I Am Never Upset for the Reason I Think

These are some excerpts from a chapter in a little book published in the 70s, titled LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR by Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD.  While I was young and more focused on just raising my family back then, these are not concepts that were in my consciousness at the time, although they have always rung true for me.  Regardless, the message of these excerpts are just as appropriate (if not more so) now:

Most of us have a belief system based on experiences from the past and on perceptions from the physical senses. . . . Because our physical senses appear to relay information from the outside world to our brain, we may believe that our state of mind is controlled entirely by the feedback we receive. This belief contributes to a sense of ourselves as separate entities who are largely isolated and feel alone in an uncaring and fragmented world. This can leave us with the impression that the world we see causes us to feel upset, depressed, anxious and fearful. Such a belief system presumes that the outside world is the cause and we are the effect.

What would happen if we believed that what we see is determined by the thoughts in our mind? . . . that our thoughts are the cause and what we see is the effect. It would then make no sense to blame the world or those in it for the miseries and pain we experience. . .it would be possible then to consider perception as “a mirror and not a fact.”
. . .
It may be helpful to question our need to attempt to control the external world. We can, instead, consistently control our inner world by choosing what thoughts we want to have. . . Peace of mind begins with our own thoughts and extends outward.

We all have the power to direct our minds to replace the feelings of being upset, depressed and fearful with the feeling of inner peace. I am tempted to believe that I am upset because of what other people do or because of circumstances and events which seem beyond my control. . . When I recognize that I always have the choice between being fearful or experiencing Love by extending Love to others I need no longer be upset for any reason.

(The author goes on to give a personal example, where he explains that he had had chronic back pain for years, which greatly restricted his activities).

“I thought I was upset because of the pain and the distress caused by it. Then one day there seemed to be a small voice inside which said that, even though I had an organic back syndrome, I was causing my own pain. It became clear to me that my back condition became worse when I was under emotional stress, particularly when I was fearful and holding a grievance against someone I was not upset for the reason I thought. As I learned to let go of my grievances through the practice of forgiveness, my pain disappeard. I now have no limitations on my activities. I thought I had been upset because of back pain. I found however, I was upset because of unhealed personal relationships. I had let myself believe that the body controls the mind, rather the realizing that the mind controls the body.”

It is from our peace of mind (cause) that a peaceful perception of the world arises (effect).