2. The way we interpret life page 1
How do you perceive the things that happen in your life? Do you know that how you choose to interpret that which may happen is much more important than the things that actually do happen?
There is not so much about how life treats you, as how you treat the life you have. It means more how you recieve life, how you choose to see it and what you read into the situations through your own interpretation of whatever happens than what actually happens to you. It is all about how and in what way you deal with the life you have.
When things happens we tend to add things into the event by what meaning we give it. What ever way we believe it to be gives the events its special color. That makes what ever happens to take on a special meaning just for you and that is your very own way of interpreting that situation. The biggest part of what you think about it is only your own opinion about the event and not facts at all.
This picture or your idea of it becomes a starting point for how you choose to do next, how you decide to move on from there. Whatever way you choose to look upon it is important as your future decisions depends on it, as well as your next action will depend on this. So what you coose to do with an experience you have can have a significant impact on how you consciously or unconsciously shape the rest or your life. As tomorrow is when the rest of you life starts.
Many are the times when we are all too well anchored in our own personal opinions
"That's just the way it is" we tend to say sometimes, and at the same time we mentally put an end right there. Period! By doing this we save ourselves both time and energy by proclaiming that we already know everything that needs to be known. That which we believe ourselves to know we consider as being quite enough and because of this we do not have to find out anything more about it. One frozen moment from the past becomes the mold, the matrix or the true pattern for how we relate to the here and now or the rest of the future. Or at least when it comes to this, whatever this would be. If we deal with life's experiences in this way too often our thinking slowly stagnates and the older we get the more rigid our way of thinking becomes. We become more and more inflexible and unwilling to leave our old and safe standpoints that we believe to be our noble truths.
In ways like this we get stuck in old and sometimes obsolete opinions so totally out-of-date that our age really begins to show in our lack of interest and lack of up-dated knowledge. And many of these opinions might also prove to be nothing more than just premature conclusions. Which we would notice if we took the time to examine them closer. Furthermore some of our opinions can by a closer study prove to be pure guesswork, hopefully it was your own and not someone else's.
Much of the things that we hold to be true are things we have somewhere along the line made a decision to believe in. And most of the time we just could not even be bothered to really think it through ourselves what we actually would think about it if we took the time to do this. Thinking takes time and effort. At the time we might have thought that we didn't had the time or the strength so we skipped that part. Other times it may seem that it is not that very important. We might have considered the source knowledgeable enough and it sounded good, so we just bought into it. We swallowed up the whole thing just as it was presented to us in that moment or maybe we just bought a smaller part of it. And so, it became one of our truths by which we live. Sometimes it is one of the truths which we pigheadedly defend.
From where do all your opinions come?
What is an opinion? An idea or a point of view, sure, but do you actually know for certain what your opinions are built upon? How they are created or shaped? Have you ever given that any thought at all?
An opinion is something we have decided to make our own. We make a lot of small decisions every day and many of them we hardly notice or even remember. But somewhere along our journey of life we made a decision regarding what we thought about this or that of which we now might be holding a very specific opinion. They might be formed out of some of our values we have. But many times we build our opinions on ideas or viewpoints that we have already taken in for outside and made our own. We want our opinions to fit in or to connect in a logic way to the opinions that we already have. It is uncomfortable in any length of time to keep opinions that are extreme polar opposite of each other. It makes us very uneasy when or if our opinions are for some reason to far from each other. This awakes something in us; we start to wonder which of the views has to go, what is right or what is wrong. We are placed in a mental dilemma; we have to make a decision here. Depending on how important this is there could be a real problem for us. What if we are forced to change one of our old very well nourished opinions, because of this single new one?
Deep down we have some well grounded and very fundamental opinions and set of values that most of our own bank of ideas, perceptions, opinions and knowledge rests upon. These mental basic principles or foundation-stones or supporting pillars within or mental framwork are absolutely vital to us that we do not like to mess with them unnecessarily. Things like this we do not particularly like to change and as a matter a fact, we can go through a lot of denial before we consider even to start to think about it. We run away from it, we are deaf and blind to it and we fight hard to defend it as long as we can.
