HJ: Our beliefs are, in a sense, the final frontier that stands between where we are and where we want to be. Most people make the mistake of focusing on trying to control their thoughts, which, like a dog chasing its tail, is an endless charade that ultimately leaves one right where they started and furthermore exhausted and frustrated. The real work lies in removing and changing limiting beliefs into those that are supportive of greater happiness and fulfillment. In order to do this, one must first identify their limiting beliefs, which are typically operating just beyond the sphere of conscious awareness. This is where thoughts have their true power, as they are simply the natural expression of our belief systems. Therefore, they can be ‘traced back’ by the mindful person to reveal the underlying belief structure that gave rise to them. In this way, we can identify our beliefs and determine if they are keeping us from happiness and greater fulfillment and if so, work to change them into expansive, abundant, life affirming paradigms that allow us to experience our highest potential. This is the key to higher awareness and the point at which we begin to truly create our reality consciously — as within, so without.
The fact is, that just as one does a physical detox of the body every so often — a cleanse or a fast, if you will — so too should we be mentally reviewing what we believe in order to rid ourselves of beliefs that no longer serve our highest good. Often times we have been carrying limiting beliefs that cause us to act in dysfunctional and maladaptive ways since childhood! If you are reading this, then you are in luck, as the following article will help you to understand the framework of beliefs and how they relate to the mind and our ultimate happiness and fulfillment. If you are ready for change, then you have certainly found it…
Changing Belief Systems
By Walter Last | Health Science Spirit
This is part two in a series. Read Part 1 here.
We see and interpret the world through the colored glasses of our belief systems. We even create our personal world according to our beliefs. We project selected ideas, thoughts and emotions into our surroundings and with these attract or repel people and events. Most notably, we manifest what we fear. Negative thoughts harm no one more than us. When a negative thought comes into our mind, we can either accept it or immediately block it and replace it with a positive thought.
Therefore, it is advisable to begin our healing and growth venture by looking closely at our basic beliefs to see if we still want them. Do they present a positive outlook and are they in harmony with our goals and our new philosophy of life? One way of finding out is to write down your beliefs about the basic questions and problems of your life. What do you really believe about yourself, your friends, your work, your health problems, your body and your future, about death, afterlife, and so forth. Then cross out whatever does not meet your new standards and rewrite in a more positive form what you would prefer to believe.
As an example, you may believe that most people are selfish. As long as you believe this, you may indeed attract mostly selfish people or interpret their motives as being selfish – which may not always be true. Therefore, start reprogramming yourself by writing: ‘I attract more and more unselfish people into my life’.
Instead of believing: ‘I will become infirm with advancing age’ you may now write: ‘My health and wellbeing are improving with every day in every way ‘. Yet just writing all this down is not enough, because by now the lower self will share many of the beliefs of the middle self, and the lower self is very stubborn. Most effective for influencing the lower self are autosuggestion methods, such as affirmation, self-hypnosis and visualization as well as studying and gradually accepting a truly spiritual philosophy of life.
However, even if you are successful in changing your beliefs, that is not the end of the road. It is just a precondition to attract the necessary knowledge or conditions that will make an improvement possible. In addition you still have to do whatever is necessary on one of the other levels, be it a change in diet or asking for forgiveness and sending kind feelings to someone you have hurt.
Be careful with psychic predictions. Some are amazingly true in minute details, however they can also be wide off the mark. Therefore, believe only in those predictions that you would like to come true and ignore the rest. Choose your beliefs carefully because they determine what will happen to you.
WORRY, RESENTMENT, DESIRES
Three of the most common obstacles to good health, inner peace and happiness are worry, resentment and desires.
Worry is an outcrop of fear and is part of the price we pay for a lack of faith in our guidance. For someone who is in harmony, in tune with the higher self, there is nothing to worry about, neither from the past, nor in the present or about the future.
Resentment, on the other hand, is an expression of being ego-centered and results from a lack of self-responsibility. We blame others for what happens to us and we try to make them pay for it by withholding our love and affection from them. A change of attitude towards self-responsibility will free us from the self-destructive effects of resentment and enable us to become tolerant and understanding of our own shortcomings as well as those of others. If someone does something that we do not like, then we should either speak out or accept and forget it. Resentment is the worst of our choices.
