Understanding Cycles Part 3
Working Towards Resolution
In the first two parts we looked at cycles in general and then explored some of their attributes, ones that all cycles have. They are useful in helping us to notice and become more aware of the cycles in our lives, so that we can try to resolve the negative ones and perhaps enhance or continue the positive ones. Noticing them gives us the opportunity to focus on the issues causing the cycles rather than trying to clear the cycle by resolving individual issues as they arise. While the latter method can work it is a far slower process in part because not all the issues we deal with will be part of a negative cycle.
We can list the attributes of cycles; however, what we cannot do is come up with a list of underlying causes as they are unique to every situation. This is not necessarily an issue though because to understand cycles we should not look for a particular cause, we should simply try to examine what is presenting itself to us through observation as well as contemplation or meditation. To aid us in this we will start with the basic definitions of a cycle or cyclic process.
A cycle is defined as a series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order. From this definition we know that cycles involve more than one process or events and so our cycles involve more than one connected or related issue. Hence when we are looking for cycles in our life we must be careful to discern between something that is part of a cycle versus one process that recurs as this is not a cycle.
“In addition, negative vibrations that do not result in cycles still have consequences to us; it is just that they are not repetitive. However, when a series of interactions is set up such that at some point one of the interactions mirrors or is “like” a previous ones, and the energies are strong enough, we have created the potential for a cycle. See these as little eddies in your energy not dissimilar to those you see in a flowing river.” (1)
In a cyclic process, the system starts in a particular state and returns to that state after undergoing a few different processes. In a system process, be it in software or say a manufacturing process, repeatability is due to the same steps being repeated over and over in the same sequence. If you change the processes or their order the outcome will change. The kinds of cycles we find in our lives have do not quite fit the above definition in that the steps in the cycle can vary somewhat yet the cycle can continue unabated. For instance, a cycle can persist even if the steps occur in a different order.
“The challenge with cycles is first in noticing them, second in figuring out why they are happening as resolving them without knowing the underlying reason is a challenge. And they can be hard to discern, as each cycle in the loop can appear different from the last one. This is merely due to the fact that nothing is static. Experiences change us so the cycle can take a different form. Further, events may not seem well connected to one another or even completely random. Take someone who keeps finding themselves in abusive relationships. In many cases, the reason for the abuse may be different, they may have different triggers and the type of abuse can vary dramatically. It is even possible the abuser had never been abusive in any previous relationships. We may choose to view them as random; I do not believe they are.” (1)
One thing to remember about cycles is that in a mechanical or virtually any software process, the steps are fixed and though there may be other ways to accomplish the same task the systems do not change. Such processes are well defined and so as long as the potential for variation is factored in the cycle will continue. This is not always the case with the cycles that we manifest in our lives. We change with every experience we have and so cycles become harder to notice and the processes changes at least a little bit each time. On the positive side our changes can result in cycles disappearing on their own.
Our cycles are triggered by our own thoughts and so how they change depends on how we change, where our change is dependent on our reactions to experiences and is unpredictable (knowing by such awareness as clairvoyance aside). To deal with our cycles we should accept some fundamental premises about them, one of these being that we experience a cycle for a reason. Negative cycles do not manifest just for the heck of it, though they may seem to come “out of the blue”, nor are they the result of some external force or the influence of others. They are the result of choices we make and so we manifest them ourselves.
While we might not like the idea that we are the source of what we see as the “bad things that happen to us” the consequence of this is that we can end them by changing ourselves. Of course this too can be a source of consternation as we tend to become accustomed to our lives. We can resist change because we are more frightened of it, of the unknown, than the negative aspects of the cycle we are in. As I referred to in the essay “The Folly of Familiarity” (2) our minds develop habits or ruts and as a result so too does our life.
“Some of the ruts we have created for ourselves are enormous and the burden of the past so overbearing that changing them can dramatically alter one’s life. Even when we have an inkling about being in such a rut the magnitude of the impact of changing it can deter one from not only trying to do so, but also from even wanting to in the first place. So, what is one to do? Well, this is where training the mind comes into play.” (2)
I bring this into the discussion simply for awareness. We do need to consider that some of the ruts we get into are not in our best interest and can lead to action and reaction cycles. That said they can sometimes appear as a cycle because a rut is a pattern we follow. Since one needs more than one process or issue then the latter will only lead to a cycle if there are multiple issues “knotted up” in the rut or we have separate ruts that are conflicting.
