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Happiness Is All Made Up

Someone kicking the tires on my Self Mastery program asked, “Is being really happy possible?  I think this talk about living with love is a bunch of Pollyanna Woo Woo.  It might just all be made up.”

My answer is, Yes. IT is all made up!!!!  That is kind of the point. We are all creators of our own emotions. From nothing we created thoughts and emotions and stories. We create behaviors and actions in how we treat people and how we treat ourselves.  Self-criticism, fear of what others think, feelings from failure, success, or rejection are all created by us from nothing but our beliefs.  If we have free will, and all the great traditions point to us as having free will, then we have autonomy in what we create.

All happiness and love is made up. We create it from nothing. Each day we wake up and we have not created anything yet.  Each day we live can have a different experience outcome.  We may not control the events or circumstances outside of us, but we can choose a better story than what we tell our selves or what we believe about it. This better story, or our interpretation about what is going on will change how we feel.

What often interferes with us choosing how we want to live is that we have created a number of pre-programmed responses. Our mind is set up to do some Pavlov dog type automated interpretations.  I call these programs our belief system. Some of these programmed beliefs system we may be aware of, and others are unconscious to us. We may see and experience the emotions we create from them, but the beliefs themselves are so automated we don’t notice. Much like many of our automated actions while driving a car go unnoticed so do our thoughts and interpretations. So we do those automated responses instead of create something enjoyable.

Here is a simple example.

Let’s say our partner has a glass of water and then leaves the glass on the counter. They could have put it in the dishwasher, or cleaned it and put it away but they didn’t. Maybe the programmed response we have is something of a big reaction:

What is this doing here?  I’ve told him dozens of times to put his dishes away after he is done. He just doesn’t listen to me. He doesn’t care about what I say. He doesn’t listen to me and he doesn’t respect me. He treats me like a free maid service. I can’t stand this relationship anymore.”  You end up feeling hurt, frustrated, and maybe even worthless and angry.  The emotions will vary depending on the beliefs.

What are these beliefs and why do different people react differently to the same thing. Or, more interestedly, why do we possibly react completely differently to the same thing at different times or different days?  What is it in us that causes no reaction on some days, and then to seemingly over react on others?  The answer lies in how our beliefs and emotions operate. Not all moments generate the exact same response. A belief system response doesn’t always behave the same way and that makes it more difficult to identify. Some days we are in a better mood because of other circumstances. Some days we are tired and have less resistance to the unconscious patterns.  Some days we have had a buildup of triggers and so are primed for certain responses.

The event of someone leaving the glass of water on the counter, by itself, doesn’t have any emotions to it. If we walk into the kitchen and see it there, it is like the ringing of the bell in the Pavlov’s dog experiment.  It triggers in us a response we have conditioned our self to have. We don’t salivate, but we do follow a programmed response of emotions, and thoughts. It follows some order of interpretations we have believed in the past. In that moment 10,000 different people will have 10,000 different responses. All will justify theirs as appropriate.  But we hardly ever consider a different one, a more pleasant one, or a happy one.  We are conditioned to accept the first one that our mind projects and go along with it. We do that until we become more aware that there must be a better way to live.

The thoughts we have are only part of the story. There is a lot of meaning, assumptions, expectations and unspoken beliefs that are woven between the lines of thoughts.

“What is this doing here?” Isn’t really a question.  Behind it is all the history of how many times we have told our partner we want the dishes put away after use. There is the expectation that since we told him that he should do it and he should do what he said he would do. We might have strong emotions of frustration.  If we did it shows we had programmed beliefs in our subconscious. He didn’t do it therefore he doesn’t listen to me and doesn’t respect me. This can produce frustration and feeling hurt.  He thinks of me as a maid so he finds me unworthy and not his equal. He takes advantage of me. In this moment “he” is not thinking of us that way, but our belief system is telling us the story of what he is thinking and we believe it.  In that moment it might help to ask. The emotional hurts from this belief can add up over time and produce anger. If he did love me he would have done what I asked, but since he didn’t, he must not love me. With this belief we are now in a story about our whole relationship and perhaps feeling worthless or despair.  We made this all up, but the emotions make the story feel like it is real.

