Each of these 10 Ways are part of a greater whole, in other words, rather than step one leading to step two and so forth, they all flow together and are equally important and integral to the intention of consciously creating our reality. Thus the numbers are solely for ease of reference.
One of the most important goals on our path to full awareness and conscious creation is to become completely honest, first with ourselves, then with the world around us.
What do you most want right now? What have you wanted in the past? Did you receive it or fail to get it? Perhaps this is your first attempt at being consciously introspective! Most of us are never taught to examine our own motivations and biases, let alone those of others! Instead, we are trained to complete our actions systematically, following rules, guidelines and traditions without thought, quickly moving on to the next engagement.
Life appears to be a series of examinations. Take a test, pass or fail, and move on to the next subject. Pick a career, get trained, look for work and try to answer all the questions correctly. If we fail, we simply go to the next job. Even our relationships with others are a matter of learned patterns. We build up an idea in our minds sometimes wholly based on subconscious beliefs about life.
Some few of us are trained to evaluate causation because that is the nature of our work, or we become partially aware of another’s motivations, because they may explain themselves to us. We may seek a fuller understanding, but if we improperly evaluate the causation or seek justification in other’s motives, our partial or invalid conclusions may result in depression or giving up and returning to placidity.
The object of this study is to take control of our own power. Taking a stance of complete honesty is not initially an effortless path; however, with dedication, practice, and awareness of truth’s effects, living in this new harmonious state of mind soon becomes automatic and natural.
Honesty is the foundation of wisdom. When we are completely honest, both with ourselves and others, it aids our total creative abilities by allowing us to see ourselves and others clearly, as well as deciphering what we truly want to create in our reality.
As we become more introspective and aware of our own minds workings, we begin to be more tolerant and thoughtful of others as well, overall creating a drastic improvement in our entire life.
As you become more honest with yourself, you will be able to project and receive honesty with others.
~ Multiple Layers ~
When we are completely honest with ourselves, we will understand that every thought we have and choice we make is both based on and affects multiple layers of conscious and subconscious patterns.
Our ability to recognize anything, be it an object, an opportunity, or a choice, is based on pattern recognition. We develop many patterns of thought, behavior and expectations; usually unconsciously, throughout our lives.
Our goal in this chapter is to begin paying attention to ourselves, in order to become fully aware of what those patterns are, and consciously choose whether to keep them intact, modify or discard them in whole or part and/or substitute a different pattern.
Although we often credit or blame others for our choices in life, ultimately the decision is completely ours, whether we realize it or not. Let’s examine and evaluate the contents of choice.
Every decision and action we make or refrain from is based upon multiple factors, including:
- Subconscious controls
- Societal or cultural programming
- Current body condition
- Current emotional state
- Others opinions; known or perceived
- Energy from those around you
- Current perceptions
- Overall outlook
- Desires and fears
- Primary thought processes and “instincts”
Recognition of the existence of these factors in our own mind allows us opportunity to analyze them consciously, and then reassign or discard their importance to us. This awareness is the nucleus of making more informed, rational choices which serve our best interest in totality.
Let’s explore each of these factors with an example for clarity:
Each experience of a past choice (whether yours or absorbed from observing or hearing about another’s experiences) becomes part of our programmed response and affects all interrelated choices in the future, until something else changes that pattern. Our subconscious is a non-selective recorder – any experience, whether we judge it good or bad for us, quickly becomes part of our psyche whether we are conscious of the pattern it creates or not.
For example, I was taught several strategies by my mother to avoid harming others. “Wait, and count to ten if you’re angry before you do something” she advised. “Never say something when you’re angry that you’ll regret later.” As a result, I was always careful to only say what I truly felt, even when angry or upset with another person.
An unintended result of this learning was that I expected everyone else to know that too. So when a fight came with a lover and he said very hurtful and insulting things, I believed he was saying what he really felt about me, because I did not recognize that he had not had the same mental training that I had.
Memories make patterns of thought and behavior, but those patterns will vary for each person. If your parents habitually said “We can’t afford it” when you desired a new toy as a child, then perhaps now, even though you make plenty of money, you don’t treat yourself to new “toys” because the program of “We can’t afford it” is installed on your subconscious if not your conscious mind.
You may have the opposite, rebellious reaction of becoming spendthrift with your money and only buying toys instead of necessities. Either way, recognizing why you are the way you are, and why you do the things you do, is a first step to consciously changing yourself to be the person you truly want to be and have the life of your dreams.
Times of elevated emotional states or traumatic events can shape new patterns instantaneously, as in the case of a phobia forming. Exposure to the new or unexpected can also “open our eyes” to other types of patterns and options. Even watching a movie or a stranger’s interactions can impact our mind and form new patterns.
