The Secret Curse Of Being Human
By Leo Gura - March 16, 2015 | 49 Comments
The biggest psychological trap you face as a human being
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org, and in this video I want to talk about the curse of being human. I don’t know if you have thought about this, but at the very end of your life, if you’re like most people, like 99.9% of people, then you are going to die with one regret, one major regret in your life.
This is going to happen to virtually every human being on this Earth, this one regret, if you are even lucky enough to have a slow conscious death. That regret is the regret of having gone through life and not having smelled the roses, not having stopped to smell the roses. You know, I went out today to run some errands during the day.
I ran the errands. I was so busy running the errands. I came back home. I came back home and right now, it is spring time. The spring is just starting here in Las Vegas. It was really beautiful outside, but I did not see that beauty.
Then, I was listening to some audio tapes and doing my self-help stuff. My mind got tuned to the fact that the present moment is beautiful. My mind just got tuned to it and then I went out a second time to run a second errand. I had to drop off a letter in the mailbox.
This time, I saw the beauty that I was missing the first time that I went outside. The colors looked really crisp. Everything was bright. The birds were singing. It was gorgeous, just like a gorgeous and beautiful day with a perfect clear sky.
All the colors were just sparkling. The wind was blowing. As I was walking home, I could not help but to stop near some trees. There is this giant pine tree and the sun was shining through the needles of the pine tree. The wind was blowing.
The birds were chirping. It was just the perfect temperature and a perfect day. It struck me then how much I don’t connect with that on a daily level. I immediately saw that when I am going to be on my death bed, if I am lucky enough to be conscious, then my biggest regret is going to be this.
It is going to be letting life slip through my fingers and not seeing what was right there, under my nose the whole time. That is what I call the grand illusion. It’s the grand illusion and the curse of being human.
I was working with a client recently. I was coaching her because she was having some relationship issues with her marriage. Things are not going to smoothly there. She is not sure what to do.
But, one of her issues is that she really feels like she needs a relationship to be happy. She needs love. You women are all about this. You need love. You want intimacy in your relationship.
You want that partner who really knows you deeply. There is nothing wrong with that, per say. But, the problem here is that she wants it so bad. She wants it so bad that she almost wants it at any cost. Therefore, it is destroying the relationship.
So, we are talking about this. We have spent weeks talking about this. She has paid me thousands of dollars to talk about this. We are getting deeper and deeper into understanding. We are going deeper and deeper into why these patterns are playing out in her life.
The Grand Illusion – You Don’t Need Anything To Be Happy
Just the other day, what we came to is a very deep and fundamental truth. It is the truth of not needing anything to be happy in life. To have a powerful relationship, counterintuitively and paradoxically, what you need is to be able to let go of the need to have a relationship in the first place.
You can’t fake it. You actually have to be genuine in that. It is not a manipulation. It has to be a genuine attitude towards relationships. You have to see that you don’t really need them. They don’t really have true value for you. When she started to realize this, it was like she was having this “aha” moment.
It was really powerful and it put a glow on my face. Also, the very next question she asked me was this. She said – “But Leo, if you are telling me that this is how it is and that I don’t need this relationship or any relationship for that matter, then why am I doing all of this stuff? Why work?”
“Why build a business? Why have this career that takes up so much time? Why start a family? Why even get married? Why do anything at all?”
That is exactly the question that I have for you. Why are you doing these things? That is exactly the point, that they are not necessary for your happiness. They are not, but the problem is that you tell yourself that they are.
That right there is the grand illusion. The grand illusion is, quite simply, looking for happiness in the future. This is what you do. You look for happiness in the future all of the time. This is how I know that you cannot be truly happy.
Sometimes, people post comments to me and say – “But Leo, I know this person who is very happy. My friends are happy, my mom is happy and I am happy. You are telling people that they are not happy. How can you know if I am happy or not? You don’t know.”
Actually, I do know because I understand how your psychology works and all of our psychologies work in the same way on this point. That is not possible for you because you are living in the future all of the time. This is how I know that this regret that I foresaw me having on my deathbed today when I was outside and looking at the beautiful nature and trees, will be true for me and will be true for you on your deathbed too.
It is because your mind is creating this illusion of future happiness. What this means is that you are not living in the present moment. You can’t appreciate what is right here, under your nose, right now. I’ve got a very simple and shocking fact for you.
What is under your nose right now, what is in front of your eyes right now; whatever it is that surrounds you right now and right this millisecond is reality. That is real. Everything else, everything you believe about your future, your goals, your wishes, your desires, your worries, your frustrations and your fears, whether it is about your relationship, your business, your life, your family, the economy, the country, the world, it is all the construction of the conceptualizing mind.
