Living a Purpose-Filled Life: A Six Part Series - Part 4
Reaching Back to Bring Healing Forward
It is this chapter that we reach back into the past and create healing for ourselves today.
Foundation of Thoughts
Experience – interpretation – self-assessment – belief – reality – experience; this is the simple evolutionary track of self.
“So long as the winds of thought continue to disturb the water of our Self-nature, we cannot distinguish truth from untruth. It is imperative, therefore, that these winds be stilled. Once they abate, the waves subside, the muddiness clears, and we perceive directly that the moon of truth as never ceased shining.” (Philip Kapleau, The Three Pillars of Zen, 30)
Experience is the foundation of thought and beliefs are built on what we have experienced as children. Psychologists know this all to well – that our childhood experiences are the originators, the primordial beginnings of the beliefs and thoughts we will hold onto and build our lives around in the years to come. In his book “Narcissism, Denial of the True Self”, Alexander Lowen, M.D. succinctly articulates the outworking of the inner mind. “My work with alcoholics has convinced me that when the inner pain is eliminated, the dependence on alcohol disappears.” (203) Although Lowen’s writing specifically regarding the disorder of narcissism, the underlying truth behind so many manifestations of a troubled mind have the same origin – the family, childhood, abuse of authority by caregivers and, a skewed version of self, experientially formed.
In short, what we saw, heard, felt, experienced as children became the stuff our belief system was made of. And the things I believed to be true were where thoughts were birthed from, and thoughts created realty – what has currently and molecularly congealed to become our lives.
Some Science on the Matter:
How thought changes externalities
There is a lot to be said about how what we see as our reality is formed. Quantum physicists are just now touching on what they have discovered to be the essential energy from which all molecules are formed. Greg Braden’s book “The Divine Matrix” helps us to understand the science behind our creation of reality; that our world is not just something we observe, but are actual participants in its creation. He quotes the famous Princeton Physicist, John Wheeler as saying, “We had this old idea that there was a universe out there and here is man, the observer, safely protected from the universe by a six inch slab of plate glass. Now we learn from the quantum world that even to observe so miniscule an object as an electron we have to shatter the plate glass: we have to reach in there. . . .So the old word “observer” simply has to be crossed off the books, and we must put in the new word “participator”.” (xi).
Quantum physicists have discovered that a particle of matter could act as a wave and a solid. When a particle was shot at a wall with two slits in it, the particle became a wave and passed through both openings and then became a particle again on the other side. What collapsed the wave into a particle again was the observation of the observer. Conclusion: As observers of particle, we decide by our simple act of observing, what the wave will become when collapsed into a solid particle again. So, the possibilities of the particle are fluid and many, but the resulting state of the particle is our doing.
Wanting to keep this writing simple and uncomplicated, I have decided not to delve into quantum physics any further than that. I, like others, have a hard time wrapping my mind fullyaround quantum physics/mechanics. Suffice to say, what scientist are now saying that the essence of all creation, – you, me, the trees, rocks, mountains, the universe and beyond, all known and unknown - is all formed from the same material. What that is in its most elemental form has yet to be uncovered, but for now, science is beginning to agree with the ancients that it is all the same stuff. What is also coming from quantum physics experimentation is the notion that consciousness – our conscious acting against pure energy – is creating our reality. A good thought to hold as we continue to talk about the re-creation our lives through embracing new thought that lead to wellness.
How thought changes internalities
“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character and man is their maker and master.” (As A Man Thinketh, James Allen)
Experience will produce thoughts that can be distilled down into two essences: fear and love. As written in the chapter before, we are either thinking from a foundation of fear or of love. Fear based thought produces anger, hatred, discontent, anxiety, worry, physical pain and sickness, and flight or fight biological and emotional responses. Destructive fear based thought is often associated with thoughts rooted in the past (what has happened) or in the future (what might happen) but rarely, if ever, does fear manifest in present-moment thinking. There are, however, instances where an immediate danger arises and our fear instinctually motivates us to fight or flight, but these moments are rare. Mostly, we frighten ourselves with what might happen (future thinking) or what has happened (past thinking). Many of our fears have their genesis in our childhood, and we have built upon these over the years, strengthening our minds ability to reproduce our fears through continuing thought in our present reality.
