Too often, when we suffer from a broken heart or spirit, or a suffering body, we cannot see a way out of our suffering so we turn to the outside to seek some relief. It is not uncommon that to get away from our immediate suffering, we turn to blame, anger, resentment, or perhaps we seek to just numb or soothe the pain with eating, sleeping, or alcohol and drugs. But we find out that these outside methods are not solutions to our suffering and may lead us to additional suffering.
It is unfortunate that while growing up, we do not get lessons or other such guidance on what to do to heal the suffering we commonly experience, from a teen age broken heart to a chronic health issue we might be dealing with. From generation to generation the methods we choose, albeit well intended in most cases, continues to pave the way for co-dependence with some external stimulus to cope with our healing issues. So even though our natural state of being is one of health, peace, and vibrancy – our external coping mechanisms to everyday challenges begin to diminish our natural state to one of chaos, struggle, resistance, and poverty consciousness.
I’m sure that you have heard many times that the most healing solutions are quite easy to achieve, and yet you wonder, if they are so easy, why isn’t everyone doing them already? The reason everyone isn’t doing them is because sometimes it just seems easier to trade healthy, vibrant living for mediocre, sustained, living with occasional ups and downs. We’re trained to adapt, “deal with it”, suppress it and accept that life is hard and surviving within it is about the best you can expect. That is what our conditioning teaches us. Examples are – Don’t emote (it’s weird and it makes me uncomfortable), don’t show too much weakness because people will hurt you, protect yourself by becoming aggressive, withdrawn, smarter, etc. etc. All of these methods teach us to live “outside” of ourselves by gauging our progress and our feelings by how others respond to us. So, if others respond well, we might consider ourselves successful, but if they don’t, we must be failing. Our awareness to anything internal (feelings, desires, spirituality, intuition, creativity, inner peace) becomes duller and less active once we agree to the terms of conditioned living. This dulled response to our inner most being also dis-connects us to the majestic healing processes that are innate in our bodies and mind as well. Next thing we know, because we ignored the warning signs of emotion, feelings, and the small aches and pains of a body crying to be addressed – we become sick or spiraling downward in a sea of depression or stress. Even in our darkest hours of sickness or despair, we still expect “someone” or “something”, other than ourselves, to save us.
Ironically, to break through this external paradigm is really quite easy, but to do so requires a strong desire to see change occur in your life. And further, you must be willing to cultivate this change from within or at the very least, be open to the possibility of cultivating change from within. This is it! This is the first step to clearing a path for healing the mind, body, & spirit. Decide. You do not have to know the next step or how it might turn out.
Chinese philosopher and ancient teacher of Tao, Lao-tzu, put it best by saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Once you take this step of “deciding”, you are actually stepping through the fog of past experiences and conditioning to open yourself to all sorts of new possibilities. You’re on your way.
The next step is also quite easy and allows you to feel around the new landscape of potential in your life and to assess the beliefs and ideas that have been holding you back. This next step is an important one on your path as well. This is the step of awareness. You must begin to develop a sense of awareness about the habits and beliefs that no longer serve you and be open to those that do. This sense of awareness may evolve over the course of your journey or sometimes it can be quite spontaneous. Either way, this skill will support you in moving forward in the direction you choose, keeping in mind that backward steps are OK as long as we don’t judge them or use them as an excuse to stop our progress.
The remainder of your path can be cleared in a million different ways based on your strength of intent and your ability to maintain awareness to your beliefs, behaviors and actions. In every culture and in every time period, many wise teachers have shared with us many steps we can take to health, wholeness, and happiness. Each person will be different as to how they want to go about their discovery and they journey. Some may focus on getting their health on the right track (which is good for the mind and the spirit), some may choose to get their spiritual house in order (which calms the mind and the body), and still others choose to work with the mind to heal and to expand, which also helps the spirit and the body. Some may prefer an integrated approach where all three are addressed. Whatever way you choose, rest assured that as long as you are walking along the path, your destination to a better life is assured.
Below I will give you a laundry list of possibilities for you to explore in the renewing of you mind, body, & spirit. Most of these techniques are tried and true to help you reach your goals. Please visit our sister site, LSHolisticWellness.com for more information on holistic wellness and healing techniques.
- Creative Work (art, design, writing, reading, cooking, gardening)
- Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi
- Mindful Exercise
- Anything to do with nature
- Interacting with children
- Exploring (car trips, antiquing, mushroom hunting, museums, art gallery, treasure hunting)
- Deep listening to inner self or to others
- Breathing techniques
- Self-Massage (or any massage therapy)
- Fung Shui
- Laughing (watching funny movies, joke telling, recalling irritating memories as cartoons with circus music)
- Walking (double bonus for nature walks)
- Music (listening, writing, performing)
- (**music with harsh vibrational tones and destructive or demeaning language does not fit in this category)
- Playing (nope no video games, sorry – these have a tendency to dumb us down and put us in a trance. This is board games, Red Rover, tag, being silly, wrestling with dog/kids, make up your own…..)
- Research (dig into internet, library, periodicals, and bookstores for topics that interest and inspire you)
- Loving on your pets
I am pleased to have been asked to participate in one of my favorite authors new book launches, the Revised Edition of the bestselling book, Choices and Illusions, by Eldon Taylor. I have been a fan of Taylor’s for several years and had just coincidentally finished reading his book Mind Programming, which is an illuminating book about the power of subliminal programming, when I was asked to be included in this project. Taylor’s First Edition of Choices and Illusions was written in 2007 and since that time, he has written several books on related topics. This new edition of Choices and Illusions is not only updated for relevance today, but has been expanded to include additional insights and research on the study of the human thought process.
So, now let me tie in why I loved this new book and how this book recommendation is going to help me re-articulate one of the main messages I try to get across with my own writing. By sharing my recommendations for Choices and Illusions, and sharing some of the powerful messages in this book, I get yet another chance to shout out about one of my main blog messages from a new perspective.
So, here is the message:
Life is a representation and a reflection of the choices that we make.
As obvious as this statement is, from a logical and analytical perspective, the practical application of living from this principle gets a little confusing. It begs the question: What does it really mean to live by our choices and are our choices limited to the hands we are dealt (fate, destiny, bad genes, etc.)?
The full title of Eldon Taylor’s new book is, Choices and Illusions, How Did I Get Where I Am, and How Do I Get Where I Want to Be. The question the book title proposes, as well as the question I posed above is answered quite nicely in this books insightful examination of how we develop some of our questionable belief systems. And luckily the book also provides us with powerful tools we can use to challenge these questionable and oftentimes limiting beliefs.
One of the reasons I enjoy Eldon Taylor’s books is that I can feel his passion about helping people to initiate powerful change in their lives. I also strongly intuit from his writing that Taylor and I share another fundamental belief that one of the main reasons people get stuck or stalled in overcoming life’s challenges is the pervasive and persistent negative mental and emotional conditioning we are exposed to. This conditioning that I speak of unconsciously develops into a fog or illusion of struggle, lack, dissatisfaction, unworthiness, conflict and stress. But the really sneaky part of this conditioning is the silent intrusions it makes in our day to day choices because we act from our conditioned “stories” instead of from our authentic selves.
Until you experience the freedom of becoming aware about your conditioned past and realizing how a certain belief has created certain conditions in your life, you will likely resist the idea that your unconscious beliefs drive your behaviors and actions. This is the dilemma. The beliefs are unconscious (deeply and silently embedded), therefore we don’t see how they impact us. These old and sometimes blatantly false beliefs don’t stand up in our conscious mind before we do or say something and declare, “OK– since you were the youngest sibling and never got the attention, you will now and forever act and behave in loud, abrasive and forceful ways to insure that if you can’t be a favorite in people’s minds at least you are going to be noticed!” Our conscious mind simply plays off the themes of our subconscious conditioned story (I must make a lot of noise to get noticed), and we act from there without even knowing where our action came from.