Desires, too, tend to rob us of our peace of mind and destroy our inner harmony. We must, of course, tend to the needs of our body. A desire for food when we are hungry, for rest when we are tired, for sunshine, fresh air, and so forth, is natural. It is also good to desire being creative. However, in addition to these natural desires most of us have numerous desires related to pleasure seeking and social achievements.
Nevertheless, even such ‘materialistic’ desires are no problem, provided we are happy to pay the price for their fulfillment, and usually they help us to learn or grow. Still, the more we improve our belief systems, the more the need for desire fulfillment and achievements will simply disappear and the easier it will be to feel the inner peace and harmony. Actually, it is not so much the desire itself that causes us trouble but rather the attachment to the outcome of our actions. It is excellent to have the desire to be creative, but if instead we focus our desire in the form of expectations on the result of our creativity, then we are heading for disappointments.
Even our path towards better health, fulfillment and happiness may be more successful if we do not have too great a desire to achieve this goal quickly. Instead, we may walk this path for the sake of the pleasure and satisfaction provided by the path itself, by being creative, playful, having realizations and doing something meaningful. Generally, the fun is in doing, in action, rather than in the achieved result.
When, for some reason, we are confronted with a difficult task, we must channel all our energies into this purpose and have a ‘one-track mind’ in our desire to succeed. However, as long as we want something badly for mainly selfish reasons, we may not get it or if we do, the price may be too high and we may not appreciate it any more.
We can overcome this obstacle by doing what needs to be done or acting for the good of our family, community, nation or for mankind, without desiring the fruit of our action for ourselves. In this way, we can never be disappointed and always get our reward from the pleasure it gives to do well what needs to be done. Remain aware that we are just actors in a play with Divine guidance as the director, and whatever the outcome of the play, all is well.
Our world covers every view and every condition possible under the given circumstances. Due to our cultural, social and personal programming, we select a few views and conditions out of All That Is. We focus on these, identify with them and move towards manifesting and even becoming them ourselves.
What we call good and evil, happiness and suffering, love and hate, joy and despair, is all part of this world. From these we select, usually subconsciously, with what we resonate, attract it and manifest it in our lives. However, we can consciously influence this internal selection process and focus intentionally on what we want to manifest in our lives or how we want to become. We do this by maintaining a positive mental attitude or expectation.
Preferably develop an attitude that remains in all situations positive, playful, tolerant, kind and humorous, especially laughing more about you and less about others. In no way, however, should we just pretend these attitudes when we really feel different inside, always express or acknowledge in a suitable manner whatever you feel.
It is quite al-right to feel angry or upset or sad. Go into it. However, in the back of your mind remain aware that you can change the situation and laugh any time you want to. The more you learn to take yourself less seriously, the easier it will be to laugh about your own mistakes, until it simply becomes impossible to be angry or upset. Even annoyances created by others may eventually cause you amusement instead of ulcers. It is all just a question of attitude.
FEAR OF DEATH
The fear of death and dying is widespread in our society, due mainly to a materialistic belief system. Also an early childhood programming of eternal punishment in hell may still have an influence in some of us. Most of the time, this death fear is kept out of our conscious mind, unless the death of a close friend or relative brings it to the surface. At other times it may manifest itself as an inner insecurity, a fear of disease, a general anxiety or inner emptiness. Mourning, in this condition, is more or less an expression of self-pity, although very helpful and necessary with this belief system.
We can free our lives from all these negative influences by changing our belief about death and the afterlife. If you follow an established religion, you may actively program yourself to believe more strongly in the positive aspects of the afterlife as taught by your religion.
If you do not follow a specific religion, you may get acquainted with some books on near-death experiences or reincarnation, especially with studies using hypnotic regression. However, do not look for ‘proof’. There is no concrete proof available in spiritual matters that would convince everyone. For our normal consciousness the spiritual world is based on faith and belief. Of two people confronted with the same facts, one may believe in them and the other reject them. You can choose what you want to believe.