Your mind is creating a conceptualizing future and you are living in that future. Therefore, you are living in this matrix. Don Miguel Ruiz in his very popular little book called The Four Agreements has a very powerful section in the beginning where he talks about how human beings are masters of domestication. He says we have domesticated a bunch of different animals, from dogs, to cats, to cattle and to birds.
But, the greatest animal that we have domesticated is that we have domesticated the human animal. We have domesticated ourselves. I got a really poignant taste of that today when I was outside, because I could clearly see that I am living in a cage of my own construction. My apartment, where I am living now, is a cage.
I mean, in a sense, it is a great place. I love it and I get a lot of fulfillment from where I live. But, in a sense, it also keeps me caged from nature, from reality, from the bigger world, from the open sky, from the trees, from the birds and from the wind. There is something about that.
You go and you travel or you go on a hike, or you go somewhere scenic like a national park. You get in touch back with your humanity. That humanity is somehow very intimately tied with nature. That is very interesting.
When you come back, let’s say, after you have been hiking for a few days, you drive back and come back home. You’re walking in your front door. In a sense, it can be kind of nice because you want those comforts of everyday life, like a hot shower, some food and stuff.
But also, you can see, as you are walking in that front door, that you are walking into your cage. You are a caged animal and you have caged yourself without knowing it. Even once you realize it, you still keep yourself caged. It is not like you leave that cage and say – “Screw that, I am going to live outdoors or something.”
You don’t do that. Most people don’t do that. In fact, it is interesting because I remember hearing that they did some research. I don’t remember where this research came from, but basically, they discovered about the human mind that the human mind finds imagery of nature more appealing on a subconscious level than images of non-natural things.
For example, what they do is they will show a landscape painting with rolling hills and some trees and stuff. It’s a natural scene and the human eye will just fixate on that and find it more appealing and pleasing. It will focus on it for a longer period of time than it will, for example, on some photograph of a city landscape, an unnatural kind of environment.
It has even gotten to the point where you can even get a little sketch or a little schematic on a photorealistic painting, but just a little schematic of a picturesque kind of outdoor scene. Literally, you can just draw a couple of wavy lines for the hills, you can draw a little circle for the sun and you can draw a little wavy line for the river. Because we grew up in this natural environment for hundreds of thousands of years, this is where we evolved; the human mind finds this pleasing.
If you look at a grimy cityscape, then you don’t get that same effect. I think I don’t identify myself at all with new age thinking or with hippie mentality or philosophy. But, I think that one of the things that the hippie, green and peace kind of segment of lifestyle and society understand and that the rest of us domesticated human animals and rational scientific thinkers don’t understand is that they kind of understand the power of nature.
They align themselves with that, whereas we domesticated human beings are like – “That is so silly. That is so new age, hippie and woo woo.” One thing that I notice, a theme through my personal development, is that as I am moving towards more and more consciousness and more and more kicking ass in my life, kicking ass the hardcore way, is this. I am no hippie.
For me, kicking ass means earning more money, getting better relationships, having more sex and improving my business. Those are very concrete and tangible things that most people in society are looking for. It’s more money, more health and more passion in your life and this kind of stuff.
As I am making that kind of progression, I am also becoming softer and more hippie-like. It’s kind of disturbing because I have these negative stereotypes of hippies. I’m like this, I don’t want to be a granola eating and tree hugging hippie. That kind of just doesn’t fit with my understanding of myself.
My identity is very different than that. It is just a way that I perceive myself. It’s my self-image. I think that most people in society are these kinds of rational people, rather than these hippie people. I think that the hippie people have something to learn from the rational side, but I think that the rational side has a lot to learn from the hippie people too.
One of these things is their kind of appreciation for nature and being in the moment. Let’s go back to the grand illusion. The grand illusion is working for happiness. Working for happiness cannot create happiness.
Happiness is right now and right here. You don’t really need to do anything to be happy. You just need to be present. The problem though, is that you can’t do this. The reason you can’t do this is because of the voice.
It’s the voice in your mind that always keeps spinning. It keeps spinning and creating future scenarios, scenarios of the future. They could be great scenarios or they could be bad scenarios. In your life probably, it’s a mixture of both.
Even if they are great scenarios and you become the best positive thinker in the world, then all you think about are great scenarios, all of your goals, future visions and dreams. That is not going to do it because you are still in the rat race. You are still in the grand illusion.
While you are looking over there, you are not seeing what is over here. It is really just that stupidly simple, which brings us to the topic and question about enlightenment. Enlightenment is a very simple thing.
I have some deep and complex sounding videos and theory that explains enlightenment. You go and watch those. I think that those are important, but you can also explain enlightenment in a very simple way because enlightenment is extremely simple.
In fact, it is so simple that it is just bafflingly and stupidly simple. It is so simple that you don’t even know what to do with this simplicity. You need a bunch of methods and techniques to get to this simplicity because it is so simple that your brain doesn’t know how to do this. Enlightenment is simply the undoing of this curse.