Without a deep personal honesty and doing the work to peel back the layers of conditioning, the most common response to dissatisfaction with our life is to look around, outside us, to see what the hell we need to change to make things better. Very often it never even occurs to us to stop and take a deep look at where or why we have certain behaviors and beliefs. It is a much easier strategy to “do something” about our lives by externalizing the causes for our actions.
So, this is a very tough predicament within the human condition. I believe it is why many people give up on personal change and self-help after a while when it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because we are addressing the WRONG problem. The question is not, “How do I fix this problem”, it’s “How did I begin to believe in this problem?” If a self-help book tells you to repeat a positive affirmation every day for 21 days to make a change, you excitedly say it every day for 21 days and then when nothing changes, you give up, lose hope, or get frustrated. Of course the reason there is no change is because you don’t really believe (in your subconscious mind) that the affirmation is true or could possibly ever be true. There has to be an authentic belief that at least your affirmation or change is possible for it to be an effective tool for change. You may very much want to believe in the affirmation, but deep down there is some limiting belief that simply won’t allow the desired change to gain any stickiness.
The tool Taylor most generally recommends for addressing the dilemma of the silent antagonist (the subconscious mind), is subliminal affirmations. This is an interesting and effective solution for piercing through the resistance the subconscious mind has towards powerful positive changes. Because the affirmation is subliminally introduced (which reaches into the subconscious mind), then repeated use of the subliminal messages actually begin to shift the embedded beliefs. There are, of course, many effective tools for closing the gaps of unconscious limiting behavior and tapping into the unlimited higher consciousness that we all have. For instance, one of my personal favorites is meditation. But subliminal affirmations are quite an elegant and effortless way to initiate powerful positive changes as well! I mean seriously, just plunk in the CD or download it to your computer and simply listen as you go about your day! What a tool – effective and effortless!
I highly recommend Choices and Illusions for those that are ready to wake up their inner awesomeness. Taylor clearly illustrates the illusive nature of our subconscious minds and shares many great examples of how to spot this in our own thought processes. I predict there will several ah-ha moments as the book deep dives into various infiltrating sources and strategies that have major impacts on our subconscious mind. And later in the book, Taylor shares some inspirational testimonials on how some of Taylor’s subliminal tools have worked, including one from an MD that not only uses many of Taylor’s subliminal CD’s himself, but has incorporated them into his medical practice as well.
I’ve included a video book trailer below so you can get a good first look at this book. Eldon Taylor books present a powerful perspective on overcoming limits to achieve our highest human potential. Give yourself a treat and check it out!
If I had one piece of advice I could pass on to anyone, but especially to younger people it is this: Do not wait until the latter part of your life to realize your dreams and passion – your song. And, if I could be indulged for one more to add to that: No matter what your age, if you are not happy, seek within – do not waste your life away looking without.
While many of us may say that we have no regrets in life, there are few of us that can say that we are living life to its fullest potential. Living life to its fullest potential means that we love life, appreciate the life that we have, the good and the bad parts, and that we continue to expand our understanding and joy of life every day. This may seem like a pie in the sky achievement but in reality, it is natural, easy, and intuitive for us to flow with the blessings of “life” as life unfolds in front of us.
I meet many people that believe that a happy life will finally come to them when something happens for them, like a new job, relationship, or maybe a new home, car, or lottery winning. While all those things are wonderful and will create a temporary uplifting of our lives, the real meat and potatoes of living extraordinarily is from the discoveries we make about the inner self, higher self, and the divine self. Staying focused on our achievements, possessions, and our “stories” is like nibbling on the outer edge of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup – pretty tasty but ultimately unsatisfying. Even those that have clearly won the “what society calls successful life” prize knows that there is something more, something deeper and tougher to get at.
That something more is your soul’s song – your deeper essence, your authentic higher self. Every single one of us has a special song or a unique vibration that we add to the Universal Song. When we connect with that mystical part of ourselves, our lives become harmonious due to the syncopating nature of living from our natural flow, a higher purpose. Like a wonderful symphony, when we conduct our lives from the songs of our inner spirit, the experiences we have in life are reflective or “resonate” from that harmonious outpouring. On the other hand, when our lives are full of objects and the pursuit of objects, or when our mind harbors discord of any kind, with fear, anxiety, anger, judgment and so on – the song of our life become loud and unsettling. These notes of discord offset our innate natural flow and can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, illness, and strained relationships.
Throughout all the ages, masters, spiritual teachers, sages have pointed us in the direction of inner growth and harmony. While some of these masters teachings may vary slightly, none of them saw the benefit in living vicariously through our possessions or our relationships, nor did these wise ones every direct us to live life to its fullest potential using fear, obsession, or neediness. Yet, these are the behaviors that we tend to lean into when we feel the need to take control of a life that is not going the way that we want it to. And the reason we choose these outside methods of life fulfillment is because we have stopped listening to “our song” and succumbed to the loud cries of culture, education, media, commercialism, dogma, family influences, and so on.
There are many ways to still the noisy regurgitation’s of the world outside of us, so many ways in fact that it would take volumes and volumes of books to describe the “known” ones, let alone the ways that are still yet unknown (for some really good guidance on this, check out my book, Finding Home – Breaking Free from Limits). This is the good news! The bad news is that without a recognition that we need to do this, to explore our dreams, to discover our inner songs, or to get in touch with our highest purpose – then we just keep looking everywhere, out there, for something that will satisfy the droning malaise that we feel.
Let’s take a look at one of our highest examples of a natural, divinely inspired life to see how easy it really is to live from our inner spirit; a baby. Most babies exemplify the innate higher qualities of mankind; joy, wonder, love, peace, and bliss. Although I was not able to interview very many babies to get the final truth on the following, my experience with babies tells me that babies smile not because they have gas, but because they are joyful. Babies see the wonder and beauty of everything because it is all new, alive, and they feel it is just for them! And it is just for them! Babies know their song, and when their base human needs have been attended to, they sing their song with laughter, coos, garbling, and their eyes light up with love and joy. Babies, left to their own, will simply enjoy life, breathing evenly and deeply. Until babies are taught what is good, bad, and so on – most babies just flow with the natural order of divine law, expressing themselves as authentically as a human being can.
Ultimately, our song has never changed since we were babies. The deeper sense of purpose for our lives was with us from the very beginning, or perhaps even before. If we don’t know what this song is now, it is because the world has oppressed it with loud noises about how to make ourselves heard amongst all this loud noise of the world! Isn’t that ironic?
Our song is our purpose, our individual light or meaning, or to wax eloquent, our soul’s longing. Everyone’s is different and everyone’s is needed, useful, valuable, and divinely precious. We get glimpses of our song once in a while when we allow ourselves to be caught up in the flow of something we love doing, or when we quiet our “monkey minds” enough to listen to our inner stirrings. But unfortunately, these special moments are shoved aside as musings and the attention to our daily pursuit of objects, status, wealth, or power resumes.
Helen Keller said “What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.” It might be that Helen’s absence of sight helped her more easily attune to her higher senses. She goes on to say, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” It is within these sentiments that we must live, from the heart, from the soul, with our song.
But don’t take my word for it! Test your soul’s calling yourself! Below are a few exercises you can try to begin bringing to light the song of your soul. The only requirement for a successful test run is to remain open minded/hearted and to enjoy the exercises.
