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Fear Based Beliefs In Politics

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. This means we are more likely to see imagined threats as real, and real issues that are small in exaggerated danger. We do not feel safe and we seek safety.  Seeking safety means building walls, or attacking threats, the press, the other party whether real or

Our mind seeks to create a congruent 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. Most likely it will use a justification from the world outside. 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. 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 of the world and the real world are obvious.  In milder cases of fear this separation takes more effort. In most cases we don’t even look for it. We look outside and see people as threats and say that is why we are afraid. In politics the culprit is from another country or religion, or the other party. The person appears in our mind and we say it is the source of our fear, yet the opposite may have happened. We had fear on the inside, and then our mind built a story about someone outside and used it to justify our fear.

Why look for questions when we feel confident about our belief?

There is no reason to check a fearful belief when it seems so certain to be true. We have a belief in our head congruent with our emotions about why we are afraid, and it seems connected, but we can no longer tell which order it came in. We can no longer tell if it is 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.

At that point it seems unnecessary to be skeptical. The way we feel matches the way we think so we feel confident in our explanation. There is nothing to question here.  Yet this is the time it is most critical to be mindful of thought and emotions.

Questioning a Fear Based Belief Takes Time

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 time to sit and evaluate our beliefs or consider other sources for our emotions. But 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 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.  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 deceives us by suggesting someone else in the future is the perpetrator. 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?

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.

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, 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. Fear is your creation, and your response to what you believe about the issue.  If it was the candidate or policy that created your fear, then everyone would have the same fear.  Each person responds with their own emotion because of how their beliefs interpret what is going on.  Your emotional response is because of you.

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, not blindly by allowing fear to obscure your vision. 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. In a clear mind you can take actions and have positions, without the fear.  If you really want a or change, fight the fear inside you as much, or more, than you fight others.

When you become adept at changing what emotion, thoughts, and beliefs go on 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.

Biased Beliefs in Your Politics

When I was a kid I rooted for my home team.  If the referee made a close call against the other team, I agreed with him.  If he made a close call against my team I was sure he was wrong. Was it really possible that all the bad calls went against my team?  Why did I see it that way?

I expect that someone rooting for the other team had the exact opposite reactions.  He felt good when the call was against us, and got upset when the call was against him.  It seemed neither one of us seemed to see it in the middle ground sort of way that the referee saw it. We just wanted to win. We felt better when the advantage went to ourselves. This probably wasn’t fair, but it felt better. Somewhere in our pre-teen and teen age psyche we wanted to win and that felt better. I learned to be biased from an early age. I just didn’t know it.

Now that I am an adult I see the same thing. When I am watching sports with people and they are rooting for a team I rarely see them admit when they get a bad call in their favor.  They might justify and write it off by saying something like, “Well that makes up for earlier call against us.”  But if they watch the replay and can justify it, they will be outraged about the injustice of the refs against them.

I think the opinions on referees range from the victim version of, “They screwed us over” to the middle ground of, “they called it bad for both sides.”  I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say, “well, the refs handed us the game on that one.”  That would be like admitting that you got a win that you didn’t deserve. We like to believe that we earn everything we get. The other side claims they got ripped off, but the winning side doesn’t see the same thing. If we really saw it fairly you would hear an equal amount of both.  I think it is safe to say that there is bias in how we see our sports teams.

It is hard to see our own bias. It is hard to see how our mind has filtered our interpretations and our reactions into certain funnels of responses. But maybe this bias in our perception is only difficult to see because we don’t look for it. Yes, we look for bias in other people, but how often and how hard do we look inward for our own belief bias on issues? Are we afraid of what we might find? Or, do we just assume our perspective is right and so we don’t have to check it for calibration?  If you agree with either of these answers, you have already discovered the beginning of your belief system bias.

Our biased beliefs filter our interpretation of a referee’s call. They filter how we see our players and how we see and interpret what an opposing player did.  We want our side to win. We are invested emotionally in an outcome of winning and losing. If we win, we feel good, and if we lose we feel bad.  We don’t want to feel bad.  Our mind biases us to see the game in a way that would make us feel good. If the refs see it differently, then the refs call the game unfairly against us.