However, after starting to believe in a spiritual truth, be it reincarnation, karma, divine guidance or the afterlife, you may gradually find more and more evidence to reinforce your belief. With this, an inner knowledge will grow which is the only true form of knowledge. Eventually you will know from the experience of your own life and will not be interested any more in the ‘proof’ someone else may be able to offer.
Nevertheless, it may help you to download the book ‘A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife’ from www.victorzammit.com. In it Victor Zammit, a retired attorney of the High Court of Australia, has assembled all the known evidence of survival after death. He came to the conclusion that before a court of law, the evidence taken as a whole would constitute overwhelming evidence and irrefutable proof for the existence of the afterlife.
The acceptance of the afterlife as a reality will not only remove the fear of death in our society, but also the mourning, extreme sadness and the loss that we feel at the passing of a loved one. Instead, it may become a celebration, congratulating the departing one on a job well done and be happy that he or she can now receive their well-earned rest and reward and go on to greater things. We know that we will catch up with them sooner or later and that it will be a great reunion.
I have in my mind the picture of a large group of deep-sea divers working under difficult conditions in heavy steel suits at the bottom of the ocean. Their technology is such that they can stay below for years. From time to time one of the divers has finished his assignment and can come back to the surface. The other divers are a little envious and would like to accompany their college. However, it is also important to them that they finish their own assignments first. So they just give a little party for their lucky college, congratulate him and wish him well and arrange for another bigger party when they are all back together at the surface. When the successful diver finally reaches the surface, there is another big celebration with all his friends who had remained at the surface or had returned before him. What a relief getting out of that heavy diving gear after all these difficult years and seeing the sun again!
Furthermore, as we spiritually mature, we will come to know our time of departure in advance. Also, we will be able to depart without requiring a disease to free our soul; it will be just like going on a one-way astral journey. With this, we will also stop our efforts to prolong our biological life, to live as long as possible on this planet. We will be happy to leave when we have finished the job that we came to do or had the experiences that we wanted to have.
Try to reprogram yourself into believing that you are only an actor in a temporary role in your present life and that other roles in different lives and perhaps different worlds are part of your greater existence. Then it may be much easier to ‘ take it easy’, be playful about ‘serious’ matters, enjoy your role in this life and look at your problems as opportunities to experiment and see what comes out of it.
However, a belief in reincarnation is not necessarily the ‘ultimate’ in spiritual beliefs. The spiritual ideal of Buddhism or of yoga, for instance, is to break the chain of reincarnations and lose our individual identity by uniting with the divine or cosmic consciousness.
In addition to these various afterlife possibilities, we may just believe that our consciousness is eternal, be it individualized or as part of a greater consciousness, and that life is enjoyable and worth living, be it here on earth or in another form somewhere else. What does it matter?
Living healthily on all levels of our existence, as a conscious expression of our attitudes and beliefs, shows that we are prepared to take full responsibility for our lives. It is common to blame someone or something else for our problems, yet rarely occurs it to us to us to look at ourselves for the source of our difficulties. We eat unhealthy food, create harmful emotions, adopt negative attitudes, and when this makes us sick, we want someone else to remedy it.
However, by accepting the principle of self-responsibility, we realize that there is never anyone or anything else responsible for our problems but we ourselves. When we become sick or have an accident, we do not blame fate or some germs for it, but understand that we have transgressed a law of nature or moved against our blueprint. We try to discover what we did wrong and correct the situation. We then guard against making this mistake again. If our disability is of a nature that it cannot be healed, then we accept it cheerfully as a test given to us for the good of our soul and make the best with what we have.
It is similar with social, marital or financial problems. We assume that it is the essential purpose of our existence to learn the spiritual and biological laws, to direct our feelings and emotions into beneficial patterns and make the right decision at the right time in the right place. Every problem we encounter offers us the opportunity to learn. The way we learn most is by making mistakes and then becoming aware of them. This is how we explore our limits. When we have learned our lessons, we will be able to handle life’s problems without difficulty.
By adopting this principle of self-responsibility, we also adopt a position of power. We are no longer victims of anyone or anything, but rather the masters of our destiny.
