Awakening Our Gifts Part 3: The Mind We Create
There is splendour behind the illusion.
It is all around us and everywhere we look.
It is unfortunate that it gets lost in the looking.
But there is mystery in the seeking,
A game of hide and seek with ourselves
We will poke and prod and see what we discover,
Until it’s time to step aside
So that the hidden can speak
And silence the hunger
That keeps us from being
“We are what we think”, is a general statement, but accurate enough (1). Yet it is also a very simple statement, is it not? Quaint in a way, sort of old fashioned. Yet if you stop to consider the implications of this statement, that simplicity dissolves away. It implies that if we see ourselves and the world a certain way, then that is how we are and this is the way it is for us. It also tells us that what we think, even if we are not aware of it, plays a major role in determining what we experience.
“What you generate (send into the external world) is what you believe. You see and experience what you believe. As long as you believe what you see and experience is NOT about what you believe about it, then you will suffer with the idea there is only one way to see life. Every single one of us has to discover the validity of our own perspectives as it is reflected through our world view.” Colleen Critchley Rodriguez
WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get. This is true of our world view and our perception is part of our world view. In terms of developing our awareness, what this statement and the opening quote imply is that it is our beliefs that are holding us back. This leads to the idea that if we are not satisfied with where we are, we need to work on our thoughts, which include our ideas, beliefs and so on.
Our mind is created by our reactions to experiences, and is comprised of thoughts of various types (2). When we want to work on our mind we can start with our thoughts, though a better way is to also to examine and change the way we create them. The latter point is what we examined in part two of this series (3), namely that our method of observing and our reasoning processes establish our thoughts (hence our mind). We also looked at the importance of being able to focus our attention in order to work on both of these.
These points are very important regardless of whether one is trying to develop their awareness or merely to find balance, peace and harmony in their lives. Why? It is because our reactions to experience, those that take us out of balance and the restrictions we encounter in our perceptions are primarily the consequence of the way the mind has been programmed. Not only that we engage in far more thinking that we need, mostly at the non-conscious level, as our mind pre-processes our perceptions in order to determine what we will be conscious of. We can pretend this is not the case, deny it or blame our circumstances on others, though we do so at the expense of our overall well-being. To move past this we work on eliminating unnecessary pre-processing and we do this by working on not allowing our beliefs, pre-conceptions and assumptions to rule. To do this we must work on observing objectively, rather than in a superficial manner and not engaging in “lazy” thinking.
We all have the ability to access our full awareness, therefore what we believe about ourselves and reality is a significant contributor to why we are unable to access more of our “higher awareness”. I should say that the purpose of our higher awareness is not for developing specific skills such as clairvoyance or the ability to manifest energy and so on, it is so that we live more in the moment. Doing so enables us to live in harmony with the world around us, to feel the joy in simply being, to know the right things to say to people at the right time, to experience life more fully and to allow us to express our higher emotions such as sympathy, devotion, affection and compassion.
We manifest the beliefs and thoughts that “block” our awareness because of superficial observation and erroneous reasoning. We become concerned with a whole range of things that, in the end, don’t matter in the least; we have only come to make them important. This is something we can change regardless of whether we seek heightened awareness or better balance in our lives.
The goal of a given life is not to pursue some path we think is right for us, though we can certainly choose to do that. The goal of a given life is to live that life to the best of our abilities, to live it to the fullest as who we are. Being enlightened does not mean one knows “the truth” or the actual nature of our reality and existence; nor does it mean one is some kind of mystic or seer or is a great teacher of “truths”. It means that we are in harmony with ourselves in this lifetime; it means we are not led by mistaken notions and poor mental programming and that our minds are clear and in tune with our true nature so our inner light shines forward.
I have met people who would certainly not consider themselves enlightened, yet it shows in their actions. They do not judge others, they try to help if they can otherwise they do not hinder others in their paths, they do not blame others, they do not let fears rule them, they roll with the experiences life gives them and express themselves in a loving and caring way.
Returning to the quote, what I am referring to is the validity of our own perspective. Further, if we believe we have other awareness’s we are not able to use or struggle to find balance in our lives then is it not logical that our perspective or methods of thinking are part of what is blocking us? Part of what the statement “I am what I think” implies is that if I cannot access these aspects of myself or express myself in a positive and loving way then what I think is not allowing it. Examining ways to get beyond this is the purpose of this series.