Definition of Bias and Prejudice

Bias: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Bias causes us to distort our perception. This causes us to dismiss facts and reality.  The result is that we take a position that is unfair and harmful, either to someone else, to our self, or both.

How We Identify Ourselves shifts our Perception.

Our emotional responses to beliefs and identity cause our mind to favor one interpretation over another in an effort to feel better.

In high school I played basketball and we were the Wolves.  When you fouled my team mate I could feel it.  I was a part of that team. Unconsciously I interpreted it as a foul against me.  If you fouled or took a cheap shot at someone on my team, I emotionally personalized it to my identity.  I could feel my nervous system respond as if you hit me. If I was watching another one of our teams play, and they won, I felt like WE won. I felt like I won. I identified with the team and I identified with the school. If it happened to the team or the school then it happened to me.

Over many years my mind was trained to identify and personalize with groups. This is good for building community, connecting and caring for people. It’s bad when you feel personally attacked even when you aren’t.

Notice what this unconscious act of identifying does to our behavior and emotions.  In a way my consciousness is projected to this other person’s experience and I respond from that frame.  I’m no longer a person in the stands watching the game.  I’m emotionally experiencing the ups and downs of the game including winning and losing from the perspective of the player. In the same way I projected my consciousness into they idea of a team, we can also project or imagine our selves into a politician, political party, or principle.  These are all just concepts the same way our school mascot was.  In our imagination we can do both.

Why the Emotional and Visceral Reactions in Politics?

What if I am identified with beliefs or principles of a political party? What if the ideas and ideology are what I support?  What if the principles I believe in are like my team. The politicians are my team captains.  I support them, I uphold them and I defend them.  If you so something in opposition to my principles and team mates I will feel personally attacked.  You didn’t attack me, but I would respond emotionally as if you did. I could feel threatened, or hurt. In feeling threatened I’m inclined to defend my opinions as if I was defending myself. If my party wins the election, then I feel like I win. If my politician loses the election, then I feel like I lost. If it is the Presidential Election, then it is like playing for the championship. These are the dynamics of escalation from a political discussion or debate to an argument. If you take sides with a party or policy then your feeling of winning can be threatened by a political opponent.  It will be difficult to see the media, which act as referees calling the game, as being fair. If you take the debate in this emotionally invested way to your family relationships you may end up not talking to them very much.

At its worst we can become more closely identified with our ideas and concepts of principles than with ourselves as human beings. We feel we represent and connect with ideas and political policy concepts instead of connect with other human beings. We ignore our human identity and connection with one another and attack others in defense of our ideas, policies, and “principles”.  This is what happens when we lose our consciousness to the mental state of ideas. Our beliefs bias us against humans through attack and defend conversations, arguments and Facebook posts of opposition.

Identity and investment in beliefs.

If you join the team of Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, Labor, or Conservative party etc, you are giving up some of your personal identity. You are transferring your consciousness into a collective organism made of other ideas, emotions, beliefs, and group identity.

What happens if someone protests, or disagrees with your party platform of ideas?  If you identify with those policies it will have the same effect at a belief system level as them disagreeing with you.  It might even feel as if they are attacking you. An act of building a wall will feel like an attack for some and not building a wall will feel like an attack against others. Banning immigration from Muslim countries will feel like an attack on a group of people, even if they are not from that country or Muslim.  For others, it will feel like a win. It is unlikely that you will notice the role of your identity and beliefs in your reaction. It happens very fast.  We typically don’t notice our emotions, and our unconscious beliefs in these situations. We just feel offended or feel and impulse/need to act before knowing what created that impulse. Yet, if we are going to change how we interact with each other it is the mechanics of what happens in these micro-moments that will have to change.

If someone disagrees with an issue of your party, you might feel inclined to defend it as if someone fouled a member of your team. The impulse response happens before we can ask to look at the replay. There is no process to objectively evaluate whether a referee made a good call. You have to create one in your consciousness.

You will have to take a time out to review the play in slow motion from multiple angles and make an informed call. You may not have had this technology available to you in the past, but it can be learned.

