6 Billion Worlds in One – A Process For Inner Freedom

Published January 28, 2012 by matchsoul

We are all living on one planet, in one physical reality. But there is one common mistake many of us make – we think we are living in the same world.

Allow me to explain. How is that a mistake? We all see the world differently, through the filters of our individual past experiences, biases, and beliefs. One man can look at a car and simply see a way of getting around. Another man can look at the same car and see a status symbol. One physical reality, two perceptions.

Even though we live in the same physical planet, our world is different. We walk into a room, and we are treated according to our looks, our bearing, and what we are wearing. One woman is treated like royalty, another is treated coldly in the same room. One physical reality, two experiences.

Or would it be more accurate to say that one physical reality, 6 billion worlds?

A One-Person Culture

I had a female friend visit me from overseas recently, and we went out for dinner with some of my local friends. At the end of the night, when we were saying our goodbyes, the guys leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She told me afterwards that she was quite uncomfortable with such physical contact from someone she didn’t really know. Were they taking advantage of her? I assured her it was quite normal in Australia, and she nodded in relief.

With that one simple understanding – the guys were doing what was natural to them – she brushed off her discomfort immediately.

What if, instead of having one culture per country, we see things in a slightly different way? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say there is one culture per person? Every single person – even siblings from the same household – lives in their unique world, has their own unique upbringing, their one-person culture.

Our Hold on the Truth

In The Dance of Anger, Harriet Lerner puts into words what most of us refuse to: we secretly like to think that we have a hold on the Truth.

“This is the way the world should be.”
“This is the way she should be.”
“He shouldn’t be like that.”
“My way is the only way.”
“The world would be better if they were all like me!”

The height of narcissism, you might think. And you’re right. We’re all at the greatest peaks of our own little mountains!

The next time you think of someone you dislike or an argument you might have, see if these statements are underneath the more superficial thoughts. For example, if I think of someone who owes me money and refuses to return it, I might judge him as a man of low character. It sounds like a normal and reasonable thought to have. But underneath that thought is something else – if he was like me he would be a better man!

What if we don’t have a hold on the Truth? What if there are as many truths as there are people? What if, in his one-man culture, he has good reasons for not returning the money? He might have done me some favour and thought that was the debt repaid. He might have been raised to think that such behaviour meant he was smart with money. He might think that is simply the way of the world – rip him off before he rips me off.

Possible Misunderstandings

Now this can be tricky and prone to misunderstandings – I hesitated to write this post many times. Please remember that I am talking strictly about our internal experience. This is not to say we don’t take right and ethical action, or that we don’t protect ourselves. This is not about that. Neither is this about criminal acts such as assault or rape – I have no experience with that. For this article I mostly have in mind disagreements between family, workmates, lovers, and so on.

I am not saying anything about right or wrong, either. I am not saying it is right (or wrong) to steal, or yell, or whatever. I don’t know about that. All I do know, however, is that belief hurts me.

And the more I hurt inside, the more likely I am to hurt others.

A Freeing Practice

Note:This practice is best used in conjunction with your favourite emotional or spiritual tool. It will likely bring up many uncomfortable feelings that need to be processed, but the end result is tremendously freeing. My favourites are simply welcoming the emotion, or letting go of it.

The first reaction one might have to this is – isn’t this so basic? Isn’t this in every child’s storybook? We’ve all heard of the saying, walk a mile in his shoes. But how many of us actually practice it? It wasn’t until recently that I even saw this as feasible and practical, instead of just a fancy ideal unsuitable in the real world. I’ve put together a practical application from my own recent explorations. It builds on my favourite techniques, taking them to new places for more freedom.

We can start out with someone we don’t really know, someone who disturbs your peace slightly – perhaps a rude stranger or someone you see on the evening news. First, judge them as you normally do – they are weak, pathetic, angry, or whatever – and see how you feel. Can you see that you are the one you are hurting?

1. Non-Judgement

Next, just look at her again, this time without the judgement. Pretend you can’t think that judgemental thought, and look at them without it. This can give you an entirely different perspective. Someone you thought was cold and stand-offish might actually just be shy.

