­Yesterday I had quite an interesting, insightful experience that I want to share with you.­
When I came home from meeting a friend, I got to the apartment door and saw that my shoes were gone and there was an ironing board in front of the apartment.
I thought “Ah, Lija is cleaning up again”, since she started cleaning the apartment the day before.
I tried to unlock the door but I didn’t manage to get the key into the lock. I tried different ways but it didn’t work. I thought that she must have forgotten to pull the key out of the lock from the inside.
Suddenly the door opened and a guy was standing there, who I had not seen before. Knowing that we’re going to have visitors arriving this week, I thought that it was them who opened the door for me. But for some reason he didn’t really open the door to let me in – until it hit me: Wrong floor!

Embarrassed I apologized, pointed upstairs, quickly grabbed my shoes and went off in my socks, to the second floor, where I found everything the way it was when I had left.
While it is a really funny story on one hand, for me it’s a perfect example of how the mind works; how it quickly comes up with a story, how it believes that story, without questioning another possibility, if we don’t pay attention.

Not for one second did I have the thought I could be on the wrong floor when I saw my shoes were gone. My mind immediately had a reasonable explanation for why they were not there, and I bought it.
Even when I noticed that the key didn’t fit into the lock, it didn’t cross my mind, that maybe I was somewhere where I wasn’t supposed to be.
And when I saw a stranger’s face in the apartment, even then my mind gave me a story that I immediately believed to be true. Only when I realized that they were not going to let me into the apartment I suddenly figured out what was going on. And then I understood why everything seemed differently.
But until that moment I was convinced that I walked up two levels. I was sure, that I was at the right apartment, until the strange looks of the people who might have thought I’m trying to burgle their home during the day, in their attendance, taught me otherwise.

How many times does this happen without us noticing it?
Isn’t that how (limiting) beliefs work, as well?
“Don’t make assumptions” is the third one of “The four agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, but obviously, that’s not easy, if we follow our routine, not really paying attention.

“The Work” of Byron Katie is a beautiful and quite easy process, as well, to free ourselves from drama we create in our lives by believing what we think. It’s about questioning the thoughts and beliefs that we have, often without knowing it.

Yes, the apartment situation is no drama, it’s more a comedy, however, it reminds me to stay awake, and to not believe anything I think without questioning it; not doubting, just finding out, if something else could be true, too, or truer than the original thought, when it comes to challenging life situations.
When drama and pain is entering our lives, we have the chance to deal with it, rather than fighting it, because it’s not the event that’s causing the pain, but the thoughts that we create around the event, and the battle with reality we don’t want to accept.

Freedom sets in

  • If we are able to see reality for what it is: a succession of neutral events
  • If we realize that we’re creating our own suffering by believing that things / situations / people should be a certain, or another way
  • If we stop taking anything personal.

What tricks is your mind playing on you that you noticed?
How do you deal with challenging situations?

Please share your stories and experiences in the comments below, or send me a message if you don’t want to do it publicly…