Anxiety, IBS, and Insights

The whole point of this blog to try to help others through my own distressing experiences. If just one person can benefit or learn something, it makes it all so worth it. Today’s topic is anxiety and IBS (surprise!).

I recently started doing EFT again. I forgot how incredibly wonderful this technique is. This is the video I watched:

The reason I picked this video was from an observation I had about myself. As you know, I used to suffer from debilitating, horrible, almost daily IBS (with diarrhea). It was dreadful and quite traumatizing. Well, I’m virtually cured from it, but it reared its ugly head again last week. I don’t know if anyone else does, but I get extremely emotional when I get IBS. I cry a lot, I feel like a weak person, get very anxious, and wonder if I will ever be normal. So I sat (the best I could) with the uncomfortable physical and mental sensations this time, and asked myself why am I so afraid of IBS? I suddenly remembered my fiance had a bout of norovirius about five or six years ago. (For anyone who doesn’t know what it is, it is one of the scariest things to witness I have ever seen in my whole life). It started as diarrhea, with throwing up and within an hour and a half, my fiance was out cold on the toilet from being dehydrated and I had to call 911. We had to take him to the hospital, where it took over 25 minutes to find a vein (for an IV of fluids), since his veins were totally collapsed from dehydration. It all happened so quickly. It was horrible. The good news is, some fluids and anti-nauseous medication, and you heal 100% within a few days. Now, this doesn’t happen all the time, it is not too common. But what I realized was, I was traumatized from this. Every time I got diarrhea I was constantly monitoring myself, and terrified I was going to get norovirius. I did not realize that until now. I remembered EFT was great for releasing trauma, so I did the EFT video above. I cried a little and felt some great relief.

It is so totally normal to be traumatized from a situation like that. Which brings me to my next point. The next observation I made about myself was, deep down somewhere, I never gave myself permission to be scared, anxious, or stressed. Somewhere buried inside me, I thought I was not allowed to acknowledge stress in my life. Whether it was from my childhood or my own self-conditioning I do not know. But reading that last sentence sounds so ridiculous to me now. Why would you not be allowed to recognize stress? Well, I have spent may years learning about the law of attraction, or the power of our thoughts, and somewhere along my travels I thought if I acknowledged the stress in my life, it would magnify it and also prove that I was ungrateful. For instance, even when things are tough, plenty of people would love to be in my shoes so I should be grateful and not stressed or anxious. What I am learning now is I can be grateful AND allow myself to be anxious or stressed at the same time (you’re not magnifying the stress, just allowing the acknowledgement, we must validate our own emotions). So in this instance, I allowed myself to acknowledge that norovirius was a horrendous thing to go through and anyone would have been effected by it! So if I get IBS again, I will remind myself that norovirius is not common, its normal to be afraid after seeing what I saw, and even if I did get it, I will be okay. (I find running through a mental fact check of my current situation, during anxiety helps ground me).

To further the topic of me realizing I never allowed myself to be stressed, I thought back to when I opened my first business in 2014, by myself (this is when my IBS appeared) and I constantly thought something was wrong with me and I was broken. Where did this IBS come from? WTF is wrong with me? (And I actually remember saying to myself, ‘many people would kill for the opportunity to own their own business, I should not be so anxious). After these new realizations, I can’t even believe I talked to myself like that. And I had that business for a year and a half. It was successful and I even sold it. Of course it was stressful! It was a brand new business, and I have never started my own business before! What a huge relief that feels like to say that…wow. And I personally think my IBS was just manifested emotions that were stuck. Since I wasn’t allowing myself to be anxious or stressed, IBS manifested itself as a cleansing. (bottled up emotional energy can do amazing things to us). This was a big step for me. And I feel lighter as a result of this realization. But this is only part one.

So to recap, I thought I wasn’t allowed to acknowledge stress. Not only that but I wasn’t allowed to express stress. I remember growing up, I was not allowed to be anxious (although I remember my first attack when I was five) because there were always more important things going on, or I was told whatever I was anxious about was “completely ridiculous”. (No validation from my parent of feelings at all). So I learned, I better stuff those emotions or whatever, away because that’s not allowed. So now, I acknowledge my stress, and allow myself to feel anxious! My life is not perfect right now, and anxiety does pop up, but knowing I am not insane or broken, and anyone would be anxious in my shoes is like the biggest weight off my chest.