The foundation of our mental house is not the thoughts that we have; it is in how we react to and “process” experiences. We begin to work on our foundation, as covered in part two, by changing how we consciously react and act. If we do not do this we may clear up some issues but we continue adding to them. By applying the concepts we covered we begin to lessen how much “garbage” we create within our own minds, which also makes it easier to work on our issues and challenges. Once we begin to work on how we react to experiences, hence what thoughts we manifest, we turn our attention to our existing thoughts. Primary among our thoughts, in terms of growth, are the beliefs we hold.
I have spent many thousands of hours discussing ideas with people and what I learned is that very few have a clear idea about what they actually believe. We have already looked at how we tend to assume things, jump to conclusions and judge. By the time we are adults we have many vague, often mistaken notions and conflicting beliefs about things. For instance, ask someone to describe God or to explain our relationship to God and you will find that they cannot articulate it with any degree of clarity. You will find the same thing if you ask someone what they believe the purpose of their life is or what life’s purpose is in general. This leaves us wide open to all sorts of ideas, not all of which are in alignment.
We tend to like some surety in our lives, to know the answers or at least compartmentalize things so that we feel we have some order. We also have a tendency to ignore that which we do not understand to avoid uncertainty. Oddly enough, all of these can lead to the uncertainty we are trying to avoid.
Now, our minds are ordered and structured, even though it might not seem so to us. Order and structure within our mind is a by-product of the order that exists in the Cosmos. There are consistent rules to consciousness just as there are to chemistry and physics. The order exists in how our mind “processes” experiences and not what it processes nor the results of it. The mind orders the thoughts we create, but can do little with thoughts that are in direct conflict or lack certainty. We experience this when we struggle with a decision. In addition, we may not even know what conflicting thoughts are reducing our decisiveness. This is because while our mind knows which ones they are, we may not be consciously aware of them due to how vaguely we consider them if we do at all or our not wanting to(4).
Our minds act on our beliefs even if we do not know what they are. What we want is a well ordered mind with as little erroneous thoughts as possible, one that we are familiar with rather than being estranged from. The problem is when we have uncertainty and cannot resolve or understand our experiences or reaction to them we tend to block or ignore it and our thoughts about it, unaware that by doing so we are introducing disorder and more conflict into our minds.
In the opening essay of this series I listed a number of areas we can work on to develop our consciousness. Once we have started to work on the way we react to experiences and process what we perceive, the next step is to work on the thoughts we have now. The areas that pertain to this are:
- Rigid and conflicting beliefs or concepts on the nature of the Cosmos and self
- The rational mind has a strong need for control
- Predominance or strong presence of lower emotions
Now, while these points may not seem to relate to the current state of our thoughts, they do. I wrote them this way because it is a high-level look view rather than an itemized list of examples. We do not need to go into detail; in fact doing so can be more confusing and we can end up spinning our wheels.
Fundamentally, the above list relate to the consequences of how we create and integrate our thoughts. The quality of the programming of our mind is inversely related to the quantity of superficial observation and erroneous reasoning we have engaged in. Therefore, the more we engage in them the more disarray there is in our mental house. This affects how our minds develop and as a result the beliefs we come to hold.
Remember, our minds try to make sense out of things, even if we are not concerned with it. Since it cares not about the information it processes (perceptions and thoughts), it will even hold onto conflicting beliefs. We also manifest rigid beliefs through the same process, though in this case we do so because of strong reactions to experiences or because the thoughts are continually reinforced.
The first of the three points speaks to our beliefs and not just those about the nature of our existence. We hold many beliefs. Not all beliefs have equal influence on our experiences; hence, when we consider our beliefs we need to also consider their scope. By scope I mean how much a particular belief affects our reactions to experiences. For instance, the belief that “it is impossible to accurately predict the weather” will only affect how we react to a weather forecast and decisions related to the weather. On the other hand, a belief about the nature of the world such as “it is a dog eat dog world” will affect how we perceive, interact and relate to others as well as the choices we make. As a result, such a belief will affect how we interpret and integrate a far wider range of experiences.
Consider the following statement:
“Everyone has their own reality. Each one of us "owns" our perspective - our view of the world. That is the point - "you" and me and everyone else owns their own perspective and that is constructed by a belief system. Some people believe in a "dog eat dog" world, some believe it is a "survival of the fittest" and so it is for them and their experience in the world.... “ Colleen Critchley Rodriguez
Beliefs with a broad scope affect us significantly, yet I have found few people who can articulate even such far reaching beliefs. They may make a general statement and if pressed often cannot articulate them or they may even make statements or give examples that appear to contradict their belief. It is contradictory to believe that it is a “dog eat dog world” while at the same believing that individuals can and do care about others. The mind will struggle with deciding whether to trust someone or not and of course the level of trust will depend on how much one stands to lose if their trust should be misplaced.