2. Their Individual Culture

If you have trouble with it, if your negative judgement is too strong, try to see how they are just doing the best they can with what they knew and what they had. They are just doing the best they can to survive. Someone who was loud and rude might be, in his one-man culture, trying to be a man. Someone who doesn’t listen to you when you need a shoulder to cry on might have been raised to be strong and handle their own pain, and might think they are doing you a favour by toughening you up.

3. Walking In Their Shoes

If this is still too hard, try this: put yourself in the other person’s shoes. A few weeks ago I was having a very long and stressful day, and that evening when I was driving home, I realised I had forgotten to do something minor. But that was enough for me to let loose a long stream of loud and colourful expletives. And all I had was a bad day. The next time I saw on TV a report of a murderer, I thought to myself – how would I have behaved if I had his life? Perhaps he had been abused every day of his life as a child. What if that was me? Wouldn’t my anger – and the way I exploded – be a thousand times worse?

However, even this can be hard, because some of our internal beliefs have been there for so long that they’ve become our laws – it can take a lot of work to shake the thought “A business partner should always be fair and honest”, “my family should always be my shoulder to cry on”, or whatever it is you have been brought up to believe.

Again, I am not saying it is okay to do something hurtful. Remember that this is an internal experience; it does not mean you don’t protect yourself if you have to, or abandon right action.

From the Head to the Heart

The next important step here is to let it sink in. Whatever emotions arise, use your favourite tools – perhaps sitting with it for a while, or releasing it. For instance, not judging someone as arrogant might feel surprisingly good, so let it drop from your head to your heart. This is even more important when it is uncomfortable, however. Keeping it at an intellectual level doesn’t change anything.

Repeat this process until you are more or less empty of negative judgements. Check in to see how you feel inside periodically. You will find your judgements becoming kinder, and your own pain has diminished.

Self-Forgiveness, the Greatest Gift

Again, this can take a while – but don’t give up. Why? If you are doing this on someone who screamed at you and called you names, for instance, you are also indirectly processing everyone who has done the same in the past. You are also taking steps to ensure that the next time it happens, you will still be in your power, unhurt. And most importantly, you are also forgiving yourself for the times you lost control and yelled at someone else.

This is important, for this self-blame is often hidden. We are not aware of it, have forgotten about it, or most likely, we have denied that we have even done it in the first place. This can be hard to swallow, so please read that last part again. If we are honest with ourselves, we have all been – to varying degrees – dishonest, spiteful, hurtful, and all the rest of it. And unless you are a sociopath, you will invariably carry guilt and shame, even if you are not aware of it!

When I saw it was their confusion, their own overwhelming pain, that caused them to behave the way they did – that they are human beings who made some unwise choices, I found it easier to see my own human frailties in the same way. This does not mean I suddenly found it OK to verbally abuse someone – in fact, with reduced amounts of inner pain, I was freer and more in control.

Self-forgiveness is one of the most freeing presents we can give ourselves.

Any Judgement Is Not Freedom

An even more powerful step, beyond this, is to repeat the process and remove the new judgement as well, even if it is positive and caring!

For example, if I removed an “arrogant” judgement, what arises might be – She is just trying in her own way to be cool. That feels kinder and might be good enough for many, but if you look closely, still carries a hint of condescension and pity.

This can take a tremendous amount of time, so you might want to stop once you reached a positive place. But trust me on this one – the most wonderful feeling you can have is not having any judgements at all. It can feel positively blissful.

Becoming Even Sadder

In some cases, especially with people who were more emotionally charged, this process can make you feel worse. In many arguments, we initially think we are all right and they are all wrong. However, things are not always so clearly defined. Sometimes we see that we are also at fault too, and that can be uncomfortable. Perhaps we see their innocence for the first time, and then fall into self-loathing for having been so petty or having been angry in the first place. Other times, we have been stuck in the victim story for so long that it has become a part of us, and losing it is threatening to our self-identity.

And yet – from the perspective of freedom – this is a good thing. Being able to admit we are wrong, and releasing our pain from that, being able to let go of the victim identity, and being able to see the innocence in others (not their actions), are some of the hardest things to do in finding peace.

Concluding Thoughts

There are many reasons we hurt. Not all incidents can be brushed off as easily as the culturally unexpected kiss on the cheek. This practice removes only one of the reasons for suffering – but in my experience, one of the deepest and most “hidden”.