Then our mind might add in some associated beliefs that it relates to the above. Since he doesn’t love me or respect me it doesn’t make sense to continue the relationship.  So now, based on the meaning within the thoughts to finding a water glass we are ready to end the relationship. These emotions didn’t come from the glass on the counter, we created them with our Pavlov dog type responses.

This story is an example of a big emotional reaction to a little thing, but it helps us question what the mind is doing.  In our smaller reactions it is more difficult to see.

Could we just consciously choose another made up story such as, “I’m sure he will use this glass later and didn’t want to be wasteful.”  Both are made up in our mind, but both create vastly different emotional experiences. Assuming you have free will, which would you choose to experience? In one version you are miserable and in the other you can be happy.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t facts and truths we have to face. Not turning in your homework will result in a bad grade. Not paying rent will eventually get you evicted. Not showing up for work and delivering good service to your boss or customers will result in a loss of your job or business.  In the external world, there are real consequences.  But for now, I’m only talking about the emotions we create from our beliefs, and that is most of them.

In our mind it is a world of make believe. It is in our mind that we generate most of our emotions. If we are stuck in traffic what story do we tell ourselves? We can get angry or frustrated with other drivers in our world of make believe.  Or, we make up a different story, and see that we are all in this together. Even have a chuckle that, according to the other drivers on the road, we are partly responsible for their traffic jam.  Nobody there is intentionally causing one, and we are all in this self-created mess.  In those moments what do you make yourself think, believe, and therefore feel?

When I am behind a slow driver, I like to imagine that the delay he is causing is preventing me from getting in an accident at upcoming intersections.  I practice being grateful for him driving slowly.  It’s a made-up story, and I generate emotions of gratitude from it, and so I feel good and have a nice time behind the slow driver. What do you make up, tell yourself, believe, and generate emotions about? I’ve had to learn to consciously learn to make up good stuff, and not believe the bad stuff.  It’s been worth it.  It’s all made up, why not make up something nice.

Don’t confuse the reality of the real world consequences with the world of make believe, but be aware there is a difference. It is a fine line and important one to learn.  In the real world the driver is going slowly.  In the story you tell, any other comments and adjectives you add are likely made up opinions. With the free will you have, choose to believe a made up story that is enjoyable, instead of one that makes you miserable, depressed, or angry.

Is it just that easy?  By my experience, absolutely not.  There is something in the way of us just freely choosing to be happy and think happy and loving thoughts all the time. That thing in the way is the programmed set of beliefs that often determine our thoughts, behaviors, and emotional reactions. So it has been my experience that if you want to change to a more positive interpretations and emotions you have to dismantle your existing belief system.

For a method and practices that will guide you to dismantle your false beliefs check out the free sessions of the Self Mastery Course for an introduction. 

False Humility and Self Image

I used to think that I knew it all. No. That’s not correct.  It was worse than that. I knew that I knew better than other people. I didn’t want to act like I had an ego though. So I downplayed it. I wasn’t one of those arrogant guys that talked a lot.  I was quieter but I would pick my places to reveal my intelligence.  I have to revise that earlier comment. I knew that I didn’t know it all, but I felt I knew a lot and I kept my mouth shut about what I didn’t know. I didn’t want people to think I was stupid.  Uninformed was okay, but mis-informed was not. That was tantamount to being stupid. In those situations when I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to look smart, or at least not appear stupid, I kept my mouth shut.

When I did speak about something that I knew about I tried to make it soft spoken. I didn’t want it to sound like I was trying to impress anyone. It was a mask of humility. 23 years ago I started practicing awareness and began to see how hard I was working to impress people. I had consciously worked on the humble  soft spoken part. I was so consciously focused on that I didn’t see the part underneath working for recognition.

As I think about it now, it is pretty obvious that the reason I was working so hard to be soft spoken about how smart I thought I was had to be that there was such a force of ego pushing out trying to get noticed.  I would only be so focused on being casual and humble if the part that “believed I was great” was trying hard to get that recognition.