Enlightenment Undoes The Curse
It is the undoing of the grand illusion. That is all it is. It is the silencing of the voice, so instead of living in the illusion of the future, the future is not real. The future is a concoction in your mind. Instead of living in the mind, you bring your awareness out and into reality.
You live from reality itself. You are like fully integrated into reality and you are constantly smelling the roses. If you’re in the present moment, there is nothing but to smell the roses. Sometimes, it is smelling the roses and sometimes, it’s smelling a pile of shit.
But, reality is both of those things. The grand illusion is that we need to perfect reality to suit us. If we have a pile of shit, we need to convert it to a bush of roses. What the voice tells us is this. Okay, let’s construct the best imaginable environment for ourselves to be happy.
Through this process, we domesticate ourselves by surrounding ourselves with the greatest creature comforts that we can find. In doing this, we don’t realize that it is not going to work. The point of life is to live in reality and not in a fantasy.
Even though you can surround yourself with real cool technology, technology is not a fantasy. We have all of these honest to god great inventions and luxuries such as air conditioning, electricity, toothbrushes and toilets. All of these things are really nice.
They are real, but the price we pay for creating these things is that we are always living in the future, waiting for the next thing. What is the next thing that is going to come along that is going to make my life a little bit more perfect? In so doing, what we do is that we focus on all of the imperfections in our lives and everything that needs to be improved.
Therefore, we cannot see what is already awesome in front of us. So, you can understand enlightenment just very simply in this light. With enlightenment, on the one hand, nothing really changes.
It is not like you have some mind blowing and baffling epiphany that all of a sudden creates a totally new environment and reality for you. That is the caricature version of enlightenment. Enlightenment is actually something so simply stupid that if you ever experience it, what some people report is that they report laughter.
It’s laughter, after the moment of enlightenment. Why is that? They laugh because it is so silly. They spent thousands of hours chasing this enlightenment. They then don’t even want to call it enlightenment because that word makes the actual event too significant.
In the end, all that happens is that your voice goes silent and allows you to be in the present moment. That is it. That is all enlightenment is, just the allowing of your voice to focus off from the future and to the present moment, of course, for a long period of time.
You have moments in your day; everyone does, when you can be present. But, what enlightenment allows you to do is permanently dis-identify with the voice to the point when you can really appreciate everything around you that you take for granted. Everything becomes beautiful.
The simplest things become beautiful. Even the ugly things become beautiful. Even the disturbing, the uncomfortable and the painful things become beautiful. Because of this, on the one hand, nothing changes. On the other hand, everything changes.
Everything changes because your perspective on everything changes. One really powerful saying that I have heard one yogi or guru saying is that perspective is everything. Perspective is everything. It is everything.
It is not changing your environment, but perspective on the environment. That is what is truly important. This is really hard to believe because we grow up in a materialistic society. The whole fundamental association and basis of the society that we are living in, the Western culture at least, is all about changing the environment and that the environment is everything.
If only I had a better wife or a better husband. If only I didn’t have problems with my dog or problems with my kids. If only I was going to a better school. If only I had more money in my bank account.
If only my career was this way. If only I got my promotion sooner. If only I was younger. If only I was less diseased or less sick. If only I could live a little longer, that would make me happy.
But, it turns out to be the case that this is a trap and you can’t win that game. You can’t win that game. One of the ways that you can start to see that you can’t win that game is because you have been playing this game your whole life and yet you’re still looking for the next thing.
The question is this. How long is it going to take for you? How much hitting your head against the wall is it going to take to see that this game has not worked, will not work and cannot possibly work? What is it going to take you to start to realize that perspective is everything?
In the words of a well-known speaker, maybe this will ring some bells for you. “I have a dream.” I have a dream for you, a vision for you of what your life can be like. My dream is that one day, you break the chains of your voice and that you one day silence the voice for good.
It is that you dis-identify with your voice, that you master yourself, that you discover the truth of no self and that you are able to take your mind off of the future and bring it into reality. It is really that simple. I have a dream that you will die without regret because you will have been able to smell the roses, at least for a little bit and without death nipping at your heels just yet.
Because of this, you will die with no regrets because you will know that you have been smelling the roses for as long as you could have until you die. That is my vision for you. That is my dream for you of what you can do if you pursue enlightenment and you take this seriously.
There is really just one catch with this and it is a really big problem. It is a really big problem. Don’t underestimate how big this problem really is here, right now. The question is this. Do you have the balls and do you have the wisdom to give up on yourself, your present way of being, to become the no self?
Very few people do. Before I let you go, while I have your attention now and while you’re in this contemplative mood, I want you to do an exercise for me. It is a really simple exercise, but a very powerful exercise that will show you because I want you to see what enlightenment will actually be like for you.
