I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.
– unknown origin, (mis)attributed to Mark Twain
It’s a good quote even if Mark Twain probably never said it.
For most of us, most of the terrible things we live through never actually happen. They happen in our minds, and we may relive it in our minds, but it never actually happened.
Whether we tell ourselves it happened in the past, that it will happen in the future, or it does happen in the present, it never actually happened.
Some terrible things may have happened in the past. We then relive it in our mind, perhaps with added painful stories and interpretations, and it doesn’t happen anywhere else than our mind.
Some terrible things may appear to be in future, and that future isn’t here yet. Again, we live it in our minds and it’s not actually happening.
It may or may not come to pass, more or less as we imagined it.
If it doesn’t, then it clearly didn’t actually happen.
If it does happen, as it is happening, our imaginations about it are still imaginations. Our stories are stories. It’s all mind-made. It doesn’t actually happen as we imagine it. (I realize this one may require more investigation but it’s worth it.)
As with any of these explorations, understanding it intellectually or intuiting it is a good start. And for it to become a lived experience, we need more investigation. In this case, inquiry such as The Work or the Living Inquiries can be very helpful. Especially if we investigate the stories that seem the most true, and keep going with yet another story that seems true. Until, perhaps, they don’t anymore.