The more interesting part is that there was another layer under that. It was the belief about not being good enough.  So for those of you keeping score at home here is how the layers of my ego stacked up:

  • False Humility  –  Soft spoken when I talked about what I knew
  • I’m smart and I want you to recognize me – Looking to jump into a conversation and be seen as smart. This was hiding the next layer.
  • Not good enough   –   insecurity, self judgement, and fear of what others thought of me.

I think I did the “I’m Smart Layer”  so that I wouldn’t feel the painful emotion about not being good enough. It was a way to deny and repress this layer of beliefs and emotions. I’ve come to see it is very common.

Then there was one more.  It wasn’t really a belief system layer.  It is more of an essence that has been here all along. It was just what was here whether I believed it or not.  I am. That’s it. Very simple, and enough without trying to be something.   I am here and I am fine. This essence doesn’t have a story about being better or worse than anyone else, and I don’t have a story about anyone else being better or worse than me. It is who I was when I came into this world without a name, without a label, and without any opinion about my value. It doesn’t care what I could do, what I knew, or how I behaved.  It is also unmoved by the opinions of others.

I just love, and accept myself the way I am. I love and accept you the way you are.  It is what I did when I came into this world. It is what I did before I learned my name.  It is what I will continue to do until I die. The practice is to stay present with that essence, and not step into the other layers.

Below your layers there is an essence like that too.

It is a lot less work and feels a whole lot better than those false beliefs of self image that I used to hold up and hide.

to help guide your self out of these false layers and be more present with your essence I suggest the practices in the Self Mastery Series. 

How to Stay Conscious and Aware

The challenge in remembering to be mindful is that this isn’t about remembering at all. It is not like trying to recall a fact like the capitol of New Hampshire.  We are invoking a state of mind, emotion, attitude, and focus of our attention. In being Aware, Mindful or Conscious, we are using a different part of our brain to function, a part that might be turned off, or asleep when accessing memories or facts.

Being conscious so we can break old reactions and habits has more to do with focusing your attention inward while you take a long slow inhale and exhale. This is an act of consciousness and operates separately from actions of intellect or memory.

That part of your mind telling you to “remember” is focused on information about being conscious. It is not in itself aware. The part of the brain that does the “remembering” is by definition not able to be consciously present.

Conscious awareness is like a muscle. For muscles to be strong and not get fatigued you have to exercise them.  When they get fatigued, telling them to remember to be strong will not help. If you want your Consciousness to remain strong throughout the day then you have to train it with practices to make it strong.

When interested in being physically fit we don’t ask ourselves, “How can I remember to keep my muscles strong.”  We know that keeping our muscles strong is a matter of exercising them.  The same is with awareness.  We have to exercise our awareness muscles daily so that they have the strength to work longer hours for us. When the muscles of our attention, focus, and attitude become weak or tired our old emotional reactions and automatic behaviors take over and we are behaving unconsciously. This often leads to more emotional reactions and drama.

Practicing mindfulness is just that. It is a practice.  It is an exercise of your mental, emotional, and conscious focus.

Some people want to know when they will be done or can stop. I liken that question to, “When will I be in good enough shape that I don’t have to exercise anymore?” The problem is that when you don’t work out your muscles they become weaker. The good news is that when it comes to conscious awareness, once you are in shape, it is much easier to stay fit.

We can have a daydream that takes us away from where we are and what we are doing. During that daydream we experience a different world. The daydream can be an upcoming meeting, party, or a memory of what happened last year. Our emotions attitude, and attention are all there and even our nervous system is responding to being “there” in the daydream.  In that moment it is not a matter of remembering that there is a “here” but of being aware that you are here. Being present as “here” is an experience of attention and feeling not a fact.

When you get into a fight with your partner you don’t remember all the things you promised you would do to avoid escalation.  When you were conscious and present you promised that you would leave certain topics out, that you would lower your voice, count to ten, or leave room and cool off before confronting them.  But in the heat of that emotion, such as anger, anger is the consciousness of the moment and it is deciding behavior.  The part of you that was “Conscious” the week before making the promise of ground rules for arguing isn’t present. It is resting or asleep. Nor does the “Angry Self” want to listen even the aware part were there. The consciousness of the “Angry Self” does not ask your Conscious and Mindful Self for any information. It behaves as if your Mindful Consciousness didn’t exist.  The same is true for the other parts of your sub-conscious that operate as habit like the Judge and Victim Characters that I often mention.