A lot of people get this idea of enlightenment as some sort of ethereal fantasy state when, in fact, it is the most real state. It is the state of being in reality. Here is the exercise.
The Spiritual Exercise
You are going to go and grab a book off your bookshelf. Try to find a book that is the most plain and ordinary one that you can find. Hardbacks are nice. Take the dust jacket off.
What I want you to do now is this. Make sensory love to this book for five minutes. Find a quiet place where nobody is going to think you are weird and where no one is going to judge you. What I want you to do is to really focus on this book, really see it, sense it and experience it as though you are experiencing it for the first time in your life.
I want you to look at every tiny little detail, every texture on the book. I want you to look at it from all the different sides, to spin around in your hands. I want you to look at how the lettering is printed on it and how uneven it is.
I want you to take a look at corners and how sharp they might be. Take a look at the straight lines. Take a look at any blemishes that are there. Take a look at what the paper feels like. Press on it.
Tap on it and even smell it. Be completely engrossed in this process of observation and get out of your head. Don’t think about the book. Don’t analyze the book, just experience it. Experience the raw data that is here.
This is pure reality. This right here is going to be an experience of true spirituality. People get really confused about spirituality and they think that spirituality is like praying, going to church, meditation or scriptures. No, that is not spirituality at all.
That is bullshit. Real spirituality is what you are going to experience if you do this exercise. I want you to spend at least a good five minutes to do it. Spirituality and enlightenment are the most real things that there are.
It is not some afterlife or some heaven, it is right here. What you are going to notice in this experience, after the fact, don’t notice this before but afterwards, is this. I want you to notice that your sense of self and identity melts away whenever you completely focus yourself on the senses.
You are able to get completely out of your head. Stop thinking about yourself, stop thinking about the future and just focus on these senses. If you do this exercise, what I want you to do then is to tell yourself this. “That is what enlightenment is like.”
That is enlightenment. The only difference is that with enlightenment, you are able to be in this state of presence all of the time. Imagine how beautiful life becomes if you are able to achieve that, that kind of presence. It is not woo woo or spiritual at all. It is really the most grounded that you can be, as a human being, because you are not in the future anymore.
I really want you to do this exercise. Take it seriously. The last point that I want to make is that I am not here to give you some of the advice I hear people saying, which is just be present and be in the moment. This advice does not work.
It cannot work for you. It is not possible for this advice to work for you because you need me here, pushing you and motivating you to go out there and do this exercise. When you do this exercise, you are going to struggle. Many of you are going to struggle a lot.
It is going to depend on your level of mental development. Maybe, you will struggle to stay present. You are going to stay present for very short periods of time. It is pointless for me to tell you to just stay present because it is going to sound nice and you are going to do it for five minutes, but afterwards, you are not going to be able to do it.
Your life is then going to go back to the grand illusion. Instead, the point here is to use this exercise and then tell yourself that this is what you could have. This is the vision and this is the dream of where I could be if I seriously pursue enlightenment.
That is the point. I have discovered only one way to get out of the grand illusion. There is only one way. The only way is by discovering the truth of no self, which means that you have to dissolve the ego so that the ego stops getting in the way, so that the voice is silent and so that you can be fully present and fully in the moment.
This is important for you to do and realize because this is what generates the desire and the wisdom necessary to go out there and actually do the work to get to this state in your life. It takes work, even though, paradoxically, you could be that way right now. There is really nothing to do, but the problem is that because there is that voice inside your head, it won’t shut up.
There is actually quite a lot to do. So, do this exercise right now.
This is Leo, I’m signing off. Post me your comments down below. Click the like button to like this video. Share this video with a friend and come and sign up to my newsletter. My newsletter is right here, at Actualized.org.
It’s a free newsletter. I release new videos every single week on self-actualization topics. I want to help you to master your psychology so that in doing this, you can be free to create the kind of life that you want.
I am guessing that you do not want a domesticated and kind of ordinary life because you have been living this kind of life, you have seen other people living this kind of life and you know that it is hollow. You know that these regrets on your deathbed are coming. You don’t want this.
Fundamentally, that is why we do personal development because we want to make the most of this short existence that we have. We want to be able to stop and smell the roses, but to do this requires some work. As simple as it is, it potentially requires a lot of work, depending on where you are at.
Most people are really far behind. What we need to do is we need to work on your psychology. We need to introduce new concepts and new ideas, reframing the way you think, showing you techniques, getting you to take action and action is important. You don’t want to just be watching these videos.
If you are watching these videos on a weekly basis and you are going out there and taking baby steps, you will be shocked at how different your life will be in just a couple of years. They start stacking up and eventually, you start getting exponential results. That is one of the most rewarding investments of time and energy that you can make in your life.
It is investing in your own growth. If you are interested in that and you are interested in no bullshit development, sign up right now.