Candice Pert, a Ph. D and Research Professor with the department of Physiology and Biophysics at GeorgetownUniversityMedicalCenter, wrote her book, “Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind –Body Medicine” an explanation for why we feel the way we feel. Candice believes that our mind “. . . as we experience is immaterial, yet has a physical substrate, which is both the body and the brain. The mind, then, is . . . linking and coordinating the major systems and their organs and cells. . . Thus, we might refer to the whole system as a psychosomatic information network, linking . . . mind, emotion, and soul, to soma, which is the material world of molecules, cells, and organs.” (185). Our bodies and minds, seemingly separate worlds of the seen and the unseen, are an interconnected system and, what occurs in the mind has a direct effect on the biology of our bodies. She also believes that the mind, an intangible object, is not located in one place, like the brain, but is better reflected in the term bodymind (first coined by Dianne Connelly and derived from Chinese medicine) which illustrates . . . “that the body is inseparable from the mind.” (187); that emotion plays a very important role in our biology.
Remembering that our mind, which can exhibit illness in the form of blocked energy caused by thoughts, does not only dwell in our brains but in our entire selves (body and brain) can help us to understand the effect the mind can have on holistic health. If our minds are not in balance – we have emotional sickness (otherwise known as soul sickness) – our bodies will begin to exhibit the outworking of that sickness in the form of symptoms. The mind/soul can be looked at as the roots of a tree, and the trunk is our thoughts, and the branches, the body. The fruit we bare in life is the outworking of healthy or unhealthy roots, AKA the interpretation of self brought by experience. The roots produce a tree/thoughts. They, in turn, produce the works we do; our actions. And, our actions create our current reality, Circling back to the beginning, our reality confirms our interpretations of self, and the cycle begins again. So, if life/fruit is not the way we want it to be, treating the visible part of the tree, the trunk and branches by taking pills, getting surgery etc. is akin to pruning and, as we know, pruning just produces more fruit; stonger fruit. Addressing the root, or ever better, the soil quality/the spirit (we’ll talk in depth about this in the last chapter), will assure the fruit is of better quality. Not a quick gratification solution but much better in the long run as it assures we will have complete healing and not just a bandage solution on deeper issues.
Certain thoughts, Candice tells us, triggers certain brain function and the release of chemicals that have a direct effect on our bodies. Imagine, living under the constant tension of a fight or flight scenario for, lets say 30 years. What effect can this have on the health of the body? And, oddly but true, most of us do live under very stressful conditions that precipitate a biological fight or flight response, for several hours, for several days, for several years; sometimes all our lives. In this condition there is no room for forward thinking that can bring growth and healing. There is only room for survival, and conversely, this kind of life will almost certainly cut short life. Survival mode shortens our survival.
Your Body Reacts to Stress . . .
Back in 2001, I was travelling with a group of Christian missionaries to Nepal to “Spread the Gospel”. It was a difficult time for me as I didn’t share entirely in the purposes of the mission. We were going under the guise of collecting ethnographic information but would later compile this to use to create effective ways of converting the people to Christianity. I felt we were going to put people in harms way if we convinced them that our God was better than the 300 million they served. It was possible that families would reject (perhaps even kill) new converts. Being a nation of strong Maoist ideology, and having a great majority of Maoists in Government, it was also possible that these converts would be killed or at the minimum, have their meager homes pulled down one mud brick at a time. Many instances of murder and destruction of property had occurred in the past in clashes between Maoists and Christians in Nepal. I felt that there must be a better way to serve these people than the plan that was in place.
On top of this conflict, I was at odds with the leader of the group. I found out later, that my feelings of being “left out” of the group were produced from a rumour circulating among them about me, started by this leader. Even now, as I think about it now, my stress heightens. Eventually I was exonerated, but the stress surrounding the event landed me straight in the hospital when I returned to Canada.
Within a week after arriving home, I awoke one night to, what I can only describe as a complete shutting down of my body. My stomach ached fiercely and when I tried to get out of bed my legs gave out underneath me. I scrabbled to get to the bathroom just barely containing the vomit and diarrhea – both unfortunately arrived simultaneously. The pain in my stomach was so excruciating I found breathing difficult. I thought I was going to dying. I couldn’t move from the bathroom floor, had wet my pajamas from the violent vomiting, and had lost the ability to think clearly. My son called the ambulance and I was taken to the hospital. The Doctor whom I saw could not explain what had happened and, as the long hours wore on, I slowly recovered and was eventually sent home.