As such, if you don’t feel ready to try this, or if you get no result from it, then emotions from other causes might still be overwhelming you. If that is the case, please take care of yourself, and process those before you try to feel understanding or compassion towards others. Otherwise, you might just be pushing your pain down.

Apologies for the long post – I tried to keep it short but I can’t cut it down any more without leaving out vital information. This post represents most of the stuff I have been working on in recent times – places that my normal methods don’t normally reach, and so I have to give a good level of detail.

I hope this process has helped someone!

Unconditional Acceptance for Our Totality, Part 2

Published January 28, 2012 by matchsoul

If we are alert enough, we’ll notice that we are always on guard. We watch our words; we watch our actions; we don’t express our beliefs. We can’t admit to ourselves that we are afraid, that we are angry, or hurt. We deny our desires and fantasies. We try to forget our past, pretend that it never happened.

And so, even when we are alone, we cut off and deny entire portions of our inner life – every waking moment of our lives. This has become so natural to us that we are not even aware of it.

Releasing Who They Are

But have we ever stopped to see what we are really doing? Our thoughts and beliefs are as much a part of us as our bodies are – if not more so! When we deny and repress them, what are we doing? We’re cutting, trimming, and breaking ourselves, just so we can fit into a metal box, just so we can feel safer, more acceptable. As Nathaniel Branden puts it – we spend our entire lives alienated from ourselves.

So there is a gift we can give to our loved ones – our total, unconditional, acceptance. Try it. Just listen; just watch, while holding non-judgemental compassion in your hearts. Give them the space and acceptance to be who they are, let them express everything they’ve held back. Let them show their vulnerability, sadness, anger, and spitefulness. Let them state their beliefs, even those that make us uncomfortable, those that go against everything we stand for – even our religious and political beliefs.

And slowly, you will see them let their guards down. They begin to climb out of their prison, uncramping themselves, healing themselves. Slowly, over the weeks and months, they feel safe enough to get in touch with themselves – they become truly human. How can there be true love otherwise? All other affection is plastic, fake – wasted on the prison they are hiding in.

Stunted Emotions

The most prominent constraint would be the one we construct around our feelings. Take sadness as an example; many people cannot show a natural range. My entire life, I have forced my grief down. Others have judged me too many times – silently or overtly – as somehow broken or useless for the simple act of being sad. Gradually, I began to judge myself the same way, even when I was by myself – I hated any sign of weakness, any sign that I was less than a rock. And so it began to pile up until one day I collapsed from the strain of it, becoming an empty shell, a parody of who I used to be.

The long depression began to lift when I simply let myself be sad. That was all I needed for change to begin. I let myself do things I had never allowed myself to do. I curled up on the floor and cried. I admitted to myself how hurt I really was, that I felt rejected, cast aside, humiliated, and spat on. I dropped my pretence, even if it was just for me.

Out of Invisibility

How many people can simply let a grieving friend grieve? How many have told them to put their chin up, to face the world with a smile? Others might have been blunter – stop being such a wimp, they might say. Stop whining. Certainly, some may have the best intentions. But they are unaware that they are devaluing a vital, core, part of the very person they are trying to help.

I remember, a long time ago, a personal discussion with a friend. She had been put through events that were many times worse than anything I had experienced. When she asked me why I had been depressed, I felt almost ashamed in telling her – I thought my reasons were petty and insignificant, and many others had implied the same.

But her reply was new to me. She told me she would never trivialise my pain, that it must have been horrible for me, and that it was just as valid a reason as hers. I remember how those few words made me feel. That was the moment I understood why Nathaniel Branden calls visibility one of the most important ingredients in self-esteem and happiness. How can we be truly human, if nobody accepts such a basic part of who we are?

The Rest Of Our Inner Life

What about the rest of one’s inner life – thoughts and beliefs, desires and fantasies, even likes and dislikes? Just like our feelings, we might have been attacked, humiliated, or made to feel wrong for them.

And once again, we have internalised these critics, and cut off an entire part of ourselves. These can be major – religious beliefs, for example – but not always. I remember when I was about twelve, and I saved up enough to buy a new CD for myself. I was excited, and showed it to an adult I looked up to. He took a glance and said, “What kind of idiot listens to that?” And for a long time afterwards, I always felt somehow stupid simply because I liked a genre of music he didn’t.