- Exercise 1: Close your eyes and go waaaayyy back in memory lane. Try to remember the first (and I mean the VERY first) enjoyable moment in your life. What were you doing? Who were you with? Why do you think you remember this? Take in the scene from a different perspective and look for clues about what it was that pleased you as a child in this memory and what is still a pleasing thought to you now. Do you see any patterns or relationships to things that still interest you today?
- Exercise 2: Ask your friends and family what they think is one of your strongest qualities or skills. Don’t be thin-skinned – Listen to how others perceive you.
- Exercise 3: Answer the following question on paper. What would you do if you knew you could not fail and you had all the resources you needed to do anything you wanted? No limits on your answers! Go for it!
- Exercise 4: Make a list of your current interests and obsessions. Look for patterns or items that relate to each other. Don’t discount anything, even if it seems very materialistic. Like if you have an obsession for shoes, you might have a passion for fashion design or you might enjoy pursuing being a buyer.
- Exercise 5: Make a list of 10 jobs/professions/skills/crafts you think are really interesting and that look like fulfilling jobs/activities to you. Spend some time in a relaxed setting, with the TV off, and visualize yourself doing each of these jobs for 10 minutes. Keep a notepad close by so that you can jot notes down on how it felt and which visualizations really stirred you.
This takes me back to my original advice: Do not wait until the latter part of your life to realize your dreams and passion. Your dreams and your passions in life ARE your soul song! Make the time and the effort to get in touch with this important part of your being. At the end of the day, it’s not about who ended up with the most the money, fame, or power – those things will be quickly forgotten about you after your gone. It’s all about the song! Did you live it, experience it, sing it, roll around in ecstasy in it, and for crying out loud – did you share it? I hope so.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” – Unknown
The book you want to write; never started. Those music lessons you think about – never taken. How about the half written new business plan proposal or the college brochures collecting dust? These are the dreams we give away to “live” our lives. But our lives are slipping away to the unwanted consequences of living under the glass ceiling of limitation of time, resources, or initiative to achieve our dream. Why do we do this? I think it is because we always think there will be a better time or better circumstances to try to do the things we really want to do. Yet, years pass, circumstances do not change, or worse, they deteriorate. Today, I am challenging you to break the glass ceilings and begin to live from your unlimited potential.
A glass ceiling is a seemingly un-penetrable invisible barrier that keeps us from pursuing a higher goal in our life. Most generally these barriers come in the form of time, money, lack of support, or lack of belief in ourselves. But these higher goals (dreams) should not be ignored and frankly the fact that you have them and have had them for a long time should indicate to you that these dreams come from a much deeper and wiser source, your spirit or higher self.
Sometimes our goals come and go and these are goals that come more from the “neediness” of our ego that is constantly looking to expand itself. We get all these crazy notions in our heads about what we think we should be doing and call it a dream. But really it is just another version of limitation we place on ourselves and has nothing to do with a genuine dream.
Creative Tip: Go outside – nature has a way of expanding our perceived limits with its expansive qualities and constant change.
Making it to the corner office in a corporate job you can barely stand is not a dream goal, it’s a prison sentence. Bottom line; any dream that’s motivation is money, fame, power, or popularity is a dream built on shifting sand. Dreams or goals that have the intention to “take” something from someone else for our own personal gain will always, at the end of the day, be our downfall.
The authentic dreams are the ones that when we think about or visualize ourselves doing them, makes us feel good, lifted. These are the dreams we have where money or status don’t matter, but the “doing” of the dream feels pleasing and meaningful to us. We may end up making a lot of money or getting a lot of fame in the pursuit of our authentic dreams, but the goal is the actualization of the dream, not the consequences from it. But, we put these types of dreams on hold because we think that first we have to make the money, get the fame/status, or get the kids through school or whatever, AND THEN, we can pursue the real dream.
There will always be a something else more to do (aka glass ceiling) in our minds if we don’t stop that ridiculous tape loop of reasons NOT to pursue our dreams. So, let’s just say, “What the hell” and start – it certainly is better than watching TV, or joining a third bowling league, or endlessly fidgeting around the house to tidy up. So here are some tips on pursuing your dreams. These tips work, IF you use them. That is the first tip: In order to pursue your dreams, you must make a commitment to yourself that you are worth it and that you ARE going to do this.
Here are some others:
Take a step every day in the direction of your dreams. You may not be able to quit your job right now, sell your home and go live in the mountains/beach/prairie to pursue a dream, but you can dedicate time every week to learning more about your dream, or network with others with similar interests, google it, read about it, buy a few things to support it, and so on. Whatever your dream is, even if you have no money and very little time, there Is no dream that cannot be pursued, at least in some measure, every day.
Let me give you a relational example. Let’s say that you dreamed that you wanted to be a millionaire. Probably not the best dream to pursue for the fulfillment of the soul, but it works well for my example. You have no idea how to become a millionaire and you know that with your current salary, this seems like an un-achievable dream. But you believe in yourself and so you begin to take a step towards your dream every day. You put a dollar a day into a mutual fund or some interest bearing account. You can easily afford a dollar and you think it might be fun see how well you do with this task towards your dream.
So, it took awhile, but by never giving up and pursuing your dream every day, by the time your reach 65 or 70, depending on when you started this task – you are a millionaire.
Even though my sample dream task was super simple to highlight my point, our dreams are much easier to pursue than my example demonstrates because we are much closer to them emotionally. The point is with every step you take, your actions compound to make the reality of your dream become much clearer. You learn more, you develop more passion towards the craft or the skill and you gain a deeper intuition towards yourself and your dream. Additionally, when you commit to it and work towards it, your dreams begin to seem closer and much more achievable.
This is by far the most important and critical step you can take to begin fulfilling your dreams. Many people will read this and think, “Yeah – I should start doing this.” But later, like weeks later, they vaguely remember that they were going to start and find something else to occupy the mind to let it go – again. Don’t delay this time – get up NOW and begin. (Well after you finish reading this article anyway.)
Don’t worry about the end goal - Whether it’s 1M dollars, performing at Carnegie Hall or showcasing your first invention, – it will all unfold as you go along. Just begin with ANYTHING and every day take one more step towards it. Our dreams may seem so far away from our current reality or like they are too big. NO DREAM IS TOO BIG! Just begin and you will be directed in the right path as you learn more and get more involved in your dream.
Vision Boards and Visualizing – As you begin to get involved in taking steps toward your dream, spend a little time every day visualizing the next step or seeing yourself living your dream right now! I like to do this right before bed and I sometimes find that my sleeping dreams support my waking dreams with additional insight or symbolic direction. Another fun and helpful activity is using a vision board. Begin collecting words, pictures, or anything related to your dream and pinning them on a cork board or making a collage in a Powerpoint or Word document. Be creative and have fun.
Do an exchange - Exchange some mundane meaningless task in your current routine, like ironing (who irons anymore anyway), or picking up toys every night, to give yourself more time to pursue your dreams. Think about the benefits of the mundane task and how this is really helping you or others. If what you do is not truly benefiting you or others in your day – drop it and exchange it for pursuing your dream. Why in heavens name would be put weed wacking, vacuuming (again), or watching Pawn Star reruns over our life’s dream?
Schedule It – Make Saturday mornings (or your choice), dream pursuit time. Dedicate a specific time to pursuing your dreams. Be serious about this and if you wish, keep this to yourself. Tell your family this is your down time or “me” time or whatever, but take this time for yourself. When your dreams are actualized, they will thank you for it later.
Now the turbo charged tips …….
