2. How do we interpret life? page 2
Why would it be of any great significance what we really think or what kind of opinions we have? Life will still be whatever it is, right? Whatever we think about it - it will forever remain the same, or...?
The two Swedish comedians "Hasse and Tage" are well known here in Sweden. They were very popular in the 60's and 70's and they have written a lot of dialogues. Most of it had a little serious side to it. In an old classical scene from the 60's a Mr Larsson shares a sleeper on a train with another gentleman. This gentleman keeps bugging poor Mr Larsson until he finally leaves and goes away trying to find somewhere else to sleep. As far as could be understood this was the "gentleman's" hidden agenda all along. He uses different techniques and for a while he keeps asking him about life. And he goes on; "Mr Larsson, can you please tell me, what life is? The poor fellow who is just trying to sleep, tries to find an answer to this deep question, but gives up and says; "It is empty and has no content, unless you fill it up with something." It strikes me as true in some aspects. It is up to us to fill our life with meaning or to give it meaning and content or else it may in some way just seem quite empty.
When we talk of life as such in general terms we will think of it in one way. Though our reflections can become quite different when we think about our own life. Our personal life is a mixture of events, circumstances, joys, laughter, hopes, tears, successes, sorrows, dreams, miscalculations and disappointments. Our memories about these things that make up our life can be happy or sad, angry or joyful.
All these feelings we might perceive as getting in our way when we think of our own life. But these things are our life. When we try to grasp what life is we seem to get caught into these feelings as if they were sticky cobweb and our memories stir up these old feelings so that we experience them again and again as if it our memories was from yesterday.
Maybe there have been painful events, or we have difficult memories which we find hard to become reconciled with or maybe there are bittersweet memories which awake pains we would rather forget. Hopefully we also have joyous events that fill our hearts with great warmth. And all of this complex mosaic makes out our life.
What do you think life is?
If you look at life as such in general, how do you perceive life? What is life to you? Whether we are young or old we have our own opinions of what life is. The longer we have lived the more opportunity we have had to reevaluate our opinions. Have you had the chance to do that yet? Maybe you find it strange that our ideas, opinions and beliefs of what we think life is or can become actually can affect what our own life is or will become. But it does, because it is first created the mind. And whatever we have in our own heads long enough will sooner or later affect us.
Initially it might be difficult to understand that we are so put together that we are not particularly keen on accepting things that we on some mental level perceive as impossible. Impossible in such a way that it doesn't fit in with what we think or believe as being possible or probable. It is as if we had a little mental barrier or maybe we have a very tiny little fellow sitting there as a guard or a doorman picking out things that is too unacceptable. "-Oh no, that is untrue, that is imagination and that is just too unreal! Maybe he is sitting there sorting out and classifying what is mentally believable or not. Whatever comes along that is not according to your opinions it will not be accepted. You will filter it out and you wont let it inside.
It doesn't matter how this automatic filter in your mind actually looks like - it does exist. And maybe that is just as well since we are so very busy in our lives. We need all the help we can get from the automatic filter. We need it to keep our sanity. The stimuli that reach us from outside are enormous and there is no way we would be able to cope if this filter was not there.
But it is useful to know that we subconsciously work in this way. This mental subconscious sorting is an important part of how we function when we it comes to what we deep down or fundamentally believe about everything in life. Therefore, a half glass of water is either half empty or it is half way full whatever the truth is for us.
How we perceive things to be or how we think of them or believe them to be are affected by this filter or matrix that we have. This filter is right in front of us and work as a lens in our mental binoculars which we use to focus on things around us. This filter is shaping our level of awareness, it affects how much or what kind of interest we have and what we choose to look at. It affects the degree of attention we give to the things we look at and it also affects how we relate to people and things in our life.
These filters or matrix are controlled by our deepest and most fundamental opinions but they also affect every one of our new opinions that we may consider to admit. This means that our opinions becomes rather similar, they become "clusters" of concepts which directs the way we look at things in life. As well as how we take our stand regarding the life we live. Why we look at life as we do is due to these concepts.
