(Continued from Part 1)
We often describe our internal states as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – for instance anger is usually called ‘bad’ and ‘happiness’ is usually called ‘good.’ This is because of our early training from our parents or care-givers. We assign meanings to our internal states as much as we do to the world around us.
If you have had experience of meditation and eastern philosophical systems, you may know that in that view of the world, there is nothing such as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ it is only the meaning we assign to those things that defines them as such.
A fundamental key to making changes to your internal state is to become aware of what you are doing, and I mentioned the witness posture in Beliefs part 2a of this series.
For instance I used to be quite angry about a lot of things. Furthermore, I wasn’t aware that I was angry because I would suppress it. But when I became aware of my anger (as in an observer or witness), I was able to be dispassionate about it and not ‘buy in’ to it. Having done that, I was able to say to myself: ‘There I am again, doing anger. It will pass.’ I was able to pass no judgement on that state and it soon disappeared.
That is not to say that I never get angry – it’s only that I am more aware of it when it occurs and how it occurred. Furthermore I never judge myself for becoming angry in the first place.
To reiterate, our internal states are largely brought about by what we focus on. And once we become aware of how we create that state, we can change the outcome to one that we want.
You might ask ‘why would I focus on what I don’t want if it doesn’t serve me?’
Like a lot of things, focusing on what you don’t want is a habit. At some time in our past, we’ve all had a negative experience. This negative experience caused us to make a generalization that served us at the time, but which over time has become redundant and no longer serves us.
For instance, when we are young, the message conveyed to us by our parents and others close to us is that there is danger in the world. Indeed, it is the most fundamental part of our thinking processes – survival.
This habit then gets applied to all circumstances without us thinking about it consciously. We misapply it to situations where it doesn’t serve us or isn’t appropriate.
For instance if you grew up in a household that was always struggling financially, the messaging from your family could have been that there is not enough money in the world and not to take financial risks. This might have served you back then, but if you now want to become financially abundant, taking risks might seem abhorrent to you, and the internal state you arrive at is fear.
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