If you don’t take a time out to review the way your mind jumped to a conclusion you will likely end up in an attack and defend state of mind. You will have the sense of being under victimized by people that believe differently as you, and tempted to attack them with words and emotions in response. Based on how things look around the political landscape, it is a pretty unhappy way to live.

If you are unaware you fall into defending an idea, and an idea isn’t a legitimate member of your team.  In an extreme case you will challenge a person for challenging your team’s idea.  This is a case of making something personal that isn’t. An attack or a disparaging of an idea, is not an attack on you.  But it might feel that way if you have sacrificed your own sense of identity for a group of beliefs, but feeling that way isn’t always a measure of truth. It can also be a measure of a lie.  Believing that you have to defend an idea when the idea is questioned, is a measure of how we have lied about our identity being attached to that idea, party, or politician.

Further  Escalation of Belief Bias

Once you advocate for a position there is a psychological tendency to reinforce that position. We don’t want to be seen going in one direction and then stop and walk the way we came. So the human tendency is to double down on our position, even if we weren’t that strongly committed to it originally. Once someone challenges our position on a political issue, we are likely to continue defending it. We push back against their side and as a result we are more attached to that positional belief.  The end result is that we are more divided against the other person and see them as an adversary.  Are you becoming more divided with some of the people on Facebook, or another group of human beings like as you express your political opinions?

Challenge Beliefs and Build Human Connections

How do you evaluate if you are biased in your beliefs

You might be biased if you dismiss every gripe against your party or candidate. You might be biased if when you read someone’s opinion that diagrees with you your mind counters with an objection of the other party policy or candidate.  If his happens, and it can quickly, your mind is defending and attacking opposing beliefs before you can measure the validity of their point.

I find it unlikely that someone’s political beliefs would agree across the board with their party. How likely is it that you would agree with another person on every issue?  Not likely, not even if it were a friend.  It is statistically unlikely that you would agree with another person on taxation policy, trade, supreme court selections, human rights, gay marriage, education, alternative energy development, global warming, women’s reproductive choices, the NASA budget, public radio financing,  and 10 other things.  It’s just not likely. So, in a sane way, you should disagree with your party on some issues. If you don’t, then consider that you are abdicating some honest critical thinking and just “going along” with the group consciousness.  In short, your mind has been biased not to think, but just to go along with the group/team bias.  The group/team/political party “identity” have replaced your own.  This might feel good as being part of a community and connection, but it also means you could be in a fog and not thinking clearly for your self.

I thought my team should win and the other team should lose, even though I never got to meet and know people from the other school. I wonder if I went there that maybe I would have made friends and even liked them. I at least wouldn’t have been rooting for them to lose. This is the same as I did in high school. If you get to know some people in the opposition, and their viewpoints and reasoning you have a chance to open your mind and challenge the fog of your own beliefs.

If you are always on the side of your political party or canditate it is likely that your belief system has biased you and you can no longer see the game clearly.  If you believe every decision President Obama made was bad, then you are in a bubble of bias. If you believe everything President Trump does will be for the worse, then you are lost in a bias of beliefs. If you feel under attack from either direction then you will find attachments to policies and concepts that aren’t human. You will feel the refs (news media) calling the game are biased and are against your side on most days. These are clues that your imagination has carried your identity into the concept of a policy decision or a politician. You are likely interpreting disagreements and decisions of policy as attacks on your self and through the group you are identified with.  Your reactions are likely to be to “need to jump in” or “straighten someone out” will own you and have you escalate the debate before you can question your side. A victim mindset or a perception that the other side is attacking you is a clue to a fog of false beliefs on your part.

If you find them consider that your opinions and attention are controlled by beliefs. You might think of it this way. It is no longer a matter of you having opinions, but rather your opinions have you.

I think we should have vigorous debate over the issues.  But when we lose identity and consciousness to the issues, we see our fellow human beings as adversaries. We stop looking for the best policy and decisions and oversimplify our mindset into looking for who is for us, and who is against us.  This is the fog to avoid.

If you want to know what group I belong to, I am first and foremost a human being.

Lessons From Integrity

What is Integrity?