Can we let our loved ones express themselves healthily and safely? Can we let them express their beliefs, even if it clashes with our own? Can we allow them completely to be as they are?

Give your loved one the gift of visibility. It is simple, but not always easy – just acknowledge who they are, what they are going through, with empathy and respect.

Safety and Respect for All Involved

To close off this article, and in preparation for Part 3, please remember we are discussing unconditional acceptance and respect for all involved. This includes you, and never means we abandon self-protection, self-respect, or ethical action. We can accept someone’s anger and still restrain them if they get violent. We can accept someone’s depression and still restrain them if they attempt to hurt themselves.

Acceptance and Attention – The Basis of Unconditional Love and Nurturing

Published January 28, 2012 by matchsoul

The next time we are with our lover or our child, there is a question we can ask ourselves – how do we truly love them?

The next time we look at ourselves, our past, we can ask – how do I truly heal, how do I truly grow and move on?

What strange questions! The foundations of loving, healing and nurturing are simple: gentle attention and non-judgemental acceptance. Yet how many of us can give them; how many of us know how it feels to receive them? Without exaggeration – not many. It was only recently that I experienced it for the very first time.

What is Unconditional Acceptance?

Unconditional acceptance isn’t a technique but a mindful, giving, state of being. Our focus is gently and lovingly on the other, giving them the gift of simply letting them be who they are. And for the first time in perhaps their entire lives, they are finally in an environment free of all burdens and judgements. No more hiding. No more chopping and pruning their emotions, beliefs, and past. No more fear and shame.

The psychologist David Richo has stated that such attention is the main ingredient in a mature, loving, romance. Nathaniel Branden, the father of the self-esteem movement, believes it is vital in raising mature and emotionally healthy children. Please do not discount this – try it for yourself, and see how your most important relationships change. You might be just as surprised as I was.

Best of all – this is the first, and sometimes only, requirement in deep emotional healing. The psychotherapist William DeFoore gives a beautiful example. He describes a client who had suffered tremendously for years. Methods and techniques all failed, for she could not get in touch with her emotions – until one day she finally found stillness in the presence of unconditional love. For the first time she felt safe enough to simply be herself, and out poured the hurt and pain she had reined in and denied for years.

Recently, I’ve discovered the same thing – so many wounds had gone unhealed inside me, stuck beyond a certain point, simply because I could not find true unconditional acceptance anywhere. When I learnt to give it to myself, things shifted very quickly, in one of the most powerful forms of self-work I’ve found – sub-personalities, the shadow, and the inner child (yes, the inner child! ). This work will be detailed in an upcoming series, and this is to prepare for that.

How Do We Give It?

How exactly do we give unconditional acceptance? In my experience, it involves the following elements:

Really listening to what they have to say, even if it is uncomfortable.
Showing respect.
Total and unconditional acceptance for every single part of their person.
Not giving advice until the right time.
Not trying to change or manipulate them.
Not judging them.
Allowing them their experience.
Please don’t trivialise these points. They might seem common-sense, but except for some gifted therapists, I have not seen many who can actually do them all. Let’s analyse them in more detail.

Really Listening

Really listening to someone means giving them your full, gentle, focus. A father might say he cares for his children, but when his child is speaking to him, he might be watching the television out of the corner of his eye. He might tell his little girl to come back when he is done polishing his car.

And no matter how sweetly and gently he says to her afterwards – What is the matter, honey? – the real message is clear. She is invisible; she does not matter. This is one of the most painful emotional wounds one can sustain.

True listening is hardest when what they have to say is painful. Imagine if your close friend said you are always inconsiderate and selfish. How many of us can listen to this without getting defensive, firing back in anger, or immediately discounting it?

Naturally, if the person is being abusive, protect yourself. But in other cases, can we stay open and listen? A good thing to do is to see that they have a right to their opinion – and they might have a good reason for thinking of us this way. Those closest to us see our denied and disowned parts very clearly.

That is their gift to us, for they are helping us reclaim these denied parts, helping us become whole again. Could we look honestly at our actions and see how they could have formed this opinion? Remember that each criticism that hurts us reveals to us a wound that is calling out for our love and attention.

Respect

It is a strange fact of life that we often talk to strangers more politely than we do those we are close to. Nathaniel Branden gives a strikingly true example: if we had a guest in our house, and he spills a drink on the carpet, how would we react?