We realize that we have to learn anyway, either by the long, hard road of suffering caused by our ignorance or we can learn with an attitude of willing cooperation in our scheme of existence. The road of self-responsibility is so much more pleasant than the road of suffering. It is an exciting venture in self-realization. Every unpleasant happening or health problem not only mirrors what we have to learn but also shows us the solution – if and when we are able to see.
Self-responsibility in regard to health care does not mean that we should rely entirely on ourselves without outside help. Helping each other and learning to cooperate are important parts of self-responsibility as well. In addition to our own self-help efforts, seek the services of a competent healer whenever that feels right. Our attitude towards a health professional does not need be one of passive submission to authority, yet one of helpful and optimistic cooperation, a joint venture in healing in which we retain the overall responsibility. Expect your healer to help you, but not to do your own share of the work, you still need to bring about the necessary inner and outer changes.
While the ultimate decision on our healing is made at or above our soul level, we have to accept self-responsibility to prepare the way and remove any obstacles for healing to become possible. I see the relationship between our higher self and our middle self as that between parent and child. While the child cannot make the decision where to go on holiday, the parents will take the wishes of the child into consideration. If the parents are generally pleased with the child and there are no important obstacles, then the parents are likely to agree with the wishes of the child. Likewise, in the case of a so-called terminal disease, the higher self may grant the wish of the middle self to be healed and retain the present body, especially if that may lead to further spiritual growth.
BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG
Every truth has two or more sides, depending on the angle from which we look at it. This is reflected in our present information flood. On each problem be it spiritual, political or health-wise, we find a variety of contradicting views. Each view represents a different facet of the truth. The more specific we become in our investigation of a problem, the more we can narrow down the answer to an approximation of the truth.
In nutrition, for instance, we have the opposing views of vegetarianism and meat eating, drinking hard water or distilled water, using supplements or not, and so forth. Each point of view is valid under certain conditions, but if it is generalized and regarded as the whole truth, then it tends to become wrong.
This means, from the multitude of contradictory claims in regard to health or spiritual matters, we need to discern and adopt those that are most suitable for our present condition. From these, we structure our belief systems. As our conditions change, other facets of the truth may apply to us and we need to restructure our belief systems accordingly.
Discernment helps us to select the most suitable beliefs for our individual needs, beliefs that can guide us on our path towards health, happiness and fulfillment. When confronted with a controversial subject, try to see and evaluate the arguments in favor of each of the opposing views before making up your mind. Usually the truth lies somewhere between strongly opposing views, uniting and incorporating these views in a higher form of understanding.
RIGHT OR WRONG
At the mental level, our consciousness evolves between the poles of right and wrong. Everyone tries to do what one thinks is right and avoids what is perceived to be wrong. However, the crucial question is: ‘Right or wrong according to which standard?’ Even a murderer or thief will usually justify his actions and assume to be right according to his beliefs and goals. Therefore, a judgment about right and wrong is clearly relative to our individual goals and standards.
Therefore, the quality of our beliefs and goals is all-important in deciding what is right or wrong as judged from a spiritual point of view. As a general rule, we may say the more self-centered our beliefs and goals, the more we are in danger of being wrong if judged from a higher and broader point of view.
What seems to be good and right for an individual is often wrong as perceived by a community. A community, on the other hand, such as a group, a gang, a sect, a village, may be at odds with the beliefs and goals of the nation. Two nations may be at war with each other. Both nations maintain to be right. An individual in a nation at war may kill or even commit mass murder for completely unselfish reasons and believe to do the right thing.
Even someone who believes to be working for the good of mankind may greatly harm the animal and plant world. Therefore, unselfishness is not a sufficiently valid criterion in itself for judging from a spiritual level what is right and wrong. We may help or heal someone for the selfish reason that it makes us feel good. Would that be wrong?
There is also an entirely different yardstick. Our main tool on the road to spiritual mastership is our ability to learn from our mistakes. We experiment on the material plane to see what works and what can help us along the road. We also discover from the results of our actions where there are still areas in our personality that are in need of upgrading or purification. Therefore, doing something wrong helps us to recognize what would have been right and improve ourselves by trying to do it better the next time. With this, doing wrong can be right from a spiritual point of view – provided that we are willing to learn from our experience.
