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Hi There!

Welcome to my island of sanity and serenity. I'm Sandra Pawula - writer, mindfulness teacher and advocate of ease. I help deep thinking, heart-centered people find greater ease — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Curious? Read On!

Release Yourself from The Tyranny of Thoughts & Emotions

I see vividly - in my own mind - how painful emotions are so often preceded by a thought. That thought - along with all the others - is just a story I create about my experience.  It doesn't really exist.  Like a rainbow, a dream, or mirage, the thought appears and, sooner or later, it disappears.

Knowing this - truly knowing this - is the ultimate way to end your own suffering.

The Buddha said:

"Know all things to be like this:

A mirage, a cloud castle,

A dream, an apparition,

Without essence, but with qualities that can be seen.

Know all things to be like this:

As the moon in a bright sky

In some clear lake reflected,

Though to that lake the moon has never moved.

Know all things to be like this:

As an echo that derives

From music, sounds, and weeping,

Yet in that echo is no melody.

Know all things to be like this:

As a magician makes illusions

Of horses, oxen, carts and other things,

Nothing is as it appears."

How can you come to know this dream-like quality of your thoughts, emotions, and life itself and, in so doing, release yourself from the snare of suffering?

Thoughts and emotions seem to tumble one after another - thousands each day - the strong ones picking up momentum and wrecking havoc with your peace of mind.  These distressing thought-seeds are the source of suffering - the fruit of our past actions.  Too often, they compel us to unwholesome speech or action, reinforcing the cycle.

This is the problem:  Identifying fully with the thoughts and emotions. By firmly believing thoughts and emotions are YOU,  you allow them to color your mood and steer the course of your life.   This seemingly continuous stream of thoughts and emotions appears to be all that occurs in your mind, all that you are.

Discovering the Space Between Thoughts or Emotions

But this is not the case!  You can discover for yourself  there's actually a gap between each thought. When a past thought has ceased and a future thought has not yet arisen, you will always find a gap as brief and elusive as it may originally seen.

In meditation, you allow thoughts and emotions to slow down to make this gap more and more apparent, simply placing your attention on an object like the breath or being aware of but not following whatever arises in the mind.   The practice of calm abiding is the foundation of meditation, allowing mind to settle into a state of peace and to find a greater sense of stability.  Through calm abiding you can begin to taste the spacious, open, limitless quality of mind.

Going Beyond Stillness Into Insight

Discovering the stillness of mind and resting in the present moment is an excellent accomplishment. But often  these moments of peace are mistaken as the ultimate purpose of meditation itself.  Calm abiding is simply the first stage of meditation not the end-game.  Although you may enjoy a greater level of peace, the problem with calm abiding on its own is that strong emotional winds can still knock you over; it will not lead to liberation from suffering.

The real purpose of calm abiding is to create the space and stability in which the clarity of mind can emerge.  It is only through the lens of insight, that you will come to see and appreciate the illusory ever-changing quality of ordinary mind and existence - "to know all things to be like this".   Through insight, you will discover your true nature - beyond all the thoughts and emotions -  limitless, aware, and replete with compassionate energy.  It's this recognition that brings true freedom and an ultimate peace that goes beyond the stillness or movement of mind.

By observing my own mind, I've come to see how often a thought will trigger a cascade of emotion.  At the same time, realizing their transitory and illusory nature, thoughts and emotions are gradually loosing their power to drag me into pain and suffering.  I have a long way to go, but I really do see the possibility of putting an end to suffering.  In fact, it can happen in any moment.  I've seen it happen when I'm able to drop the storyline of my mind.

You are not your thoughts and emotions!  Realizing this - even once - is the first step to freeing yourself from their tyranny.


Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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