Being conscious has very little to do with remembering. Unless you were to remember to bring your consciousness with you to the daydream. Remembering is a mental exercise of recollecting knowledge. Being conscious is an action of attitude and focusing your attention in the present moment. Being conscious might come without the mind chatter of other stories absorbing your attention. You can also be conscious and present while the mind is busy with chatter. You do this by splitting your attention. You are watchful of the mind running its daydreams, thoughts, emotions and beliefs while still having attention here in the moment’s activities.

Being conscious is holding a state of alertness, but while being calm and relaxed. It is like hunting.  You are scanning the trees and grass and you are vigilant. You quietly pick up on sounds, smells, and movements. You maintain a relaxed state and always have some part of your attention monitoring the area.  When being mindful you have your attention inward and notice movements of your emotion, breathing, and the sound of your mind chatter. As you pay attention for a while you might also notice that your muscles relax on portions of the inhale or when certain phrases are said. While in this state of awareness you do not have to remember anything. When you are in an unconscious state, you do not remember what being conscious is like.

You do not have to remember how to keep this focus. You are either doing it, or you are not doing it.  You are either vigilant, or you are distracted.  Your consciousness is focused on what is happening in the present moment, internally and externally, or it is being carried away in an opinion, or emotional reaction.  In that moment you have stopped “hunting” and stored emotions in your belief system have taken over your attention. One does not need to remember “how” to be conscious, just like when hunting one does not need to remember “how” to watch for movement.

What one has to do to improve is to remember to practice and through practice you will improve the way a hunter or athlete improves.

When you practice regularly, for a while it becomes a habit. When you live a habit for long enough it just becomes your way of life. In the beginning you will have to make a commitment to practice, and then after some months you won’t need to remind yourself or remember.  You will know how you feel, and you will feel better on days that you practice, and grumpy on days that you don’t.  Your own emotions and happiness will automatically guide you to keep your practice active simply because you like feeling better.

The Self Mastery Course provides a variety of practices to increase your Self Awareness, and change core beliefs that interfere with an elevated Conscious and Happy state.

How To Stay Mindful

When we learn something new it is important to note progress. It keeps our confidence up, and reinforces that we are doing the right thing. The most common sabotage to our mindfulness progress is the Inner Critic in our head, or what I call The Judge.  It criticizes everything, and rarely has a complimentary thing to say. This is the exact opposite of the confidence building that is needed. There are ways to counter this Inner Judge.

The judge will say you are not doing enough. It will say that what you did do won’t count or it won’t help or it wasn’t enough. It will lie to no end.  It will note all the times you didn’t practice or slipped up. It will not mention the things you did well, or that you are making progress. That Judge is anything but fair and just.  It’s time to call him on it.

Mindfully and Actively Counter the Judge’s Expectations

In learning anything like an instrument it will be a while before you can play a song all the way through. In the beginning you know you are not going for perfection and this helps. In the beginning you go for practice and lessons, and to get better. You know that in learning there will be lots of mistakes. You can even see every slip up is a chance to learn.  When playing the guitar and you miss a note, you notice, you see what you did, and you have a chance to slow down, focus your attention and consciously move your finger to the correct strings.  You take your time and get it right. You are building a neural pathway from what your mind imagines to making your fingers move a new way. Then you practice consciously moving that way over and over again until seeing the note on the page unconsciously makes your finger move. We learn to master something through incessant repetition. In reality you are not learning to play a song perfectly, but rather consciously make small finger movements until they are automatic. The practice of these small actions over time will build into playing a song. The Judge doesn’t seem to have much of a clue about this, or patience for it. It just wants the final product, but that isn’t how we get there.  This is important to keep in mind so you can manage expectations and stay on the task of practice.

