Our minds are basically full of scripts, embedded sets of instructions and programming rather like the scripts used in computer programming. Most of our problems in life stem from faulty scripts; the coding that’s running our conscious and unconscious minds. If there’s a misprint at the coding level, the entire output of our mind will be skewed and this will affect just about every aspect of our experience of reality.
One of the key things I’ve learned is that it’s really not life that we experience, it’s our thoughts that we experience. The exception might be if you’re a zen monk, in which case you’re more likely to have an intimate and direct experience of reality as it is, without being absorbed by the mental overlay the rest of us place over it. This mental overlay is created by our thoughts, our beliefs, our interpretations, habitual responses, conditioning and any number of psychoses and neuroses that are lurking in the darkened cellar of our unconscious. In vedanta the unconscious is referred to as the ‘causal body’ and the habitual thoughts, beliefs and mental compulsions that are spewed out from the causal level are called ‘vasanas’, which are kind of like grooves in consciousness causing ingrained tendencies of mind, thought and behaviour. People with very heavy vasana loads don’t actually have very much free will: their minds are basically being run for them rather than by them. Extreme examples are addicts or people with enormous compulsions. The more we repeat certain actions or indulge certain thoughts, the more it strengthens the vasana, and the more robotic and predetermined our thoughts and behaviour are.
Yet if we have the ability to become conscious (which is to say aware) of these vasanas and pre-encoded scripts, we are able to choose whether we wish to be victim to them and keep playing out the same old programming, or whether we wish to change them. We immediately gain a measure of free will we didn’t have before.
The mistake we tend to make is trying to fix our problems on the wrong level. We try to change things on the external level; rearranging the circumstances of our life, trying to get life to match up with our personal likes, dislikes and desires — which frankly is a recipe for a lifetime of frustration, because life is not set up that way. It doesn’t care about our likes or dislikes, or what we want; it’s a program itself, and it works according to its own laws and an infinite and inextricably interconnected set of factors far outwith our control. The key is to get to the root of our problem on the causal level; which is the say, the level of the cause. And it invariably has to do with the scripts we’re running in our head. Faulty script = faulty perception, faulty thoughts, faulty beliefs, faulty output.
Life works from the inside out, not the outside in. Think about it; we appear to experience an external world outside of ourselves, but where do we actually experience that ‘external world’? We experience it in our consciousness. No consciousness, no world, no nothing. It’s impossible to experience anything outside of consciousness.
You don’t experience the world ‘out there’, although it appears to be. You experience it ‘IN HERE’ — in your awareness — and there’s no distance between you and your awareness, is there? So it’s all in you. Everything!
The moment you start to appreciate that, and develop the self-awareness to recognise the faulty scripts you’re running, is the moment you begin to taste freedom.
These faulty scripts can be numerous and manifold. Some examples might include:
* I have rotten luck, everything goes wrong for me
* I’m not good enough
* Other people aren’t to be trusted
* It’s a cruel, dog-eat-dog world
When scripts such as those are running in the background, they influence and determine your experience of life in countless ways. The solution can only be to get to the level of the problem, investigate the scripts you’re running and repair the faulty coding. Sure, you’ve probably amassed a whole lot of evidence to justify and ‘prove’ those scripts, but that’s what the mind does (it selectively interprets ‘reality’ in a way that justifies what it already believes). But you have the ability to choose a different, healthier and more productive, resourceful set of beliefs. I’ve already written about how to dismantle negative beliefs here, so I won’t repeat myself. It takes some persistence and vigilance (if you’ve been running a particular script for a long time, it’s amazing how sneakily it can strive to reassert itself), but it absolutely can be done.
When you’ve sorted out the coding glitches that have been colouring your experience of reality and creating all kinds of problems in your life, you’ll probably find one of two things: the problems resolve with surprisingly minimal effort on your part, or they simply don’t bother you anyone, in which case they are no longer ‘your problem’. But you don’t have to take my word for this, you really have to try it yourself!