We are multi-dimensional beings. We have emotions, but are not our emotions. We have a mind, but are not our mind. We have a soul but are not our soul. We have a body but are not our body. We also have a consciousness, a Spirit, and more.  We are in Integrity when all the aspects of our Self are aligned and working together.

It is called Lessons from Integrity, because you are learning from what is deep inside you.

A new on line video class from Gary van Warmerdam

This Course on Integrity is not open to every one. You will have to have completed the Basic Self Mastery series, and be well into the Phase II (formerly called the Advanced Series) to participate.  This background work will make the advanced practices we will be working on much more effective. You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.

Lessons will begin April 22nd. A schedule is below.
We will meet on line in a video classroom once a month for approximately 3 hours.

You may begin signing up in the Members area after April 1.

I am starting a new program later this year.  It will be Lessons from Integrity.  Integrity has to do with integrating all the different parts of our self. We are more than just a mind, a body, and emotions. We have a Spirit, a Soul, and a Consciousness as well.  In the Self Mastery Course I have principally focused on the beliefs in the mind that create negative thoughts and contribute to emotional reactions.  For changing one’s life, I feel this is the best place to start.  However, if we are to live truly happy lives, we will need more.

We have emotions that are from other sources than our belief system or mind made.  We have genuine authentic emotional experiences and are a valuable part of our life.  They inform us and help guide our decisions, relationships, and behavior.  If you want to be in a healthy relationship you will want to feel these natural emotions.  Our natural emotions also help guide us to work in a career we enjoy and is fulfilling to our soul.

We also have desires that arise from our soul. Instinctively we seek out community and social connections. This nurtures something in us at a Soul level.  At the same time, our Spirit may desire some peace and quiet that requires us to be alone.  These opposing desires won’t make any sense to us at the level of our mind. Our mind is looking to organize these desires in a simple logical way and so the conflict is confusing.

Living in our Integrity is about balancing these different forces, feelings, and desires within us. They are only in conflict because our mind hasn’t been informed of the larger picture and how to include all of them. We need time and connection with our community and family. We also need time alone, or in nature, to satisfy the yearning of our Spirit. Men may need more time alone than women for reasons too involved to explain here.

All of this comes down to a deeper level of work that I will be sharing beginning in the summer.  It will help you listen within and get in touch with what is in alignment with your own Integrity.   Since the process will build over time it is not feasible for people to drop in and out, or to start late.  There will be homework assignments to practice in the weeks between and probably support groups to share what is going on with the changes in your life.  We will take one or two practices/exercises and go deep with that process for the month. Each will allow you to recover personal will power, develop discipline, and eliminate the distractions to our attention.

If this is something that you are seriously interested in, I suggest you begin the practices of the Phase II this month if you haven’t already started.


4th Saturday of the month.  12 to 3 pm Eastern. (We may not use the full block of time, but in case questions and discussion is needed I am allowing for it.  I expect there to be 30 min follow up from the previous exercises, then a 90-120 min class, and then questions. Block it on your calendar Now!
December’s class will be on the 3rd Saturday of the month.
Series goes for 12 months.  (We will consider extending for more sessions if the group wants to continue, and I agree.)

Price:  $45 monthly.

It is my intent to record the video and audio of these sessions and post them in a separate area for people to view/listen to in case they aren’t able to make a class and to be able to review the lesson later.

Much of the material was taught to me in a processes my mentor Miguel Ruiz called Dreaming.  Some of these practices we did with him in the years prior which were incredibly helpful preparation for that process. They are methods to cleanse the mind, physical body, emotional body, and recover a connection with our Soul and Spirit.

The types of we will be using and teaching include:

Recapitulation – a technique for releasing the past and emotions, memories and beliefs.
Developing Personal Will Power.
Cleansing the body with fasting.
Practicing Silence – for gathering personal power and Impeccability
Cleansing the mind of all Judgments. We called this process, The Last Judgment.
Building Community
Understanding the World of Beliefs and why Humanity does what it does which should help greatly with compassion.
Power of Gossip and Opinions
The nature of Intent and Spirit
Practicing with the power of Ceremony and Ritual. This part is most effectively done at events, but will work out in the course as a place to practice.