In real learning you allow yourself time for this conscious to unconscious integration.  Allow yourself the same time for learning in your mindfulness practice. In the beginning of playing music you play more songs with mistakes than correctly.  In the beginning of the mindfulness practice allow your self the same latitude for missteps.

Somehow, because the work takes place in your head and emotions the Judge assumes that results should be instantaneous. This is a false belief of your Judge and does not allow for space and time of mistakes while learning. Therefore you will have to consciously make allowance for mistakes, learning, and time for integration.

The judge often has a ridiculous expectation of success. It expects that if you sit down to meditate that you will have some blissful experience in the first week or month.  It expects that new neural pathways will be built in the first week of any new practice.  The Inner Critic assumes that once you decide to have more positive thoughts that you “should” never have a negative one.  In short, the inner Judge is kind of crazy, or stupid, or both.  I’m letting you know that its expectations are ridiculous.  You can learn more about these false beliefs and become more skeptical of them by doing an inventory of the thoughts of the Judge. This process is explained in the Self Mastery program.

One way to give your judge a craziness check is to consider a friend working on the same mindfulness, behavior, or emotional stuff you are working on. Then assume that they were having the same kind challenges and are progress as you. Would you say out loud to them the same things your inner Judge says to you?  How would it go over?  Most people I ask respond with, “hell no, that would be mean.”  They would never talk to someone else the same way the voice in their head talks to them.   That’s how you know it is crazy or at least mean. It is not the kind of voice you want in charge of you or anyone else.

If you begin to put the sabotaging comments of the Judge in check by being skeptical progress will be easier. If you are having difficulty becoming the observer of the Judge you can listen to this podcast for some help.  You won’t feel like a failure every time the judge makes a comment about lack of progress. Instead you will be noticing how ridiculous the Inner Judge is. This is part of active mindfulness.

The second step in how to stay mindful is to positively reinforce your progress.

Take a post it note, or better yet, buy a pack of 3×5 cards. On a 3X5 card put down the couple practices you are working on. These can be long morning meditations, or small practices you build into your day during a commute, conversation, meetings, or exercise. List them along the left hand side. To the right put a number of boxes so you can check off when you complete a practice. Put in a number of boxes that you would finish in 2-4 days for each exercise.

If you aren’t sure what practices to combine, the Self Mastery course has many that work together. You can put in more or fewer exercises. In the beginning I suggest keeping it to 5 or less.

It should look something like this:

5 min of Gratitude   X  X
Relaxing Breath to Release Emotions   X
Journal for 10 min with neutral perspective   X
Be skeptical of Inner Judge’s Expectation   X   X   X
Practice listening in Conversation

 

Keep this card in your pocket during the day as a reminder to practice these mindfulness exercises.  As you finish one during the day, check it off as you see above.  It is your goal to fill out the card. You can put a different number of boxes by different exercises depending on how often you expect to do them.  In either case, don’t give your self a deadline. The Judge will create a criticism if you don’t finish on time. Don’t give him the chance.  It is your goal to practice. Don’t create a made up a race against time.

Mindfulness is an intangible practice and process. Therefore, progress is difficult to track and acknowledge. If you play guitar, you know the new chords you learned or the new songs you can now play. There is a sense of accomplishment that positively reinforces progress and practice. In mindfulness there isn’t always a tangible form of measuring progress so with this card you are creating one. This will help reinforce sense of accomplishment that the Judge attempts to interfere with.

When you finish filling out the card, post it in a place you can see it.  You might tape it to your bathroom mirror, or on your fridge. On it is a clear representation of the 15 or 25 steps you took and made progress. Your Inner Critic might have comments about what you didn’t do, but you will have a hard copy documentation of what you did do. When your mirror or fridge gets full of cards, you take the older ones down and begin to build a stack, and post the recent ones on the fridge and mirror.

Your Judge won’t remember the work you have done. It is forgetful. So you want a tangible reminder of the work you have done. When the Inner Critic wants to berate you for doing a lousy job on your inner work, you can look at your cards on your wall, fridge, or mirror, and use the documentation you collected to help you be more skeptical of the Judge.

Some information you may want to add to the card is the date. When you finish a card put the date in one of the corners.

