By Peter CutlerPeter Cutler
There are many sounds we find pleasant: the song of birds, wind chimes, music, the words “I love you,” whispered in our ear. Some of these may be your favorites. You probably have others of your own.
We don’t resist these pleasant sounds. We don’t wish they would stop. If anything we want them to continue.
There are also many sounds we find unpleasant: fingernails scraping on a blackboard, a jackhammer on the street outside our meditation studio, a blaring police siren, a couple shouting at each other, a baby’s continuous crying on the airplane seat in front of us. You also have your own sounds you find unpleasant.
These unpleasant sounds we do resist. We wish they would stop. When they go on long enough, we feel stressed and unhappy.
It is actually not the sounds themselves making us stressed and unhappy. It is our labeling of the sounds as unpleasant. This labeling of the sounds as unpleasant creates our resistance to the sound. And this resistance creates our stress and unhappiness.
What if we don’t label the sound at all? What if we simply allow the sound to be a sound?
Try it the next time you hear what you consider an unpleasant sound. Notice that without labeling it, without thinking you”know” what the sound is, you stop resisting it. When you stop resisting the sound, you no longer experience stress or unhappiness.
Sound is just sound. Pleasant and unpleasant are created entirely with our minds. Without the labeling of our minds, there are no problems. There is just sound. There is just life. There is just reality.
When we no longer think of a sound as unpleasant, we are free to experience it the same way we do the sound of wind chimes or a songbird. We accept it instead of resisting it. Without any label, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, the experience naturally changes to one of acceptance, gratitude, beauty, and love.
A sound is just a sound. Without any thoughts about it, it takes its place in the natural perfection of all life. What was once perceived as ugly, annoying, or unpleasant is now perceived as beautiful, wonderful, and pleasant.
If we create an unpleasant world with unpleasant thoughts, that is what we experience. We always have the choice and option to live a vital, vibrant, and healthy life by simply being present to life as it is instead of as we think it is.
At any moment you can do this. Try it and see for yourself.
Editor’s Note: Sedona.biz is reaching out to the mind, body, soul community by creating a new section in our Website, focused on metaphysics, spiritual healing and expanding consciousness. We launch this new section with Sedona’s own Peter Cutler. A Zen monk, artist, author, and spiritual teacher Cutler helps people experience the awakened consciousness that is always available to everyone. For the past twenty years Peter’s openness to the Pure Energy beyond the limitations of thought and separation have helped hundreds of people directly experience the Pure Boundless Energy of their True Self through direct transmission or Shaktipat. In some cases people have experienced freedom from chronic physical illnesses, but far more profoundly dozens have awakened to their True Nature. We invite the community to welcome our latest addition to Sedona.biz, the Internet Voice of the Community. Please feel free to comment. Visit https://n-lightenment.com to learn more.
When you say we can create a pleasant world by simply being present to life as it is instead of as we think it is…it’s not that easy. From what I have experienced and observed, anyway.
We try and try to ride that fine line and stay in the pleasant world but somehow the unpleasant steps in and crashes the party, despite the vigilance. It’s like sooner or later that guitar goes out of tune
You say that at any given moment a person can do this and that they should see for themselves by doing it. I know, but, can a person who is unaware of their thoughts do this? Does one need special guidance and years of study, devotion and meditation to do this? How does one gain the perspective to be able to make the shift from unpleasant-to-pleasant in real time?
And finally, what do people have to do to get there?
I look forward to hearing Peter’s response as well. Mine would be pretty basic. As long as we resist any aspect of life we can be pulled into the whirlpool. Labeling life is one of the forms of resistance. Life simply is as it is. We spend most of our lives trying to make what is into something else. If we can simply notice the tendency that’s a beginning and that act brings us into what’s here now for us — resistance. Noticing is all that’s necessary because any action to change the resistance is resistance to the resistance. Just notice. Return to noticing. Soon there won’t be as much to notice.
Good question, Tommy. Yes, to be consciously present does take practice, meditation, and a deep understanding of what thoughts, suffering, and the dream are. That understanding comes when we stop resisting life, which is the practice of meditation and other spiritual practices.
Understanding can only come from direct experience, not mental understanding. Mental understanding is not enough. Throughout our lives, life is always teaching us this, but very few listen. It’s important to understand thoughts, and how the dream of separation, a separate self, and suffering are created from thoughts. Once we truly understand this, we are free from attachment to all thoughts. We realize that none of our thoughts are truth or true nor could any new ones ever be. Thoughts are simply thoughts. This can be understood intellectually but without the direct experience of life itself it is not understood enough to be effective and transform the way we live in the world. Until then we believe our thoughts and some things feel pleasant and other things feel unpleasant. We don’t realize that this is just our thoughts, not reality.