If some of our basic, ground or core opinions or values are really shaken by life itself we do not feel good at all. Our mental balance or inner harmony will be utterly disturbed. It will feel as our very core is under attack. As if our deepest foundation is coming lose and everything that we have built upon its stones and pillars are falling apart. If this happens to us on a grand scale we are in a position where we have no choice but to rebuild it all from the beginning. From the ground stones and pillars up. In this situation we have to reevaluate everything in our life or at least most of the things in life. What is important? And I mean what is really important! After such a mental rebuilding within a person will definitely change, very few things will be the same as before. This is a "crisis" that will change any person's life completely. If you do your work well, you will come out a lot wiser and more mature person than you where before. In short you will grow enormously as a person.
After something like this you will never look upon anything in life the same way ever again. This is tough and it demands huge amounts of time and endless strength. That is why we would never do this of our own free will. We would never ever do a thing like this we life is going well and everything seem to work just fine. But some people end up having to do this. Most of us do now and then have a smaller crisis of some kind, others just don't do things in a small way - they do it in a big way! It seems like life puts us there. Once there, we have to deal with it or we go under. We have to go through one of life's crisis.
What we believe to be true will control our opinions
The faculty we have or the ability that makes us able to believe has in ways been very misunder-stood. In the Western world when science became the way of finding out the truths our ability to believe as been reduced to something very close to being a bad thing. If it could not be measured, weighed or repeated it was not a truth or a fact. In some ways Science has become the new "God" who everybody must believe in because they are producing the facts and truths. This has certainly been doing a lot of good things but in some ways this has now become a bit too extreme as well. If some way of thinking gets worked into a distant and extreme corner, far away from anything else and the same time becomes the one and only way of thinking, it will sooner or later end up as a fundamentalism in some way, where no other opinion is allowed to exist.
When science became the "only" truth then everything that was closer to a beleif was considered as something to be mistrusted. So we stopped talking about our beliefs. In countries where religion has declined one might find that beliefs has been connected to religion to such an extent that just by mentioning the word belief by itself makes most people think of a religious aspect. So we now hear belief systems or ways of believing instead.
Don't get me wrong here; I honor the truths and the quest for truth, I truly do but I am also acutely aware of what "truths" are. I do not believe in honoring all beliefs as truths. But we have to understand the important value of our mental ability to create and hold beliefs. The truth is definitely not the opposite of belief. A belief might be true or not be true but a belief is not the same as never being true. Things might be true or might not be true even if they are or are not scientifically proven facts. They are more to be considered as what we now believe as "truth" and as far as we know now but only until we know more. Some of these truths will be truths for a long time, some of them will change rather soon.
Of course we use our ability to believe when it comes to spiritual things but give yourself time to reflect on this ability being useful when it comes to other things in life as well. When you are beginning to understand how this ability to believe works you will understand what I mean. It is of great value and it should be appreciated more for what it can do for you.
Science is neither good nor bad it just is. It is how it is used and the way people look upon it that is making it more complicated than it has to be. But it will definitely be counter-productive to make it into a new form of "religion". Mature and wise men and women who are scientists are seldom at fault here but some of them that use that which science produce seem to misunderstand the fact that whatever seem to be true today might be untrue or almost not true at all tomorrow or in any unspecified time in the future. Science has also in some ways been used as a counter weight to religion, which in some ways has done good things, but anything that goes to far can get out of hand. The same thing goes by the way for religion itself. A sober view should not be too rigid or too inflexible but have room for updated changes.
Then again, to believe is not a sacred act in itself nor is it sacred to have faith in something as such. Even though that which we indeed have faith in we can consider sacred. It all depends on how we act, behave and how we ourselves look upon our own ability to have faith, to trust or to believe. But believing is something we do when we are not certain and it is a very natural thing to do. That is what our mind does. If we were always "dead" sure about everything in life we would not need the ability to believe at all. We use the ability to believe as a mental bridge moving from one known thing to another unknown thing. As if we were having mental islands of charted known land and wanted to explore more. When we are stepping outside that which we know into the unknown we need faith and beleif. As a support system when we venture straight out in something completely unknown we hold on to our faith in the good outcome we let ourselves believe, until we know and it becomes more secure. The unknown gives us a sense of insecurity so we hold on to our belief.