As you practice, you will come upon insights and realizations.  Use the back of the card to write down what you discover about your self, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and the ego characters that make up the voices in your head. The backs of the cards will be some quick notes of discoveries. Writing down these realizations will help reinforce them in your memory and consciousness. 3X5 cards are more practical to carry than a journal, and you can make the notes when you make the discovery.  If you wait until the end of the day when you are home, you might have forgotten by then. Once you get home, you can take the notes from the back and transcribe them to your journal, and elaborate on the details if you wish.

Periodically review the realizations written on the back of your cards.  You will have a catalog of insights to help you.  In a way you will be reading a book you wrote with all the helpful reminders you need to combat your false beliefs and ego. Each time you go back and read the back of those cards you are following the consciousness bread crumb you left for your self. You are giving your self the kind of consciousness you want to draw upon and cultivate. In the process you are also becoming your own teacher of wisdom.

There are as many ways how to be mindful as there are people on the path.  Try these two out and see how they work. You are free to adapt and change them in ways that work best for you.

I hope you found this helpful. Now go get your card for today and make our your list.

For practical steps on taking an inventory of beliefs and building mindfulness practices see the free lessons of the Self Mastery Course. 

Dealing With Political Fears

Be Mindful of Fear Based Beliefs Used In Politics

If you are afraid your nervous system shifts to a fight/flight/freeze response and this puts your mind in the same type of thinking.  You are in a mindset trying to protect your self, whether something is a real issue or imagined. You see threats, or imagine threats even when they do not exist. We have learned to trust our gut and so we take our emotions as reality. Once our gut emotions are activated with fear we are more likely to see imagined threats as real, and real issues that are small with exaggerated danger.

Once we do not feel safe we seek safety.  Seeking safety means building walls, or attacking threats, the press, the other party whether real or imagined. These are the forms our fight or flight response has taken on in today’s culture.

How our mind builds a false belief

Our mind seeks to create a congruent inner world.  We want things to make sense in a rational way that includes our emotions. When we have a gut response, the rational circuit in our brain makes a belief that explains our feelings and justifies it with something. In this way what we picture matches what we feel. We feel fear and our mind builds an explanation so the reason for our fear is connected to something. Our mind builds thoughts about the world being an unsafe place, people being dangerous, and justifies that we should fear them. We can build false thoughts and beliefs based on an emotional reaction from something that is imagined.

An extreme example of this is a person that is paranoid. They are overwhelmed with fear, and they see threats and danger everywhere.  In this extreme case the disconnect between their beliefs and the real world are obvious.  In milder cases of fear this separation takes more effort. In either case the person with the fear has the most difficulty separating their beliefs from the emotion. In most cases we don’t even look to be skeptical. We look outside and see people as threats and say that is why we are afraid. In effect our mind works to confirm an existing belief even if it is false.  In politics the culprit is from another country or religion, or the other party. Unfortunately there are many people who can stand up and agree with our fears because they have the same ones. The proposed enemy is offered as being the source of our fears, yet the opposite may have happened. We had fear on the inside, perhaps from something imagined, and then our mind built a story about someone to justify our fear.

Why Be Skeptical about our belief?

The way we feel matches the way we think so we feel confident in our explanation. There is no reason to check a fearful belief when it seems so certain to be true. The fearful picture in our mind is assumed correct, it fits with our gut feeling, and makes it difficult to see if reality is different. There is nothing to question here.  Yet this is the most critical time to be mindful of thought and emotions. After we act is too late.

Resistance to Questioning a Belief

Questioning our fears and beliefs take time. We must quietly sit, ask questions, and pursue other avenues of possibility. We have to will our imagination to other points of view, explanations, and emotional states. This is hard, particularly when we are afraid. When we are in fear, we are in a fight or flight mode and our primal instinct is to act with urgency. There doesn’t seem to be space time to sit and evaluate our beliefs or consider other sources for our emotions. Again, if we wait until after we act it will be too late to reconsider.

