace and your own self love to evolve, to awaken, is to transcend “Me”. Not by getting rid of the mind, but by starting to recognize the main patterns of the mind that keep your attention stuck in the mind. That keep you separate therefore in struggle and in suffering. So one of the key takeaways really here is to notice that the root of suffering is to start noticing, to start noticing how much the mind is trying to create that it's somebody, that it's something. And the more we starting seeing the parading of the mind like that, the more we start to kind of pull out of the mind. The more we become aware of that pattern, the more we become awareness itself. We start awakening.
The mind is trying so hard to maintain that it is real, because when we look in deeper, when we investigate deeply in, we find the non-existence of ourself. And this doesn’t have to be so esoteric. Let's just look at the idea of like "This table that i'm looking at here." Something you're looking at in front of you. We know that deeper in, if we go closer, there is bunch of atoms bouncing around. We know if we go in deeper, there is basically waves and particles. And there's actually more nothing there than there's a table there. But yet a table is here. So too as we have this kind of agreement that this is here, this table is here, we have an agreement that you're here. You have an agreement that you're here. And you will keep buying into that agreement. And that is what some people call the trance. The matrix idea. But yet, the table is here and it's not here. So too are you. But to be free of the mind means you move into a dance and this beautiful momentary period of your life. It is going to have a beginning. And it's going to have an ending.
And when we move closer to that awareness, we find that we are one with everything. And it's not because you believe it. It's not because you've experienced it before. And it's not because you've read it in some book or because I'm saying it. What I want for you more than anything is for you know without a doubt. So, that in any moment, fear could can arise, worry can arise but your ability to shift to your True-Oneself and experience that core of peace can be available to you right now in this moment.
So let's take a look at one of the main features of this operating system that keeps us identified with our mind. See, the survival mode, the mind in order to protect itself always is labeling things. It always has a label, a compartment, a dissection. It’s constantly labelling things, separating them, compartmentalizing them and putting them where they belong. All, mostly based on our past experiences which are usually imprinted by more negative things than positive things. And in all to protect ourselves and equate what's going on here. For example, they say “smell the roses”. But the truth in the matter is when you go smell a rose, what's really happening? Your mind remembers past flowers. If there's a rose back there it remembers that rose. And it already knows what it's going to look like. It already tells your mind what's going to feel like. And when you're going in for the smell, it's already telling you it's going to smell like a rose. Perhaps in the instant of the smell, there's a moment of (breathe deeply) experience. But beyond that, there's just the past telling you what this is. It’s already separating you even from the direct experience of the moment. When the mind is dissecting, when it's ripping things apart, labeling things...it's like whipping a knife around. It's constantly separating, it's actually kind of violent.
See the thing is, we're always filtering life through our thoughts and through our emotions. And that's equating the labeling of what reality in life is about. We’ve all had that experience when we look out of the beautiful sunset. The moment you look at the beautiful sunset, it's like awe inspiring, and we're connected and it's gorgeous. And we're just experiencing this beautiful vista. And then our mind says “it's beautiful”. And that thought, though there's nothing wrong with that thought and it is beautiful, it already takes us one step out of the experience of that awe inspiring moment. That moment where we infinitely connected. Endlessly at peace with everything. The mind says it's beautiful and we step away. And what the mind is constantly doing in its labeling and dissecting of things is constantly bringing us one step away from the real moments. This present moment that is now, we never get to experience this reality. Because we're always in our heads one step away from it. Either going into the future, into the past. But ultimately identified with the separate self, and that's the entire strategy of the ego is to protect that somebody.