What a lot of these assignments will do is force you to break habits and routines, both in your external world, emotional patterns, and in your mind.  The result of this will free up a great deal of personal power.

A Process For Change

Like the seasons, every year I go through a process of change.  I take time to reflect on what I do, how I have spent my time, what I enjoy, what is fulfilling, and what doesn’t work. It isn’t the only time during the year that I do this, but at the end of each calendar cycle I take extra notice.

I put aside some projects that don’t seem fulfilling, or that I assume won’t bear much fruit.  Projects that inspire me are moved to the top of my list to work on this year. What I spend my time and attention on is considered. Most importantly I look at how I feel emotionally, and prioritize things around my happiness.  It is more a feeling and emotional process than a logical one.

I don’t know what the results will be so I can’t make a decision based on that. I can only make assumptions about future outcomes.  I only get to know how I feel about doing it right now.

You don’t get to know what the results of your labor will be. You get to change your expressions and your actions and then measure the results.  I think of planning for the future much like blacking out the front windshield of your car and looking in the rear view mirror.  You can’t see what is in the future.  You can only see what is behind you in the rear view mirror, the past.  Based on the past we make assumptions and decisions about tomorrow, what will work, and what won’t, and we steer our life in that direction.  It’s not the best decision making system, but since we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, it is better than none. I know that I don’t know, but I will consciously make an assumption, and in that I have the confidence to move forward. Most of the stuff I plan and intend doesn’t turn out the way I pictured it.  Such is life.  We keep taking actions as we create. Don’t let this not knowing cause you to hesitate very long.

This process of change for me has a format. I use it in my life, and I use it at my events, and it can be found in my Self Mastery Course.  I take time to gain some perspective on how I have been spending my time, my emotions, and my beliefs, and behavior.  I look at what works for me, and what doesn’t, as best as I can decipher in my rear view mirror.  I then let go of what doesn’t work.  I may do this in some journaling process, breath work, a meditation walk on the beach, or a ceremony.  I make some conscious decision and commitment to cut with that expression of energy. The commitment is followed up with vigilance and practice to change the habit.

By not expending any more energy on that expression, I have extra personal power to direct towards a new expression. That new expression might be a work project, or more personal, like how my wife and I communicate.  The important element here is that I first eliminated something and recovered personal power. This gives me a valuable resource with which to create something new.  There must be a death before there is a rebirth.

My events usually have the same process.  We spend time at the beginning taking a close look at ourselves and identifying what doesn’t work. What is important about this step is that we do it compassionately. We must reflect on ourselves in a very non-judgmental way.  We are not there to criticize, or find fault.  If this is happening, then we are not changing, we are just reinforcing a habit of our Judge voice.

Developing this compassionate attitude, or neutral perspective with which to reflect on our life, or year, or meeting, is necessary for good change.

As you make intentions for change I suggest you include these elements into your process.

  1. Take time to reflect in a compassionate way.  Do your best to view, without fault finding or criticism what you have been doing with your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.  The best version of your self now, is not a fair standard for the best version of yourself last decade, last year, or even last week.  You have traveled further down the road, and can now see things in the rear view mirror of your life that your past self couldn’t see looking forward.  Be compassionate for the former versions of your self that didn’t have this awareness.
  2. Take ownership and responsibility for the expressions you made.  This responsibility is an important part of tapping into the power that we create with.  When you put your attention and presence in the emotion and energy of those expressions, however painful they might be, you also tap into the force of life that propels you to express in that way. Tapping into that source of life, you can redirect that energy in a new way.  This is only possible when you compassionately take responsibility for how you created expressions in your past.
  3. Commit to expressing more beautifully.  This doesn’t mean a commitment to having a better image. How you look to your self and others is actually a byproduct of how you express your self.  Do the first and the second will come.  Expressing better sometimes means difficult changes that take us in a direction of new beginnings.  Whenever you are working to do something new, such as be more honest, vulnerable, and present in your relationships, you will be self conscious and fumble in the beginning.  Allow your self this learning curve. You have to fail at something for a while before you will be good at it.
  4. Use your mistakes as a chance to learn instead of a chance to beat your self up. Earlier in my life the voice in my head would beat me up for a mis-step as if this would somehow make me better. It was a lie.    We don’t play the guitar better because someone is yelling at us.  We don’t do anything better over the long period because of negative reinforcements. This is true even if it is coming from our own mind.  In reality we get better because we use an awareness of our mis-steps to improve. Self criticism isn’t part of this improvement loop. Allow yourself a learning curve for new habits to be integrated into your nervous system.  The Judge voice in your head might say that you are a screw up, but you will find that when you really look at it, the Judge character in your head doesn’t know what he is talking about. It might take a year or two to learn how to see the Judge this way, but it will be worth your time.
  5. Write out your intent. The clarity that happens through articulating it in writing will help solidify it and make it stronger.  It can also be helpful to carry it on a 3×5 card in your pocket and look at it once in a while.  Each time you read it you are making your commitment stronger.  This focus of your attention will help sustain the necessary conscious repetition in the long game.