The patterns formed then create a belief, which in turn will recreate that experience over and over in our lives. Each same experience implants the pattern deeper into our subconscious, until we start to accept it as an unquestioned fact.
Exercise: Recall a memory of this type, and question it. Using the above example, you might try to remember ways in which your parents ‘treated’ themselves to “toys” or perhaps recall an alternate experience that nullifies that memory, such as a rich uncle who would swoop in and bring you presents.
You always have alternatives to using any particular memory as a baseline for your choices in the present. Consciously give your mind other options to choose from. Later on we’ll talk about substituting and reframing memories.
From now on, make it a goal to create a habit of consciously choosing what patterns your subconscious records. We’ll discuss ways to do that in later chapters.
Deeply rooted beliefs become subconscious controls, and though the belief is something we may verbalize, we are saying it practically in an unconscious state.
For example: “I weigh too much” is a statement we may make about ourselves, whether or not it has a factual basis (obesity) or a perceptual basis (anorexia) has become a control. That statement IS now creating a reality – in the case of the obese it is creating the reality of excess weight, in the case of the anorexic, it is creating the reality of the desire to continue to diet.
Exercise: Start to pay attention to the actual words that are coming out of your mouth. If possible, record one or several of your normal conversations with friends or coworkers. Listen to the recordings and start making a list in your journal of some of your subconscious controls, exactly as you verbalize them when telling a friend.
Here are some examples of subconscious controls*:
“I never know what’s going to happen next.”
“You have to work hard for money”
“It isn’t easy being cheesy”
“Life is just like that”
“No matter what I do, something always happens to derail my plans.”
“I am polite, it is everyone else who is rude”
*All of these statements are subjective.
Later on, we’ll expand that list to include any type of limitation you currently accept as real, and we’ll use that list to create new settings.
A bias is any preference given regularly when choice is concerned. For example, I have a bias for white cars – the last 5 cars I’ve owned have been white. When purchasing, I’m more likely to choose the white vehicle, without taking other factors into consideration.
A bias may be a seemingly small thing, however if unexamined can prove harmful. Since becoming aware of this bias, I make certain to first check all other factors that interest me in a vehicle, such as; age, condition, installed options, mileage, etc. A car color bias, even though seemingly small, could lead to a incorrect choice (for me) if I allow it to over-rule factors which are really more important to my actual enjoyment of the vehicle.
Some examples of biases would be a tendency to like someone solely because they have the same color skin as yourself, even though you dislike everything else about that person (racial bias). Or you may distrust someone solely because they worship at a different church (religious bias).
There are many types of cultural biases, which we’ll examine more fully in the societal programming section.
It is beneficial to become conscious of and re-examine any biases we have and evaluate anew whether it would benefit us to change those biases. At the least, when you are aware of your biases you can make choices that are more informed by remembering to consider other, more important, factors first.
Throughout our lives we are programmed with multiple data sources, factual or not. First, in childhood with our parents’ projected beliefs, whether conscious or unconscious, then into our early formative years, in school, later on the job and from communities we belong to or classify ourselves with, and throughout our lives from the mass media outlets and the people we surround ourselves with.
Societal programs are very subtle. To illustrate how pervasive they are, think of a fish, and the water in which it swims as the societal programs. Is the fish any more aware of the water itself than we are of the air which we breath? Most people never get outside of their normal social paradigm and see the “water” for what it is, simply a collection of shared beliefs.
In many cases when we do encounter what is outside our social program we fear and/or destroy it, as when the “civilization” ofEuropefirst made contact with the “savages” of theAmericas. In reading accounts ofColumbus’s terrorization and enslavement of the native population, one has to wonder, which society was really the “savage” one?
In many accounts of “civilized” man coming into contact with indigenous peoples, one sees the term “naked savage” or something similar. Its funny how the wearing of clothing has sheltered so much other barbaric behavior. There seems to be an attitude of “it’s ok to kill everyone who isn’t like us, because we wear clothing”. I find this strange.
“Pardon him, Theodotus, he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.”
– George Bernard Shaw “Man and Superman”
In America it may be considered rude to refuse a handshake, while in Japan it is traditionally very rude to offer a handshake. This is just the tip of the iceberg when considering what social programs we have and whether they serve our best interests or not.
Most of what we consider to be “natural” or “normal” is in fact societal programming, which is based on cultural biases and the surrounding worldview. Often we don’t wake up to what our social programming is unless we have some shocking experience of “otherness”. Let’s go through a slightly shocking exercise to awaken our minds.
Exercise: Consider this cultural bias – the taboo against incest. Do you feel disgust at the idea of incest? This may be because you are not attracted to anyone in your family, or perhaps you are strongly attracted yet your societal programming makes that idea repulsive.