Nevertheless, there is also a way to find the right or best course of action without the need to learn from mistakes. From a spiritual point of view the answer is:
Right is what is in the best interest or for the highest good of all concerned.
As long as we operate predominantly at the mental level, we will make many errors in our assessment of what is for the highest good of all concerned. However, this should not deter us from using this yardstick. Another way of saying this is:
Right for us is what is in harmony with our highest ideals.
By continuing to follow our highest ideals, we will become more and more a manifestation of our true Self at all levels. Then we will be able to follow the guidance of our highest self and just act according to our feelings, intuitions and inspirations without having to make a judgment whether it is right or wrong. When we have the right attitude, everything we do is spiritually right.
Pure motive is the key to spiritually right action.
PROBLEMS WITH IDEALS
I have written about the importance of having high ideals. However, there is also danger in the way ideals are commonly used. Often, this is associated with religious or humanistic dogmas, as for instance with the Ten Commandments of the Christian religion. Frequently, we are too weak to fulfill the expectations generated by these ideals and this creates inner conflict and feelings of guilt. This can be quite devastating to the life of some individuals.
This shows that ideals, as everything else in this world, can be used rightly or wrongly. It does not mean, because they can be used wrongly, that we should have no ideals. The way ideals should be used is as lighthouses that help us to follow a spiritual path through the conflicting seas of our everyday life. A spiritual path is not confined to those who declare that they believe in a God. Buddha supposedly never made such a declaration. A humanist can be spiritual, it depends on his or her ideals.
Suppose we have the ideal to act for the highest good of all concerned and we realize that we have been selfish or unkind on a specific occasion, what then? For one thing, there is nothing wrong with plain, old-fashioned guilt if that is appropriate. Guilt may be the signal that we have hurt someone unnecessarily and it induces us to make restitution. Then we apologize, possibly go out of our way to compensate for the harm we have done, and the afflicted party will no longer feel resentment against us. Now we no longer feel guilty. This is the proper function of guilt.
Feeling guilty is inappropriate, however, if there is no way to redeem the situation, if the harm was unintentional or an accident, if we only harmed us or believe we failed our ideals. In these instances we just realize that all this is part of our learning process and the karma of those involved. It is necessary to make mistakes. When we do wrong without being able to make immediate restitution, we can be assured that we will pay for it at some other time, intentionally or unintentionally. That is all. If we do not want to wait to pay at some unknown future time, we are free to make an appropriate sacrifice to satisfy our inner misgivings. This will usually erase our debt, even if an afflicted third party apparently did not benefit from our sacrifice.
Even those who say that they do not have any ideals but happily accept everything that happens, follow the ideal of doing what they are doing. Even with this ideal a conflict may arise in that a situation becomes unacceptable and one would prefer to change it. Having a high ideal does not mean that we are supposed to be near perfect or saintly. We may be following a high ideal for the purely selfish reason that it helps us to stay out of trouble and guides us towards a more healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
THE POLE OF SUFFERING
We may compare the human consciousness with the electrically negative ions in a car battery. Repelled by the negative electric pole, these ions are drawn to the pole with the positive charge. In a similar way, the human consciousness tries to flee the pole of suffering and is in search of the positive pole of happiness.
Suffering is with us since our earliest existence. It finds an obvious expression in the birth process and any subsequent separation of the baby from the mother. The chain of suffering continues in our childhood with many negative experiences, most of these are designed to streamline us to the requirements of the particular society in which we happen to live.
Our system of school and university examinations causes untold suffering, as do sexual problems, starting already in childhood and often continuing through adulthood. Loneliness, discontent, depression, disappointment, resentment, fear of lack, of disease or death and similar feelings are all instances of suffering. Another widespread form of suffering is caused by stress, be it the social stress of modern living, environmental stress or nutritional stress caused by poor food selection and eating habits.
However, we do not like to suffer and try to suppress any memory of suffering and its associated anxieties. This is done partly by hiding such unpleasant memories deep in our subconscious mind, and partly by immersing ourselves in enjoyable activities. We try to keep ourselves always busy in order to have no ’empty’ time when suppressed anxieties could rise into the conscious mind. Such buried or latent anxieties are responsible for much of the irritable, over-emotional behavior in modern society. In order not to feel them inwardly, we project them to the outside.