As soon s we perceive something as being totally new or unknown we have a tendency to be a bit careful or cautious until we get to know it better. That is also natural. We observe, listen, investigate, circle around, use our senses and all our intuitive abilities until we get an idea of what we can make ourselves believe it to be, and we are then working ourselves up to making some kind of decision on how we should relate to this new thing - whatever it may be. We weigh in all our impressions and information and we form some kind of belief about it. That is how we create our newborn opinions. Is it dangerous, is it safe, is it fun or is it ugly and so on. When we make up our mind on what to think about it we have come to a point where we make a decision what to believe or think about it. When it comes to strange things, dreams, visions, spiritual thoughts, divine things, any abstract or philosophical ideas, and so on we can actively choose to believe as we please or we can choose not to believe if we choose. But we are oftentimes not aware of the fact that we actually actively choosenot to believe and that this is just as an active act as choosing tobelieve. We have a free will to use but we are not always consciously aware that we do use it. Some people say that they don't believe in anything, when they actually already have chosen not to believe in something. The point is whether we do believe or do not believe we use our own free will.
Belief of faith comes out of free will and are first preceded by a decision
Belief is basically formed or shaped by an act of will and a decision most of the time done in the past. It could be a conscious or unconscious decision. We may argue that a decision is not based on our free will when we are more or less unaware of making the decision. We might not like the deision but it is done by our subconscious not someone else's. The point is that we are controlled by decisions we have done but then later have forgotten or by decisions we have done without due reflection or second thought. Whatever way we look upon it they are our decisions, our choices and therefore we are responsible. No one else can be blamed.
If we for example choose to agree with others and think the way the others do, we will do this for a reason only we may know. And we are the only one who could know what these reasons were. If we made up our mind we could find out if we put it under any consideration. To be sure no one else but us could never ever know why we have chosen to believe the same things as someone else. Our decisions has been made by us in the past, they might just have passed us by quite unnoticed, discreetly and in a very insignificant way. Some of our decisions seem to be more of a question of turning away from something or choose not to do something or putting up resistance or defending something. That may lead us to percieve that we had no choice in the matter as we felt forced to take action in a way we really did not want. Circumstances gave us "no" choice but to act or behave in a certain way. This can create an illusion that we did not choose at all as we could not choose freely at our will or we could not make a choice we wanted to do Sometimes in life we just have to make choices we do not like, that is part of life. At times the choices are very limited but even when we only have a few choices we still have to make a decision. Some say it is not likely that we whould actively "choose" something that we do not like or do not want, therefore it is not a choice. But it is. We can choose to welcome things into our life or we can choose to turn away from things that is already in our life or we can choose to do nothing. But we cannot not choose. We cannot freeze life itself. If we do nothing, it is because we made a choice of doing nothing - that is why we did not do anything. It is not because we never decided anything. If we observe ourselves as being inactive for some reason, it is because we have made a decision not to act.
When we have become more aware of the way we think, the way we make our decisions will be one thing we will notice. And that which we once called lack of decisions we will realize as being scattered and unfocused thinking. When we are more conscious our choices will be more in line with our goals and our visions and we will take more responsibility over them. Then we can experience a greater degree of control over the decisions we do make. This will come from the insight we now have of the fact that we are constantly making new choices all the time. There is no getting away. When it comes to this we have actually no choice in the matter.
Back to the ability to believe. We choose to believe or we choose not to believe. Many times we make the decision to believe in something because it sounded good or the person who said it appeared to be trustworthy. But when all is said and done and we can't come up with something better or well-founded or more well-reasoned decision and we are forced to make a choice, then we have to make a decision on our own belief or faith. And this is a natural way for us to behave when it comes to many of our decisions as well as many of our ideas or opinions that find its way into our head.
If we did not have the ability to believe or form an opinion on pure faith we would be in great trouble. We could look upon believing as a mental way of passing over the marshy lands of uncertainty on our way to getting more certain or how we make our way over parts we are not sure of towards and onto the more safe shores of knowing. Until we know we have nothing else to hold on to but our trust, faith and belief. But do not belittle them they are powerful beyond measure.
All that you believe in, where does it come from?