I have told friends and relatives about this (my brother in particular has been so supportive and I am so grateful) and they all say, ‘well of course you’re anxious over this or that!’ What a relief.

The point of this post if you’re reading this, is maybe your IBS is fear rooted somewhere; or maybe you are not acknowledging your own feelings or validating them. Or your anxiety. But please be kind to yourself. Do not ‘should’ on yourself ever. We are not broken people. EFT, self love, acceptance and allowing work wonders. Sometimes I wonder if all that shit like: IBS, Anxiety, Panic, fear etc, are all just pent up emotions or experiences trying to tell us something. It’s all fear based. Trying to protect us from something (real or in our mind). So during EFT, I thank my anxiety, thank you for trying to protect me. Then, while tapping, I tell it I/we are safe now, and we can handle this and do not need protecting. I am not perfect, but I will never stop trying to learn, improve myself or love myself more than I do now.

 

Thanks for reading!

Gratitude and your Brain

bigstock_gratitude_22724237Nowadays you hear about gratitude everywhere. Be grateful, stay grateful no matter what, even during trying times. This can be difficult to say the least.
I had an insight about this while laying in bed the other night.

I recently discovered Dr Joe Dispenza (see my post here), and found him so insightful and refreshing. He talks a lot about our emotional patterns, and how our body learns and adapts to them. And ultimately craves what has been familiar. It reminded me of gratitude.

We can always find things to be grateful for. Sometimes hearing that would annoy me, like, ‘Yeah yeah I am grateful I have arms and legs, I get it.’ But it’s actually so much more than that. There have been studies that show being grateful actually changes your brain. It is always a good idea to make gratitude lists, and see how much you have to be grateful for.  I do this often, especially if I am feeling down or stressed and to see how far I’ve come. Looking back over my past, I have come a lot further than it feels like at times.

But the reason for this post is if we are constantly ungrateful, then no matter what great circumstances come, our brains will be ‘wired’ to not be grateful. Our brains have unconscious patterns that it learns and gets used to. So it’s not only important to stay grateful to feel a little better, but also so we don’t get stuck in unconscious patterns, so when good stuff does come our way, we can appreciate it.

One last thing. There will always be contrast in your life. For instance, if you have financial lack right now, you may be worried about money. If you win the lottery tomorrow, you may worry about having too much money. Life will always have contrast. We can find things to be grateful in any moment.

Some Of My Favorites

Here is a list of some of my favorite Authors/Teachers I have studied.

If anyone would like to hear more on a particular topic or person, please comment below!

Joel Osteen

Cynthia Stafford

Dr Joseph Murphy

Neville Goddard

Abraham Hicks

Dr Wayne Dyer

Lucinda Bassett

Eckhart Tolle

Helene Handsell

Carole Dore

Claude Bristol

Eddie Coronado

Wallace Wattles

Catherine Ponder

Dr Joe Dispenza

Dr Joe Dispenza

I recently discovered Dr Joe Dispenza.

I need to make a post about remarkable he is. Dr Joe is known for being in the movie: What the bleep do we know? Which was a documentary about quantum physics, and our thoughts, which I absolutely loved. (This was made in 2004).

Fast forward to 2016, during my Neville Goddard studies (which I am enthralled in), my brother sent me a link to a video of Dr Joe Dispenza. I didn’t even watch this at first because when I am studying an author or teacher, I have learned from experience that  I need to stick to one person/topic or I get off track.

Well, a few days later, he asked me about it, and I decided to watch it. It changed my world. I have always loved the spiritual aspect of change and the subconscious mind, but also had an innate fascination with the scientific facet too.

(Watch the first video I watched here).

What I love about Dr Joe are his scientific explanations. For me, studying Neville and Dr Joe, bring the spiritual and the scientific together. They are very different, but have the same message. Shut out the outside world (your senses – through meditation), and become pure consciousness. No person, no thing, no identity.