Believe in yourself and your dream – It’s Real! – You have a dream because you are intended to have one. This is the purpose of your life for crying out loud. You would not have a dream of becoming a star basketball player if you were 4’10”, but instead your shorter frame probably dreams of becoming a featherweight boxer, jockey, or an artist. Your dreams are your spirit asking you to pay attention to your authentic purpose. Remember, dreams are never authentic if they take something away from someone else and if the end goal is only about propping up the ego with money, status or power. They are about busting through the invisible barriers we build around ourselves to free our spirit, to soar!
Be the dream – In a metaphysical sense, since you have the dream, the dream is already actualized in you. All you have to do is break through the glass ceiling to achieve it. Spend time understanding and having an awareness of the things you allow to limit your dreams. Do the work that is needed to let these limitations go and daily enhance your inherent freedom and meaning. Feel the experience of already living the dream. Frankly the only reason you aren’t living the dream already is because your mind has told you a story that you can’t for a multitude of reasons, and it’s a crappy story, so lose it. Letting go of your attachment to your limitations Is hard work, but please, give yourself this chance –
- Be aware of your limitations
- Do the work to let them go
- Replace limiting habits and behaviors with uplifting, encouraging and motivating behaviors and beliefs.
Come on guys and gals! Life is meant to be bountiful, full of love, joy and amazing experiences. Don’t give away any more of your precious life to anything less than you deserve, which is to live the life you have always dreamed of. No matter what it is, there is ALWAYS SOMETHING you can do today, right now, to begin living your dream. Ok, now get up, right now, and begin.
On this point I think we are all united. We all majorly screw things up every now and then. We do something like: say something stupid, embarrass ourselves, tarnish our reputation, cross a moral boundary, hurt someone else deeply, and on and on. What we do next to respond to a major screw up is where our unity starts to disperse into many different directions. Let me share a few typical responses to a major screw up that may not be the most compassionate or healthy responses for us or for others:
- We blame others or we blame conditions
- We outwardly show remorse but inwardly feel anger, resentment, or fear
- We move on quickly or deny it all together, hoping the whole incident will be forgotten
- We withdraw; hoping time will lessen the sting
- We severely beat ourselves up with guilt and shame
I don’t know about you, but the trite response from friends, “Everyone screws up sometimes”, is not helpful to me when I know I have really botched things up. But beating ourselves up and reliving the moment over and over again, wishing for a different outcome is not helpful either. This is the first piece of advice for help when you really screw things up. Reliving or ruminating the incident to try to analyze the would ofs, should ofs, could ofs, of the experience will only create more suffering as we literally re-experience the humiliation or pain of the moment. We must accept the reality of the situation and begin from there. It is, so now, next steps.
So the first two tips are:
- Don’t ruminate or rehearse the incident in your mind
- Accept that it happened and use this as your new beginning point
The next step, if you haven’t already done this already, is to accept 100% responsibility for the screw up. You were not provoked, tempted by the devil, or pushed into anything. Your stress levels, headache, new medicine, nor the temperature the room is responsible for your behavior, no matter how strongly you want to believe this. The only one responsible for your behavior and the choices you make is you. Blaming any incident on something or someone is a delay tactic. Whatever you are running from by blaming others or blaming conditions will now begin to chase you more vigorously.
The next step in fixing a major screw up is deciding honestly if you have any recompense or atonement that needs to be done. This does not always equate to an apology to someone else. Sometimes the atonement is towards yourself. But if an apology IS in order, (even if the other person also should apologize), do it as soon as you are able to do, without expectations. It doesn’t matter if the other person doesn’t apologize – that is their issue to resolve. If they are not really sorry, would you want a fake apology anyway? You are apologizing because you truly do not want to hurt anyone not because you want to shore things up. Fixing this screw up is about YOU – not them – so don’t worry what their reaction is going to be or whether they plan to reciprocate or not. If you cannot apologize yet, begin to heal the situation in your mind first by following these other helpful tips. The more you can accept the situation and your part in it, without guilt and shame, and with forgiveness to yourself – the more you will see a clear path to rectify the situation.
There is always a solution in love
If you have hurt someone so badly that the relationship is completely un-repairable or if it just too unbearable to think about apologizing, then serious steps need to be taken to find your peace with that fact. Forgiving yourself and blessing the time you had with this person and KNOWING that you have learned a valuable lesson in life from the entire experience is usually what it takes to find this peace.
Forgiving yourself can be tough. Sometimes we think we have to pay a price of great suffering before we can allow ourselves to forgive. This is a man made, limiting, and diminishing belief. Don’t buy into it. We carry this notion of paying penance onto others too. This is ego saying “I am better than you because this time, you screwed up – so now you pay.” We allow our ego’s indulgence of this nonsense because it helps us to live with ourselves because we remember a time when this was us screwing up, and we suffered, so now they should as well. This is also classic religious fundamentalism – that payment must be made for every sinful action. Why? Because that way we ALL have a chance – because no one is without sin. And all we have to do is suffer a little. It’s bologna, it’s diminishing, and it is never helpful or rehabilitating. In one of his most poignant messages, Jesus said, on the cross, about his persecutors, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He didn’t say, “Forgive them after they suffer”, or “Make them pay”, just simply forgive. Ignorance is the error when it comes to suffering – ignorance of the self, of the spirit, and of the Divine, and we heal ignorance with love and forgiveness.
Forgiving yourself is not allowing the incident to go by unresolved or giving you a free pass. It is about recognizing that at that moment, you did the best thing you knew how to do, even if now it seems horrible. The incident itself may have been the opportunity to open your eyes to a self-defeating or diminishing behavior. Without the incident happening, no matter how painful it was, this belief or behavior may have continued and many may have been hurt from it. A good example of this is when you get a ticket for driving under the influence of alcohol or get arrested for a domestic dispute. Without the shock of the incident, this behavior could have continued on until you or someone else was seriously hurt or killed. If there are legal ramifications to your mistake, accept the consequences with grace, understanding that this is the way to stop the bleeding of a consistent hurtful behavior. And remember, however obscure the consequences may seem, this is the way you chose! There is no need to suffer, simply accept the consequence and the lesson behind it. It is, so now, next steps. If you can do this, you will emerge from this incident without the stain of guilt and shame however – you will emerge awake.
One of the most important aspects of forgiving oneself is picking out the gem from within the foundry of the incident. Every experience that we have, good and bad, has a hidden gem within it. When we are able to see the lesson learned, or appreciate that the behavior was exposed, or see the good the situation has given to us, then we can forgive. Sometimes forgiveness requires that we extend a sense of compassion to the person we “were” in that moment. For instance, women who are overly promiscuous sexually may look back over these painful experiences and feel a great deal of compassion for the women they “were” in those moments, when they felt the only way to get love, or to get someone to notice them was to “give” love away to near strangers.
In the instances where our forgiveness opens other assumed forgotten wounds, as painful as this is, we should celebrate the revealing of these festering injuries to allow us to create some new behaviors to honor and respect ourselves. Life will keep presenting us with the experiences we need in order to reveal the truths of a broken spirit. The trick is to allow the message in, see the light, so to speak, and then let it go. The lesson will stay with us – we don’t have to keep repeating it in our mind.
Give it wings and let it fly
Finally, you must let the experience go. If you have successfully forgiven yourself and treated both yourself and others involved with compassion, this is very easy to do. If you haven’t followed the prior steps and come to forgiveness, keep repeating these steps until you can forgive. Do not give any more of your life away to this so call “screw up” – do your work to forgive and let it go. Why would we ever want to hang on to this? It’s a lie about us – it’s not who we are – it’s who we were!