Even if we got upset, we would still hide it and do our best to be polite. Now, what if someone in the family did the same thing? Many of us won’t bother to hide our irritation. We might call them clumsy or stupid, or even punish them. Again, this need not be obvious. I often see parents talking about a young child as if he was not there. This can be very damaging to a fragile mind.

Could we see that those closest to us, that we claim to love, deserve the most respect – and that we don’t always give it to them?

Please be honest, for this is a painful thing to see in ourselves. We have all used ridicule, emotional or even physical violence to control and manipulate those we claim to love. Perhaps it is time to show respect for his or her dignity as a human being.

What’s Next

To stop this article from being too long, I’ll leave the rest of the points for the next article – they are all related.

The Confusion about Ego

Published January 28, 2012 by matchsoul

The ego is perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts in spiritual and psychological circles. This has often led to attacks on the spiritual definition and practice (since most seek to bypass or dissolve the ego) or even to spiritual seekers hating and vilifying the ego in themselves – and it’s just a concept!

This article is an attempt to clear up one of the common misunderstandings – based on the difference between the spiritual and psychological definitions. Yes, they are different, and most of the criticisms I see come from the mix-up between the two.

Before I begin, please understand that this is based on my experiences and research. There might be subtle misunderstandings, although I’ve taken every effort to make them as accurate as possible. I used to love writing about the ego but I’ve stopped simply because of these possible misunderstandings (which only an enlightened person can write without, I guess).

Freud’s Ego

In psychology, when someone discusses the ego, most people immediately think of Freud’s theories. Freud’s ego is part of a structure that includes the id and the super-ego. What follows is an extremely simplified introduction (so please don’t base your essays on this ).

The id is often seen as a new-born baby. It is based on instinct, impulse, and the pleasure-pain principle. This means it will simply do what feels good and avoid what is painful, very often without caring about morals or other people. It is possible that when we do “something in the heat of the moment”, the id has overcome our inhibitions. What if some criminals, like certain megalomaniacs and serial killers, are highly id-driven people with very weak limitations – babies with adult resources?

And what are these limitations? They come as the ego and the super-ego. The ego restricts the id based on physical reality and physical survival. The super-ego, also restricts the id, but from a sense of right and wrong, and of concern for what others will think of us (social survival).

For example, imagine me walking down the street. I suddenly feel hungry and the first thing I see is another man eating a burger. Pure id would be to grab the food and eat it. But my ego would stop me based on reality and physical safety. What if that man attacks me? What if he has diseases in his saliva?

The super-ego would also step in, although for different reasons. It is wrong to take something without asking, or giving something in return. I might hurt the man’s feelings. Or he might think I am an asshole, and I can’t have that now, can I?

The ego mediates between the basic drive and all the different limitations, and ultimately makes me go and buy a burger of my own.

The End of The Psychological Ego

Most criticisms against spiritual work are based on the wrong definition. Most spiritual seekers will define ego work as undoing the ego, bypassing it, removing it, not believing in it anymore, or something similar. That is fine if we are discussing the spiritual definition, but critics think they are talking about the psychological definition.

Understandably, they then think we would all become giant babies, completely at the mercy of the id. Spiritual work, to them, is a cleverly disguised form of destruction and retardation.

(Strangely, I have not come across a critic who thinks we will turn into rule-bound machines, driven only by the super-ego. Maybe that’s not as scary?)

Ego as Self-Esteem

Another interpretation of the word “ego” is our self-image, or sometimes a set of survival and protection skills. This might actually be closer to the spiritual definition. Saying someone has a weak ego can mean that they have low self-esteem, and therefore cannot stand up for themselves, or have not learnt how to. The other end of this spectrum is the arrogant, selfish individual, who is also known as having a “big ego”.

This is another common criticism. Many people already suffer from a lack of boundaries. They cannot take care of themselves, or they cannot tell an abusive person to back off, for example. This stems from a poor self-image and a lack of ‘grit’. Are you telling these people they have to remove the ego even more?

Well, rest assured because spiritual seekers are talking about something different.

The Spiritual Ego

So what is the spiritual definition of the ego? To be honest, I don’t know. All I can give is my current understanding (other seekers will have other definitions, and I invite you to share in the comments). To me, the spiritual ego is a collection of thoughts, beliefs, and stories. These thoughts are given special significance because they are seen as “mine”. Without this attachment, thoughts are just thoughts, and they don’t have much power over our lives.