While examining our beliefs is not a simple task, it is essential and is very big part of growth. This is why an exercise in examining our beliefs is the first one in the core The Twin Powers material. It is imperative that, in one way or another, we try to gain an understanding of just what it is we believe to be true (5). Why is this important? Well, imagine if you were asked to add two numbers but the rules for addition changed day by day or even experience by experience. You would have difficulty in consistently coming up with the “right answer”.
Now, when you examine your beliefs realize that many were created due to our having made assumptions based on superficial observation and erroneous reasoning (as we looked at in part 2 of this series). Therefore, once you have a better idea about what you believe, consider how these affected what you have come to hold true and then re-examine them. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Do my beliefs they still hold “true”?
- Can I support my belief in them based on things “I KNOW”, such as facts or experiences?
- Do I believe them to be absolute truths or truths based on the best knowledge I had at the time or now have?
Naturally this can lead to consternation as we realize our fallibility and that what we believe or know may not actually be the case at all. It can take effort and commitment to work through them, especially where they may affect significant parts of our lives or us. In this case, we must decide for ourselves if we can handle the consequences of the change and are willing to go through the effort to do so.
The second point relates to the culmination of our programming and the history we develop with it. If we have trained our mind to avoid certain situations, and have been doing so for a long time, then we develop a need for it. This need will be reinforced by justifications and the mind will want to maintain the status quo. It will resist thoughts and ideas that could undermine this, it will even steer us in directions so as to avoid any threats to it, even if it “harms us”.
This occurs because our flight or fight mechanism is not only used to ensure our physical survival, it is also used to protect ideas we have come to hold dear. We will fight to protect them as we would our person. A statement made by Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest thinkers of the modern era, exemplifies this quite well:
“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”
We can start get past strong but invalid beliefs by the methods like those I described in part 2, such as hold no absolutes, question why believe certain ideas and make no assumptions. The challenge in doing so is because of the last of the three points listed at the start of this composition, the predominance or strong presence of lower emotions.
Emotions are the result of our thoughts. A thought is not a word; for lack of a better word it is a vibration that has certain qualities. In order to have a word or words for a though, there must be an interaction with our brain. Figuratively, the process of “bringing it down” through the planes of energy between it and the physical means it passes through our emotional body. This leads to emotions related to the nature of thought itself. For instance, if we think of helping people, the energy stirred is at the higher emotional level, if we think angry thoughts, the energy stirred is that of our lower emotions.
When our thoughts are not in balance or are conflicting, the energy is invariably of the lower emotional type. When our thoughts have been reinforced or we have become dependent on them, more emotional energy is stirred. This can reinforce our dependence on the thought forms that gave rise to them creating a strong barrier. Trying to change an old, deeply rooted thought form can almost seem like we are killing a part of ourselves, and in a way we are though it is a part of us that we do not need, we have only allowed ourselves to.
The combination of our beliefs, how strongly they are held and the types of emotions they stir create a big impediment to changing them. How many times have you heard people say things like “that is just the way I am” or “I cannot change that”? We become accustomed to even negative outcomes, making it hard to even start working on such issues.
If we believe we cannot change something about us, then it is highly unlikely we will unless our inner self chooses to remove the restriction. This happens when we have struggled with something and we seem to have been unable to make progress. We may have even approached it from many different angles and just don’t get it. Then suddenly, as if out of the blue, we realize or understand. An example of this would be an epiphany about something that fundamentally changes us. This is why it is important to be persistent and not give up just because we may not seem to be making progress.
Clearing up our mental house, untangling the webs of thoughts we have manifested is a great challenge yet the results are well worth the effort. As I mentioned above, the goal is not enlightenment, the goal is to be the best we can be at whatever it is that we choose. We cannot know what we should be doing if we do not clear our minds of the years thoughts that we have manifested. Our lives are ours to live, and we honour ourselves when we strive to be who we are. When we work to change how we react to experiences we change the types of thoughts we have and we change our world. We can either be active in this or allow our poorly programmed minds to do it for us.
The fact is, if you are looking at growing, you have already decided that this is not what you want. So, the only path forward is to work on what our lives present to us. We need not go out hunting for lessons, they are right there before us in every experience, thought and feeling we have and in the outcomes we experience. Yet anything that we can attain will only be attained if we believe it is possible. The path forward is the one that leads us back to ourselves. We find it by taking ownership over how we react to experiences and by doing so we make it possible to start to be rid of the ties that bind us to the past, that keep us from being who we truly are.
End of Part 3
==> Continue to Part 4: Listening to the Silence
© 2012 Allan Beveridge
Referenced essays available on TheTwinPowers.com: