By Cheri Langston

Cheri evokes spirits from the rock-and-roll past as she urges us to wake up to how our minds create our reality.

Already hallucinating

One of my favorite reminders is the one Venerable Chodron gave in the recent Vajrasattva retreat. It’s from her teacher, Lama Yeshe, who told his hippy Dharma students, “You don’t need drugs, dear. You’re already hallucinating.”

I came back to this one night while sleeping. I found that it doesn’t only apply to drugs. It applies to almost every “entertainment” we have available—movies, online games, Facebook, anything that creates yet another fantasy world on top of what’s already appearing in such a seemingly solid way.

Even anxiety attacks appear to be so solid and real, when all the while nothing is actually happening. You can be lying down in your own bed, not having moved an inch from when you first laid down, with absolutely nothing happening, yet wake up in a sweat with rapid heartbeat and irrational fear.

It’s like waking in a hell realm. Or in a nightmare. If we don’t realize how we are already hallucinating, sudden things like panic attacks can be overwhelming because they come on so quickly and appear so powerful in and of themselves.

I’ve seen this new game device where you put on glasses and it appears that you are actually physically in the game. So while you are standing in the lounge in your own home, you can be fully absorbed in this fake reality, and you’re off and away.

It would cost much less for us to take a look at our own minds.

man kneels before nun offering a gift

Pay attention

No online game is nearly as interesting as getting a sneak peek at how we mistakenly see things, how, with our thoughts, we really do create a reality that isn’t even there.

If we are not paying attention, we won’t realize that we actually haven’t moved off our chair when we go off on another tangent of grasping or aversion, of intense like or dislike.

And every time we do that, we are strengthening the delusion and habit, causing ourselves suffering. And, sadly, creating karma.

As I am discovering, every single time we identify with our body, with an ache or discomfort, with anxiety or some temporary relief, with feeling well or not, we are caught up in a ball of rubbish, something that actually keeps us trapped in a never-ending yoyo of up then down, up then down.

Remember this?

I have the habit of having songs pop up after I think about things. “Wake Up Little Susie” rang in this morning, and I had to laugh.

Little Susie is about … what? If she was 16 in 1958 when that Everly Brothers single topped the charts, that makes her an old ducky now.

But come on, Susie! You can do it! Just start with not believing everything you think!

Stay curious granny Susie!

Wake up, little Susie,
Wake up, little Susie,
We’ve all been sound asleep
Wake up, little Susie with relief
This precious life isn’t over
we’re not yet in trouble deep
Wake up, little Susie
Wake up, little Susie
How else you gonna help your mama?
How else you gonna help your pa’?
How you going to help your friends living in
“Ooh, la, la” land?
Wake up, little Susie
Wake up, little Susie
Well, we told ourselves we’d be bodhisattvas by 2021
Well, Susie, baby, looks like we goofed again
Wake up, little Susie
Wake up, little Susie
We gotta go practice!