Neville talks about God being our consciousness, inside of us. Dr Joe has the exact same message; just through science and quantum physics. Dr Joe says, “If you want to change your life by thought alone, then you must become thought alone.” I absolutely LOVE that statement. It’s so true.

Quantum Physics is the science of the very small (subatomic/unseen). Where the regular laws of physics (relativity) apply to molecules and atoms, once down to the subatomic size, these laws no longer apply, and things get strange. Some call it the science of infinite possibilities. At this level, all matter is derived from pure light/energy.

Dr Joe basically talks about these possibilities and how these laws pertain to our minds. He believes we create our realities through our thoughts, and our desires are just thoughts away.

The one thing that Neville and Dr Joe have in common is they both agree it is mandatory to ‘shut the outside world out’ (or meditate) to have any real impact on your reality/life/desires.

What I love most about what Dr Joe has taught me, is some of our emotional reactions are just learned patterns that our body gets accustomed to: the chemical release. After a while, our bodies just unconsciously experience and then crave the same chemicals that it’s used to (positive or negative). I know, this sounds kind of crazy, but hear me out.

Think about when you can’t remember a phone number, so you look at a phone’s number pad and remember. How did you do that? Who did that? It wasn’t your brain. It was your body. Your body develops habits from repetition. Your body also adapts to certain chemical  (emotional) reactions. Think of a professional athlete. Their day to day life of physical actions and emotions are going to be different from the average person. The body adapts. The same goes for negative emotional experiences; the body adapts. It actually craves/looks for those same chemicals since that’s what it is used to running on. (This makes so much sense to me as to why things seem to keep reoccurring to me, or others around me).

Why this resonated so much with me, is I used to have IBS. And it just did not make sense. I used to have severe anxiety attacks as well, but never IBS. IBS developed out of nowhere one year, and I just felt in my heart something was wrong with me. (Not necessarily that I had some incurable disease because I don’t believe in that stuff); But that something was just not right. I would get very emotional, anxious and cry when my stomach was upset, then feel some strange relief when it was finally over.

When I heard from Dr Joe that our bodies can get used to certain emotions, even crave them, I had an AHA moment. Something was wrong with me! But I was not broken. My body was just so used to the anxiety, and negative emotional reactions. (I used to worry a great deal every time I got IBS that it was food poisoning or something else extreme). So after hearing Dr Joe say this, I thought to myself, I am not going to overreact, or panic at all.  I am just going to let it come and go. And you know what? I don’t even have IBS anymore! It was not easy, our bodies can even go into a withdrawal and push harder for those old, familiar emotions (like trying to worry me even more). What I would (and still) do is when I have a negative or anxious thought/emotion is, immediately replace it. For  instance, we all know what relief feels like, (sitting down in a comfy chair after a long day, or going on vacation etc) So just FEEL that emotion. Now I do that all day. Constantly, intentionally make myself feel relief and calm. Sigh out loud, or put a smile on my face (our subconscious takes mental pictures of our face). And I know my body is starting to want those feelings and emotions more. I have noticed a difference  in my level of worry and anxiety.

Dr Joe also says when we start to do this, and no longer react to the same old, negative emotional patterns, we are literally re-wiring our brains. Any time we even ponder a ‘what if’ thought, (like, what if I never had IBS again) we are activating our frontal lobe and actually creating new neural pathways! How exciting! And it makes so much sense.

Another thing I do is I am always conscious of my thoughts now. Every single one. Human beings have around 60,000 thoughts a day. What are the chances some of those are negative or the same old thought patterns? Pretty high. Watching my thoughts was eye opening. We get so used to routines and it becomes unconsciously automatic. Just having these intentions changes our brain chemistry. Dr Joe teaches seminars and has done many studies on human brains to back up these claims. I find it all so fascinating and empowering.

And having it coincide with my Neville/spiritual studies, hearing the same message, just proves to me I am on the right track.

Neville Goddard: Your Faith is your fortune

“MAN’S FAITH IN GOD IS MEASURED BY HIS CONFIDENCE IN HIMSELF.”