This wasn’t the only time I was to have this reaction to this missions organization I was part of. I would have an identical attack again after another trip to India. Only this time, in the hospital, I was attended to by a visiting Doctor who knew exactly what was happening to me. He took my temperature and told me that it was extremely low. He took a blood test and saw that my white blood cal count was elevated. He then explained it to me this way: “Your body reacts to stress like it does to a major infection.” During times of extreme stress, our white blood cell count rises, our temperature will drop or rise, and we will feel very ill. He asked what I was stressed about. We both knew then, that my life had to change both drastically and immediately. I left the organization. Shortly afterwards, all the leadership was expelled and the Originator of the organization (the man who had the vision in the 70’s and began to build the missions group) came back to take up the reins. He and his wife singlehandedly snatched the doomed endeavor back from a state of rigid, concretized institutionalization that was suffocating growth and contributing to its demise. They have returned to their former vales and have re-established new leadership.
Living incongruently means not being authentic to one’s own values, and this kind of living is very damaging. Part of the problem associated with correcting an incongruent life is not identifying our authenticity; not knowing ourselves and therefore being true to one’s self. The other part deals with not trusting our values and choices.
Let’s come back for a moment to that original quote by Buddha:
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought”
There is more to that quote that is not often attached but it serves us to include it here:
'If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."
It is not difficult to understand, from what has been emerging from science, plus the wisdom from ancient literature, that if we want to find healing for our bodies we must begin with healing our minds – in particular, our thoughts.
How to Heal Thoughts
The student asked his Master “Master, how do I know I am practicing the technique correctly?” The Master replied, “Because it is effective.” (Hapkido student)
So much of what we think is involuntary. These unconscious thoughts, if of a negative nature, can be most damaging. Thought that has been entrenched I our lives in such a way that we are unaware of it, is perpetuated through recycled action and experience. “Why does this keep happening to me?” is a common complaint stemming from unconscious thought patterns. Or, “Why can’t I break this cycle of poverty (bad relationships, dead-end jobs, car accidents, ill health . . .).” is another indicator of unconscious, recycled thought needing exposure. Like mining our own minds, we must trace thoughts back to their origin; understanding what the original experience that we made an interpretation of that a belief system was build upon, that is generating our reality. From there, we can re-create a new interpretation, or scrap it all together. This is the way we change our present reality.
The most simplistic way to determine unwanted beliefs is to examine our present life. Things about our life that we like, we need to bother with the origins, but things that seem to stand in our way of happiness or positive results are what we are addressing here. Our past is seeded with the answers to our present lie circumstances. All that we need to have he life we dream of; to have the healing we so desire; to be happy, rests with us.
Our emotions are our gifts for healing. As our bodies will show signs of an incongruent life through the production of illness and pain, our minds give off similar symptoms in the form of emotions. Emotions are generated from thoughts, and, as we have previously stated, thought are birthed from the interpretation of an experience. Emotions are simply the re-telling of a previously interpreted experience.
Emotions centered on love are birthed from the interpretation of experience that produces positive results for life. For example: If as a child you were encouraged to explore your world; you were told that the world is a loving gift for you, and were let alone as you took the time to explore every whim of your fancy – touch and pick apart flowers, lay in the sand naked, pee on the grass, wade into a September ocean, handle a slug (things that might be typically socially frowned upon as the desires of a child’s mind), and you were allowed this freedom with encouragement and patients and without interference from a caregiver – no one to yell at you, hurry you along to the next destination, or frown or say “Yucky, put that down!” or say “no, don’t touch”, or in some way show displeasure at your pleasure, then you would be free to make an interpretation of your world; your planet, that would produce a love of nature, a love of life, a connection to all things and the feeling that God loves you and gave you these beautiful things to look at, touch, have, hold. Your overall interpretation would be that you are loved. From an interpretation of being loves, comes the interpretation that others are worthy of love – your love – and that you are worthy of the love of others, self and God. This action re-enforced several times, in several different experiences, would only re-enforce your feelings of self-worth. Unfortunately, this is not the norm in our society.
