So, Fake News has been in the news for the last few years. What is fake news? The Wikipedia definition of fake news is – Fake news is false or misleading information presented as news. It often aims to damage the reputation of a person or entity or make money through advertising revenue. In essence, it is showing make-believe thought as reality.

Scrabble tiles showing FAct and FAke

One could argue that what gets manifested in the outer world has to come from within because the external world is a projection of the inner world. So fake news in the outside world is also an outward appearance of what’s happening inside.

How can we generate and believe fake news? I am sure some minds are wondering. After all, we are an evolved species – we can think, have an opposable thumb, look at the world we have created. How can such an intelligent species create fake news? Let’s see if some examples help.

A couple has been married for seventeen years. And the wife’s biggest complaint is her husband does not express his feelings immediately. And she is tired of waiting and asking, as she is very impatient. This belief has become the basis of her interactions with her husband. And as you can imagine, with so much baggage built up over the years, there are times when she is mean and nasty to him. The wife believes that her husband ‘SHOULD’ express his feelings immediately. She has created and believed this thought. And what has happened in seventeen years that they have been married – he hasn’t expressed his feelings right then and there. 

Buddha – We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think.

What comes next is essential. The reality of what has happened is that husband does not express his feelings right away. One can say that his wife believed in fake news that he should. One cannot alter the reality – the husband is not what the wife expects him to be. In her mind, her husband should behave that way – but that is not the reality. 

Similarly, how many of us live in our minds and expect it to happen in real life. If this is not fake news, then what is? There are times when we go about the world expecting it to operate as it exists in our heads. Like you have got a week of vacation, and you want it to be perfect with no distractions, no tasks from your spouse etc. And instead, the week turns out to be one of those where your list of todos keep growing. How often do we spend the week trying to argue with reality – ‘It shouldn’t be this way?’ The honest answer is – it is. As Byron Katie says, the cat will meow, the dog will bark, and people will give you tasks on vacations. The reality has nothing to do with what is supposed to be or what you deserve – it just is.

A man having anxious thoughts

This is where all teachings converge. The very definition of Vipassana is Reality as it is. Michael Singer talks about surrendering, and Tolle talks about the NOW. It is easier said than done because we all live our lives based on uninvestigated thoughts. We believe those thoughts to be true. It is not the thoughts that are the problem but the attachment to the thoughts being real that is the problem. If we could just let the thoughts be – the world would be a different place.

Can you identify Fake News that your mind created and you believed in?

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