The way to tell if we have let things go is to assess our ability to think on the incident without emotion. If you still get emotional while you think back on the experience, you have not truly found peace in it, most likely because you have not forgiven yourself. It may be helpful to remember that concepts such as guilt and shame are constructs of the mind. They are not motivating or rehabilitating. They serve no purpose other than to chain us to our painful pasts. Free yourself with forgiveness. There may be other challenges that come up in your life, but if you have truly forgiven yourself with compassion for the person you “were”, then you will not repeat the offense. Forgiveness is an act of love. Going forward, the more love you extend to yourself and others – the more love you will experience in your life.
So, to summarize – How to Get Help When You Have Really Screwed Up:
- Don’t ruminate or rehearse the incident in your mind
- Accept that it happened and use this as your new beginning point
- Accept 100% responsibility for the screw up
- See the message or the lesson in the experience
- Forgive yourself – This must be done with total absolution before you can move on, with clarity
- Atone or Recompense – if apologies or actions are needed, take them. You may have to work through the steps of forgiveness and compassion to have the strength to clearly see how to go about this part of the process.
- Find deep compassion for the person you “were” in the experience, as well as compassion for others involved.
- Let go, let go, let go! Don’t just deny or ignore the incident – resolve internally, learn, forgive, make restitution, let go.
- Celebrate the gift
This last one seems a little off the wall after working through a painful issue, even if you do manage to see the lesson and the message the experience taught you. Eckhart Tolle wisely says, ““Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” When you begin to see the gift in every single moment in your life, then randomness evaporates, clarity reigns, and life will be full of new loving, amazing, and exciting experience. There is nothing – I repeat nothing – that cannot be repaired, when we act from love, forgiveness, and compassion.
Infinity is a hard concept to grasp when we live in a world that seems limited in so many ways. The messages we are accustomed to getting are all related to “not enough”. It seems that time, aging, resources, and energy are holding us down and binding us in so many ways. But these limiting concepts are just as intangible as other concepts we normally associate with pseudo-reality, like infinity, divineness, or abundance. There is simply no substance behind any of these concepts except for the substance that we assign to them. Time, infinity, energy, potential, limits, or abundance – these are all simply man-made concepts and all can either be proved or disproved by our own personal experiences.
We make concepts such as time, energy, and resources substantial with our beliefs and our adherence to our limited views of them. Unfortunately we do not afford the same kind of belief and care to the concepts of infinity, or unlimited abundance. Yet, the more we do include the believability of these latter concepts, the more substantial and tangible they become to us. It appears that the concepts we give the most attention to become the ones that give attention back to us. Most of us can demonstrate the reality of this reciprocal principle by deeply reviewing our thoughts and beliefs to what we experience in our lives most of the time.
The Obviousness of Infinity
There are a couple of pretty obvious things that demonstrate our capacity towards infinity every day, but we unconsciously chose to not recognize these aspects of ourselves. The first and most obvious one is the Universe and understanding that we are an extension of this Universe. To me, the Universe and everything it represents, is a metaphor for our infinity. The Universe just keeps replenishing, renewing, and reinventing itself, even though it is constantly challenged with concepts that it can’t. And, we are participatory in this Universal renewing – by our very breath, the Universe gives life to us and we give life to the Universe. Despite the advances we have made scientifically, there will never be a time when we can say we have discovered it all. There is simply no limit to the possibilities of what the Universe is, and what the Universe has in store for us. Look up at the sky at night and think bigger, much bigger. Imagine going on and on and on. Where does it stop? It doesn’t – there is no end.
The second, less obvious thing that demonstrates our capacity towards infinity is us! Our most astonishing infinite quality is the Mind (which includes both the thinking mind and the more mysterious and elusive Divine Mind within us). You may think your thoughts are limited, but they’re not. You may not want to take the time to do this, but if you did, you can do an exercise where you dedicate 10 minutes of time and see if you can run out of thoughts to think of in that amount of time. It can’t be done. No matter how much time you give yourself, you simply cannot run out of thoughts/ideas/imaginations/dreams. Just when you think you’re done, more pop into your head. You can try and force yourself not to think and thereby conclude you have run out of thoughts, but your will not win that battle for more than a few seconds at best. The mind, especially the mind that is consciously cooperating with a higher Mind within, can simply not run out of thoughts. Like the endless sky at night and the infinite stars in the sky, the mind has no limit to its capacity to think new thoughts.
To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.
Our thoughts are not limited to what we have learned. We know this because we get dreams, ideas, or epiphanies that are outside the bounds of what we have been taught or conditioned to in our lives. This is the way imagination works, by reaching deeper to a higher wisdom that comes from an Infinite Source we are tapped into. Nobody knows how this works.
These higher visions and ideals are still scientifically unexplained as to “where” they come from, although some scientists believe they understand how they are stored or manifest themselves through the thinking mind. How do you think Galileo came to his conclusions, or Einstein, or Steve Jobs? People every day, from all walks of life have unboundless ideas of potential. The reason they capitalize on them and others do not is because they are not hindered by the concept of limited thinking or a “fixed” Universe and Mind.
Can we know the limits of our powerful nature?
How could we ever consider ourselves limited when we have within our power this kind of infinite ability? The secret to you feeling more and more like an infinite being is realizing your infinite nature, and recognizing, celebrating this potential. Potential, which means “capable of being”, frees us to find countless opportunities to experience and live without limits in our lives. The more we respond to this infinite quality in us, the more we experience it.
When we begin to see the unlimited possibilities for solutions to every problem then we actually begin to experience that feeling of spaciousness that is infinity itself. Connect with the Universe and the Universal Principles of boundless energy, intuition, and thinking. Every day, allow yourself to “feel” the potential of what the day may hold for you. The reason our days begin to seem monotonous and routine is because we do not allow ourselves to explore this glorious boundlessness. Uncertainty can seem fearful and safer – but when you know that you are operating within a model of constant renewal and abundance, that fear can turn into wonder and excitement about what is next!
If you allow yourself to consider the Universe’s ever expanding potential, and your own individual potential in a completely new paradigm, which is that you are infinite, your thoughts are infinite, and your potential is infinite – your life begins to shift from limited and fairly predictable to new and freshly stimulating. This level of deep contemplation is best done by getting very still and embracing the enormity of spaciousness all around you, all the time. Go outside and do this work for an extra boost of inspiration. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see your infinite place in the Universe and the potential in your own life as growing, expanding, and always infinite. Just hang on to a star for awhile and enjoy the ride.
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This seems like an absurd question, but it is one of those questions that must be asked in order to break through the deeper, darker, and unconscious beliefs and thoughts that limit our lives. I’d bet that none of us can say that our lives are 100% conflict free? Of course, you might say, the only reason I have conflict in my life is because someone else keeps perpetuating it. But even if you don’t want to accept that you are the source of conflict, please don’t doubt that it is likely you are addicted to conflict, because any story you carry around with you where you are right and another is wrong is a story of conflict, starring you as a main character.
I’ve just uncovered the main defense of conflict in most peoples lives; they don’t pursue it, instigate, or like it, but nevertheless get caught up in it because of someone else’s actions. The heart of conflict is the idea that as separate beings, we must protect ourselves and preserve our identities (people, place, and things that belong to us). If someone questions your motives, actions, behaviors, choices – we feel like something is being taken away from us – so we feel compelled to defend ourselves. Allowing others to berate or disrespect us would be weakness after all, right? But, there is nothing weak about walking away from a conflict and leaving your “sting” of peace behind. As Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” Mountains in a storm are not weak.
Conflict appears to be all around us. It starts internally, where we fight against what we want to experience with what we are actually experiencing. I don’t WANT to see aging, procrastination, stress, endless amounts of work to do, kids misbehaving, dirty kitchens, and so on. When our expectations don’t meet our realities – we struggle and this causes not only conflict in our lives, but can also create many other serious problems (stress, anxiety, depression, fear, anger).