This is literally the very first sentence in the book. We were created in his image so this does make sense. But wow, I feel like I need to soak this in for a while… 

I am going to outline my favorite parts of this book, as I did with Neville’s Manifesting Miracles here

“Man does not command things to appear by his words, which are, more often than not, a confession of his doubts and fears.”

What does that say about affirmations? Interesting…

“Man cannot see how it would be possible to express that which he desires to be by so simple a law as acquiring the consciousness of the thing desired.”

I have come to know, after years and years of my own research and learning, that most things are much more simple than we believe them to be.

“The invitation of the scriptures, “To be absent from the body and be present with the Lord” [2Corinthians 5:8, 1Corinthians 5:3, Colossians 2:5], is not given to a select few; it is a sweeping call to all mankind. The body from which you are invited to escape is your present conception of yourself with all of its limitations, while the Lord with whom you are to be present is your awareness of being.”

“To accomplish this seemingly impossible feat, you take your attention away from your problem and place it upon just being. You say silently but feelingly, “I AM”. Do not condition this awareness but continue declaring quietly, “I AM – I AM”. Simply feel that you are faceless and formless and continue doing so until you feel yourself floating.”

This takes some practice. It is a form of deep meditation that has been around for a very long time. It is totally possible, just requires you to be able to sit alone, undisturbed. The term ‘floating’ is also used when describing sensory deprivation tanks. When all stimulus is removed, we are able to penetrate our subconscious mind; and really relax.

“Floating” is a psychological state which completely denies the physical. Through practice in relaxation and willfully refusing to react to sensory impressions, it is possible to develop a state of consciousness of pure receptivity. It is a surprisingly easy accomplishment. In this state of complete detachment, a definite singleness of purposeful thought can be indelibly engraved upon your unmodified consciousness. This state of consciousness is necessary for true meditation. This wonderful experience of rising and floating is the signal that you are absent from the body or problem and are now present with the Lord; in this expanded state you are not conscious of being anything but I AM – I AM; you are only conscious of being.”

“When this expansion of consciousness is attained, within this formless deep of yourself, give form to the new conception by claiming and feeling yourself to be that which you, before you entered into this state, desired to be. You will find that within this formless deep of yourself all things appear to be divinely possible. Anything that you sincerely feel yourself to be while in this expanded state becomes, in time, your natural expression.”

This above paragraph is paramount to me. Once again Neville definitively explains how to do something. He explains how to achieve ‘floating’. Then he also says once in this expansion, THEN decree your desire. Most people probably don’t go deep enough in their meditation, therefore never penetrating their subconscious mind.

“Now that the law of your being has been revealed to you, begin this day to change your world by revaluing yourself. Too long has man held to the belief that he is born of sorrow and must work out his salvation by the sweat of his brow. God is impersonal and no respecter of persons [Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11]. So long as man continues to walk in this belief of sorrow, so long will he walk. In a world of sorrow and confusion, for the world in its every detail is man’s consciousness crystallized.”

‘Revaluing yourself’. I love that. What value do you put on God? We are made in his image, and that same value should be put on ourselves. Also, most of us on some level believe we are unworthy or not good enough, and spend our entire lives trying to make up for it…’sweat of his brow’. We are worthy simply because we are here.

“You are told in the Book of Numbers that there was a time when men were in their own eyes as grasshoppers and because of this conception of themselves, they saw giants in the land. This is as true of man today as it was the day it was recorded. Man’s conception of himself is so grasshopper-like, that he automatically makes the conditions round about him appear gigantic; in his blindness he cries out for masters to help him fight his giant problems.”

What a concept. Imagine that? We make our problems bigger than they need to be. Worrying is accepting of current negative conditions. Putting faith into the wrong thing. Worry is not trusting God. Our problems do feel big, and we can certainly feel small. Knowing God is inside of us however, makes us a lot less small.

“You will never transcend your present accomplishments through sacrifice and struggle.”

Neville reminds us again. We are already worthy of our desires.

“The works are finished. All that is required of you to let these qualities into expression is the claim – I AM that. Claim yourself to be that which you desire to be and that you shall be.”

