Your To Do List Has Unnecessary Tasks On It!

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How to Identify Tasks From Your To Do List That Can be Eliminated

My wife’s mother Peg, passed away recently. I watched my wife and her family wrap up the personal affairs of this dear woman. The family ended up disposing of all but a handful of documents from Peg’s desk, which was overflowing with paper. I’m sure that just a few weeks before Peg would have objected vigorously at the suggestion that much of that paper was unnecessary. I was struck by how little her children kept and everything else was shredded. It was a powerful reminder to me of how I most likely exaggerate the importance of much of my activities in life.“Don’t sweat the small stuff and its corollary, It’s all . . . small stuff.”

Guess what? That’s what your life may look like to someone else who finds it necessary to step into your shoes. Each of us perform tasks that can be eliminated without any effect whatever to the balance in our lives. The enemy of peace and serenity is our ego. Our ego fears death just like we do, even more so. There is no need for an ego in a mind at peace. Therefore, ego is going to do all it can to convince you of its importance. The way it does this is with fear, worry, chaos and mental noise.

It is to the ego’s advantage to inflate the importance of tasks. Many of the tasks on your mind do not need to be done at all and can be left to die of their own lack of energy. They are just exaggerations of your ego. But ego will scream and holler like a stuck pig when you attempt to abandon those tasks. It uses self talk very effectively to convince you that there will be dire consequences.

It is all lies . . . you can take back control of you life from your ego. The way to do that is to begin to identify those tasks that can be completely eliminated from your mental radar. Start with small very low risk tasks and work your way up to bigger and bigger tasks, soon you will be finding all kinds of time and peace of mind that you never knew existed.

You can reduce your burdens at work or at home by eliminating activities that no longer contribute to your job or personal well being. They might have value to someone else but they are not useful to you. Your time is valuable and you must be the master of how spend your time. Let’s look at some activities that you can eliminate.

Gather together any existing planners, to-do lists, calendars or notes that you may have from the past seven days. (If you don’t have any, try to reconstruct them from memory). Now go back through them and begin looking at each activity, asking yourself the following question, “If I had not engaged in this activity, what would have been the effect upon my life balance?” If you’re honest, you’re going to come across some that the answer is, “nothing at all.” Make a list of all of the tasks, activities, and duties, which you have participated in, that you have answered “nothing.”

How many did you come up with? If your list is less than 10, you’re kidding yourself! You’re taking yourself and your responsibilities too seriously; nobody is that important. Remember, it’s all . . . small stuff.

Got a question, war story or comment about this topic? “Click on the leave Your Comments” link at the very bottom of this article. Some of my best ideas for future articles come from reading reader comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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Worrying About My Worries . . .

Say What?

My sleep last night was very fitful, no doubt caused by the massive gastric distress that was placed upon my body at yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner. I found myself tossing and turning and much of my sleep was semi consciousness, bouncing around various levels of consciousness.

Some of it was dreaming, some of it was thinking. At one point I found myself worrying about some task that needed to be taken care of today, but I obviously was not very worried about the task as I drifted into sleep without finishing my worries. style=”PADDING-RIGHT: 8px; PADDING-LEFT: 8px; FONT-WEIGHT: normal; FONT-SIZE: 16pt; FLOAT: right; PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; MARGIN: 20px; WIDTH: 250px; LINE-HEIGHT: normal; PADDING-TOP: 5px; FONT-STYLE: normal; TEXT-ALIGN: right; FONT-VARIANT: normal”>”We are so much more
than our thoughts”

This morning I got up and went through my usual morning routine of finding the shortest distance between the bed and ingesting caffeine. As I was standing over the coffee pot waiting for it to complete it’s all important task, my mind wandered to the incomplete worrying that had occurred during the middle of the night. I could not remember what it was I was supposed to be worried about.

I then began to worry about the fact that I couldn’t remember what it was I was supposed to be worrying about. I actually began to get a bit put out, by the fact that I couldn’t remember. I began to admonish myself over the fact that I did not pay attention to my worries in the middle of the night and thinking that if I would have been a responsible human I would have written it down so I wouldn’t forget.

My thoughts were really setting me up for a pretty miserable day. Thankfully as the caffeine kicked in at the same time a passage from my morning inspirational reading caught the attention of my inner being adult, and I realized what an absurd thought process I had just allowed myself to get sucked into. I had been worrying about my worries! Do you believe it?

I wondered how many times I have done this in the past. The realization that all that stands between me and happiness is my own thoughts, has come way to late in life. As humans we need to find a way to get rid of this kind of thinking. We are so much more than our thoughts.

Start questioning your thoughts, you won’t regret it.

Got a question, war story or comment about this topic? “Click on the leave Your Comments” link at the very bottom of this article. Some of my best ideas for future articles come from reading reader comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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Multitasking is Egoic Mischief Nonsense

Multitasking . . . screwing several things up, all in one sitting

A student in my class Letting go of Detrimental Thinking recently posted an interesting question regarding the wisdom of multitasking . . . I thought you all might like to see my reply.

Quite frankly I believe multi-tasking is grossly overated and in fact can add quite a bit of stress and loss of productivity. The human mind performs at its peak when it is fully engaged and focused on a single task. Mental clutter detracts from focus.