In order to understand our mental state, our personal viewpoint, our approach as well as our attitude we need to know our own deep and well hidden opinions and perceptions and beliefs. Especially when it comes to what we on one hand believe to be our truth and to be probable and on the other hand believe to be untrue and impossible. That which we believe to be true when it comes to life in general for everyone may well be controlling what we consider to be true for ourselves in our own life. Whatever we believe to be impossible for others in life we would probably believe to be impossible for ourselves.
So when we say that certain things for example "can't be done" we usually include ourselves and our own ability. These things will be included in the things that will be sorted out in the same way as we discussed before. If something seem highly unlikely or for us impossible to believe in according to our beliefsystem it will be more or less impossible for us to perceive as anything else. Most of the time things that are outside the range of our filter will pass us by completely unnoticed. We are neither aware of it nor do we perceive it. For us it may well be as if it never existed at all.
When we stand face to face in life with things that we find extremely difficult to believe in, these things will for some reason, hardly get any of our conscious attention at all. Whatever we in our mind find totally unbelievable we might filter or block out and we would not be able to hear or see it at all. The opposite can be equally true. If we believe in something strongly enough we tend to see it even if others do not. There are expressions as "we can make ourselves believe what we want to believe" or "we can make ourselves see things that are not even there to be seen". This is one of life's paradoxes. The power of thought works in many ways and our own illusions sometimes have us fooled. Every which way we think it seems as we are actually fooling ourselves. This is something we do not like to admit but our mind works in strange ways. We are constantly creating illusions by how we think or believe that things are right now.
Then again there might be things we miss out totally, that actually is there to be seen. But if we filter that out so we can not see it doesn't matter what it is, we will never know anyway.
When we let our torch of attention shine over the smorgasbord of life we need to make choices, we cannot take it all in at once. We need help with sorting out the most important things. Mentally we are not able to take in absolutely everything that our senses register. Our system would totally brake down and our psyche would be flooded with input that would take up to much of our time and energy to process in some way. Our psyche is not made for such bombardments of impressions. So when we discover an automatic system that is doing the major part of this sorting out for us we should be thrilled, happy and grateful.
But the point is we need to be aware of the fact that we are not only making conscious choices in our lives, we are also living our life by choices that are automatic and subconscious. This means that on a subconscious level some of our choices are based on old decisions, some of which we have already long forgotten when or why we made. Some of these could be considered as being very old habits.
Our choices, whether consciously or subconsciously done either turn us away and close us from things or open us up to welcome in things in life. The way we perceive things is very individual and unique. Things that we find important may or may not be important to others. Our choices are totally unique just as we ourselves are unique. If we want to have any influence at all on that hidden and secret "department" in the "brain-office" we first have to become aware of what is actually going on without our knowing. And we have to learn how to give the right kind of "order" so we don't mess things up. Because if we go about this in the wrong way we will be worse off than if we would just let everthing alone and let the brain keep on doing whatever it has been doing up till now, just as it always has been doing long before we become aware of the difference.
Things that works well is best left alone, right? So what is working just fine and what is not working? Or what can be improved and made better? First we have to observe closely and then we have to try and understand. We need to figure out the process behind the filters or the matrix. The sorting is made by filters and the filters are made up by our old hidden subconscious ideas, opinions and beliefs. When we come to the things that could be improved for us, it has to do with these ideas, opinions and beliefs. When our life doesn't work well or at least not as well as we would wish, some of these old ideas need to be changed.
This means our thoughts. But we have the thoughts we have because we think the way we think. And that way has to do with our ideas, opinions and beliefs that we have gathered so far and come to consider as our truth in live. What we believe as being true for us, works as our filters. If we could remember exactly what is behind every decision that we make we would be very unique. I don't believe this could ever be possible for anyone. The counscious thinking mind is more like a "work space" and it has only room for a certain amount of information at the time. So our old decisions is working as filters and becomes our automatic helpers, working quietly behind the scene.
