The lens in our eye turns the image of the world upside down. It delivers an inverted image of the world onto our retina, with the floor up there and the ceiling down below. Our mind immediately interprets this image and says, “No, I say the floor is down there and the ceiling is up above”. See how our mind creates a false impression of reality?

When we receive an image of the world in our brain, we don’t immediately say “oh, there is a mistaken image of the world appearing in my mind”. For some strange reason our first thought is “there’s a real world out there and it exists in the way it appears to my mind”. This is when the mistake occurs.

The catastrophic mistake which causes us so many problems. Not only we do we think “there’s a real world out there”, we also think “there’s a real me in here and I’m separate from the rest of the world.”

And then we proceed to develop all sorts of confused thinking about how we should deal with that situation.

We develop feelings about what we see, some of which we like, some of which we don’t. We think that what we desire resides in the things that give us nice feelings and we crave after them. Little do we realise that the feeling we like is being created in our mind and doesn’t come from the object.

And then we perform all sorts of unhelpful actions that compound the situation. Like putting time and energy into obtaining those things that seems to give us what we want, instead of into the things that really would.

I went to a Dharma course yesterday called Constant Craving and the teacher asked us “how much do you believe that you are stuck with craving? And how much do you believe that pure perfect peace is really possible?”

If I’m honest, I have to admit that – up to now – I have believed that it’s much truer that I’m stuck with craving. I’ve believed pure peace is possible, eventually, but I’ve more strongly believed that craving is real.

Big mistake. I’ve been buying a lie. The lie that what I desire is out there in things and I crave them to give me that nice feeling.

Like the image of the room, this thinking is upside down. I do desire something: pure peace and happiness. But it is not out there in things. Although, with training I can create it in my mind, just as I create illusions at the moment.

The only thing that is stopping me from being free from craving is a thought. The thought that I cannot be free from craving. But I can use the power of imagination to replace that thought with an alternative: that I am a person free from craving.

Why not? It’s exactly the same process of imputation. The difference is this time the object of my imputation is virtuous. It is not an illusion. It is actually true. It may seem unrealistic, but that’s just because I’m so used to believing in the illusion.

So I’m buying out of the lie. I’m turning the world up the right way again.

I’m resolving to invest my precious time and effort in a more fruitful direction. Moving a little bit closer every day to an image of myself as a person free from craving. One for whom true peace and happiness really is possible.