Something Factual

There is something we do with our thoughts: we create stories. We then give reality to the story that we have created, and even though the story is not real, we become a victim of the reality that we have created ourselves. This is really a destructive and dangerous mechanism. These stories can give rise to uncertainty, insecurity, anger, guilt, and so on. I think that all our so-called monsters can arise thanks to the stories we create. This is a clear example of how we create our own suffering without realising it.

This shows the importance of awareness. If you analyse the different meditation techniques, you’ll see that most of them are an attempt to be with something factual. Maybe it’s being with the breath, being with the sensations in the body, or being with the sounds that are around. It is an attempt to distinguish reality from unreality.

What is also interesting is that we can become so dogmatic about our beliefs. Yet most of our beliefs may be the result of such stories, the stories we have made up. When somebody comes and tells us that our stories are nonsense we become angry with that person. We don’t like it when our reality is challenged. This is how we hold onto beliefs, this is how we become dogmatic. Unfortunately it is impossible for us to really communicate with each other when we hold on so strongly to our beliefs.

After a while our made-up stories develop into a fantasy, a kind of a daydream that we are trapped in. You can ask yourself what is the difference between a dream at night and a daydream. Actually there is no difference: it is only when we wake up that we realise: “Ah, I was dreaming”.

The wonderful thing about the breath is that it is something factual. It is something objective. You can’t create a story out of it. You can’t fantasise about the breath. It is a very clear situation where we can really draw the distinction.