Your Problems Might Not Be Real

For some unknown reason, I woke up around 2am the other night. As I was lying there, I noticed the silence around me; that kind of peaceful, eerie, stillness that only happens in the early hours. Then, next to me, my husband started stirring. He was mumbling in his sleep and I realised that he was having a nightmare. It was amusing, almost, to witness the stark contrast between what I was experiecning (my peaceful stillness) and what my husband was experiencing (a nightmare within his own mind.) Now…isn’t that something worth reflecting on?!

How we see the world and how we interact with the world are very unique to each one of us. Our upbringings, personal opinions, geographical location, and myriad other factors all influence us and our vision of the world. Taking this into consideration, much of what we fear is more or less the work of our personal complexities within our minds. I have heard countless times that fear is, quite simply, false evidence appearing real. We project our fears from our minds into reality, and that is where many of our problems begin. We take our own opinion of the world as fact and, thus, we experience barriers and issues that can sometimes cause detrimental effects on our wellbeing.

In previous blog posts I have mentioned the idea that our problems are simply an issue we create in our minds and are not the reality of the situation. Our problems are not experienced in our external circumstances but are a projection of the inner workings of our mind. (This idea is explored more in-depth in Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s book How to Solve Our Human Problems.) Like my husband experienced that night, we can create a huge drama inside our minds when, in reality, there’s stillness.

Of course, it’s not difficult to do. Our minds are automatically geared toward a negative bias. We dwell too much on things, or we jump to assumptions and regard them as fact. It’s all done as a self-protective stance. Preparing for the worst will mean it won’t hurt so bad when the worst does happen, right? (Wrong, actually. It still hurts like a bitch, as we all know too well.)

As a result, we walk around in our own self-made nightmare when there is a peace that is available to us all the time. This is why it’s good to let the silence and stillness invade our lives. We are constantly on the go and, even when we’re resting, we amuse our minds with all types of apps on our phones which serves to keep our minds in an active state.

Whenever you feel like life is getting out of control, ask yourself: is it life getting out of control or is it my mind that is continuously keeping me in a cycle of worry? Is my mind creating something out of nothing, or are my fears grounded in an external truth?

When I feel overwhelmed and my mind feels over stimulated, it’s always good to leave the phone at home and go outside. Go for a walk, breathe in the fresh air, and get some outside perspective.
Exercise – get yourself out of your head and back into your body, into the here and the now.
Go and meet some friends or family – talk over your problem and get a fresh perspective because, the fact of the matter is, our perceptions are so limited. Open your mind through speaking to others and don’t bottle it up.
Understand that the true problems we experience in life – perhaps ill health and other concerns – are out of your control. Dwelling and worrying about them will do nothing to solve them. In this case, it’s always better to gain facts and not allow your mind to make huge assumptions. (Have you ever noticed the assumptions of our minds almost always assume the worst? I have!)

When your mind tries to create a nightmare, take a deep breath, open your eyes and absorb the reality of the world around you. You have this moment and, in the now, you can have peace if you so choose to accept it.

2 thoughts on “Your Problems Might Not Be Real

  1. Yes, absolutely don’t believe everything you think! It’s amazing how many things seem real, that actually aren’t. When I notice that I am experiencing fear (or having any thoughts that don’t feel good), I ask myself: Why do I think this? What is my answer based on? Why should it be true? Says who? Usually I am able to redefine the incorrect assumption after the third question.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a really good technique to use. It’s very mindful, too. You’re bringing yourself back in touch with yourself and the moment you’re in and questioning it instead of being swept up in a flurry of emotions. That’s a technique I could use, too, actually! It’s amazing how our perceptions are altered by the smallest things…From being hungry to having little rest, as well as all the other stuff that comes our way during the day! 😮


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