Most parents give what they have received to their children. We are products of family socialization; therefore we pass along to our children the negative interpretations we have made. If, for example, as a little girl, you were told that the women and men seen in magazines and on TV were “beautiful people”, you may make the interpretation that beauty is objective – that beauty is about being thin, blond, wealthy, muscular, young, fine skinned (white), with youthful, perky breast, long legs and so on. If you lacked any of these qualities, the belief you hold about beauty would predispose you to think that you were not as beautiful. If you lacked most of these media born qualities, you may even tell yourself you’re not beautiful at all, and that perhaps plastic surgery or new cloths or even a home in California would improve your “beauty.
Interpretation is everything; it is the key to the development of our present day lives and it where we will track back to historically to make change. After we have made new interpretations of the experiences in the past, current reality has no choice but to follow suit and line up with the new interpretations we are making about ourselves and our lives.
Tracing Thought to Their Origins: The Gift of Judging
“From the ancient Indian Vedas . . . to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a general theme seems to suggest that the world is actually the mirror of things that are happening on a higher realm or in a deeper reality” (Greg Braden writes, “The Divine Matrix”)
To trace a thought is relatively easy. If, as we discussed above, realty (what your life looks like now) is the result of your thoughts, then taking a small bite of reality and dissecting it can give us the source of the thought and a format for further uncovering.
I learned this simple process over twelve years ago. The following will give a gross overview and an example. Then I’ll give the steps and then detail each step. This is a circular process that naturally takes us back to where we began but, with a healed mind.
Certain emotions are indicators of ill mental health. Anger is the most notable one but al negative, harmful emotions like anger, are birthed from fear. Because fear is not as easily recognized, we’ll use the most visible announcement of energy blocked in the mind – anger.
My husband is an entrepreneur. He is very good at starting new endeavors and is very successful at seeing them through to the end. He recently began a website business devoted to Qigong (from which this work takes flight also).
One morning, after practicing my qigong, I came to him with what I thought was a really good idea. I rattled off my promotional idea for corporations to get their people to try qigong in the hopes that they would improve the quality of life in the work place. My idea involved giving the participants a voucher towards a discounted download on our website. I reasoned that this would help them to feel valued plus draw people to the site to discover more about qigong benefits. I thought it to be good marketing. My husband, on the other hand felt differently and we slowly, but surely, began to bang heads on semantics. Essentially we shared the idea as a productive one but differed on the presentation, as well as to whether it fit Onlineqigong’s core values. Tempers began too flare over the subject and soon we both began to withdraw from one another. Really, it had nothing to do with the subject matter but presented an opportune mirror moment for self-discovery, masked as something else - anger.
I could feel myself becoming angry at my husband, and instantly, a transference too place (my husband became the representation of my father. I explain this in more detail below). From the root of fear, the anger, and many other familiar branches grew – resentment, hatred, and the desire to run away. I became resolved to win – to prove my point and fight him on trivial semantic issues, all the while knowing that, none of this was really about what was happening in reality, but rather what had happened to me as a child. I had to remove myself from the room and took a time-out with a shower.
In the shower I thought. I thought about being more self-regulating (another tem I’ll expand upon below) and how I could take this situation and use it for good – to help me in my uncovering of false beliefs that were damaging my life. I took the first step of drawing back to myself responsibility for my thinking and feeling. I knew, rationally, that my husband was not he cause of my anger, I was. Pictures then began to emerge from my childhood. I saw my father hitting me, kicking me, yelling at me. As an onlooker, watching this scene from the past happen as though I were separate from it, as an over-viewer/observer, I could see how that little girl may have internalized the belief that she was not very valuable. She was being treated more like a piece of property or a disliked animal than a valuable, loved and respected human being.
It was not hard to see how the little girl could, from this experience with her father, draw conclusions that she was not as valuable as her father; how she could begin to believe in her value after having received re-enforcement in the form of subsequent hurtful experiences.
A new belief system was being formed during my childhood; an unconscious belief gone unchecked that I would build on for the rest of my life – the belief that I was not as valuable as my parents, or anyone else.
In my shower, still taking my time-out, letting the hot water run over my back, I saw another truth. It was not that I had been born with this belief, though according to research some of our genetic grey matter makeup is passed on generationally from our parents QUOTE DISPENZA, but rather, I was adopting my father’s belief system. In his childhood, and through his experiences, he believed that he was not valuable. My father was born in 1935 during a trying economical time in Canada, post depression. His father, on the pretense of looking for work, travelled two provinces over west, to the coast, leaving his wife and five children to fend for themselves. My grandfather never returned for his young family (my father the youngest and about six when he was abandoned). After a certain length of time had passed, his uncle packed my grandmother (his sister) and all the children in a car and took them several hundred kilometers west to where my grandfather was. There they discovered he had taken a girlfriend and had no intention of ever returning for my father, his mother and siblings. From this traumatic experience, it is not difficult to see how my father could have formed the belief that he was not very valuable – that somehow there were other humans on the planet – like his father and this new girlfriend – who were more important, more valuable, more worthy, than himself.
