Just wanted to say great article. I would love to purchase your book and utilize the course to the fullest, as I feel much change is needed in my outlook. For the time being, however, I am a full time student struggling to graduate.
Your ideas on sorting out memories and thoughts is very interesting to me, because I constantly feel plagued with negativity. It takes real effort to think positively, and I feel like I constantly need to pass judgement on myself and others.
Am I stuck in this train of thought, and if not, how can I change this?
You are never stuck anywhere. At any moment you can change anything you want in your life.
At the moment though, it is a struggle for you to think positively. Here’s why.
Each of us is able to make sense and so operate in the world through the use of what I call a ‘Human Operating System’. Through this Operating System we perceive and evaluate life.
Our perceptions and judgements determine how we feel.
Now if you feel negative it is because your Operating System is perceiving and judging the negative side of life.
Every event is fundamentally neutral. And so you can make it mean anything you want it to.
Your Operating System therefore interprets each situation in whichever way causes you the least effort and most validates your current beliefs.
I sometimes think emotions are very like water. The earth’s landscape has dug out and created ruts, craters and slopes. After rain, the water slides down into ruts and creates streams that flow into rivers, lakes and ultimately oceans.
It isn’t that the water particularly had anywhere in mind it wanted to be. It just followed the path of least resistance, which was the path already set out. Either by nature or by design.
Once the water has flowed along the path it is possible to move it to another place. You can scoop out water and move it to where you want it. But that’s a whole heap more ongoing effort than setting out the pathways for it to flow in the first place.
In the same way. The beliefs that make up your Operating System, build neural pathways, that flow a path for your thoughts to follow.
These thoughts are what create the emotions you feel. Once you’ve followed a chain of thoughts about something they’ll find a resting place.
An emotion that you feel about this thing. You can with effort (like scooping water from one place to another) change this emotion, or if something new happens to set off a new chain of thoughts. But in many cases you’ll just feel the same way.
So often people get stuck feeling the same way. And so they’ll look for new techniques. They’ll try affirmations, subliminal tapes, hypnosis and go on the hunt for the tool more powerful than them, that can fix them.
But there is nothing more powerful than you. Some say, I want to change my beliefs, but I need help, it’s so hard.
It’s hard because what you are doing is the equivalent of standing in a lake digging away at the banks… to dig yourself out of a rut.
To change your beliefs is no harder than changing your clothes. It just seems harder because you are focusing in the wrong place.
When you’re sat in a lake at the bottom of a hill looking up, it seems such an uphill struggle because it is. But from the top of the hill, if you look ahead, you can see where each path leads.
It is when you feel happy, strong and powerful that you have the best opportunity to steer yourself where you want to go. This is why happiness is so important.
When you feel bad it’s because you are stuck. It’s a hundred times harder to get unstuck, than it is to prevent getting stuck in the first place.
We get stuck when we follow the beliefs and customs of others. This is like sliding down a well-worn path. It’s fun while it lasts. It’s easy and everyone does it. But you don’t know and aren’t in control of where you are going. And so you land somewhere you don’t want to be. Because you don’t know where you are or how you got there you feel stuck and out of control.
You can get in control by starting to consciously think for yourself. Is what I’m thinking really true? Does it make sense?
Often people will say, but this is so hard. It is no more than shopping.
There are millions of beliefs, opinions and perspectives on every topic. You only have to be open and choose which suits you best.
Stereotypically women love shopping and men hate it. I know it’s a broad generalisation and not really true, but it works as an example.
What’s the difference?
Women are interested and curious about what’s out there to buy. Men are closed. Perhaps scared of looking stupid. In the same way you shop for clothes, shop for beliefs.
Look around at people who think differently, be curious and ask them why they think that.
Do this over and over and you’ll have more than enough choices to never feel trapped again.
Then you can lay out neural pathways to your own design. This way your emotions come to rest more and more where you want them to. Changing your beliefs… changes your interpretation of events… which changes the way that you feel.