So what we have to recognize that the mind is trying to get rid of thoughts. Often on this journey and meditation or awakening and in just the daily life of chatter, we want a quieter mind. And here we are looking to shift out of our mind, disengage from the thoughts. So, it's really important that we notice the constant labelling that's going on. We notice the labelling, the dissecting, compartmentalizing. We start noticing that it’s happening, not that it’s right or wrong because it’s happening. That’s just a function of the operating system, the survival animal. The more we see that happening, the more we're aware of it, the more we recognize that that's not who I am. So, Lao Tzu, when he wanted to die, the great Tao patriarch, the writer of Tao Tae Ching, he wanted to go off and die in peace. But the King of the land said, "No, you can't go. Because you have to give us this wisdom that you realized. We have to know what it is that you know." So he was forced to actually sit down to write the Tao Tae Ching. So in the first line of the Tao Tae Ching, he says something of the sorts of that "When I am going to use words to describe the nature of things, (nature of things being the reality of life, this oneness we are talking about) I am going to use words to describe the reality of life. And since words are part of nature, and I am going to use words to describe nature, and since words are part of nature, basically what I am about to say ‘isn't it’?" So he denounces the entire Tao in the first line. Because it's words he is using to describe that which can't be described. In the same way, your mind is always trying to capture and figure out and tell you what it knows, and what it is and substantiate itself as a separate entity. Which again, we said, equals your suffering. So what we want to start doing is taking a look at these concepts. Want to notice that it labels, want to notice that you're believing concepts about yourself. And you’ve got to get this because this is the craziest thing of all this journey you've been on...it’s that your mind will never get this. It's another insidious pattern of this operating system is “always trying to get it”. Right? The carrot. Dog chasing its tail. We share these ideas, but if we break it down, that's all this is. You see? The mind can never get the infinite. Because how can a finite grab the infinite? The truth is, you are already infinite and who you are embraces all things. Allows the planets to be in the sky, the sun arise everyday, your breath at this moment, now happening.
You'll never get this, but by noticing awareness, by noticing these patterns, we’ll step out of our own suffering. And we can have the shift. The shift is palpable, and is here for you deeper and deeper right now. So Awake Life, in this show, we are here to really take a look at, not what just what it is to come out of the trance of being a separate individual in the world of suffering, but what is it to evolve in our oneness to align ourselves with the greatest expression and talents of who we are as a surrendered self, as our True-Oneself, into the world. And then what is it to not only realize and have this realization? But what is it to live as a human being in this world, “awake”? So all you need to really do is simply start noticing. Your mind is labelling, your mind dissecting. It's trying to figure it out. The more you notice those things, the more you are going to pull away from it.
So, I want to do a little exercise with you. Because what it comes down to is we want to start noticing that we are always being. That all the concepts, all the labels, all the ideas of who you are, man, woman, mother, lover, all the ideas, what's right and wrong, good, bad, all the concepts, that aren't going to be “it”. They will not describe the nature of things. All these concepts aren't you. That who you really are is free of thought. Before the thought, you are. Right now, always, you are. You are beyond any concept. You are beyond all limitation. You are limitless. Only concepts are all limited. It can never describe the entire Tao because it is already limited. You are the Tao. You are the wholeness of everything. When you recognize that, you shift. See, you are not limited to a part that cannot describe the whole. You are not limited to a concept. You are way more than a concept. You're not your thoughts. You're not your feelings. You're not your body. They are here, they are you, and you are way more. You are that what is one with everything. And all we really need to notice is the simple sense that we are. We let our attention move out of the mind to the simple sense that we are. In Access Points have created these ways of shifting. And the more we begin to notice the patterns that keep us addicted to our mind, the more we can notice that the center is right here, right now.
So, I'll do an exercise with you. A simple exercise. I’d like you to just take a breath into your nose. (Inhales) Out of your mouth (exhales). Always good to let a good sigh out. So, I just want you to pay attention, really pay attention. Listen, you've already done many breathing exercises out there. I want to make a point with this, the experiential point. So play along, okay?
Breathe in through your nose and I want you to feel it, you know. The breath coming in to your nostrils. You feel it at the tip of your nostrils. Just pay attention as it hits your nostrils. And then breathe out. Feel as it's coming out of your nostrils. In through your nose. Out through your nose. (Inhales deeply, exhales deeply.) In, feeling it. (Inhales deeply) And then out. (Exhales deeply). And then now, pay attention, closely to your breath this time. (Inhales deeply, exhales deeply.) Breathing again, paying attention closely to your breath this time. (Inhales deeply, exhales deeply). Now what's before your breath? See now, we are going to do this again. When I say what's before your breath, it doesn't need a mental answer. Just focus on your breath, and then inhale your breath, when I say what's before your breath, just look right before, look what is before the breath. So, ready?