So, what I was experiencing as a child was just the generational consequence of my father’s beliefs. He did not attached value to himself through his interpretation of this event in his childhood, and he was teaching me, albeit through his repressed anger, that I too was not as valuable as he was. He had developed an internal caste system where there were those better than him (the ghostly images of his father) and those worse than him (children like he was when he made the interpretation and me, the reflection of him). Needless to say, he did not see us all as equally valuable and this was reflected in his behavior.
Looking into myself and into my childhood as the source of my healing, brought the empowerment I needed to take responsibility for what I had created – a false belief about myself and my world. Looking into my father’s life created compassion in my heart for a man who as a child had suffered as I had.
Stepping out of the shower . . .
My husband, the person I had chosen to be not only my partner, but unconsciously, the mirror into my soul, had suffered like my father had. I chose him. This is important to know. We choose the people to be in our circle of influence – unconsciously - to help us identify many different intangible things within us. They are the mirrors of our soul. Even the events of the day are mirrors into our deepest selves but, especially our spouses and secondly, our children. The people we are the closest to (our families), the ones we trigger our anger and happiness with the most often, are there our gift for growth. Regardless of what we want to think – that they are just there to make us completely mad – they are the gift for insight.
My husband’s childhood was similar to my father’s. At two years old, during a road trip one province over, my husband, his six siblings and his parents were all struck by a drunk driver from Germany. Everyone was thrown from the vehicle. Both parents were killed instantly but, miraculously, and with few physical injuries, all the children lived.
They were adopted by a couple who were family friends. It was told to my husband that this arrangement – to have this couple take on the children should anything happen – was a recent agreement between his parents and these friends. It was made in a bar over a few drinks between friends prior to a previous trip my husband’s parents were taking to Florida without the children. How could they have known that they would die and that all there children would come to live in the care of these friends. The problem, however, was that these friends were not healthy caregivers. They had never had any children of their own and were dysfunctional, abusive, absent. After about a year, the children were split up and send to other relatives. My husband, his brother and youngest sister remained behind to be abused by the couple in various ways. Eventually, my husband’s sister committed suicide, his brother became an alcoholic -living along side the river to this day - and my husband a philanderer who destroyed his first marriage. The other children who were sent away have reasonably productive, happy lives. They live together in a small community in Northern British Columbia and are very supportive o each other. Out of all the children who survived this accident and the subsequent year with abusive step-parents, only three would ever have children – including the sister that committed suicide, and my husband.
The events in my husband’s childhood caused the same suffering my father had endured and the same suffering I would endure. We all lacked a solid sense of self-worth stemming from the absence of real love. He, being abandoned early in his childhood, very much like my father had, became the mirror I pulled into my life to help uncover my own issues with value.
Back to the shower: I now saw the connection. I allow it to come to me, unforced through pictures of my past, and of my father’s and husband’s pasts. I welcome it. I digest it, and fit it into my current reality as a truth, albeit, one that is not serving me very well. I saw my own beliefs about my value that I had formed from other past experiences, and I acknowledge these truths. I readied myself to return to the past and create a new truth surrounding the experiences.
I return to time when I could see, in my mind’s eye, my father’s angry face; I heard again his hurtful words and saw myself cringe under his blows. I could now translate that angry face into a fearful face. He was afraid. What was he afraid of? To answer this, I ask myself what is it that I am afraid of. When my anger rises because I interpret that I am not valuable, the underlying fear is one of being unloved, not loveable. I am not loved, is what I tell myself. I am not loveable. I translate this further into, I am not worthy of love and, I do not love myself.
Returning to the primal scene with my father, I now make a new interpretation that sounds something like this: My father did not feel loved. He did not love himself. He could not teach me to love myself. He gave me a generational belief that we, he and I, and perhaps, in his mind, all humans are not worthy of love. How sad the thought that my father may never feel a complete, true, honest love for himself or others. I felt my compassion for this man who once was a small boy, who lost his father to the same soul-sickness, who made the same interpretation of being unlovable. And I cried for a life that may never know the truth of how much he is loved and how truly valuable he is
His lack of self and other-love is not my truth now. Despite his abuse, I am loveable, I am worthy, I am perfectly created, I am beautiful, and I have tremendous worth to myself, to the world, and to God himself.