If you start to think about what you yoursef deep down really do believe in, what you think is important or believe to be true it might surprise you how many of these you have absolutely no idea where they come from or why you believe as you do. This happened to me and that was when I made up my mind to start my mental house cleaning. I have worked on it in many yeras and I am still not done. Today I question all new ideas thoroughly before I accept them. I reflect more and I have more uncertain things with mental reservations than things that I believe to be truths in my head these days. I ask questions like; says who, why, whatfore, are you sure is not enough. I have learnt to accept that I am not sure and I do not know. It is ok I can live with not knowing.
A mental house cleaning is very refreshing and when we realize that we have been defending things that we know absolutely nothing about it can also be a little embarrassing. How many ideas have you taken over from you parents, your elder sisters or brothers or your friends, some of which you haven't even met for years now? How many opinions do you have that will not survive a serious investigation of why you have them at all? How many have you got that you don't even like? The older we are the more we have collected these so called "truths" that are not our own. You will notice that many of them are old and obsolete and that you should have got rid of them a long, long time ago.
Taking a close look at all the things we believe to be true will take time, many years in fact but it will be well worth the effort. I would even like to say that it is necessary. And quite honestly we will never be ready. As the years keeps passing us by our mind will still be holding on to things that are slowly getting too old. But during the first years of cleaning we might realize that we quite easily have been made to believe in things that is absolutely not true. That is an insight that can hurt a little. But we learn from it to be more careful. We may notice that things we have be truly convinced of is not true either and that may shake us a bit. But we learn from that not to be so quick to swallow things we hear or read. A sound skeptic view can be a healthy thing. Some of our opinions we realize we don't know why we have. And we learn to let go. Certain things we might think we should or ought to or must believe, think again. The deeper down within we keep digging and the longer we keep at it the more insights will come to us. It is like taking the very Self slowly apart as if we were made of the very things we believe to be true. Somewhere along the way we start to realize that we are not our thoughts at all. We are truly a feeling and thinking being. A being that can think and feel. We also learn to keep a better watch over what slips into our mind and what we allow to stay there.
This leads us to thoughts about integrety, our own inner and mental boundaries,. Where does the inner you begin and where does it end?How big are the areas within you that you look upon as yours, how much of this mental inner space are you willing to defend? And how good are you at saying no?
Saying no is a very honorable and noble art that we all have to learn. We need to understand that it is of utmost importance to be able to look somebody straight in the eye and clearly, friendly, nicely, kindly but correctly and firmly say NO THANK YOU and smile our nicest smile. Or say "Thank you for asking, but No Thank You". With eyes that are friendly and warm glowing we send a decisive, firm and clear message that our NO is our decision and it is not negotiable. Don't even think of looking for any excuses on your part. Why you say no is not their business. This is what it sounds like; a NO. Period. Train it as often as you find any opportunity to do so.
If a so called truth is never being questioned it can survive a lot longer than you might think. The trick is to keep questioning them. Do you have the courage to be the first to do so? It is actually quite strange that so many modern people of today are still controlled by opinions of the older generations. Some of them are disguised as family "traditions" and others as "culture". Our family affects us in a deep way there is no getting away from that. It is of course both in a good way and a bad way. As small children we did not have a critical mind and that which was absorbed when we where young we have also forgotten. It is still there somewhere in our subconscious and it keeps affecting us. We can believe that this is part of us that we can never change but this is not true. Everything that we believe we can change if we want to. Do not fall for the illusion that this is just the way you are, and therefore it can never change. We can definitely change ourselves if we set our mind to it. Not over night, but by working on it over the years ahead.
Many of our perceptions that we have and we believe to be true we have picked up along the way from school, friends, books, films, media and role models we have had when we grew up. When we are older we keep creating other opinions of our own. It doesn't matter really where they all come from. The important thing is if you want to keep growing, is what you yourself think of your own opinions, perceptions, beliefs and your deep inner "truths" that you have within you today.
When we never stop and question our perceptions we will never know what or who it is that is controlling us. The ideas that we have and that we believe to be true could be coming from someone else. they can be ten, twenty or forty years old, may be we don't even like this ideas but we still follow them, so they are in that sense controlling our behavior. They still hav a hard grip on us. Our thinking then keeps working on "autopilot" which is mostly feeding on what others thought life was to be like a long time ago. And this is of course a lot easier because you don't have to actively make an effort to reflect or think twice about things but is this really a wise thing to keep doing?
To be cont. page 2>>