No explanation needed…

“Whom do you say that I AM?” [Matthew 16:15, Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20]. This is not a question asked two thousand years ago. It is the eternal question addressed to the manifestation by the conceiver. It is your true self, your awareness of being, asking you, its present conception of itself, “Who do you believe your awareness to be?” This answer can be defined only within yourself, regardless of the influence of another.”

How powerful. Who do you believe yourself to be? Who do you want to be? And ‘regardless of influence of another’ is saying no one can take away how you feel about you.

“Stop looking for signs. Signs follow; they do not precede. Begin to reverse the statement, “Seeing is believing”, to “Believing is seeing”. Start now to believe, not with the wavering confidence based on deceptive external evidence but with an undaunted confidence based on the immutable law that you can be that which you desire to be. You will find that you are not a victim of fate but a victim of faith (your own).”

I for one always looked for signs, as if to make sure I was on the right track. So much of what we knew is backwards. And to have confidence not based on external circumstances is not easy since what we see we believe to be real.

“All that is required of you is to believe. Believe your desires to be garments your savior wears. Your belief that you are now that which you desire to be is proof of your acceptance of life’s gifts. You have opened the door for your Lord, clothed in your desire, to enter the moment you establish this belief.”

This really resonates with me. Everywhere in the bible, it says we are supposed to live a life filled with abundance. ‘Acceptance of life’s gifts’… we are not supposed to struggle.

“No man has faith in God who lacks confidence in himself. Your faith in God is measured by your confidence in yourself. “I and My Father are one” [John 10:30], man and his God are one, consciousness and manifestation are one.”

This is profound. Lacking confidence in ourselves is lacking faith in God. This rings so true for me. God made us in his image. To put ourselves down is like putting God (his creations) down.

“When this belief is so firmly established that you feel confident of results, your desire will embody itself. How it will be done, no man knows. I, your desire, have ways ye know not of [John 4:32]; my ways are past finding out [Romans 11:33]. Your desire can be likened to a seed, and seeds contain within themselves both the power and the plan of self-expression. Your consciousness is the soil. These seeds are successfully planted only if, after you have claimed yourself to be and to have that which you desire, you confidently await results without an anxious thought.”

“To be conscious of being or possessing anything is to be or have that which you are conscious of being or possessing. Therefore, lift yourself to the consciousness of your desire and you will see it automatically outpicture itself. To do this, you must deny your present identity. “Let him deny himself” [Mark 8:34]. You deny a thing by taking your attention away from it. To drop a thing, problem or ego from consciousness, you dwell upon God – God being I AM.”

I believe Neville is talking about meditating. To ‘deny your present identity’ can only be done with you can shut out your senses (meditating). Dwelling upon ‘I AM’ is pure consciousness, while meditating. He also gives us a clue how to do this: To drop a problem, dwell upon God – I AM. (Being present).

“Close your eyes and feel yourself to be faceless, formless and without figure. Approach this stillness as though it were the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. This attitude will assure your success.”

This is a huge key here. ‘Approach this as though it were the easiest thing in the world’. We’re always trying to meditate and reach that state of consciousness, what if we acted like it was easy? What if we acted like all of this was easy?

“The moment you reach a certain degree of intensity so that you actually feel yourself to be a new conception, this new feeling or consciousness is established and in due time will personify itself in the world of form.”

Again, this is from meditation. And not just once, this must be practiced.

“Let me clarify what I mean by effective command. You do not repeat like a parrot the statement, “I AM that I AM”; such vain repetition would be both stupid and fruitless.It is not the words that make it effective; it is the consciousness of being the thing which makes it effective.”

Here we go again. Many, (including myself) would repeat affirmations until we were blue in the face. Its got to have feeling behind it. Although, I am all for ‘fake it until you make it’. If repeating affirmations, sounding like a parrot helps you disassociate from your old thought patterns, then by all means. I know I’ve done it.