Things are simply what they are. Anything we say or think about them are just thoughts. What is interesting and wonderful is that life simply being what it is without any mental interpretation, understanding, or meaning feels really, really good.
What people do to get here (where they always already are) is to surrender their thoughts about life, themselves, and the world, realize thoughts are just thoughts, and experience the world free of attachment to thoughts. When we know that thoughts are not true and cannot be true because of the limitation of thoughts, we are no longer attached to thoughts and we can perceive the world in a fresh, open, and continuously new way.
Surrender is not a trying. We cannot try to surrender. Living life through our thoughts is actually a continuous resistance to life as it is. When we truly understand the nature of thoughts, we end our attachment to them and we naturally stop resisting life as it is. We awaken from a dream created by thought. And detuning our guitar from what we think and expect can create a whole new and interesting form of beauty.
Hi: You got a point. When retuning my guitar to different keys new songs pop up. Interesting point you make. Still, how do we stop those thoughts? Is there an exercise? Not everyone has the ability or clarity to do so.
It’s not stopping thoughts, Tommy. It’s having a new attitude that is different from the conditioning. When we accept that thoughts are just thoughts and not reality or truth, our attachment to them as what they are not fades away.
There are a number of exercises that help with this. Noting is a good one. we simply notice and name thoughts as “thinking”, hearing as “hearing”, sensing as “sensing”, etc. This helps us not get involved in thoughts. We simply notice our attention is on thinking at the moment. This can lead to the experience of pure awareness which is really what is noticing all this.
The basic meditation practice of counting the outbreaths and beginning again every time we are distracted by a thought helps discipline our attention so thoughts are not pulling us around.
Again, we don’t need to stop thoughts, we simply need to accept them as they really are and not as truth or an accurate reflection of life and reality. That is enough.
When people say, “I have not experienced a thought in some time.” what they mean is that their attention has not rested on a thought in some time. Thoughts are still happening until the brain no longer has a blood supply and dies. But when we realize what thoughts really are, we don’t give them nearly as much attention as we once did. We can go for quite some time without attention focusing on a single thought. And when attention does focus on a thought, it doesn’t get pulled away or as involved as it once did. We know it is just a thought.
So true Peter. It interesting as well that a sound that used to be on the good list can move to the bad — the exact same sound like our name coming from the mouth of someone we were in a relationship with. While we loved them there was nothing sweeter.
I’ve been feeling into sound lately. It is perception, not unlike vision, a knowing within awareness which mind describes as different nerves reacting. When I meet it like a baby, unconditioned and simply open, when I meet it without any label, including the label ‘sound’, it shifts exponentially. It undoes the label and the one who labels. Amazing the power labels have over our experience of life.
Yes, very true. Without labels, there is an incredible, vital, alive world that is far more than any thoughts can even imagine.
“Understanding can only come from direct experience, not mental understanding. Mental understanding is not enough.”
This is so true from my personal observation. It bears repeating.
I also like the phrase “The Universe is conspiring for me!” It helps me to remember that I am not a victim in any sense of the word. I remember that I am open to discovering all that is here for me – knowing that it is part of how I expand and grow. I often say to myself – isn’t that interesting or look at that or wow, how amazing or beautiful.
If I am driving and I get irritated at the driver in front of me who is flicking cigarette ashes out the top of his or her convertible … I may find myself in a knee-jerk judgmental type of emotion – notice it – and then after a centering breath, choose my response. I might send some loving energy to surround that situation (thereby not adding any fearful thought as “fuel” for a fire to start). Wow – Bless that individual for showing me something about myself in that moment. That would be accepting what is for me. My energy of creation is my responsibility. As I grow in Love and Peace within – my outside world mirrors that in a multitude of ways. It is a whole lot more enjoyable than letting random thoughts rule me and my life!
I just heard on the radio that 45% of all Yavapai County residents have received the China Virus vaxx. My first thought, “what are we going to do with all the bodies?”
Things are going to change within the next 3 years due to a lack of population.
Make your plans. The military is being vaxx’d with this experimental serum and if they all die, we as a country will be left defenseless.
“A shot in the arm or a shot in the head, either way you end up dead.” Each and every time I hear someone has taken the vaxx, I visualize in my mind’s eye a Chinese soldier shooting them dead.
Take the jab knowing your days are short.
We haven’t even begun the “unpleasant” phase yet.
Gather your loved ones close, forgive and forget. Plant a garden and pray to God.