‘Sailor’ Bob Adamson, a student of Nisargadatta Maharaj, describes it beautifully – Thinking about fire doesn’t burn your brain, saying the word fire doesn’t burn your tongue. The word ‘fire’ is not fire. The thought ‘fire’ is not fire.

What does that mean? If someone was to walk up to me and tell me “Albert, you are a complete loser and a piece of s%!^.” Why do I get angry? What has been insulted? The thought, “Albert”? The word, “Albert”? They are not me, just like the thinking and talking about fire doesn’t burn you.

What is the mystical quality I have given this thought, that it hurts me so? This thought is believed to represent “me”, and is now worth being angry and upset over. Everything that is now imbued with this quality of “me” or “mine” now has the same power.

Someone questions “my” social status, “my” character, “my” religious beliefs, the quality of “my” work, “my” car, “my” lover, or whatever, and I hurt. I suffer. I cry. I seek revenge.

Is this not true? If we look closely at much of our suffering – not physical illness or injury, of course – this basic attachment and (mis)identification is the root cause. Think about the last time you were angry or sad, and trace it down to your thoughts. What was your last argument about?

Was it really because the dishes were left unwashed, for instance, or was it because “your” wishes were not obeyed? Was it really because you lost half an hour of sleep, or was it because he didn’t respect “your” right for a quiet night?

Even thoughts and stories that are inherently painful are clung to. The stories of “how she did me wrong”, or “how he betrayed me”, even though you haven’t seen that person for years, still goes strong in most of us. The mental position of “victim” or “martyr” can be amongst the hardest to drop, as we once discussed in Why Do We Cling To Unhappiness?

In my experience, this is the benefit of spiritual work. By recognising when we have been caught up in a false collection of thoughts and mental positions, and choosing to gently let go of our attachment, we begin to experience more and more inner freedom.

How To Polarize With Love Instead Of Fear

Published January 28, 2012 by matchsoul

In cartoons, whenever a major character is facing a moral dilemma, two opposing figures sometimes pop up on their shoulders. There’s an angel, which represents the kind and loving thing to do, and there is the devil, which represents the greedy or selfish thing to do. Almost always, these two characters get into a fight with each other, but usually the character decides to “do the right thing,” and the devilish figure is defeated. In real life, we often find ourselves in a similar predicament: There is a “right” choice, and a “wrong” choice, and we must do what we feel is best. Even though we never have figures appear on our shoulders, we almost always have their corresponding voices in our minds.

That voice of the angel could be called your higher self, while the voice of the devil could be called your lower self. If you are serious about personal development and becoming the best person that you can be, you must learn to connect with your higher self. Only by consciously choosing to listen to your higher self (while simultaneously ignoring your lower self) can you become a better person. However, this isn’t always as easy as it seems. We get so caught up in living our lives that we rarely think about the moral implications of our choices. And even when we think about morals, we usually restrict our thoughts to “good” and “evil” But how many of our choices that we make really fit into those terms?

A Better Polarity

Instead of thinking about issues in terms of “good” and “evil”, or even “right” and “wrong”, I think it is much more useful to think in terms of “love” and “fear.” Even though most people tend to think that the opposite of love should be hate, this isn’t accurate. As Master Yoda taught us, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate…” If you sit down to think about that statement, you can test its validity for yourself. Of course, not all of anger comes from fear, but the overwhelming majority of it does. If you are honest with yourself, I think that you’ll find that most of the time, your anger has been a secondary emotion that came after your fear.

First, something scares you. You don’t like feeling afraid, and so you turn that fear into anger to protect yourself from feeling weak or cowardly. When we don’t express our anger, or when we allow it to fester inside our soul without releasing it, it becomes hatred. Therefore, the root of hatred is fear. In fact, I believe that fear is the root of all evil in the world. Most of our decisions (at least the truly important ones) can be summed up in the choice between love and fear.

A Personal Example

The hardest decision that I ever had to make in my life was a custody decision for my child. After my divorce was finalized, I had won custody of my daughter, and she was living with me full time. I had a hundred reasons for keeping my daughter with me. I could rehash them here, but I won’t. All you really need to know is that most of those reasons were based in fear. I was afraid that my ex couldn’t provide the right kind of life for my daughter, and so I kept my daughter for myself.