Basically, suffering exists mainly at the emotional level and is caused by unfulfilled desires and expectations. For the normal pleasure-seeker suffering not only is inevitable. Looked at from a spiritual point of view, it is even most desirable. Without suffering, we would just go on and on with our shallow way of living and would have little chance to take part in the necessary evolution of consciousness. Suffering, more than anything else forces us out of our complacency. Much of our conscious mind activity is used to avoid or minimize suffering and find or increase pleasure instead.
The way that our consciousness evolves is basically the same for an individual as for the whole of society or humanity. A problem, dilemma or controversy opens up and causes more and more suffering until appropriate action is taken to solve the problem, which then allows another controversy at a slightly higher level of consciousness to open up. In this way humanity collectively overcame slavery and feudalism and now grapples with the problem of the many working for the benefit of the few who have amassed material riches. The inequities of a social system based on greed are bound to become ever more obvious and outrageous until the mass consciousness of humanity starts searching for a better way. The same applies to the fighting of wars. Sooner or later the mass consciousness of our awakening humanity will cry out “enough!”
There is also a subtle kind of suffering which is caused as a direct result of our individuality as human beings. On the emotional level we may feel it as loneliness, while to the spiritual seeker it reveals itself as a strange longing to become united with some ‘higher’ force, as with a missing part of oneself. More and more we may become aware of this separation from the primary source of our being, a separation that is an inevitable condition of human existence and the price we pay for being individualized.
Once we become fully aware of this feeling of separation from our source, we are no longer content to continue suppressing our latent anxiety by chasing short-lived pleasures. Instead we are drawn to embark on the Spiritual Path, we begin to transform ourselves in order to become whole again: one with nature, one with the universe, one with our Self and our Source. This decision to start following the spiritual path is our most important mental decision not only of the present lifetime but most likely of all our lifetimes combined. The main reason for making this decision is to escape from the pole of suffering and move permanently closer to the pole of happiness.
THE POLE OF HAPPINESS
Happiness, like suffering, has different meanings at different levels of existence. The most common form of happiness is as short-lived bursts at the moment of the fulfillment of a desire. Because it is so pleasant, we try to produce this feeling again and again by attempting to fulfill more and more desires. However, each fulfilled desire leaves in the end some emptiness, while often the struggle for desire fulfillment causes much suffering.
After a long time of simple pleasure seeking we may begin to search for a more satisfying alternative. Now we may become interested in nutrition, physical exercise and other forms of health improvement as a more permanently enjoyable way of life.
However, the more earnest seeker will eventually go beyond this stage and become interested in such questions as: ‘Who am I, where do I come from, where do I go? With this, we become a spiritual seeker and enter ‘The Path’. Now, happiness is found in discovering personal answers to these questions and in exploring various levels of our consciousness.
The basic condition of the advanced seeker is one of quiet contentment with oneself and the world at large. There is an inward, lingering happiness, increasingly interspersed with periods of outright happiness. In contrast to the short-lived bouts of happiness from desire-fulfillment, the happiness of the spiritual seeker originates from a self-induced change of consciousness. With this, the seeker has the means to be happy at anytime and for as long as the elevated consciousness can be maintained.
At this stage there is no more need for suffering. The reasons for arising difficulties will be understood and we can choose an appropriate mental and emotional attitude rather than being victims of outside events. However, some form of apparent suffering may be deliberately chosen for a specific reason, for instance as a sacrifice.
Finally, as the crowning of the spiritual path, the ultimate experience of sustained happiness is waiting to be achieved by raising our consciousness more and more towards the Divine level, being at one with or guiding consciousness. This is an outline of the evolution of human consciousness from its basic condition of suffering to its trans-human glory of lasting happiness.
Our attitude is the key for traveling the long road from the pole of suffering to the pole of happiness. Our attitude is our mental disposition towards persons and events as well as towards ourselves. It is greatly influenced by our belief system and our subconscious programming. Being close to the surface of our consciousness, we can easily observe our attitude and work on our shortcomings. This provides an excellent opportunity for inner change. Monitor your attitude and correct it instantly whenever it does not meet your new standards.