Throughout history there have been cultures where incest was considered ‘normal & natural’. In ancientEgyptthe rulers were brother and sister, married to each other. For centuries the British Royals intermarried, in fact, being related was a requirement for marriage. In a biblical account,Lot’s daughters seduced him when they were stranded in the desert, so as to carry on the family line.
Take the logical analysis of this cultural ban a step further. One of the primary reasons espoused for the taboo is the probabilities of genetic damage to any children the incestual union might produce.
Now, with modern methods of birth control and artificial insemination, reproduction is easily controlled and is no longer a reason for that societal bias. Yet, we still have an ingrained disgust for the idea.
The cultural taboo against incest may not be a societal program you want to change within yourself. But it is helpful to be aware that it is a cultural bias, and to realize that many of our responses to life are programmed, not ‘normal’, ‘natural’ or ‘instinctive’.
I used the incest taboo as an example because a good test to discover our societal programming is to examine closely those ideas which we normally shy away from in revulsion. The sense of revulsion we feel is an indicator of just how strong societal programming can be.
Any belief we fervently hold, any belief which elicits such strong feelings, should be examined rationally to allow us to have complete control of our own mind.
Your Current Bodily Condition
Your current bodily condition is everything that has to do with your body and what you think about your body. Are you healthy? Are you good-looking? Are you in good shape? Are these factors important to you or not, and why?
Our bodily condition often influences our beliefs and decisions. And just as importantly, our decisions and beliefs influence our body. Ever stayed home from something you didn’t really want to do because you actually developed a headache? Or called in “sick”, only to actually get sick?
Our physical condition influences our choices more often then not, and we should be aware of exactly what our body feels like, in order to change that reality, and to create a condition of perfect health from now on.
Our subconscious controls our physical health, and it may currently be influenced by many factors. The good news is that we do have complete control over our minds. Our conscious mind can instruct the subconscious mind, and install new programs to produce only health and vitality within us. Here are a few examples of how our bodily condition can affect our mind.
A woman’s body during menstruation is working harder than at other times. Her uterus is contracting and is located near her belly. This feels very similar bodily to the tightness in the belly area that is often experienced during stress. So, if consciousness about this similarity raised, she can then be aware that she is not actually under stress, and can choose to react differently than she would normally react to stress.
Our body, mind, heart and spirit are intimately connected. Changes in one produce changes in the others. This topic alone is worthy of a book! For now, let’s just be aware that our bodily condition plays a part in our decision making process and we can choose how big of a part it really plays when we are conscious of that effect.
Current Emotional State
Mood is a temporary state of mind or feeling. Every thought and feeling we have, whether of happiness or sadness, joy or despair, creates a chemical and physical state in the body.
We often let our moods dictate our choices. We all have done something when we were in one mood that we would have never done when in a different mood. For example, when in a ‘bad’ mood you might yell at someone whom you love, and later regret it when your mood has improved.
We sometimes think of moods as transitory states that come and go without our volition. This is an incorrect assumption. Just as the body reflects the state of mind, the mind reflects the state of the body.
Have you ever noticed how when you’re in a good mood you stand or sit straighter, hold your head higher, and smile?
Have you also noticed that when you’re in a bad mood you tend to slump, droop your head, and scowl? Now, try those two postures for a couple minutes each (I’d recommend starting with the bad mood posturing first), and see how each posture actually starts to infect your mood for bad or good.
Be aware that we become physically addicted and mentally habituated to our moods and emotions! Every change in mood experienced produces a chemical combination in the brain and body, and vice-versa the chemicals in the brain and body can produce our moods. That is why, for example, people get runners’ high. It may also be a cause of post-partum depression (visualize the new mother’s posture as she feeds the baby).
Contrary to popular belief, your choice of moods is within your control. You have the power to choose your moods and emotions, and develop an addiction to a new, better mood. Part of the process of mastering your mind is to decide to consciously choose your moods.
Any habit can be started as a matter of conscious choice to begin, but we can’t make a conscious choice without awareness that there is a choice to be made. Thus, happiness, peace, joy and bliss as habitual states are a matter of choice, not chance.
Exercise: Here’s a quick mood lifter. When we smile there are two physical mood ‘buttons’ on each side of our mouth which get pressed and cause the brain to release a combination of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. So smiling literally does make you happier, and, once those chemicals hit you will keep smiling.
If you find it hard to smile you can use the pen trick: take a pen and, holding it horizontally with both hands at the ends, place the center of it in your mouth, as far back as you can hold it, on the edge of discomfort. Like this:
© 2011 Nadine Sabulsky
Thanks for Reading!