“Repeat quietly but with feeling, “I AM – I AM”, until you have lost all consciousness of the world and know yourself just as being. Awareness, the knowing that you are, is Almighty God; I AM. After this is accomplished, define yourself as that which you desire to be by feeling yourself to be the thing desired: I AM that. This understanding that you are the thing desired will cause a thrill to course through your entire being. When the conviction is established and you really believe that you are that which you desired to be, then the second “I AM” is uttered as a cry of victory. This mystical revelation of Moses can be seen as three distinct steps: I AM; I AM free; I really AM!”

Nice big clue here, to know if you’re on the right track during meditations.

“Here is a simple formula. Take your attention from your present conception of yourself and place it on that ideal of yours, the ideal you had heretofore thought beyond your reach. Claim yourself to be your ideal, not as something that you will be in time, but as that which you are in the immediate present.”

At first I was like, how TF do I do that? But it’s easy to think of what you are not happy with in the present. So think of those things, and just reverse it, for example, I am fat, anxious, say I am skinny and calm.

“Can you, in the face of the army of reasons why a thing cannot be done, quietly enter into an agreement with the Lord that it is done?

Can you, now that you have found the Lord to be your awareness of being, become aware that the battle is won?

Can you, no matter how near and threatening the enemy seems to be, continue in your confidence, standing still, knowing that the victory is yours?”

It is said in neuroscience, even pondering things like this, activates the frontal lobe of the brain and starts creating new neural pathways.

“Here is an analogy that might help you to see this mystery:

Suppose you entered a motion-picture theatre just as the feature picture came to its end. All that you saw of the picture was the happy-ending. Because you wanted to see the entire story, you waited for it to unfold again. With the anti-climactic sequence, the hero is displayed as accused, surrounded by false evidence, and all that goes to wring tears from the audience. But, you, secure in the knowledge of the ending, remain calm with the understanding that, regardless of the seeming direction of the picture, the end has already been defined.

In like manner, go to the end of that which you seek; witness the happy end of it by consciously feeling you express and possess that which you desire to express and possess; and you, through faith, already understanding the end, will have confidence born of this knowledge.”

What an incredible analogy.

“Man feels so secure in his man-made laws, opinions and beliefs that he invests them with an authority they do not possess. Satisfied that his knowledge is all, he remains unaware that all outward appearances are but states of mind externalized.”

There are a lot of things we automatically believe as fact or law. This is where quantum physics comes into play as well. (I will get into that in another article).

“It might take a moment or a year – it is entirely dependent upon the degree of conviction. As doubts vanish and you can feel “I AM this”, you begin to develop the fruit or the nature of the thing you are feeling yourself to be. When a person buys a new hat or pair of shoes, he thinks everyone knows that they are new. He feels unnatural with his newly acquired apparel until it becomes a part of him. The same applies to the wearing of the new states of consciousness.When you ask yourself the question, “How would I feel if my desire were at this moment realized?” the automatic reply, until it is properly conditioned by time and use, is actually disturbing.”

I love this. ‘A moment or a year’. It does not have to take long. And I love the analogy of the new shoes, because it does feel unnatural. Asking how it would feel is disturbing is interesting too. It’s because you are going against how you have felt your whole life. This is such a different concept to what we’ve been told or learned.

“Your problem might have you so hypnotized by its seeming reality and naturalness that you find it difficult to wear the new feeling or consciousness”

The reason this can be is our mind-body can become addicted to the chemical reactions it produces (even negative). So when we try to introduce new feelings and emotions, our mind-body’s will tell us to go back to our old ways because it’s familiar and easier. Just like when you decide to exercise and your mind says, ‘start tomorrow’.

“The faith of the undisciplined man cannot really be called faith. For if the armies, medicines or wisdom of man in which his faith is placed be taken from him, his faith and courage go with it. But from the disciplined one the whole world could be taken and yet he would remain faithful in the knowledge that the state of consciousness in which he abides must in due season embody itself.”

This is great. It’s saying faith needs to be unshaken. No matter the evidence.