Steps to Freedom
Below are the steps to this freedom in detail. Practicing them will increase your understanding of self and your authenticity. You will get to know yourself better and learn the beauty of being the unique person you are; lovingly created and purposefully made QUOTE: WE ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE AND
GOD SAYS “I KNOW THE THOUGHTS I THINK TOWARD YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE.
- Identify what you are triggering yourself.
- Signs of an internal emotional/mind illness are anger, fear, rage, resentment, unforgiveness.
- Once one feels the welling up of these emotions, it is a good time to embrace them (own them, acknowledge them) and begin to trace them to their origins
Identify what the judgment is. In Alcoholics Anonymous they have a simple saying: “You spot it, you got it”
- What is it you are angry about?
- What did you see in the other that made you mad? Was it that you felt they devalued you (this is a typical judgment)? Did they treat you in a way that said they didn’t care about you?
- In a biblical text it is written “Judge not lest you be judged.” What we see in the other (judged both good and bad) we ourselves possess.
- Uncover it in yourself – eyes off the other because the other is only a mirro
- Judging others opens a window into our soul. It is a gift of insight. If we can point a finger and blame the other for the way we are thinking and feeling, then what we are blaming them for is the crux of our problem. For example: You’re so selfish!” I am so selfish. Now to trace why we are selfish. What are we afraid of? What has the fear birthed? Every negative emotion can be traced back to FEAR.
- Own it
- Simpler said than done. Owning it means to take our eyes off the mirror – the other that we judged – and putting them squarely on ourselves as the source of the problem.
- The mirror is not to be blamed if we find ourselves unattractive as we look at our own reflection in it. This is the same; the other is just mirroring a deep unconscious fear-based problem that is doing us a great disservice.
- Owning the judgment means being more aware of the fallacies of being a victim. The other is not “doing it to us”; he/she is mirroring to us what is in the depths of our own soul.
- Imaging that your are pulling in all tentacles – like an octopus pulling into its body all eight tentacles. The tentacles are blame and, as long as we can blame others for the way we think and feel, we are operating from a place of powerlessness – someone else is controlling our behavior. This is a treacherous lie. It is also shirking on our responsibility. We are not controlled by others. We simply allow others to control us or blame them for our behavior when we are too afraid to take the reins of our life and lead ourselves. We are in control. No one can cause us to feel, or be anything we do not want to feel or be. We are doing it to ourselves. This is hard to grasp but true: You have become your own abuser. You have taken the place of the abusive caregiver and are now perpetuating the pain by self-abusing. It can stop when you decide to stop blaming and take full responsibility for your life. When I took full responsibility, I could feel the power of possibility surging through my body. I now knew that I could change my life into anything I desired. This had true power for change
Identify it in your caregiver
- Tracing the source of the judgment means going back into childhood where it all began
- Our parents/caregivers had the same anger issues we are feeling. They innocently transmitted it into our lives as something generational that traveled down the family lines. If it were possible, seeing the original source of the interpreted experience would be tantamount to complete healing. I have my theory about this and will talk further in the last part of this book “The Spirit”.
- They judged us in exactly the same way we are now judging others. An example: I am angry with my neighbour because he didn’t pick up the dog crap his pup left on my lawn. I judge that he didn’t care about me and my things – he is selfish. I look to myself to see that I don’t value others as equal to myself (and I also don’t value myself as equal to others). I look into my past to see where this could be in my father’s or mother’s life. Perhaps when he hit me, I made the interpretation that he doesn’t value me. Or, perhaps when he left to be with another woman I told myself she was more important than me. I build the belief that I am not valuable, or as valuable as others – particularly him. I also see that for him to get to the place where he is devaluing me by hitting me, or leaving his family for another, he had to be devalued by his parents. I see the generational river flowing.