(Inhales deeply). Focusing your breath in, focusing your breath out. (Exhales deeply). Again, focusing your breath in, attention in your breath out. Now look, what is before your breath? See, for a moment there, you'll notice that you just are. That there's being. That there's nothing really in there. There's this spaciousness. My friend the other day, as I was doing this with him then he said, "Me, I mean my inside.” But he didn’t mean ‘inside his body’. He just meant that this inside that doesn't have an end or beginning. This “inside” that is him. Who you are is being. You see, let's take breath further. Have you ever had to do anything to breathe? Breathing is happening. You've never had to do a thing to BE either. The simple sense that you are, that's you. The simple sense that you are is unchanging. The simple sense you are is free really of labels and is free of suffering right now.
So, I have another exercise for you to do. You can do it today, tomorrow, when you're going to take a walk, just go take a walk. It could be a 2 minute walk to do this exercise. When you go take a walk, I want you to, you know, your mind might be wherever. It might be what you just did at work, what you're going to do later on. But then I want you to bring your mind to looking down to grass and see the blades of grass. And if your mind isn't right away already labelling them as it looks short, it's too long, it's green. Start helping your mind in labelling it. Look at the grass and just start labelling it. Start labelling what you're seeing. The sidewalk. That sidewalk, it's gray, okay? And then play along, right? Let your mind label. It doesn't take much to get it going because it does it anyway. Kind of start dissecting and analyzing what you are seeing. You see what I'm saying? And then do that, whatever you're seeing, and come along to a tree. And I want you to look at that tree. Just notice what your mind has to say about it. It's brown. It has green leaves. It has red leaves. It's a young tree. It's an old tree. Whatever your mind has to say about it. I want you to just stare at the tree for a moment and just notice what your mind has to say about it. And then notice, just like that breathing exercise we just did, that are you here. Are you, do you have to do anything in that moment to breathe when you're looking at the tree? Do you have to do anything in that moment to be? Now your mind will have labels about yourself and conversation about yourself. But about that tree, as it is labelling it, do all the labels about that tree stop it from being a tree? (Laughs) Of course not, right? You got to go out and do this though. All the labels about the tree doesn't stop from being a tree. And as your mind is labelling the tree, does it stop you from being? Start noticing more and more of the labelling and dissecting of the mind. What you're going to find is that freedom from all suffering is in not believing your thoughts any longer. Coming out of your thoughts is the path. And we do that by noticing these patterns, by recognizing that we are, by moving our attention to what is “now”. To being with what we are. Stop, smile, breathe, be.
The key here is don't believe in your mind. You're moving into the way of no longer believing your mind and its comments, and you and your circumstances and your relationship to this moment being based on the reality of concepts and words. Lao Tzu didn't think it was good enough to describe the entire Tao. Surely no concept or idea about yourself or inner words about yourself or concepts of anything else are good enough to describe you.
Suffering can end for you. Struggle of life can end for you. When you don't buy into it. When you don't hook into it. When you don't hook into the conversation in general. When you don't hook into the labelling. When you don't hook into the trying to solve a problem and get a solution. When we shift our attention and notice what is already being, we're free from suffering. We're free from believing we are separate. The truth is you're not separate. (Sigh deeply.)
The truth is you're not separate. You are that which is already whole. You are that which is complete. Infinite. Now. And you don’t have to do a thing to be that. You are that.
So go out there and start noticing the labelling, the dissecting and how your mind is doing all of this. It's really going to be helpful, I can promise you, just to notice that it's going on. You just start more and more pulling out of it. Instead of pulling out of reality, you're pulling out of your mind. Start stepping more into the moment, into reality. That will happen naturally as you start to begin this process of noticing this major pattern of trying to be somebody and something, the conversations about you and who you are, what you are, you in relation to the world, your relationship to circumstances and the dissecting and labelling. Notice that and check out that exercise I offered to you. And I think you're going to find a treasure in that, and come back closer and closer home to your True-OneSelf. Deeper. Awakening to who you really are. As we awaken to who we are, we join others who are dawning on the truth. And as we come together as a world of awakening, this movement of awakening, we become the people that are the leaders, that are the people on the edge of life that are willing to be the greatest contribution of who you are and your greatest talents, offer them into the world from your True-Oneself.
So until next time, here's to living an awake life, from your True-Oneself, and into the greatest expression of you.