It makes sense that ruts can lead to or are related to cycles, if you think about it, because a rut is a routine, something that is repeated. If what we are repeating is not in balance, or we have thoughts that don’t “jive” with our rut there will be consequences, namely negative reactions. These reactions are not there to hurt or cause us harm, though from our perspective they often do. They are merely the consequences of our choices even when we are not conscious of making them. This is because we manifested all the thoughts in our mind and our choices, be they conscious or otherwise are based on them. Be this as it may, the big question remains, namely “How do we move past talking about cycles and onto dealing with them?”
Dealing with cycles directly has several steps:
- Identify the cycle
- Examine the events in the cycle
- Consider the events in the cycle conceptually and not in detail
- Try to discern what beliefs we hold or issues we have that we can see in or which may be related to the cycle
- Contemplate what we have noticed to determine if they are involved
- Address or try to modify the our beliefs or resolve the issues
- See if the cycle remains, is modified or stops
- Unless the cycle has ended repeat the above process
There are a couple points of note to make. One is that processes or issues that lead to cycles will be ones that have something in common. This is necessary otherwise they will merely manifest different issues for us, but they will remain separate and not turn into cycles. The other is that thoughts that lead to our cycles are not atomic or simple thoughts; they are thoughts about other thoughts. For example, if we have an aversion to something it is not the “thing” itself (this would be a simple thought) rather it is how we react to the “thing” (a complex thought or a thought about another thought) that leads to the aversion.
We have touched on how cyclic problems can be difficult to recognize. Since cycles come in so many forms that beyond suggesting that experiences that recur are likely candidates I cannot give you a formula for determining if you are experiencing a negative cycle. Changing ourselves to move out of the cycle permanently is more often than not just as difficult if not more so. The key is to first recognize the damage that it is doing to us or identify the experiences that are occurring. Only when we have recognized this, admitted it to ourselves consciously that we are responsible for them, can we begin the process of growing past them. We must take responsibility for them as they are not caused by the actions of others and if we do not we cannot resolve them.
While there is no formula for determining if events are the result of a cycle there are definitely things we can do to start to work on them. One of the best is to understand what kinds of “things” or mechanisms lead to cycles. The below list is not definitive by any means; however, it should give you an idea of what to look for.
- Conflicting beliefs or concepts
- Limiting thoughts
- Pre-existing thought forms
- Resistance to growth or change
- Rational Mind or ego based concepts
- Strong emotional reactions
Conflicting beliefs or concepts
When we have unresolved conflict, be they between our beliefs about things or other types of concepts within us, the energy of the conflicting thoughts are not in balance. This imbalance results in secondary energies being manifested including what we perceive as feelings and of course other thoughts. Personal beliefs that run contrary to experience or to other beliefs are an example. It is a similar to what causes screeching feedback from a microphone or electric guitar.
An example of two conflicting beliefs would be where one believes that people should care about one another while also holding a belief that people are selfish. These two beliefs can “revolve” around one another causing a cycle of events as neither belief is valid. Another example would be where we care about someone yet they make us angry so that we think “hateful thoughts”. This can result in our being stuck oscillating between the two of them. If we have other beliefs that conflict with these two further complicating matters.
Limiting thoughts are those that place conditions on what is allowable, believable and acceptable and so on. When we do this we are saying to ourselves that something is true up to a point. This is not one thought form for it takes at least two to construct such a complex thought, namely the base thought about what we can do and then the thought that puts a limit on it. What can happen is these two can pull on each other like stretching an elastic band. When this happens these two thoughts will cycle or spin around each other.
Pre-existing though forms
Poor or incomplete development of our rational mind is exposed through experiences, by changing circumstances and so forth. This has some similarities to conflicting beliefs or concepts; however, in this case I am referring to an inability or difficulty in integrating experiences. This is common for children as their minds are still developing, however, for adults this can lead to becoming “stuck”. When this happens the mind will continue to try to integrate experiences often at both the conscious and non-conscious levels. Similar to what occurs when one has limiting thought forms, the mind can end up oscillating though not the push and pull you get with limiting thoughts. In this situation the mind struggles to figure things out and many different thoughts can become activated as it does.