- With this work, the memories surrounding the experience and subsequent interpretation must be allowed to surface on their own. They are particular to the incident and are attached still by tiny silver cords to one another – past and presence. My husband had such an abusive past that he had blocked out a lot of memory. He had just a few glimpses of being locked outside naked, crying, or being taken to the hospital after having his head cut open by the thundering bash of a glass bowl. Don’t be discouraged if you have few memories, the memories will flow. Conversely, as the past memories surface and are dealt with and exhumed the good memories will fill in the empty places and you’ll find that the good starts to outweigh the bad. The bad are still there, but they no longer dominate – like a screaming child, they are quieted and all one hears is laughter.
Discover the experience that the belief was built on
- Digging back into our childhood was touched on above. This step, however, involves a deeper look at an actual experience in our past that we can concretely associate the interpretation with.
- For example: I see in my minds eye – in my history – an event. For example: my father is hitting me, his face is distorted with anger. I experience the thoughts of that child (me) and understand why she would change her inherent belief about herself from, “I am valuable, unique, important, loved” to, “I am not loved, not as good as him, not as valuable as him, somehow a lesser being, damaged.”
Altering the interpretation of the experience
- With the picture still help in our mind’s eye, we change the interpretation to better reflect truth.
- I am valuable and loveable even if my parent was not acting in a way that was interpret to be loving (it may be your parent interpreted corporal punishment as an act of loving discipline. No matter. It is in our interpretation where the belief is birth). Any interpretation that did not re-enforce my value as an equally important human being needs addressing and altering. If it is too hard to re-live he experience, take God with you into it. Imagine a loving God standing along-side you as you walk through the proces of healing that experience. I did this for the healing of a rape experience. I couldn't get on the doctors table for an exame and because ovarian cancer was an issue in my family, I thought I should get meself checked once a year. Taking God nto the rape scene gave me a loving, strong figure to lean on. With HIm there I wasn't afraid.
- Neutralize the thoughts. Attach nothing but truth to the experience. Example: This is not a good or bad experience – it simply is (or more chronologically correct, “Was”). The exception here is that experience is timeless). Maintain the truth of your value and lovability, of your importance and uniqueness and the preciousness of your presence in reality. In other words, see that, aside from the experience, your “self” is not changing, just your interpretation of “self” is. Remain intact as a perfectly created and loveable person – make no interpretation.
- Form new, positive beliefs/truths that contradict the untruth that contributed negatively to your current realty. Believing we are not of value had the rippling effect of creating a multitude of psychological and physical illnesses, whereas believing we are loved and valued will create a rippling effect of health, creativity, purposeful and fulfilling living.
- Yes it is as easy as redefining a defining moment in history. The past is pliable because it is not concrete. Its concreteness only rests in our belief. History can’t be changed but, how we interpret it can and, the only thing we bring forward into our present and future is the interpretation of the past. Our belief surrounding what happened is always present with us well after history is past, so why not make the experiences in our life work for us?
- Feel the compassion towards the caregiver, yourself and the person /mirror you judged.
- When compassion replaces anger you are healed of the false belief. At that point in time love has replaced fear; we can love the other who hurt us, we can love the one who mirrored the pain for us and we can love ourselves. Why? Because we see the genesis of the pain in our own live and can now clearly see the genesis of the pain in the lives of others. We have compassion. The nice thing about this step is you don’t need to create it because it is an outworking of the above steps.
- Proof of the effectiveness of the proceeding steps is the production of compassion. Compassion will replace anger when healing has occurred. How can we be angry with the other when we see that we were the ones that caused ourselves the pain? It was our interpretation of an experience on which we built our beliefs, and on those beliefs that WE CREATED our current realty.
- YES, WE CREATE OUR LIVES – OUR PAST EXPERIENCE MIGHT DEFINE OUR CURRENT REALITY BUT ULTIMATELY WE EXPERIENCE, WE BELIEVE, AND WE CREATE.
- When living in fear we tend to become victims of ourselves. Although it is easy to blame our parents or even that person that spoke harshly to us today, for the way we feel, In reality, what we tell ourselves about ourselves surrounding the experience determines which direction our life creativity will take – good positive, compassionate or bad, negative hateful.
- The icing on the cake.
- Love is far more powerful than fear. Fear has a power – the power to kill and destroy. Think of the energy output from anger, of the illness created from resentment, of the sadness and depression created from anger turned inward. Love has more power than fear to change our lives and the lives of others. It was compassion that the Buddha used to create change in the world. It was love that Jesus used to create healing in so many lives, and it I love that will heal our lives and, if we choose, the lives of others. We have to experience love and healing to be able to pass it onto others. So, once we complete a healing in our lives, we can translate that same healing into the lives of others. Love and compassion heal. This is the energy we want flowing in our lives. Fear creates anger and illness. Life needs to be completely devoid of fear to heal others. Step by step we can heal ourselves by changing our interpretations from fear-based to love-based.