For example we may have the habit of evaluating passing strangers in a negative way. Looking at someone we may think: ‘Her legs are much too fat’ or ‘he has mean eyes’. Whenever you notice yourself doing this, think of something positive about this person or just send an inner greeting of love and peace.
You see you do not deny that there are negative factors in others – as seen from your point of view – but you just ignore them. Everything has two sides, which we may call positive and negative. The positive side is in agreement with our own values and the negative side is in disagreement. We tend to manifest what we concentrate on. Therefore, it is best for us to concentrate on the positive factors whenever possible and take the negative aspects into account only when we are required to do so for specific reasons.
The same applies to negative attitudes in an intimate relationship. You may think on occasions that your partner is unreasonable. Whenever this happens, try to understand his or her position and, like a good defense lawyer, consider all the factors in your partner’s favor. He or she may not have received much love and security during childhood or had to fight hard for his or her rights, and so forth. Do this as a conscious mental exercise whenever you have negative thoughts about people or events. We may call this step:
‘Learning to see the good in everyone and everything’.
In our relationships, be it in the business world or with friends and relatives, the correct attitude for us is one that aims for a fair deal for all concerned. We may be elated about an agreement that appears rather advantageous for ourselves, but what good will it do us if the other party is not happy with it? We will have created a source of resentment and trouble. Sensitive individuals will be aware of this resentment against them and cannot be happy about a deal that the other party regards as unfair.
When you have a mishap, breaking some crockery, dropping an open tin of paint or hurting yourself, pretend that you are an observer and try to see the funny side of it. When it is too serious to be funny, ask yourself why it happened, what it wants to teach you. Perhaps you simply need to be more attentive, perhaps it has deeper reasons; try to find out.
By training your sense of humor in this way or by looking immediately for the reason of the accident, you may not even remember to feel upset about it; though if you do, do not suppress it. Afterwards realize that it happened to teach you a lesson.
In order to change undesirable habits and improve various activities, it is necessary to become conscious of these habits and activities. A good starting point is just to observe our mind, our thoughts and feelings as they arise, without any value judgment in regard to right or wrong, good or bad. Have a part of your consciousness sitting in the back of your mind as an impartial observer, registering everything without a comment. If done consistently, this in itself may induce all the necessary changes to lead us towards a happy and fulfilled existence and draw us closer towards full self-realization.
For those who prefer a more active way of changing their mind, various additional possibilities exist. As an example, you may discover that your favorite food causes allergy or mucus congestion and you decide to avoid it. You may either be unhappy about giving up your favorite food or you may be happy about coming closer to good health. It is similar with accidents or any other problem. It could always be better or worse. Your attitude decides whether you look at the positive or the negative side of the happening, whether you make yourself happy or unhappy. You have the choice.
Furthermore, we can program ourselves in such a way that something in us will call: “stop!” whenever we start performing in the old ways, and then consciously do it in the improved fashion. Another important aspect of mind improvement is to slow down or stop the constant silent chatter in our mind and replace it with an awareness of feelings arising in various body centers, especially in the heart center. Aim to use the brain only when you want to think and switch off any idle and repetitive chatter at other times.
Two bodily activities usually in need of improvement are our posture and our breathing. These may be monitored until we perform them automatically in the correct way. Something we should always do consciously is eating, keeping our attention on the food flavors that develop while placidly chewing.
We cannot become aware of all of these activities at the same time. Therefore, we start with only one, for instance monitoring our attitude for several weeks until we are reasonably successful with it. Then we may concentrate on the posture changes and later on the breathing. It is different with the awareness of chewing and food flavors. As this is for a limited time span only, we may start it immediately and continue indefinitely. Concentrating on body sensations and feelings may be our final challenge.
Initially, when we become aware of a new activity, we may remember it only for a few minutes at a time and then quickly forget it again. However, when we give ourselves the autosuggestion to remember watching a habit, we will again and again be reminded of it. A hundred times a day we may slump and then instantly remember to assume the correct posture again. Do not give up. It will soon become a new habit; then you can relax your attention on it. Gradually, become more and more aware of your whole body and everything you do.
This is part two in a series. Read Part 1 here.