Internal conflict gets projected. What started with a minor conflict internally about our own self- discipline for example, begins to morph into blaming others for the condition we are now experiencing. Instead of looking for healthy and creative ways to solve our self-discipline problems, we begin to feel that our unease is caused because someone else is not doing their part towards us, like the spouse doesn’t pitch in enough, or the kids are messy and careless. Conflict continues to expand the more we give attention to it – it expands out to how we feel about our families, work, communities, and our world. We begin to develop an “us” versus “them” attitude and we project the conflict because want people to take our sides. The more conflicted we are in our lives, the more need we have to get people to listen to us.
Conflict can seem appealing because sometimes it helps us feel in control, like we are at the helm directing the ship during a storm of resistance, steering in the direction that best suits our needs. But this illusion of control in conflict can bring us down hard when we get dissenters in our ranks. This creates new conflicts and the madness goes on, with each party protecting their sides with anger, force, manipulation, or violence.
Many psychologists attribute the compulsion towards conflict as a leftover evolutionary fight-or-flight response based on the reptilian brain using conflict against the biological threat to survival. Even though we don’t get that many occasions these days to fight off saber toothed tigers, the impulse is still there. Whether you believe in this theory or not, it is easy to see that conflict is a tool of fear. When there is a fear that something is going to be lost or taken from us, whether it is our lunch from the company refrigerator, or freedom in our country – the only reason to act in a conflicting manner is the fear that if you don’t fight back you will lose something.
“Peace is not the absence of outer conflict – It is the absence of inner conflict”
There are a couple of higher perceptions that can immediately resolve conflicts. The first one is, from a spiritual and divine standpoint, there is no separation between me and you. We may be unique in our expression, but we cannot be but anything but the same in our divinity. The second higher perception that allows for a conflict-free life is the knowledge that you are whole now and there is really nothing that could ever be taken from you. When you have nothing to lose, you have nothing to fight for. YOU – are not your thoughts, possessions, or your relationships. I know these higher life perceptions are something to aspire to because we are so conditioned to define ourselves by the many thoughts and ideas that we have – but these important concepts are something to contemplate and meditate on every day.
And, the even better news if that we have many tools to help us manage and break the habit of conflict in our lives. Give yourself a powerful gift by learning to drop this power-sucking habit. There is nothing so freeing and powerful as walking away from a potential conflict and only seeing the gift of discovery/knowledge experience from it. Below are 6 actions you can take to reduce conflict in your life immediately.
Acceptance of what is. By this I do not mean that you must resign to a life that is unlikable or unbearable for you. But resisting the current situation by denying or blaming others will always make you vulnerable to conflict. Change and growth come from loving acceptance to the current situation, even if it is hideously scary or painful. Fighting “what is” is conflict, so allow the current experience, knowing that by accepting it, you are willing to now change it.
Take responsibility for your own actions/behaviors/words/beliefs. The moment you look outside yourself for any type of suffering or anxiety, you set yourself up for conflict. You may very well get “tons” of people to agree that you are right and others are wrong, but you will never get peace until you see the part you played in the conflict. Be compassionate to yourself and others but own your part of the conflict and use it as a tool for growth and change.
Understand that solutions and answers will never come from conflict. You may get to resolution through manipulation, force, coercion, or deceit in a conflict – but trust me, this conflict is far from over then. These issues have a way of re-surfacing in our lives over and over again until we find a way to solve the issue with love and compassion. You can stop the bleeding by being the victor in a conflict but you will not heal the wound.
Don’t pass on the story. It’s always tempting to run home to tell our loved ones or friends about our latest conflicts. As stated earlier, we have a strong tendency to gain approval or vindication for our participation in the conflict. We think we are strengthening our identity by getting confirmation that we are a victim, or that we did the right thing. This passing on of our story after the fact is like eating something that made us sick, then giving it to our family to eat anyway. Why would anyone want to pass on a negative, upsetting encounter? Is it not enough that one person was upset about it? Keep the conflict to yourself and let it go. The past is over, figure out a way to get past it by either totally forgiving all involved or doing your own work to resolve the issue.
Confirm your identity. Work every day on appreciating the wholeness and completeness of your life and your very being. Take moments to just bask in the completeness of the moment, realizing that at this moment, you are OK, safe, complete. Use any and all tools you can to banish the mindset that you are lacking or missing something. Spend time seeing others in this way too. Here is a hard truth. I can take away everything you own and every person in your life and you will still be whole – you will still be OK. If you’re alive, you’re good. If you’re not alive, you’re probably good too, and you sure won’t need to worry about missing out on something either.
Be an agent of love. There is a Sufi saying that says: Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, “Is it true?” At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?” At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?” These three questions will not guarantee that you will never get in a conflict, but they can guarantee that you have acted out of respect and love for those you communicate with. When your words and action come from love, you can rest easy that all outcomes are the best possible outcomes at that moment. You will never be at a loss for words or what to do next when you’re true intentions are loving. When you make a habit of being an agent of love, those around you ARE affected.
In an earlier blog post, Anatomy of a Thought – Part 1, I defined the 5 types of thoughts every person experiences. To recap, those 5 types are:
Daily Diatribe – The feedback loops that we allow to run on in our minds unchallenged. They may include many self-depreciating and defeatist intonations that become unconscious, but nevertheless causative in our actions/behaviors.
I have a life – Thoughts that we formulate to label, evaluate, and categorize our experiences. These are the thoughts that help to validate our sense of identity because they create a connection to the things we experience, based on our unique belief systems.
Head Thoughts – Thoughts that we formulate based on our experiences, beliefs, conditioning, etc. These are the thoughts that emerge based on analysis, conclusions, or judgments and so on. They are 100% made up in our head based on the information we think we have available to us.
Soulful Thoughts – These thoughts arise from a higher source of thinking, a largeness of consciousness. The may have seeds of relativity to your perceived identity but may also appear from unknown source. These thoughts usually happen when we are quiet, open-minded, unattached to any specific experience, or even when we are dreaming.
The reason we might want to think about our thoughts in an anatomical way, is by doing so, we de-mystify the thought process and begin to see how these structures can be changed and improved. Dissecting thought patterns gives us an opportunity to go to the deepest layer to facilitate changes. If you have ever tried to make major changes in your life in the past and have not understood why the changes have not been successful, it is likely because you were trying to change an outer behavior or belief, when in truth the thought behind it is still unconsciously persistent. You might equate this potential for change to the types of change we would need to make for any type of physical problem, like if you had a broken arm. Wrapping the arm up and taking some aspirin will not get the arm fixed in the long run, even though you may get some temporary relief. You must mend the bone by re-setting it or adjusting the alignment and THEN wrap the arm and take some aspirin. The surface issue is never usually the root cause of the issue.
Thought contemplation and awareness are a healing tonic for being stuck, repeated suffering, feeling lost, alone, diminished, or unworthy. When we take deeper looks at how pervasive our thought processes are, we learn that most of the thoughts that we think are not only made up in our own mind, but that many of them are not even originally ours. This realization opens up many opportunities for us to begin to eliminate or re-direct our thoughts to better serve us.
For example, many of the thoughts we think in the “I have a life” or “head thoughts” come from our life conditioning, like from our family, social memes, religious ideology, education and so on. We don’t question them because they started as small seedlings in a mind ripe for growth (primarily youth) and then grew as we chose to reinforce them to make them a part of our identity. Questioning our current beliefs to our deeper values may reveal that we thinking one thing but really feel another. You will find these types of internal conflicts in all areas of your life, but they are especially prevalent in our religious, political, and social views because we have a hard time shaking loose from our learned root systems.
