The Aha! is a big favorite in the spiritual, inquiry, and therapy worlds. We love our becauses, whys, explanations. We love to understand.

We love the idea that with the right teacher, method, actions, we will figure all this out, attain enlightenment and get freedom from reaction, stress and thought.

You can see that’s kind of a stacked deck though, right?

Sort of like the fox building the henhouse, containing himself inside, methodically eating up the chickens, while earnestly insisting, “I really really want to get out of this henhouse.”

Because really, which Aha! can actually be trusted to not be a fox?

I mean, what is understanding anyway?


What do we use to get that understanding?


What is attained when we do get that realization?


How do we even know we “got” something at all?


Got it?

Sly fox, thinking is.

Thought creates problem and incompleteness and anxiety and pain, and then gets busy trying to nail down solutions for all that. It creates the world, tries to solve the world it created, judges what is deemed successful or what needs further realizing, and then calls us names when we fail.

Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. Thought is not an evil enemy. It's not much of anything, really.

But if it’s peace or contentment or enlightenment that’s wanted...

Aha!s are useless.

It’s not possible to break out of the henhouse that way.

Because understanding life requires separation from life. Which creates a sense of incompleteness. Which creates a problem needing solving and understanding. Which further separates. Which further requires solutions.

When the focus is on figuring out or realizing, we separate attention from actual experience.  

That never brings peace.  

Aha!s perpetuate the illusion of Me as the center point, the thing that needs to get it, the thing that understands, the thing depended on to make shifts happen.

All of which makes the sense of self very important. And that's the opposite of what we supposedly are wanting.

So instead of trying to attain peace via realization, I wonder what would happen if we could turn attention to actual happenings, instead of thoughts, opinions and expectations about happenings?

Person sitting, person feeling, person thinking.

Yes, that may sound kind of uninteresting.

Because there's nothing for the mind to do. So it's totally bored by presence.

But noticing the actual might be the only way to trick the fox at its own game.

More peace than understanding.

More “Ahhh” than “Aha!”

Who knows? Thought-created chicken coops just might go poof.

And "get it" or not, we might discover that that's plenty good enough.

Click to get in on the Mind-Tickler every week  

“You don’t wake up by perfecting your dream character. You wake up by breaking free of it.
There’s no truth to the ego, so no degree of mastery over it results in anything true.
Putting attention on the false self merely reinforces it.”
--Jed McKenna