We could look upon this as if it was about assimilating natures own way. Instead of only having filters that are shaped unconsciously by us that are sorting a lot of things out in way that we most of the time are totally unaware of. We could create a few new filters in a conscious way that can help us to sort out things we would like to keep out of our life. In this way we will get some control of what is getting through the filters and what is being turned away. When these new filters have been created and fully implemented they will in time also work subconsciously. An effective filter needs to be created in such a way that it will end up in your own subconscious mind.
It sounds a bit strange maybe but this is nothing more than accepting some new opinions and ideas. New this to believe in as your new truth, that's all. But as we are talking about changing beliefs and opinions the old ones will at first protest especially if they are not similar or in line with the old ones. these new ones might even be in total opposite and contrast to the ones you have hade for a very long time. So they will have to agree to leave, in exchange to the new ones. This will mind you, take a bit of persuasion first. Usually a whole lot actually.
To keep a steady course
The way we handle our mental focus is not so strange. After we have observed this a bit closer we can see that we can at will aim our focus at and adjust it onto that which we want to achieve. When we love to reach this goal the better and the more we focus one the one thing we want. By returning in our mind to what we want again and again we learn to keep our fokus steady on the goal. It is in this way we will keep a steady course on our journey. Our instinct tells us that this is the logic thing to do. But why then is it sometimes so difficult to do?
One of the reasons that we may get so confused in life is that the impressions floods our mind, they are all too many. Although some of them will go away automatically and unconsciously and thank goodness for that, but there is so much left to consider. All these constant decisions to be made. The more impressions we are exposed to the more decisions we have to cope with. And at the same time we are trying to aim at and cling to our goals. Many times we have a lot of things to handle and many small as well as bigger things to achieve. Our focus becomes scattered and this makes us tired and finally confused.
On some level we are trying to stay on course aiming at our big goal in life at the same time as we have a life to live. Even if we are very organized person and live a well planned life it will still be needing certain adjustments now and then to keep on track when life gets in between. Persistance is something we need to work on daily to stay on course. And we also need to work on our self discipline.
All of life's milestones
The most imoportant thing is to have a vision that is the grand goal of goals in our life. Some indian tibes calls the search for the vision in life a "vision quest". And this should be something that we all should be made to do when we are young. An initiation built on a an idea that you should go out in life to find your own vision. Because we are lost without a vision.
We also need a personal purpose in life. And this is also something that we should be taught by the older generation how to find in our own hearts. The problem is most of the members of the older generation doesn't know how to find it either. The real purpose in our life is something that we can hold on to through life. It need to be based on values that we find important and that is in harmony with our hearts highest longings.
The vision we make out for ourself is the highest what it our life and the purpose is the highest why. It is the thing we can look back on when our journey here on earth is done. And we can reflect on how close we came to accomplish this vision. And if someone asks us then why we choosed that particular vision in life, we will know that it had to do with our purpose. The purpose is the why we have coosen to live our life by. Because this reason for living make us feel contented and satisfied with ourselves. And the vision is what we always aim at, it is the goal of our life.
When we have established these two, the vision and the purpose, then we have a compass in life. All of the other goals in life needs to be in line with these two. And when they are things will work out just fine.
Without these two we may have a difficult time setting goals at all and we may have some trouble following them all the way to the very end. When we jump from one thing to another and find it difficult to set goals at all, the reason are usually to be found in the lack of vision and purpose in our life. When we lack these all the other things we go after doesn't get connected to a bigger picture or a grander meaning in our life and therefore they become a lot easier to change into something else. Leaving them when something more interesting comes along is rather easy.
There are so many things out there we like to do or have or be. Some of us may get all worked up and we rush with great enthusiasm in yet another new project. Maybe we give a few moments to reflection of all the unfinished things we leave in our trail behind us or maybe we don't.