You may have noticed after looking at these categories of thoughts that the thoughts that appear mostly unconscious can actually be the most destructive. Yes, those “daily diatribe” thoughts have created some deep groves in the neuro networks of our mind. While it’s true that many of these thoughts are benign and non-sensible, many of them are highly inflammatory, like a persistent muscle pull. These sneaky unconsciously driven thoughts can give birth to highly painful or destructive “I have a life” or “head thoughts”. And these thoughts are by far the most persistent because we have been thinking them for decades, or more. For instance, think about the way we view ourselves in the mirror in the morning. Most of us have these underlying subtle thoughts that persist every morning, like “Yep, still (fat/ugly/old)”, “Geez, I look bad/tired today”, “This is definitely going to be a bad hair day”. These criticisms go on and on, day after day, sometimes very quietly but still leaving us feeling defeated, unworthy, lacking. This pattern has been going on for a very long time, so be patient with yourself while you institute some new patterns to replace them. And replace them you must! Because they are not true! They are totally made up based on some standard you have also unconsciously made up on what makes you complete or lovable, and so on.
I think the most beneficial realization of breaking your thoughts down anatomically is the de-mystification it provides. Any problem broken down into the lowest common element appears much more manageable. When you see a thought is simply nothing more than a thought, not a metaphorical knife, or an earthquake, or a tragedy – then you see that your choice is what is causing the suffering. You may have a hard time letting go of that thought, but to see it clearly as just a thought begins to give us hope and clarity that changes are possible. So having said that, here is a mini 5 day plan to identify your own thought anatomy and then, if so desired, begin to implement some processes to make some life altering changes. Please keep in mind one important factor for change. You must have a strong intention for change or no process will ever be effective. The other thing is that your desired changes cannot ever be hurtful or diminishing to others, nor can they be purely for your own self-glorification (which usually equates in some subtle way to being diminishing to others). One final note on creating effective change with your thought processes – Behind/Within us all, there is a higher consciousness, a deep wisdom. For change to be effective and beneficial, we must include cultivating this part of ourselves to allow it come forward in almost everything we do and say. Connecting with this aspect of our being, the changes we implement in our lives not only touch our lives in magnificent ways, but they touch others in positive ways as well.
Mini 5 Day Plan for Thought Anatomization
- For 3 days, record every single thought you can in a written or digital journal. I KNOW this is hard, but do the very best that you can by recording your thoughts at the soonest possible time as you had them. Build mini-breaks into your routine through these days to go to the break room or your car to jot down as much as you can. If you see a lot of repetitive thoughts, you can refer to the prior thought by putting a label on it, like “A”. Look for ways to short hand words for your convenience. THIS IS A CRITICAL STEP IN THIS PLAN.
- After the 3 day period, take you journal and label your thoughts with one of the five types identified.
- Starting on Day 4, begin establishing new patterns of thought about your “daily diatribe” thoughts that are not serving you. If a thought is not loving, compassionate, invigorating, or nourishing – work on replacing right away. Break the physical pattern you perform when thinking these thoughts. For instance, going back to our look in the mirror every morning, a dramatic change would be to cover your mirrors, and a milder change might be to write in marker or use sticky notes to write a note to yourself like, “You are beautiful, inside and out”, or “You are Awesome!” Another common one in this daily diatribe area is road rage. Conquer this condition by adjusting your music, or being silent during your drive and try utilizing sticky notes or symbols hung on your rear view mirror that represent peace, lovingkindness to all, and serenity. The point is to break the pattern somehow – use your physical routines by changing them and the words you say while you go about them.
- Continue your journal with your ideas for change and your thoughts about how this change could benefit you.
- On Day 5 begin a new journey into more conscious thought (“I have a life” and “head thoughts”, by developing an acute sense of awareness to your thoughts. Use your feelings and emotions as your gauge to how your thoughts are making you feel. Non-serving thoughts make us feel bad, anxious, or uncertain. Label them when you notice them and implement plans to change them (affirmations, meditation, prayer, replacement). There are many methods, but by all means, do something.
- Finally, begin to cultivate your “soulful thoughts”. You can begin this on Day Again, there are many methods to do this, meditation is a fantastic tool for this, but exercise, developing awareness, nature, reading inspiring book/poems, and artistic expression are also great tools.
This is a mini plan, so expanding on this plan through your own research or by identifying things that are working in your journal is an excellent idea. Remember a couple of key points as you go through your plan and prepare for some amazing changes in your life:
It has taken you years to get your mind in this grooved up, almost brain-washed pattern of thinking, so please be patient, loving, and forgiving to yourself always. This is not to say that change cannot be immediate, but you should view any doubt and defeatist attitudes you may experience as a part of the “old” pattern of thought and march on. If a thought is not loving, compassionate, appreciative, expansive, unbiased and non-judgmental, accepting, joyful, and peaceful – it’s needs replacing. Negative or diminishing thoughts towards you or anyone will NEVER serve you, no matter how necessary or justified it may seem at the time.
Thoughts are just thoughts. They are not you or your loved ones, or your country, world, or your God. They can be tools or weapons, but they are not really much more than electrical impulses that if allowed, can control our life. Don’t give away any more of your power, divine or otherwise, to something you have total control over.
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When you are told something enough times, you start to believe it
“You were born a sinner”, “Life is about making something of yourself”, “Life’s a bitch, and then you die”, “Once a screw up always a screw up”. What hogwash! These diminishing life idioms made up by people that have lost their way in the maze of social, cultural, and religious conditioning are downright laughable to the immutable human spirit. But the damage has been done, in that by promoting self-defeating and belittling memes in society and culture, perceptions about life and our infinite being are questioned, creating fear and doubt.
“We know life is futile. A man who considers that his life is of very wonderful importance is awfully close to a padded cell.”
– Clarence Darrow
The notion that your life is not meaningful and that you are not important in the overall scheme of things is a throwback from the serfdom and slavery cultures that go back thousands of years. It is difficult to convince people to conform to a feudal, class, or hierarchical system without pointing out their unworthiness to others. Our entire history is mired in one civilization after another succeeding in cultivating an attitude of shame and unworthiness on the masses in order to control and persuade.
Even analysis of biblical events can show us the pattern of this cyclical conditioning unfolding. It begins with one group of people oppressing another and then someone or some group manages to break the cycle, only to have that same group end up being later the oppressors. Jesus’ popularity came during one of those times in history and because his teachings were taught to the common man, as opposed to the privileged hierarchy of the church, he was followed and adored by the masses. Jesus was offering a new perspective on man, and his views were promoting ideals of hope, strength, and power for all, which is not a mentality that serves an oppressed society.
Jesus died because he was a fearless spiritual rebel that threatened a meticulously created oppressed society with his message, not because he had someone else’s sins to pay for. That message, (that we are all sinners that Jesus needed to sacrifice himself for), is just another continuation of the oppression where the church takes one line from scriptures of hope and personal salvation to grossly misinterpret to lead the masses back to collective guilt and shame. Because if you don’t bow down to Jesus sacrifice (the church), there will be hell to pay. Literally. What a sad and “obvious” turn of events from the otherwise sacred offerings given by this divinely enlightened teacher.
What if you woke up one day, and maybe because you have amnesia or for some other reason (ummm, like awakening or enlightenment), and you just were. You had no pre-conceived notions of how you should be and no historical reference to your past or the past in general. You just woke up and looked around and said something to yourself like, “Wow! This all looks pretty interesting. I feel great! I wonder what is in store for me today!” What if you had no notion of how you are supposed to look, or act? When you went to look at yourself in the mirror, you would simply say “Well – Hello there”, instead of the scathing self-critique of how inadequate you are. What if you didn’t know things like fear, doubt, lack, neediness, and judgment? What if we simply appreciated everything that came to us?
