Mind Benders — no. 1

Find A Loop-hole Into The Secrets Of the Unconscious Mind

Exercise no. 1

  • I. Write down everything that bothers you about someone you know.
  • Be petty! (These thoughts are for your eyes only).
  • What about this person upsets you?
  • How would you characterize this person?

  • How should s/he change?
    • Now — simply put your writing aside.

    What you are about to learn is two-fold.

    1. That we actually have no power over anyone else, period .

    2. The place we have power is in becoming our true selves.

    Notice that it was our own mind that chose the words we wrote down about another.

    If we reverse the spotlight now, we can open our awareness to the unconscious mind , thereby learning a great deal about ourselves.

    I want to caution you though — This “window” into the unconscious tends to cause an myriad of responses from the ego: “it’s not me…”,

    … But if you know anything about our “shadow figures“, you know that, once understood , they no longer act as monsters. We only need to meet them with understanding.

    So this exercise is, at first, a leap of faith. Yet, I promise you, after a few discoveries, we become friends with these mistaken monsters, and can actually learn to respect them in assisting your own personal growth.

    II. Find a time in your day when you can spend a moment with yourself. Get as relaxed, mentally, physically, and emotionally, as you can.

    • Read the paper you wrote about the person you are upset with.
    • Shift the pronouns. YOU becomes ME, and vice-versa.
    • Sit with this new idea. Can you find the truth in it?

    EXAMPLE

    Me and The Old Hag Archetype

    When I was going through my divorce, with 6 year old twins, I sometimes felt such anger and even had visions of violence: like ripping up old love letters that I found while trying to box up His verses My personal stuff. These feelings, which felt overwhelming during each episode, were entirely foreign to me. I didn’t want to claim this “ugly, horrible” side of myself — if it even was myself…. (but seriously, who else could it be?)

    So I researched the Old Hag Archetype.
    “She is the figure in myth of the evil woman who is capable of stealing peace from the innocent. In each historical portrayal, she is uniquely terrifying and at the same time, remains a universal symbol of woman’s unconquerable power.She is thought to arise during traumatic events or severe disruptions in life.”
    Well, that made sense. My divorce was very traumatic to me – my “Perfect Life” was in shambles and I was so-so afraid of the future I would have to endure.

    Somehow I needed the strength she represented, to move forward despite my fears. She said, “Don’t cross me! I’ll kick your a@!”

    Yet, my best bet was to be-friend her… to “use” her so I wouldn’t collapse in it all. I needed, however to keep her in check.

    “I hate my ex” becomes “I hate me” … ? … for failing my family.

    Ok. That makes sense. … but, can I forgive me, too?

    “I need to destroy my idea that we had a good marriage” became, “I need to embrace my idea that we had a good marriage, but it’s over.”

    I felt calmed by that statement. At least it wasn’t unusual, right? Many people decide that they don’t want to stay in stagnant lives, even though it was, at one time, thriving.

    So I invite you to try this exercise. Let me know how it goes!

    Where Do We Know?

    Where are our beliefs? And, how do we know if we even believe them? For example, I know the word “purple”, but is my purple the same as yours? Just because society agrees on a word to represent the color, where is this story?

    At first, it’s in the mind, labeled FACT. But to really know – to own it – is on a different level.

    If we intentionally reshape the stories in our mind, we can experience our authentic selves (“Authentic” in this article refers primarily to being free of imposed identities).

    Studies in neuroplastcity (The brain’s ability to form new neural connections) suggest we can actually CHANGE the results of earlier experiences – even when trauma has occurred.

    Neuroplastcity is a fairly recent discovery. It means, basically, that our brain is malleable. It can be taught to override experiences and create new connections.

    This is an exciting discovery! It wasn’t that long ago that we thought the brain had a limited number of neurons and cells, and that they each were assigned a specific role. For example, one might hold a memory, another recognizes the color red. We now know,however, that all of this is just the beginners guide to the brain! There’s so much more!

    Methods That Are Useful to Rewire the Brain

    Research has shown that just writing for a few minutes each day about anything can dramatically boost your happiness and sense of wellbeing.

    Try This:

    On a deeper level, try writing about an event that truly hurt you in some way. After venting (on paper), take a break. Then, re-write your story with the title “A Heroes Journey“. Notice that a change in perspective is a change in reality.

