If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, perception is in the thoughts of the mind. If you think you see an old woman, you are right. If you think you see a young beauty, you are right. You see what you focus on. So what is happiness? It depends on your vision. You decide…
I attended an potentially life-changing presentation yesterday on the power of the unconscious mind.
Dr. Vic Rebman is a PhD in clinical psychology, specializing in human dynamics in business, and shared his perspective on success and happiness. In our society, we are conditioned to think that our health and happiness are simply the luck of the draw. But just as I teach over and over, we are what we eat—down to the smallest bite!, it is also true that we are what we think–unconscious beliefs included.
Basically, it boils down to this: if you think you can, you are right. If you think you can’t, you are right. I use the above image in my yoga classes to demonstrate the power we have to choose our perceptions. There is equal potential for good and bad in everything. You can’t always change what you’re looking at, but you can change the way you see it. (This is how I introduce the importance of standing on your head!) The old hag and the young beauty are equally present. They BOTH exist! And you can choose your focus. And if you don’t like your focus, you can override that choice and manually SHIFT to another paradigm. It takes effort and intention, but it’s always possible.
Dr. Vic Rebman’s discussion of success and self-actualization…
Dr. Rebman says that mental health issues arise from 2 major factors, and are mostly unrelated to genetics.These are: 1. Stress in our home 2. Skill deficit that keeps us from achieving what we think we want. The pharmaceutical industry would have us believe that depression and anxiety are a result of a biochemical imbalance. (He says) there is no evidence of this. Smaller initial double blind studies on various medications show the placebo effect to be just as powerful, and it is only when the study is inflated with high numbers of samples that statistical significance is demonstrated. But such broad and general results then remove any clinical significance.
Depression and anxiety are most often the result of imbalance..but not biochemical. The imbalance can be found in our life experience, which cannot be fixed by medication. Something is missing for us, or something is dominating us, creating pain and snowballing into further dysfunction.
The external world and our experience of it is a mirror to our internal world, and our experience with our self.
There are 4 components to the human psyche…our mind, our emotions, our reactions (action) and the Observer. Our conscious mind processes about 40 bits/second. Our unconscious mind processes 20 million bits/second. We have 60-70,000 thoughts a day. And about 85-90% of our thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday, and are simply patterns…habitual logic that our brain follows, similar to how a trickle of water cuts through rock to create a river. The more a path is chosen, the easier it is to follow, and the deeper the gorge becomes, which is why change is so difficult.
Our thoughts are created by our core beliefs…most of which are internalized by the time we are 7 years old. These core beliefs create filters, and determine our perceptions. If we think something is true, it becomes true for us. Whatever is in our unconscious mind manifests as fate.
The only way to change our fate is to bring our unconscious beliefs that are based in fear (instead of love) into our conscious awareness. And the only way to rise above our fears is to understand that the first 3 components of who we are—thought, feeling, reaction— are simply learned behavior patterns. We must sit quietly and turn inward, and allow the Observer to SEE the patterns behind our thoughts, feelings and action. The Observer is the only part of ourself that is not programmed. It is the only part of ourself that has choice. It is our higher Self, the spiritual self…our soul (whatever word you feel appropriate.)
The higher Self can observe the lower self without criticism, judgement or evaluation. We must have quiet space to do this. (Recommends 10 minutes a day of mind conscious creathing). What we observe in ourselves ultimately stems from either love or fear. Everything boils down to one or the other.
Obviously, we want to identify the fears that are hold us back. Self-sabatoge is the ONLY thing standing between us and success/happiness. But just like shining a light into the darkness, once you SEE the fear, it loses it’s power. Because it’s a lie. Ultimately, we all hold the key to our own prison. And we are free to go at anytime if we are brave enough to LOOK at what is holding us back.
Blaise Pascal “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room, alone.”
Pythagoras “Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb.“
Lao Tzu “He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.”
The patterns we follow with thinking, feeling and doing are fictional stories. But our perceptions are our reality. Our fear-based core beliefs are unconscious. We can find the root using the Downward Arrow Technique: Identify the story or thought. (I don’t have enough time to do everything) Ask, “If this is true, what does it mean?” (I can’t do everything that needs to be done.) Ask again, “If this is true, what does it mean?” (I’ll never get ahead) Ask again. (I’ll never be successful) Ask again. (Therefore, I’m a failure).
So the core belief behind I don’t have enough time is that I”m a failure. We tend to build our esteem on our achievements, our financial success, our social status/recognition, etc. These are things that come and go, and can be given or taken away by others. Remember the Bible lesson that we should build our house upon a rock, and not shifting sands? If you find that a good mood can be created or destroyed by external input as inconsequential as stranger’s comment, the balance in a bank account, a number on the scale, or the words on a business card, you’ve rooted your happiness in shifting sands.
Our worth and value is not something we can earn. It must only be accepted. We all have worth and value because we are breathing. And if we have worth, then we have a purpose. And if we have a purpose, we are fully and completely capable of fulfilling that purpose. Once we affirm this truth for ourselves and expose the belief (I am a failure) as a lie, we can retrain our patterns and our thoughts. And our path will open up, and we will move forward without effort. Once we begin to think and feel and act in authenticity (our own truth) we don’t have to do, we just have to be.
What is happiness? Happy people:
- See problems as opportunities. The most important problems cannot be solved. They must be outgrown.
- Are free of the good opinions of others. They do not make decisions based on how others think, feel or react.
- Have no need to control others.
- Have the ability to be alone. Quietly.
- Love their work. They work from passion, joy and service. Their work connects them to an energy they cannot live without.
Abraham Maslow, “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
Life is a journey. Which way are you headed?