Others goes with a precision of a swiss clock. They go from one accomplisment to another. From one goal to another and they find it easy to set new goals and are pretty confident that they will reach them one by one in due time.
We are all different and we all have different targets and goals in many different areas of life. For a student in school every subject can be a goal. For the person who has the responsability for the meals at home every meal can be a goal in itself. It might be something in our business or at work that we have as a goal. We might be involved in some sport and have certain goals. It can be anything that we like to improve or something new we would like to learn. What we aim for and what we are trying to reach depends on many things and our ambition in life.
"Life not just is, it is moment by moment being built."
So what is life? Life is what we make it to be. We are creating our own life and we are also creating the way we look upon the life we are a part of. We may not be given total control as to what environment and conditions we are born into. It is like the deal in a cardgame. Just as we can decide how to play the cards that we have been given, in the same way we can decide what to do with whatever life have given us.
Every thought, every spoken word, gesture and act in every single moment, every hour, every week, month and year is all a small part in the building process of our life. Either this is done without your awareness or with it. The life we are given is created, recreated and are being built in every now as we are living it and in the way we decide to live it. You can choose to be or to strive to become more aware or choose not to. What to you choose?
When we reflect over our life and think of how it has been shaped it is of great importance how we look upon it. The way we look upon our life as such basically depend on our deep opinions of life as a whole. And those opinions and ideas are usually something that we have taken over from others from our surroundings in our early years. These opinions shape our perceptions and controls the way we percieve our life to be. Whatever we believe our life to be is the truth about life for us.
The opinions and ideas that are behind the way we look upon life can be changed and when we succeed in changing them, the way we look upon life will change. Our perceptions will not look the same and we will not interpret the things we see in the same way anymore. That is the secret behind how things can change when we change the way we look at them. At first glance this seem kind of silly. But when we have worked on it for a while we will understand. The things we look at will in time also change.
This is not a way to make ourselves blind or less compassioned. We only change the reasons we have as to why we have choosen to interpret the things we look at differently. We can switch back at will but given the two different view points to choose from I guarantee that you will rather live with the new one, once you have got thus far. Since it is possible to decide what thoughts to keep and what thoughts we rather want to have and hold on to in our mind, it is very likely that we choose the ones that will make us feel good instead of the ones that will make us feel bad.
If we want to change or if we believe that it is possible to change - it will be possible. But if we deep down do not want to change or if we believe that it is not possible to change - it will never be possible to change until we first change this basic belief. We can be totally stuck right here.
If we slowly can change our mind to first just believe that it can be done. Then secondly that it is possible that even you can actually do it. Suddenly the window of opportunity is queitly and slowly opening up a little. When you can believe that you can change every thing is possible. Even things that to you seemed absolutely impossible before.
The world is changeing
So this means that our life and how our life seems to be according to our point of view is to a large extent about what we consider life as a whole to be. The strange thing is that the life we have now, can never really change as long as we are unable to change our own thoughts and opinions about life as such. If this is something that we never ever have thought of or been thinking of before, this is were we need to start. If we change things in our outer world and nothing in our inside world it will be as we never changed anything. We are just walking in circles. We will soon enough be back in square one again. The reason for this is that the world outside us is but a looking glass of what is inside us.
To change our world without we need to understand that the only way to do this is to change our own world of thought within first. That is how we accomplish permanent change that will stay with us for ever. And this is done in small steps, methodically, with determination, belief and a good measure of self discipline.
When we look upon the world differently because we have changed the way we see and interpret the things we look upon - it will seem as the world itself has changed. Of cause we know at this stage that this is not so, we know that we have changed or transformed ourself. But this is only one part of the truth. There is a lot more to this further on.
The old will resist change
Some people may misunderstand this concept. It can be interpreted as if nothing much has changed. The only thing that has happened is that we have become very good at make believing or pretending that it is different when in fact nothing at all outside has changed. If we did not continue our work within this could actually very well be the truth.
