Friday, November 17, 2017

Making decisions.

 It’s easy to get into a muddle. Our minds are a bit of a liability. They are a bit of a responsibility. They need looking after and keeping track of. Otherwise the thoughts go round and round, and off on a tangent and back again, with nothing solved. It’s a mystery that we get any answers really. Because the mind gets hopelessly tangled up. 
When do you make your clearest decisions? For some people, the answers arise spontaneously in times of peace and calm. It might be walking in nature or relaxing in the bath. (Didn’t Albert Einstein find answers to his problems in the bath). The answers might pop up when you least expect them. Like when you have taken a break from thinking about them. Maybe when you have relaxed and had some fun. It seems that when we forget to try and make a decision that the answer just arises. From where? 
For me, I sometimes ask a question as I go to bed and the answer is clear when I wake. Or I sit at the beach and just “be”……feeling whatever is here and dropping through these feelings to the stillness that is inside, and then the answer arises. 
The thing with the mind, is that it is programmed by our up-bringing. The brain goes through massive development during the first 3 years. What we experience, especially to do with attachment to our significant carer, creates our security in ourselves, develops our ability to trust, it creates our ability to connect with people, it creates our beliefs about ourselves. And the further early years reinforce or develop these even more, depending on our experiences. 
Trust, security, connection, and beliefs will affect how we make decisions. The state of these factors will affect how you live your life and affect your ability to be true to yourself. When you were little, if the only time you received love was when you pleased others, then your adult decisions will be coloured by an unconscious desire to please. This can stop you sticking up for yourself. It can stop you from being true to you. If, when you were little, you developed a fear of arguments, disagreements and conflict, this will influence how you make decisions as an adult. You may not be consciously aware of it, but you may delay making a decision until life forces it on you. You may delay making a decision until someone else makes it for you. You may be afraid to step up and state your mind. You may not be able to make a decision that honours you. You may just follow along with other people’s decisions. 
So much of how we are in life stems from our early childhood. Can we change? Certainly. Develop awareness. Observe yourself and see the patterns. Observe how you talk and how you behave and what you avoid. Then deliberately challenge yourself in tiny little ways. Find the stillness that is inside you. Especially when you need to make a decision. Trust the stillness. Not the doubts, shoulds, should nots, wants, can’ts, don’ts. Take time to be inside you. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

What are you suffering?

Are you suffering worry? Are you suffering pain? Are you suffering trauma? Are you suffering stress? Some spiritual traditions suggest that to be human is to suffer. Well, to be human means we feel emotions and we have an active mind. And we want to be loved. And we want to be happy.
So consider this question…………If you didn’t think would you suffer? If you mind didn’t go round and round, would you suffer? If your mind didn’t come up with doubts and interpretations, would you suffer?
I am suggesting that your mind creates the suffering. If you didn’t think so much about whatever is going on or worrying you, then you wouldn’t suffer.  So you might then think: well I can control my mind with positive thinking and affirmations.
Trouble is, your willpower will only work for a while and then the other stuff will creep back in. Before changing your thinking to positive thoughts you need to face whatever is bugging you.
Recently I had something bugging me. It meant that I lost sleep for a few nights. My mind was going intensely, over and over the whole situation and the memories associated with it. A variety of emotions were being felt. And I did allow myself to feel them. I felt them in my body. Then I thought about them, and because our thoughts keep the emotion there, I felt them some more. Eventually though, I dropped through them into a place of stillness and from there clarity arose.  As in, what I needed to do. The important thing is to do what I sense is right for me. Not what someone else says to do, or what someone asks me to do, or what my mind suggests I could do, but what is right from my deepest truth.
Here’s my formula to escape suffering.
1.      1.  Let emotions be felt as they arise. If we feel them in the body without the thoughts about why they are there, then they dissolve.
2.       2. Acceptance of how you feel about the situation. Acceptance about your own feelings allows your body to relax. In this relaxing, solutions and possibilities will arise. If you are tense you close off to ways to change the situation.
3.       3. If you have past trauma, and you are aware that it’s affecting you, seek a safe helper to guide you to feel and release the internal trauma.
4.       4. Exercise self care. Think (give your mind a job to do!) about the food you eat, the exercise you do, comfort, rest, fresh air, the company you enjoy.  If you don’t value yourself enough to take care of yourself, then this is the issue that needs attending to.
5.       5. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you. Be light with your thoughts.
6.       6. Live in the moment. Feel emotions, concentrate on the task you are doing, be present to the person you are having a conversation with. If you need to plan the future, then attend to the task of planning for the future, in this moment.

Remember, inside you are a person of value. You are someone worth respecting, so respect yourself first and then others will respect you.