Science Says It Is So
Scientific evidence is surfacing surrounding the power of our thoughts and the plasticity of our brain. Changing our thoughts can change the intangible nature of the past plus changing current experiences on a tangible level with the altering of the neural nets within our brain. Neural nets are connections within the brain that determine the biological effects of our thoughts upon our entire body.
In his book, “Evolve Your Brain”, Joe Dipsenza D.C. gives us the scientific background for how our thoughts can create solid pathways in the brain that contribute to repetitive ways of living. These pathways require re-wiring in order for us to escape certain behaviors. He tells us how negative neural nets (a collection of brain cells wired together through repetitive thought) that do not serve us well can be dismantled and re-wired to create more useful connections. He writes, “The “you” and “me” then, can only habitually fire neural patterns common to the way we individually process thoughts. We develop hard-wired habits of being ourselves. When the combination of neural nets have become common, they will become the most natural ways in which we think, feel, remember, behave, talk, espouse knowledge, and execute various skills based on our own philosophy and experience.” (248).
Dispenza connects the possibility for change to our ability to, “. . . think outside the box. . .”, and tells us this new thinking would “. . . fire different sets of synaptic connections in a different combination and order, which are not as hardwired as the ones we most commonly use. If the mind is the brain in action, then to create a new frame of mind would mean to rearrange how we use the existing circuits in our brain.” (248).
Conversely, he writes that “thinking inside the box”, or simple repetition of old thought patterns, would reinforce current behavior. Thinking outside the box, therefore creates “. . . different patterns in different orders and arrangements to make a new level of mind. . . . To accomplish this feat, we have to break the neural habits of common thinking that have become permanent, long-lasting, reinforced daily. Stop our most natural way of thinking. This will repattern our brain . . . and make a new sequence of circuitry and new footprints.” (248). “We are the ones responsible for the habit we have formed of being ourselves. That also means that we have the power to change or modify that habituated self.” (249).
Changing our thoughts and belief systems lay the groundwork for the biological change that will undergird the physical health we need to have a good life. Incorporating new truth also corrects imbalances in our emotional life. For example: A belief that I am worthless or not loveable is incongruent to the truth of who I am. Harbouring this belief is neglect of Self and will show its effect throughout our lives. One of the most visible symptoms of a harboured lie(s) is not knowing who we are. If we believe long enough and hard enough in the lie(s); these misconception(s) of truth, we effect the abandonment our authentic Selves in favour of a Self that better adheres to the lie. We lose ourselves in the lie and over time, can forget who we were originally created to be. This is one reason why the truth can feel so foreign to us – the lie is so familiar.
Not only do we create a truth for ourselves based on past experience and generational gifting from our parent’s belief system, but media itself perpetuates another form of truth that we seem all to ready to adopt as our own. In her book, “The Beauty Myth”, Naomi Wolf describes a frightening phenomenon facing women today – the myth of beauty. She writes, “The beauty myth tells a story: The quality called “beauty” objectively and universal exists. Women must want to embody it and men must want to possess women who embody it.”
We need to be aware of hidden messages we receive through the media that enforce the wrong belief we have that are already engrained into our belief system. We will tend to gravitate towards those messages that reinforce false beliefs but, conversely, with new beliefs instilled, life will take a dramatic turn and pull towards all that we need to concretize the new truth – the truth that serves to edify our very existence and enhance life. Could there be anything more gratifying, more pleasing and peaceful than to come to the end of one’s life filled with gratitude, love and truth, empty of fear, loathing and regret? Nothing can compare to a fully lived life and, we all must eventually die. An authentic life built (or for many re-constructed) on truth is a life fully and, most often, unconventionally lived.
Practicing the model above will, over time, transform a life but it will be like emerging from a deep, long sleep. A time comes when, whether we like it or not, we will take full responsibility for the condition of our lives – the penny drops, so to speak, and we understand fully what taking responsibility entails. This is not an easy time. It is a time that, for me, lasted two months. It was a passage from victim to victor; a right of passage.
to be continued
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