Any one of these steps of the process can be your intent for change and growth.  You might just make it a year long commitment to develop a compassionate neutral observer attitude toward your self. This is just one step in a change process that will help you in all growth in the coming years. You might make it your intent for the year to let go of certain behavior patterns, emotions, or stories in your head.  You can do a ceremony or journaling that makes the commitment at this time of year, and then allow your self the year to do the step by step process of the work. Giving yourself a year to change a lifetime habit is compassionate, and realistic. Give your self the understanding that it will take repetitions of conscious practice to build a new habit.

If that critical voice in our head was any good at getting us to change, we would have already changed by now. So try it a different way.

Controlling Your Mind

Hi Gary,

I’m sorry that I e-mail you again. But I have this big problem that might be hard to explain but I’ll try. Your whole course depends on the belief that you can control your mind instead of the mind controlling you. Of course nobody wants that the mind has control over them but I’m starting to believe more and more that I cannot control my mind. And this realization alone makes me feel terrible. The reason why I feel good when I listen to your audio sessions is that they make me logically understand how you can control your mind. But that does not manifest in my experience – maybe I did not do the exercises enough – I’m planning to do the whole Self Mastery course again btw. Also what really makes this belief stronger as well is that my friends don’t seem to have this problem even though they never meditated or did any spiritual stuff.

I know that I should not think certain things in certain situations because I know better. But I still think them anyway – and this uurrgg freaks me out. It makes me feel that the mind is the boss over me while it should be the other way around. This is also the reason why I hate it so much that I cannot really implement your changes in my life even though I want to – because I think your course makes a lot of sense. Probably that I did not do the exercises enough is probably also because of the mind. I probably need to force it with all my power.

I hope you have some words that can regain my trust again :)

Feeling Frustrated,


Hello Feeling Frustrated,

I don’t think I am professing that we can take control of our mind this week, or even this month. I believe we can take control, but it takes time.  In the meantime we have to acknowledge that there are times we don’t have control and to make our peace with that until we develop more or our skills and will power. I think the process actually goes like this.


  1.  We don’t have any awareness that our mind controls us. So we aren’t trying to get control back.
  2. We get some awareness and discover that our beliefs (mind) are controlling many of our emotions and thoughts automatically.  (See session 2)
  3. We try to take control of our mind and get frustrated because we can’t even stop a negative thought.   (See session 3)
  4. We learn to practice acceptance that we don’t control our mind. (See session 6)
  5. We learn that we may not be able to control our mind just yet, but we don’t have to believe it, or let it control us. (Session 4, 5, 7 plus others)
  6. We learn ways to control our mind and attention at times, (session 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and a lot of the others )  This includes an identification and inventory of the beliefs that influence our behavior and emotions.
  7. We practice ways to gain better control over our attention and emotions, and the faith we put in our beliefs and gain more control.
  8. We get better at it.


Your friends might not have any issues with controlling their mind because they are not trying to (or other reasons) One of the reasons for this is that they might be at step 1.


Hope that helps.

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  • Change Core Beliefs
  • Quiet the Criticizing Voice in Your Head
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