The thing is hat if we continue to do our journey within and keep up with our inner work, more things will change. When we have rearranged and recreated ourself from the inside out or from the ground up years from now you will be able to look back and realize that so many things in your outside life has actually changed. It will be very hard for you to hold on to the idea that it is only your way of looking at life that actually have changed. Even the life you live will have changed.
If you will work to build and expand your faith in the highest good, your belief in possibilities and that there is always a solution to a problem and that there is always something good in everything, even if it seems unimportant at first. Make sure you make it you trademark to search and look for the good in all things in life. There is always something good in everything. It depends on how we look upon it and in the beginning we may have to make an effort to find it. But you will with practice find it easier. A positive outlook on life is the most important part if you want life to get better than it is right now. Look for any reason to laugh out loud at yourself. If we can make ourselves laugh - we can make ourselves happy! Instead of crying over things that goes to pieces try to laugh at it - try to see the comic side of it. When you stumble - laugh. When you make a total mess of things - laugh. When you do stupid things (we all do them) - laugh.
When these optimistic mindset has become a part of the way you are you will have changed on a very deep level within. While working with these concepts you will experiencing that the old ideas within will initially resist change. They will not cooperate they will tell you that this is all silly, you are trying to imagine things and live in a fantasy world and that you are just trying to turn away from reality and in the beginning you will feel like a total nutcase. Try laughing even at this! You see this is the old "you" talking to you.
When we start to understand the different parts that have an effect on our way of thinking. Then the insight may reach us that the way we use our thinking - effects our life. Later we may start to realize how the inside or our mind works. This can becoming the beginning of unfolding the realization that it really is our inside that is reflected on the outside. The little life without is our own looking glass. The big world without is our city or country or the global looking glass. We may also arrive at an understanding of how it can be recreated and changed. But when we initially are trying to change our old ways of thinking we get a feeling that we are in some way trying to do some kind of "brain washing". To reprogram ourselves is not easy. The old thinking is digging in its heels and will not listen to us and the way we are trying to reason with it; that we will feel better and things will be easier and so on. The ego just simply doesn't care. It is fighting you untill the bitter end on this. Your ego voice within doesn't want to believe in this crappy new stuff.
Now who (or what) do you think is going to win this battle? The old way of thinking defended by your ego or the "new you" who is wanting to change? It depends on who is most persistent! This is how the mind works. Think of the drop dripping onto a granit rock. How many drops does it take to make a mark? In nature we know it works, sooner or later persistance will win, even if I don't know if it will take some 10.000 or 1 million drops. Knowing it works is enough, we do not need to worry. We only have to persist - until we can see the change for ourselves.
As long as swe are aware of how the process works we can relax. Give it time. When we know what we want and what we want to achieve. We know what we are doing and we know that it will take time. We only have to keep it up and never give in and we will get there. That is just the way it works. We can with a certain equanimity observe that the old habits of thought will not just give up and disappear without protest or struggle.
It is by no means easy to create new habits of thought or to integrate them within our everyday thinking. Especially when the old habits appear to continue to work in the opposite direction to the new habits. But with perseverance it can be done. Even though the start can be a bit tough.
Make up your mind to give the new thought habits all your attention in such a way that they will expand and push aside the old ones. With a lack of attention the old ones will in time fade away. The sound tracks of the old thoughts will become less persistant if we do not give them any of our energy and as little of our time as possible. Our attention, time and energy is food for our thoughts - strave the old thoughts out by ignoring them as much as you possibly can. Try not to trigger the memory or activate the memory if that is possible. When the old thoughts pop up turn to something else and distract yourself - then choose the new thougths again. The more you stay at the new way of thinking the stronger these new thoughts get. The nerves in your brain makes them quicker and they will come a lot faster then the old ones. So keep at it.