Resistance to growth and change
When we are being pushed to grow and resist this we create reactionary energies. These secondary energies remain so long as we resist and reinforce one another so long as the source of the resistance remains. We know that we need to grow though we may not be ready to acknowledge this consciously. If our resistance continues it can lead to a cycle. The length of the cycle this manifests is dependent on the nature and degree of the resistance. Resistance can take the form of denial, deflection or avoidance and so on.
Rational mind or ego based concepts
We can have an ego-based notion about something, which is contrary to our best interests. The conflicting energies of these thoughts manifest the energy. This can be like fighting the wind, and the secondary energies our volition manifests create the energy of the cycle. Ego based thoughts are always out of alignment for they are an expression of personal rather than universal will. These can be hard to resolve as one typically has a number of ego based beliefs all of which can interact and lead to their cycling or revolving around one another or they can form layers within the cycle. If the latter occurs we must be very patient when trying to work through for they are typically closely linked to our core beliefs about the nature of things and for obvious reasons our self esteem.
Strong emotional reactions
A strong emotional jolt can actually alter the way our rational mind normally functions and significantly affect our entire aura; the mind will shift, notice it and try to self-correct. Despite this, the trauma can modify the way we are used to thinking so we are now in conflict with our previous experiences. This can lead to a form of negative feedback between the current trauma and the previous experiences that reflect it back. This will remain until this conflict has been reconciled or balanced out. An example would be a betrayal of trust by someone we have known for a long. Our reaction touches all our previous experiences related to that trust. If you close your eyes and think about it, you can almost see the energy reverberating back and forth, like bouncing off a series of mirrors that point towards each other. Long-term negative cycles are common if the conflict(s) are unresolved.
Reacting with strong emotions often occurs in conjunction with the other causes listed above. We can get frustrated, hurt, and angry and so on when we have conflicting or limiting beliefs or when our minds struggle to integrate experiences.
We can also have combinations of the above issues to deal with. I mentioned this in relation to strong emotional reactions but any or all of them can be in play. Our minds can become a tangle of conflicting, erroneous and conditional thoughts all of which can become anchors for negative cycles. Having more than one issue can acerbate the cycle making it more problematic as strong emotional reactions keep the thought forms actives.
In dealing with cycles, as with any issues we have, it is important that we recognize, acknowledge and accept that our experiences are not random, they reflect who and what we are. This includes our thoughts, feelings and actions and so on. If it is one issue, based on one thought or thoughts that are of the same type, we can and often do experience a repetition of the problem though we do not manifest a cycle. This only occurs when second issue or thought is involved and though they often appear to be separate they are related. To break the cycle (or end the repetition) we have to find what the sources are and resolve the thoughts that give rise to them.
Our issues reflect who we are right now and include our past and imagined future. The root cause(s) of our cycles are within us, not without. If you find you keep bumping into the same issues over and over and have not been able to resolve them then either you have not found the thought forms (beliefs and so on) that gave rise to them or you may have even added to the problem by bringing other thoughts into the mix. One cannot remove an eddy from a river without removing the obstruction that leads to the eddy; it is the same with our emotional cycles.
Resolving our issues invariably entails examining the thoughts and emotions we manifest when we encounter them. To do this we need to contemplate our reactions, something we can start to do by journaling, where we write down the thoughts and feelings we experience with as little editing and as much honesty as possible. Working on them will likely entail some meditation for our mind is the source of the problem and if we do not silence it and our emotional reactions to a certain extent it will confuse and mislead us.
When you contemplate the experience in meditation, start by grounding (3), then clear and center (4) yourself. This is necessary to minimize emotional reactions. Do not focus on thoughts about the experience or your emotional reactions. Focus on the experience itself and do so in the 3rd person as if an observer rather than a participant. If we do not do this then the tendency is to get caught up in the very same thoughts that are the source of our problem. We must also do our best to assume that every thought we have about it could be part of the problem and be willing to accept that some notions we have held dear or put a great deal of faith in may have to go.