“Stand still in the psychological state defined as your objective until you feel the thrill of Victory. Then, with confidence born of the knowledge of this law, watch the physical realization of your objective… Set yourself, stand still and watch the salvation of the Law with you…”

 

This book was really wonderful and I highly recommend anyone reading it. We just need to get into the state we are looking for, and give thanks as if we already have our desire. Think FROM our desired state; not OF it. ❤

 

 

Badger: A Canine Love Story

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Badger at 6 weeks

I just realized I have not made a post in a long time!

Meet Badger, the Australian Shepherd. He was born on 3/3/12, and I met/fell in love with him two weeks later. He is the best friend I could ever ask for. The most fun, loving part of my life! He is more than a pet, he is family. I refer to him as my son.

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Badger and Momma

When I have a day that is not so great, he is always there for me. With the biggest smile on his face! My Fiance and I have a love for drag racing, and Badger has been going to the track with us since he was 8 weeks old, he loves it 🙂

He is a perfect addition to our family & I do not know what I would do without him!

I have had a couple dogs in my lifetime, but none compare to Badger.

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Badger, at the track

Your Illusionary Past – Garret Kramer

This article is incredible. Taken from: http://garretkramer.com

Can your behavior become habitual? Yes. Can a habitual behavior originate from your past? Definitely. If you are struggling now, should you look to your past as the reason why you feel the way you feel, and for the cure? In my opinion, not for a second.

Indeed, the self-help world strongly disagrees. Virtually all therapists, life coaches, and counselors believe, and have been trained to believe, that conquering former traumas is the key to overcoming current difficulties. One famous self-help professional recently insisted, “The key to finding the truth is to go back to the past, to those haunting times, and resolving former traumas.” Oh boy, where do I begin?

Let’s try simplicity. If people delve into their past in order to explain or fix their current troubles, then they seek answers in the same misinformation that created the troubles in the first place. Or as Sydney Banks once said, “Going back to a troubled past is like putting your hand in a burning fire, pulling it out because it hurt, and then saying, ‘I think I’ll put my hand back in again’.”

The past no longer exists. Why do so many of us look to the past to explain our present troubles?

In short, the past is merely a memory carried through time, a thought. And like all thoughts, the past is not real. So if you attempt to solve your problems in this illusion, you’ll pretty much spin your wheels. As a personal example, for years I couldn’t figure out why at times I lamented my childhood, poor me; yet at other times, I relished it, lucky me. Same childhood, so why did I look at it in such dissimilar ways?

Then, one day I realized that my perception of my past was solely the result of the quality of my thinking and state of mind—which are always changing. Thus, it made no sense to look to my childhood as a concrete circumstance that had the ability to bring me down.

In other words, if I thought about my past one day and it made me miserable, and I thought about my past another day and it made me smile, it had to be something inside of me (my thinking) that was causing my despair or happiness. The past had nothing to do with it.

Your perception of your past is always changing. When you feel down, your past is problematic. When you feel up, your past makes sense.

Now, to be fair, I’m not saying that there are never times when a therapist takes a client back to a former ordeal and the client then finds clarity and feels more at ease. What I’m saying is that when this happens, going back to the past is not the reason. If the client’s thought system and level of consciousness are on the upswing at that moment, he or she will find tranquility no matter what the therapist suggests.

Here’s the bottom line about the past: If it had the ability to lead people to despair, then different individuals who experienced the same traumas would all be suffering now. Plus, your past misfortunes would affect you in the same way at all times. Of course, neither is the case.

To me, the self-help world needs to consider the negative impact of taking a person back to former low states of mind. It energizes and perpetuates suffering. Instead, let’s teach people that they perceive the past from the inside out; that the quality of their thinking and state of mind in the moment create all of their perceptions, including their perceptions of the past. Remember, challenging thoughts about your own life history will occur, but you don’t have to do anything about them—they are illusions—left alone they’ll wither away in no time.

Excellent Points

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

We perceive the world in a particular way and confidently expect it to conform to its appearance. But we fail to recognize that certain aspects of the ‘reality’ that appear to us are nothing but figments of our own imagination. In this confusion a conflict ensues between the world as it is and the world as we believe it to be. And the more we insist on our infallibility, the more frustrated we become as the actual world again and again stubbornly refuses to live up to our expectations.Stephen Batchelor from Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism

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