Without our years of conditioned learning, who would we be? Us, of course! It is not what we learn or absorb or listen to that makes us who we are, it’s the fact that we ARE is what makes us who we are. We are all the same, and yet thank goodness, we are all uniquely special. NO ONE is better than another. The idea of better, smarter, cuter, holier, gifted, etc., etc., are all just subjective perspectives and they are ALL made up. We do not start out by being broken and then spend our lives looking for ways to fix ourselves. This only serves the social norms that insist that being broken is the fairest way to look at each other. We are all broken, so let’s all work on fixing each other with our ideals and ideologies that make us either feel better by pointing out the deficiencies in others, or maybe we could hope that someday, perhaps in an afterlife, we will finally be better. Again, hogwash.
Looking to level the playing field by taking something from another someone or some group will never level the playing field. There is simply one way to do this and that is through love. Love of self and subsequently unconditional love of others. Love is the only fair, unbiased, and unassuming quality. To get to love you may have to experience deep forgiveness, non-judgment, acceptance, and extreme appreciation/gratitude, but Love is simply the answer to every human problem that there is.
Look around. Experience the wonder and magnificence of what you are seeing right now! The mind, body & soul are to be marveled at! There is nothing we cannot do if we set our intentions towards it. What magic awaits in each moment that is cherished and in each moment that is viewed from a perspective of love, freedom, acceptance, and peace? Let the sheeple figure out their own way and send them blessings and Godspeed. Their path is not your concern, is it? Stop feeding the beast by buying in to the idea that you are broken. You are whole now, always have been and always will be. The only inadequacy you have, are those you impose on yourself.
Today, I am asking you to give yourself permission to NOT believe everything you have been taught or everything that has been driven into your mind through media, education, culture, society, religion and so on. Be that person that “woke up” and saw through the layers on droning propaganda that enforce the ideas of limitation, lack, inferiority, prejudice, and disparity. Today, I am encouraging you to consider everything you think you know and question the origin of that belief. Does it make you feel good? Does it put you above others? Does it feel right? Does it serve you or others?
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance — it is the illusion of knowledge. - Daniel Boorstin
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
- John F. Kennedy
Our life is comprised of the thoughts that we think. What we think is ultimately how we create action in our life, whether it is simply the action of brushing our teeth, or a more dramatic action of quitting our job. Without the thought behind them, all actions, beliefs, and behaviors that we call “ours”, could not occur.
It may surprise you to know that the average human being has between 60-70 thousand thoughts per day. Most of these thoughts are what I would call “automotron” thoughts because they are the many thoughts that propel us into the automatic functions of our day, like our morning routines, eating, bathroom, preparing for sleep. These thoughts are VERY ingrained in our brain and you will find that deviations from these thoughts, like when you are traveling or when you’re out of coffee in the morning can be quite disruptive.
It may also surprise you to learn that many of these 60-70 thoughts are extremely repetitive and 80% of them are negative. “I’m always running late”, “I can’t stand another meeting”, “I’d pay a million dollars to not have to make that drive to work again”, and so on. I call these thoughts our daily diatribe because they are almost as automated as automotron thoughts, but they have a much more significant impact on our beliefs and behaviors. The daily diatribe is mundane pre-recorded rehearsal of our day to day life. The effort to think these thoughts is minimal, but the effects of these thoughts can be extremely draining, diminishing, and often quite discouraging, especially over a long period of time.
Then we have the thoughts that arise from the experiences we are having. Besides the automotron thoughts that come from our experience, like thoughts about being cold, or uncomfortable, we also have thoughts that evaluate and analyze the current experience. These are the “I have a life” thoughts. For example, you are in a meeting or in line at the grocery store. While in the experience, you have probably judged and labeled the people around you, the environment itself, like the room or the physical items around you, and then you have related those judgments to how they affect you. You begin to label the experience as good or bad and then you begin to develop some type of reaction to the experience. You express your analysis with a behavior of some type, irritation, frustration, anger, or in the case of a positive experience, laughter, or physical contact, or smiling. Remarkably this all happens in less than a second, which is a testament to how amazing our brain works. While our automotron and daily diatribe thoughts are the most consistent in our day to day routines, they are also the least noticeable in our life because they are so automated into our brain. The “I have a life” thoughts are by far the more noticeable in our day because these are the thoughts that verify that we are living in the world by experiencing the world and participating in it. However, this process still goes on rather unconsciously.
The results of doing this analysis and labeling all our experiences then later results in the fourth type of thought that we experience and this is what I call “head thoughts.” These are the thoughts that come from our head BECAUSE of our past experiences. These thoughts might include our assessment of our identity or roles in life, our feelings about the world, our belief systems, our personality traits, and our reasons for why we do the things we do. These thoughts, although seeming to be based on fact, (because we have based them on our own personal experiences, conditioning, education, social memes), are the ones that are mostly pure fiction. And the reason they are fiction is because these thoughts are not based on true present moment experience but a derivative of experience, or in other words they are the thoughts we develop as a result of experience, and they are always based on the past or some unknown future. These are thoughts that create a paradigm or holographic image of who we are, who others are, and how we all play together in this big universe. These are generally the thoughts that we most dwell on and these are the thoughts that cause the greatest emotional responses from us.
Finally, there are thoughts that we know not where they came from. They have no relationship to any direct experience we may have had, and they can sometimes appear very randomly. Words to describe these types of thoughts are epiphany, revelation, vision, sign, manifestation, satori, awakening, enlightenment, discovery, or “ah-ha”. The reason these thoughts seem disassociated with the traditional brainiac thoughts we deal with on a day to day basis is because they are not of the brain but of the soul. We may use the brain to express and project the thought, but the origin of the thought comes from a much higher source.
So we have 5 basic types of thoughts that occur (there are many more at a much subtler or extreme levels too, but for the most part, these are the 5 most common). Automotron, daily diatribe, I have a life, head thoughts, and soulful thoughts.
“He who would be useful, strong, and happy must cease to be a passive receptacle for the negative, beggarly, and impure streams of thought; and as a wise householder commands his servants and invites his guests, so must he learn to command his desires and to say, with authority, what thoughts he shall admit into the mansion of his soul.”
- James Allen
Why is the anatomy of a thought important? Just like the study of the human anatomy helps us to see the inter-connectivity of the body to our movement, the anatomy of a thought gives us the understanding of thought so that we can see the inter-connectivity of thought and emotions/feelings and our behaviors/actions. And also like performing a deep study of the body, deep consideration of thought demystifies thought and allows us to open up new choices. Many think that the content of our mind is fixed and that we only have what is available to us to work with, but this is far from true. By using the process of dissecting the thought, we can study its origins and gain a higher sense of the self. Many new options become available to us on a thought that has been contemplated honestly. Frankly, if given a choice of what types of thoughts we would most like to be thinking, I think most of us would agree that the soulful thoughts are the ones that would provide us the fullest and most gratifying living experience.
In Part 2 of this article, let’s go deeper into the possibilities behind the anatomy of a thought. Can knowing the origin or category of our thoughts allow us to make significant changes in our lives? Can we put processes into place to help us eliminate thoughts that do not serve us? What sort of things can we expect to see as we go forward with our thought contemplation’s? If we want to focus more on the soulful thoughts, what can we do to do that? For now, take some time to consider the 5 main categories of thought and have some fun identifying some of your own thoughts in each of these categories.
- 2 comments • Finding Home • Metaphysical • Motivational • New Age • Personal Growth • Soulfully Inspiring • Spiritual • Tools for Limits
- Tagged as: belief • inspirational • negative thinking • Personal Empowerment • Personal transformation • philosophy • spiritually empowering • thought processes
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