When the older thoughts is fading you may feel that they are getting slower and they are not so strong any more but how much you feel will depend upon what kind emotions they use to trigger for you. Thoughts and ideas that trigger strong emotions like hate for example take a lot longer time to fade. Compared to someting that doesn't get you so worked up. When the day comes that the new thought pattern is established it will be easier to look back on the old ideas. With a mental distance you will be able to look upon them quite differently. You may even be able to laugh at how you used to think back then - when you were unaware.
The ego or the gut feeling
That part of us who find it very difficult to believe in thing that seem to far from our former beliefs and that which we have perceived as the truth, will protest and will be kicking wildly against it. This is the same part of us that are mesmerized by the illusion. The illusion which we have ourselves been creating without being aware of the fact that we are a creative being. We perceive our illusion as our "truth" and look upon it as "all that is". We can see it with our eyes and therefore it must be true. But the fact that we actually did create it seem totally unlikely. It seem to hard for us to swallow and the part of us that finds this absolutely uncomprehensible is our ego. The whole world of the ego is within the illusion, in which the ego have its security and from which it takes its perception of life. When "the cage" is rocking and the illusion is shaking and it may seem to crack the ego does not feel well at all. The ego fear changes and especially rapid ones or things that change to quickly. Sometimes a sensitive ego may perceive every little change as threatening and therefore the ego rush to its defeces and starts to fight against it. The stronger the ego, the harder the fight - the change must be stopped at all costs.
There might be a way
There is a way to handle a very desperate ego. It may work for some people so give it a go. If we look upon the ego as a part of us that is on our side. Consider the ego as someone who is trying its utmost to protect us - maybe not always in the best of ways and maybe the ego neither have the clearest picture or a birds eye view, but it tries to protect you from any perceived danger. The ego is trying in its own way to protect you from harm and things it does not understand. From the egos stand point - it may be dangerous.
Some people call this voice "the doubter" or "the realist" and if we listen carfully it may have something to tell us. At the same time do not forget that the ego is the blind defender of the illusion. As long as the ego do not step in and take over the control, let it have its own opinions. But remember to back up a bit so you can get a broader picture in you view and when we strive for a more spiritual perception let the spirit soar high up above. Look at it from a view point of the highest good for all. So even if we are willing to listen to the voice of the ego, we do not let it control us. We look upon the ego for what it is and with the knowledge that it has a very limited awareness. The egos way of looking at things are very different from the voice of the heart and the intuition both of which have a better contact with the energy that is the essence of our fundamental entities. The ego is a child of the mind compared to the inner intuitive feeling of the body, that we use to call the gut feeling. So in short when the gut feeling tells you one thing and the head says something else, the head might just be the ego - follow the gut feeling.
Is it possible to turn around a pessimist?
When we begin to understand how the way we view things affect the life we live, then we can start to feel a frustration when it comes to all the negative thoughts we actually do have inside.
Insight and of course understanding helps but also a good technique as well as strong and enduring will power and determination.
Coming up >>
What to you get out of your outlook on life?
The way we look on life or the mind set we have towards life as such, has a strong shaping power on how we see what we look at and how we interpret our experiences in life.
This might be be something that you are already aware of. But do you realize how much it actually controls you life and how this determines the very outcome of you life?
Coming upp >>
Is an optimist always also aware?
The person who suffers under a negative mind set och becomes aware about it, might wonder if it "only" is a question of becoming a "ultra" optimistic person.
A light frame of mind or a good attitude is important more than most people understand. But to be aware is not always only about choosing positive thoughts.
Coming up >>
Are you creating your own circumstances?
We can forever be cought up in circumstances or always believe ourselves to be victims to different kind of circumstances in life. But it is possible to get to a point where we begin to rise "above" our present circumstances.
Either we start to look around for the circumstances that we need to get ahead or we start to create the very circumstances that we actually need to fulfill our dreams and goals in life. By searching for roads that will lead us toward the direction we want to go.
Coming up >>
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