Questioning Our Beliefs Takes Will Power

It takes will power to override our primal survival emotional response. Fear subjugates our will power and directs our energy to come up with a plan for safety.  We must flee, or we must fight.  In today’s political world flight takes the form of isolationism. We build walls with our neighbors, cancel trade agreements and replace them with tariffs.  Fear becomes the architectural approach for our foreign relationships. Yet fear isn’t a healthy emotional basis for any relationship.

When our fear is not busy planning on isolating our self, it goes into fight mode. It pushes our mind to seek ways to attack anyone that might hurt us or even just limit our freedoms.  Those people it imagined as threats, or anyone that can be imagined as threatening us, seems reason enough to attack them.  We go on drone strikes, build walls, or invade a dictator nation thousands of miles away. Were they a threat, or did we just imagine them to be? The will power to question your beliefs and appropriateness of your actions may take less power then sending in the military or building a wall. We have to fight the urge and urgency to pause. Afterwards we say we did it for protection of our people, but if we look closer we might find that fear made us do it.

We fear what they might do in the future and so there is a rush to attack them before anything has happened. We imagine being attacked and feel we can’t wait. The only violence against us was what we imagined in our mind. Our mind is the source of fear. Our mind is where the attack took place. Most often, our mind is where the violence is happening. It is there that we must prevent the chaotic attack of fear, not outside. Yet our mind then does a clever trick. It deceives us by suggesting someone else in the future is the perpetrator of the fear we feel today. It is a deception of time frame, and of responsibility. If we are mindful we can notice.

We falsely believe our mind is predicting the future. We invade and attack with drones as a response to the fear in our imagination. We become the creators of real violence and real death in an effort to protect us from our imagined scenarios.  What will protect us from the fear running amok in our imagination and causing us to react unnecessarily?

Do we have time and attention to notice the fear that is driving our behaviors and how others are being treated?  Yes, but we have to make ourselves take that time. Our time, attention, and will power is under the tempting influence of fear and the fight and flight strategies it pursues. If you want to solve violence in the world, in your neighborhood, or even an argument with your spouse, then you will need to address emotions and what goes on in our imagination. Building schools, education, health care, and a healthy economy will help, but even countries with all of those things are susceptible to fear as a source of violence.

What path are you on?

You might not be afraid of other countries, or people in other countries.  Perhaps you are afraid of the other political party, their ideology, or candidate, and what policies they might enact or repeal. Whatever the justification for the source, the emotion of fear is still inside you, and that is your fear to deal with. It is not the change in policy or the candidate that makes you afraid. If that were the case then everyone would feel the same way.  Fear is your creation, and your response to what you believe about the issue. Each person responds with their own emotion because of how their beliefs interpret what is going on.

No one can take on that challenge inside of you but you. The stakes might not be so violent as life and death as in some cases with the world, but still, you don’t need to serve fear.  Sometimes you may still need to take action on issues, but do so wisely. In the effort to not be blinded by fear you first have to consider that fear is obscuring our outlook. Take a moment to consider that your fears may be causing your mind to project political scenarios and thus obscure your vision. Take time to be skeptical. Some people thought it was the end of America when President Obama got elected.  Now, a different group of people fear it is the end of America because Trump got elected.  Neither are true.

You can be without fear, and still act. There may be dangers in the world, but there are fewer than the ones that show up in your imagination. There may be policies that you want to fight for, but you can do so without the victim fears. In a clear mind you can take actions and have positions, without the fear.  If you really want change, fight the fear inside you as much, or more, than you fight others.

When you become adept at changing emotion, thoughts, and beliefs in your own mind, you will be better at changing others.  If you can not change the fear, thoughts and beliefs in your own mind, then you will not be very skilled at changing anyone else’s. Inside you is where real change happens. Don’t be afraid to try.

 

For practical steps to address your fears and false beliefs, check out the Self Mastery lessons. The first four sessions are free. 




The Self Mastery Course: Practical Tools for Getting Rid of the Emotional Drama in Your Life
  • Stop Emotional Reactions
  • Change Core Beliefs
  • Quiet the Criticizing Voice in Your Head
  • Develop Communication and Respect in Your Relationships
  • Create Love and Happiness in Your Life
Check out Gary's Self Mastery Audio Program and Download FOUR Sessions FREE