The 95% Factor doesn’t refer to all of those in the U.S. and otherwise who aren’t seeing a fair share of prosperity, while the top 5% prosper. The 95% refers to the fact that about 95% of the thoughts that go through your head every day are either absolute or relative lies. Did I say lies? I did. These lies create unnecessary suffering in your life, and you can do something about them. For an author who works this realm to the total logical extreme see Jed McKenna’s book Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damndest Thing.
The “three ring circus of the mind” is what I like to call categories of thought that are most often causing us unnecessary suffering. Category or Ring #1, where the lies are absolute contains: thoughts about the future. Other than the earth spinning around its axis and around the sun (until it doesn’t, so this isn’t an absolute truth either, not really)…we can’t count on being able to predict anything at all. Not anything! Try predicting the weather in the age of global climate change? Forget it. Try predicting whether the power will remain on during a storm….forget that too. Predicting what will happen in the fields of knowledge and study? Impossible. Predicting what your partner, spouse or friend will do tomorrow. Maybe you’re a little more likely to guess correctly but, at your peril.
Category or Ring #2, where most of the thoughts are lies contains: thoughts about what other people are saying, thinking, or doing when you’re not with them. Now, here I say ‘most of thoughts are lies’ because sometimes people will act the way they usually do…if you’ve been able to observe them over long periods of time and they’re not in therapy or doing spiritual work to change their normal modes of behavior. Nevertheless, it’s still notoriously difficult to predict what people will do because….see above Ring #1! And, it’s impossible to know what they’re saying, thinking or doing, unless you’re with them. These thoughts about others are pure fantasy and cause relentless ‘drama’ and suffering.
Category or Ring #3, where most thoughts are lies contains: thoughts about yourself. Who taught you to think of yourself in the particular ways you do? What was their agenda? What were their neuroses? Were they trying to control you so that you would give them a sense of power, or give them your money, or something else? Were they parents, teachers, religious instructors? Are their views of you already out of date, and no longer in sync with the current condition of the world? Have you ever questioned your basic self-critical voice, and called it out on being a liar? If not, then it’s time.
Now, here’s the really interesting thing. When you let one of these thoughts flicker in and out of your awareness, and you don’t challenge it’s truthfulness, it’s basically the same thing as accepting that it’s okay to tell a lie (either internally to yourself, or externally to another). Guess what happens when you tell a lie….your body contracts: your adrenaline is released, your blood pressure goes up, your heart rate goes up, and your respiration rate goes up. How does a polygraph (lie detector) work, when it does? It measures these changes. As the teacher Adyashanti says, (paraphrased) ‘your body is the best truth meter.’ Your body knows when you’re living in truth, even about yourself; the truth will relax your body, lies will contract it.
So, when you’re allowing lies to run through your mind, you’re going to feel a physiological contraction. You’ll either go into fear, anger or grief. All for something that isn’t even true.
If you want to learn what your true nature is, and you want to wake up and get enlightened, start catching your mind/ego in it’s lie-generating tricks! This is one of the “BIG THREE” ways to help you understand your true nature. The other two are learning to meditate, and contemplating existential questions that arise in your own mind. We’ll look at one of the others next week.