My daughter was miserable living with me.

She missed her mom, and she cried herself to sleep nearly every night. I couldn’t find a job, and so money was incredibly tight. And even though I had the full support of my family and friends, and even though everyone felt like I was doing the right thing, I felt awful about it. Even though I hadn’t consciously come up with the “love vs. fear” polarity yet, on a subconscious level, I knew that I wasn’t doing the right thing. As it is said, if you love someone, let them go. Sometimes, we even have to do that with our children. After about six months, I knew that I had to let my daughter go live with her mom. It was simply the right thing to do.

My family hated the idea. My friends hated the idea. Everyone told me how crazy I was, and how stupid I was being. Everyone thought I was making a huge mistake. “You’ll never see her again” and “She’ll turn against you” were common things I heard. All of my external influences were dead-set against this decision. They were even aligned with my own lower self, who was screaming at me to keep my daughter with me.

It was all fear-based thinking. And it was all wrong. The only opposing viewpoint was my own higher self, which kindly and gently, but firmly, told me to let her go. That voice told me that if I truly loved my daughter, I had to let her go. I had to give her a chance to be happy, even if that chance wasn’t with me. Even though it hurt me (and still hurts me to this day…over 6 years later, honestly) I know that I made the right choice. My daughter is growing into a healthy, well-adjusted teenager. She makes good grades, and has a lot of friends. I’m closer to her than I ever was, and I’m closer to my ex, too. Even though we will never be “one big happy family” together, at least my daughter knows that she has the love and support of both parents, and that she is well protected and provided for.

Knowing the Difference

It’s never easy to know what the right choice is when making important decisions. Our egos get in the way, and we can easily be overwhelmed by fear-based thinking. Many other people are controlled by fear, so they often give us advice that is rooted in fear, too. The only way to slice through all of that negativity is to focus on love, and to listen to your higher self. But how will you know which voice is truly coming from your higher self? Here are a few techniques that I use. Feel free to add more in the comments.

If you feel angry, there is a very good chance that fear lies beneath your anger. Try to get to the root of it. What are you afraid of? Now, what are you really afraid of? Why does this make you afraid? If you are making a decision because of fear, then it is probably a wrong one.
Think of someone that you know you love, without a doubt. Perhaps this is your spouse, or even your child. If they had to make this decision, what would you encourage them to do?
Think of your spiritual leader. What would they do in this situation (What would Jesus do)?
If you were on the receiving end of this decision…if this were somebody else’s choice to make, and you had to live with the consequences, what would you want them to do?
Selfish choices are almost always the wrong ones. It’s not that you shouldn’t take care of yourself, but if you’re only looking out for number one, then you’re probably on the wrong track. Can you turn the situation around so that it becomes a win-win for everyone involved?
Conclusion

As I continue to grow and evolve into a kinder, gentler, more loving person, I find that it becomes easier and easier to connect with my higher self, and give my lower self the boot it deserves. I can honestly say that I have never regretted any decision that I made out of love, but I have regretted nearly every single one that I have based out of fear. It isn’t always easy to love people to the point that it causes you pain (learning to let them go), but it’s always the right decision.

Need for Attention – 7 Healthy Ways to Gain Attention!

Published January 28, 2012 by matchsoul

Need for Attention – 7 Healthy Ways to Gain Attention!.

Your Mind Plays Tricks

Published January 25, 2012 by matchsoul

Have you ever listened to two politicians debating about the same issue and wondered how on earth they managed to arrive at such different opinions and conclusions from the same facts?

Have you ever been to a sporting event and raved over your favorite player only for an accompanying friend to look at you blankly and declare they were unimpressed?

Have you known anybody that has been through really tough times and never stopped smiling and looking on the bright side? Whereas somebody else you knew in the same situation was a prophet of doom and gloom?

What’s going on here, surely facts are facts? Isn’t it obvious when somebody has excelled? And why would anybody feel good when things are so bad, that’s just insane, right?

If you have a belief that the way you see things is the way they are, you are not only wrong, but will severely impede your chance of becoming the person you want to be. In actuality you see things the way you think they are according to your map of reality. And by the way, you are the only person holding that map.

