In a comment to my article on “How a good opportunity be a snake oil salesman when the intent is to become rich”, LaserTroly wrote:
I completely agree with your view that just by the force of the energy we put into it, we often attracts what we don’t want.
Emotions so often become a spiral, feeding on themselves and getting stronger. Then when events in our lives reinforce them (when we get what we feared), we believe that those fears were right all along. Our worldview shifts, little by little, until we completely believe these ideas.
But how to get out of this trap?
How do you identify those thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back, when your entire framework for viewing the world seems so familiar, natural and right? How do you separate out the stuff that’s not working from the stuff that is? Then how do you go about changing your programming, given that you inadvertently developed this harmful belief system in the first place? What to embrace and how to do it?
For it to stick, you must really buy into the new belief system - just paying lip service to a set of principles won’t do the trick. How to effect such a deep and lasting change?
I always can count on LaserTroly to ask those deep questions that keep me thinking and are hard to answer easily in a blog article. Yet, here is my attempt to summarize it all:
But how to get out of this trap?
First, this is a personal issue that everyone is responsible for themselves. It is hard, if not impossible, to force someone to change when they believe what that they are on the right path. Second, there over 6 billion people on this earth, thus there are 6 billion paths that people can take to reach where they are meant (or want) to be.
The key for me is to have an open mind, not attached to anything. This allows to me look at other people’s point of view and see the merit behind their beliefs and thoughts. Yet, this is tough to do if we want to be right. If I believe that my way is the only way to enlightenment, then I have trapped myself into a fixed way of being, whether it is right or wrong.
For me, the light bulb went on in talking with a friend at work. I was angry and she gave told me that I could continue to look at the same insurmountable mountain or turn around and see the beautiful meadow. It was my choice. She said this at a point in my life where I was angry and stressed out and I finally said “There Has To Be a Better Way” which opened my eyes to different teachings.
How do you identify those thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back, when your entire framework for viewing the world seems so familiar, natural and right?
The key is to know how you want to live on this earth. For me, it is the same way that I want my son, who is 18 months, to live (peacefully, happily, joyfully and lovingly). Thus, every other emotion (anger, shame, guilt, fear, etc.) is not the way that I want to be because it blocks how I want to live. When these feelings (anger, shame, guilt, fear, etc.) come up, it can be a learning experience of identifying which thoughts and beliefs are not serving us and thus these thought patterns and beliefs should be looked at to see if we want to change them.
There is a catch also. For each emotion (peace, love, joy, happy, etc) that we want to live by, we need to see if it is real or not. I will define a non-real emotion as one where I need the situation to feel a certain way. To me this is more like an addiction. For example, I can feel good when I have a glass of wine occasionally. Yet, if I can not be happy without it, it is the start of an addiction. An addiction starts, where I may need just one glass to relive the periodic stress of the day in order to be happy and then turns into a situation where I need more of it and need it every day to feel good. The same is true for money. If I need a raise to feel good, it is only temporary (thus not real). A few months after the raise, I probably have forgotten about the raise and need another raise to feel good. Being happy with a raise is not real because it may be covering up a lack of self-worth where I need someone to give me more money to prove that I am good enough. Do not get me wrong, getting a raise is great. Yet, when we use it to feel good about ourselves, it is covering up the issue that we need to fix. The non-real aspect of this is that it only relieved the symptom (wanting) and did not solve the problem (possible self-wroth) only covered it up.
Then how do you go about changing your programming, given that you inadvertently developed this harmful belief system in the first place?
For me, I look at my beliefs and thoughts and see how they are not serving me. By looking at it, I can see how it works. Once I have looked at my beliefs (that create emotions that do not serve me), most of the work had already been done because I can see the trap and know how to get out of it. It is like getting trapped in a ditch. The first few times you get caught in the ditch, it may take a while to find your way out. Yet, once you are aware of the traps, you may slip back into the trap from time to time, yet you know the way out quickly. And, after awhile, you know how to avoid the trap all together. It all starts by looking at the trap and by knowing how it works.
This is where I am different than some prosperity teachings out there that say you only need to think positive thoughts to get what you want. When 80% to 90% of our thoughts are unconscious thoughts, changing only 10% to 20% of our conscious thoughts to be more prosperous is only creating a small wave against the larger tide of unconscious thoughts. For me, it makes more sense to observe the 80% to 90% of our unconscious thoughts, so I can change that pattern instead of just covering them up with conscious thoughts about prosperity. It does not solve the problem that generates our unconscious thoughts. Now, changing 10% to 20% of our thoughts sometimes can change the tide. Yet, many times, when our unconscious thoughts are so ingrained, these thoughts need to be detected and changed to change the tide. The key to uncovering our unconscious thoughts is to look at what happens in our lives (the outcomes).
There are three traps that a friend of mine (Greg Liber) teaches. It is hard to cover them all here, so you can hit the link and find out more about them.
1) Cycle of ExperienceThis is where we keep on experiencing the same things over and over again based on our beliefs. Our beliefs shape the way we see the world. So, it is our beliefs about who we are that can trap us.
Solutions: Change our beliefs that do not serve you or gather evidence to prove our old belief wrong
2) Cycle of ShameThis is where we feel that we are not good enough. Thus, we look outside ourselves to addictions (food, work, alcohol, etc.) to feel better. Yet, in the end those feelings of not being good enough come back stronger because we did not address them.
Solution: This is inner work of knowing who we are, in other words, what makes us magnificent
3) Drama CycleThis is where we feel like a victim of what happens in the outside world. Think about what sells these days, a good drama or a feel good movie? We become addicted to the drama so we can blame others for what is wrong.
Solution: The only solution is to know that you are creating the drama and want something else. Thus, you change your behavior that creates drama. If you insist on changing the world to solve the particular drama, this will only change the channel to a different drama.
How to effect such a deep and lasting change?
There is a saying, “The egos way starts off easy and gets hard. God’s way starts of hard and gets easy”. I have joked with some friends that the path to enlightenment is too hard because I need to keep on looking at myself and figure out what is not working.
When we look at the world to change to make us happy, we are really just temporarily getting rid of our anger, guilt, shame, etc. We get angry at others to make ourselves feel better by pointing the figure at them. It feels good for a short time (egos way, starts off easy). Yet, because the source of the anger, shame, guilt, etc. inside us has not changed, it just comes back in a different form (gets harder because the problem get bigger from being reinforced).
When we look within ourselves to change, it is hard at first because it is a constant process of what thoughts or beliefs are not serving us. It does take work. Yet, I find that it gets easier as I go further down this path because where I use to be angry or upset for days or weeks at a time when I first started this path, now my anger only lasts a few minutes or hours (sometimes a few days).
To keep it going, I surround myself with others who are on similar path to help encourage me and to use as a sounding board when I need to vent. In our discussions, they usually point out what I am overlooking to get myself back on the right path.
As a side note, my blogging may slow down over the next 3 to 6 months, as I put more time into two other projects (writing a book is one and the other I hope to announce in 3-4 months). This is in addition to watching my 18 month old son during the days which keeps me busy. Please be patient during this time, it will be worth the wait if things work out the way that they are starting to unfold.