    Crazy, right?

    But all of our “truths”, our perceptions, are malleable. They are NOT factual.

    My friend and trusted “guru”, Byron Katie, says it this way:

    ” In this world “I” is always you. I never cease to love what I create and give life to, which is you, me, everything.

    How is it okay that children suffer? Look to your own suffering and ask yourself. End the suffering of one child in the world: you.

    If you are suffering, you are a child, a child in awareness, innocently suffering your own lack of enlightenment, your own immaturity. As a child, the only possible way to suffer is to believe the thoughts arising in the mind.

    The only way to suffer is to believe that you really believe what you think you believe.

    Discovering your true self is the beginning of the end of suffering in your world. You have the power to end fear, and the end of fear is the end of war.

    I invite you to take yourself to the paradigm-shift that is possible right here, right now.

    Take a little walk into you and change the whole world!

    Isn’t that what you really want?”

    Discover your own innocent story, and give yourself the compassion you deserve.

    How to Eliminate Suffering

    img_0914You can eliminate war for one human being — You!

    Worth reading – from Off the Web! (edited for readability)

    Byron Katie is known world wide for her wisdom about ending human suffering. She says,

    “Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility.”

    That’s a bold statement. Many of us react instantaneously to such (seemingly) outrageous claims.

    Someone asked Katie:

    • What’s the best way for someone who has suffered – such as a child who was beaten or a person who was raped – to make sense of this philosophy?

    Katie replied, “Identify and question what they were believing in that cruel situation as it was happening.”

    When children (or adults, for that matter) believe the thoughts they are thinking during and after a painful event, they suffer.

    It is not the painful event that causes their suffering once the event is over; it is their thoughts about the event.  

    The event is in the past; the thoughts , and resulting feelings, are in the present – thoughts of shame, anger, humiliation, depression, unworthiness, resentment, and so on – yet it is only in the present that we live.

    Children have no way to question these thoughts, so they can’t help but suffer over them. It’s not their fault that they suffer. They just don’t know that suffering comes from believing their painful thoughts. This is why without inquiry, it’s so difficult to overcome a trauma.

    The things that upset us will stay with us as long as we still believe what we were believing in that situation.  Whether in childhood, or yesterday – time doesn’t matter. Inquiry can break the spell.


    The Work is not a philosophy. It’s a way that will let you discover that all suffering has been a misunderstanding
    .

    • Should a person ignore or glide over such things?

    Katie replied,

    I was never able to do that. The way I became free was by not ignoring or gliding over such things. I had to face them, to look back on those terrible and seemingly unjust situations that I suffered as a child, and as an adult, to write them down and question the thoughts I had at the time. I had to travel back and to see in my mind’s eye that situation, no matter how terrible it was, and to fill in a ‘Judge-Your-Neighbor’ Worksheet. I had to fill out one Worksheet for each situation. I do this by remembering as much as possible of what I was seeing, feeling, thinking, and believing in those moments.

    I used to suffer when those images would arise in my mind, and now I don’t. In fact, all those old memories bring a sense of compassion, freedom and gratitude, and never suffering.”

    Of course you should suffer when you remember those situations –  since you are believing your thoughts.
    Our children learn fearful and angry beliefs from us, and they, like us, have no choice but to live what they believe. What are we teaching through our own negative, fearful beliefs?

    She continues,

    My job is to end the injustice in my world, the war inside me, and that has made the world a better place, since there is one less violent, angry person in the world now.

    If I am at war with reality, I’m continuing in myself the very thing that I want to end in the world. A sane mind doesn’t suffer. Through inquiry, you can begin to eliminate war for one human being: you.

    For more information on The Work of Byron Katie, go to TheWork.com

    “The difference between outrage and understanding – is peace.”

    When we feel a strong emotion, we are mistaken if we believe it confirms the truth. Feelings are always a response to a belief – ALWAYS! 

    It can be incredibly powerful to ask yourself (which requires awareness of the mind/ thought) … IS IT TRUE?  Where’s my evidence? (..and, is that true)

    I find that anything less than compassionate inquiry leads to misunderstanding (and paranoia, separation, anger, fear… all the icky stuff!).

    Give yourself the gift of inquiry – for your own peace of mind.