Another helpful approach is to work from the general to the specific. By that I mean do not try to search for the causes by dissecting the experience in minute detail. This will keep you bogged down and prove ineffective for you will be forever chasing thoughts and feelings. We can also get caught up in these thoughts and start to justify them, for example. Start with general thoughts about the experience and ask yourself questions about it such as “Why do I feel this way?” and “What about this bothers me and why?” When you have a thought about what is going on explore it a little bit asking yourself “Is this relevant?” and look for a yes or no answer. You may have to focus on one issue at a time and examine them independently though do so from the general to the specific.
I mentioned asking ourselves questions in part two of this series (5):
“A cycle that manifests as a series of similar situations can often be the easiest to work on. To try to understand and resolve it do not just look at the event itself. Consider what leads up to it, the timing of it, the people involved, your state of mind, the types of thoughts you are having or some other aspect related to the situation. They share some commonality; you may need to be intuitive and imaginative to discover what it is.
For instance, if one finds they are always late for things they may be inclined to believe the issue is that they do not plan or prepare properly or perhaps that they are lazy. This may be the case, though it could also be from our lack of commitment to the activity or that the activity itself is not in our best interests. You can simply ask yourself the question and try to feel whether it is true or not. One can do this best when in a meditative posture which includes some process for grounding, clearing and centering oneself.”(5)
Another important point regarding cyclic problems is a change of scenery will not end them. We experience certain types of events repeatedly because of ourselves, and cannot blame others or life for giving us a bad deal. Moving out of the situation only ends that particular manifestation of the problems. It will manifest again because we have not changed what in us attracts or creates the cyclic of events in the first place.
Abuse often leads to and in itself can be a cyclic problem, notably so in terms of relationships. For example (and this is just an example not the rule!):
- Person is not happy with themselves
- They pick at their partners
- Their partners return with words or even violence
- They blame the partner for their reaction
- They either go back to step one, or after a time move on to a new relationship only to find that the process repeats itself
When cycles continue the problems can expand leading to a deteriorating condition perhaps to the point of needing to take drastic alternatives. Suicide, physical assaults, or emotional breakdowns are frequently the result of a cycle that spirals downwards bringing with it the person trapped by it. We are all subject to stretches of time where things do not go well, the important thought to remember is that we put ourselves into them, we can pull ourselves out of them.
Similarly, it is important to remember, as I have mentioned, that we can have a series of negative experiences that are not the result of a cycle. Being late for work on a regular basis may be from a cycle, or we simply manifest the imbalance frequently. Never assume that you know what is causing experiences to happen, explore them, get to know them and then decide and act on what you need to do.
We, like the seasons, have our cycles. I am not referring to physical body cycles, rather to personal cycles other than these. These are cycles we get into, patterns of acting or situations that recur. Some are discarded after running their course while others are life long, and by nature are neither good nor bad anymore than a car is good or bad. We term some problems, or negative influences, if they have a detrimental effect on our lives.
Often we do not see the problems ourselves; however our inner self has a way of letting us know. How often have people commented on subconscious choices? These do affect us and what is going on around us, even more than our conscious choices. Some of the clues that let us know that whether we are dealing with cyclic events are:
- similar events repeat themselves
- we have moved away from what we felt was the cause but the problem recurred
- we are attracted to particular types of people, places or things repeatedly
- periodic headaches
- there is a feeling of helplessness that proceeds a “break” from what we believe is plaguing us
- peaks of high and/or low emotions
- if we find ourselves saying “here I go again”
We must be patient with ourselves when resolving any issues let alone our negative cycles. We did not manifest them in a day and are unlikely to resolve them in a day. Thoughts form a tangled web like a knotted ball of string and if we pull on one thread we make the knot tighter. It is best to tease out each strand, consider, explore and come to an understanding about it. Lastly we must be willing to accept that beliefs we have held are not in our best interests even though we may feel very strongly about them. Life is not fair, people are not necessarily nice or caring and what we believe may be categorically false. If we cannot accept these possibilities we are unlikely to resolve our issues for we are the source of what ails us.
© 2013 Allan Beveridge
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