A Simple Error of Perception

There are several persistent myths that have combined to make the field of psychological healing seem very complicated, whereas in fact it is quite straightforward.

The first is the mistaken idea that events from the past can, in and of themselves, continue to create suffering and distress in the present. What is often overlooked is the fact that all humans have a built-in capacity to let go of the past and to experience well-being no matter what has gone before.

We do, of course, have the option of dwelling on painful memories and re-activating them on a daily basis. But it is liberating to see that we are not obliged to do so by anyone but ourselves. And to realize that it is not the past itself, but only our thoughts about the past that can disturb us in the present - this simple realization can set anyone free from what has seemed like a psychological prison.

The second myth is the idea that long-standing problems are liable to take a long time to understand and resolve. This idea persists despite the common experience we have all had of struggling with a problem for a long time, only to find the solution comes to us in an instant when we quit trying so hard to figure it out.

What we fail to see here is that problems are only long-standing because we ourselves have continued to cultivate and maintain them. When we understand how we have been doing this, and stop adding fuel to the fire, of course it burns itself out very quickly without us needing to do anything to extinguish it.

A third myth is the idea that we don't (yet) have what we need in order to be happy and fulfilled. This idea can keep us locked in the self-improvement game for years if we are not careful! 

There are an infinite variety of teachings and techniques that promise to supply what we are lacking. Yet the true mystics and sages from every tradition have all agreed upon one thing: what you seek is within you. 

Therefore, the only help that is really helpful is the kind that points you back to yourself, shows you that you have everything you need inside you already, and reminds you of what you have always known to be true.

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