You and in particular your unconscious mind do not like to be wrong. In fact your unconscious hates it with a passion. So much so in fact, that it will do almost anything to avoid those uncomfortable feelings, including fooling you. That’s right, your very own brain is constantly fooling you.

When you gather external data using your representational systems, and by that I mean things you see, hear, feel, taste and smell. Your unconscious mind goes to work deleting, distorting and generalizing the information to help it fit your map of reality and to stop it from becoming overwhelmed.

This is perfectly normal and indeed we all have to do this otherwise we would struggle to get through the day without having a nervous breakdown.

When you see a door handle you want to be able to generalize that it works the same way as all door handles. It would be a tad inconvenient if all door handles looked identical, but some had to be lifted up, some pushed, some slid to one side and some worked on voice recognition.

Similarly when you see a creature bound towards you it’s useful to know it’s a friendly cat because you have seen a cat before, and not have to pull out your ‘Morons Guide to Creatures That May Want To Eat Me’ to know if you need to head for the hills.

On the other hand, when we make generalizations like British people have bad teeth, there is nothing worth watching on TV these days, sports people make too much money, old people are always grumpy and women with PMS should always be avoided, we are in danger of taking it too far.

It only needs one exception for the above to be untrue and the generalization to be inaccurate. Although one of the above may indeed be true and I’ll leave you to decide which.

Whilst your unconscious is making all these useful and sometimes irrational generalizations, it is also deleting information. Your pre-frontal cortex isn’t very good at storing huge amounts of information at a time. It runs out of RAM fairly quickly so has to dump information that it does see as being crucial, and that starts to happen round about five pieces and max’s out at around eight or nine.

Think of all the things that are going on around you right now; All the information that is being thrown at your senses at this one point in time. It is amazing how much of it you’re missing.

The air on your skin, the touch of your clothing, background noises you have filtered out like the sound of your own breathing, maybe the noise of the A/C or a heater. Visually speaking, you are seeing very little of what is in your peripheral field, you are focused on reading this and blanking most other things out. It would be very hard to concentrate otherwise.

Your unconscious is not finished there either. Not content with deleting and generalizing, it is now distorting information for you, the little scamp.

Have you ever had a false memory? Of course you have, everybody has (and yes, that is a generalization! Well spotted.). In fact you will be holding lots of them as you read this and again it is not a problem and very normal. It’s because your mind constructs memories rather then reconstructs them as you would think. It has to, because otherwise every memory would take as long to recreate as the actual event it is recreating.

So the brain retains crucial bits of information and lets you fill in all the blanks. As such, you frequently make mistakes. We’ve all had moments of absolute certainty and clarity about an event only to come across incontrovertible proof that demonstrates we got it completely wrong. It can be a sobering experience, especially when it involves the mother-in-law, two bottles of wine and 3.00am phone call.

It can also distort in other ways too. You can and will see things that you want or expect to see rather than what is actually there.

One of my hero’s is a guy called Derren Brown. Derren is a brilliant illusionist, magician, hypnotherapist and NLP guy. He’s also highly amusing in my opinion and I recommend you checking out his DVD’s.

During one episode for TV he was on a high street holding a map looking like a lost tourist. He would stop somebody and ask for help in finding his way. As the two people studied the map, two guys carrying a large picture of Derren would barge between him and his Good Samaritan. As Derren and his ’mark’ momentarily lost sight of each other, Derren would walk with the removal people behind the picture and hand off the map to a person that was previously obscured.

When the helper was suddenly able to see ‘Derren’ again a second or two later it was a completely different person holding the map.

You wouldn’t expect anybody would fall for such an obvious trick and you would be completely wrong. Now to be fair, I feel sure few people did spot the switch and that was edited out for TV, but many people were conclusively fooled. In fact, the switch got more and more outrageous and the last couple will have you shaking your head in disbelief. (Youtube Video)

These people were not duped because they are any more stupid than you or I. In fact we may very well have reacted the same way. Their brain simply adapted what it saw to fit what it expected to see, because that is what it is does best.

There’s no way round any of this, it’s one of the things that makes life so intriguing. However, if you can stay aware that your opinions may well be wrong even when you just ‘know’ they are right, that what you are seeing may not necessarily what other people are seeing and that some British people have good teeth, you’ll make life a whole lot easier on yourself.

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