Multitasking is the ego’s shame response about focus and enjoying the satisfaction of doing a great job at the task at hand. It’ll try to convince you that you must do more and more to be worthy of peace of mind. The ego always wants more of everything.

It rationalizes that unless we are constantly driving ourselves to do more, we are somehow inadequate. Complete and utter nonsense. As with all of the self-talk the ego shares with us each day.

Quit mentally working on this afternoons tasks this morning. It will drive you crazy. Let go of all of those hobgoblins of the tasks that are in the future. Learn the joy that comes from doing that which is in front of you right now very well, with lots of pride.

Do not worry about what comes next, nor all of the other things on the to do list. Let them take care of themselves or starve themselves into oblivion.

Your day will unfold without all of the frantic angry moods we have a tendency to work ourselves into when we multitask.

,,

I’m not alone in this thinking check out this article: Multitasking is Inefficient, Studies Show and this one Multitasking Madness

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Rethinking, Planning and Goal Setting

Ego’s Arrogance Believes it Can Predict the Future

Heresy? My ego screamed at me . . . All my life the self help gurus have been harping at me, saying I would be a broken, miserable lout if I didn’t have written goals in detail, engraved in stone. Every New Year, I go through the same routine. Feeling guilt about revising my goals. Sitting down in painful agony trying to determine what it is that I should be doing to please the self-help gods.

But this year was different. I swore off all goal setting and am downsizing all of my planning. Yes, even the morning drudgery I’ve paid homage to for my entire life. And you know what . . . I’m still here, alive and well. I’m not broke, divorced or otherwise impaired by this so-called heresy.

Goal setting: it doesn’t make any sense intellectually at all, there, I said it. Have me arrested, if you must.

Last fall, I read a passage in a book that really set me thinking about why planning and goal setting rarely worked for me and brought me so much anguish and struggle:

“How can the ego-self possibly judge rightly? It would have to have infinite knowledge and awareness encompassing the past, present, and future. It would be required to know in advance all the effects of its judgment on everyone and everything in and with them in every possible way. It would need to be fully aware of our most inner intent at all times and in all circumstances.”
Take me to the Truth, by Nouk Sanchez.

The arrogance of the ego is almost astounding, when you think about it. Planning and goal setting are attempts to predict the future, or to mold and control all of the events in the entire cosmos into exact alignment to its wishes. I’m accepting the utter futility of trying to control the future. Happiness isn’t the art of building a trouble-free life; it’s the art of responding well when trouble strikes. True power comes from management, not control, accepting what is and realizing you can’t control everybody and everything in a calm manner, is the ultimate plan.

Planning sets you up for complete failure. If something minor goes wrong at the beginning of the project, the setback can send one into a complete tail spin, often resulting in giving up and “I’m just a loser,” self talk. Or at the very least, results in some suffering and procrastination.

I’m beginning to trust what is, and allow my inner self to direct what’s next. After all, the ego’s track record has been pretty dismal, causing lots of suffering and unhappiness. I’ve decided that I deserve better than that and I’m doing something about it.

Yes, Yes, I know you must do some planning. A trip that involves some reservations, for example. But, I try to keep any planning restricted to only those things on which I must take immediate action. I sit down and do the necessary planning, with a pencil and paper. I have quit ruminating and mentally trying to rehearse every little detail. I recognize it for what it is, my ego creating chaos in my mind to justify its existence.

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The Role the Ego Has Played in Human Evolution

So why do I have to put up with this incessant chatter?

“Who am I?” is a fundamental question that most of us ask ourselves. “Where do I fit with the rest of the world? and “Where am I going with my life?” are other questions we pounder. The concept of self, also called neuroscience and neuropsychology.

Today’s psychologists ascribe three core capacities to the human ego:

  • Internal representation of a person’s past and present experiences and future goals, commonly called memory.
  • An executive function that initiates thinking, behavior and feelings.
  • Reflexive potential that is the “working self”. Reflexive potential involves the constant interplay between internal representation (memory) and executive function. Reflexive function determines how we pursue our goals, choose our daily actions and decide what to pay attention to.

Have humans always been so complex in the concept of self and social interactions? The fossil evidence from 200,000 to 300,000 years ago indicates that our ancient ancestor Homo sapiens first appeared in evolutionary fashion from prior ape-like creatures in Africa. Homo sapiens is unique in having a large brain in proportion to body size which fostered the development of abstract thinking and complex social interaction.

These traits are illustrated by the complex and refined stone tools that have been unearthed by archaeologists and the remaining evidence of social interaction in ancient times. Homo sapiens also had the ambition to wander and eventually replace the Neanderthals in Europe. DNA evidence proclaims that all humans on earth today are Homo sapiens.

While we don’t really know when in the evolutionary process that the ego developed, evidence of burial customs, personal jewelry and artwork from 60,000 to 30,000 years ago indicate the concept and importance of individuals; hence the possible existence of ego. But based on the commonly accepted idea of evolution, let’s see why the development of ego was an important and selected trait for human beings as we evolved over tens of thousands of years into who we are today.

Environmental Reasons for Evolutionary Ego

We already know that humans have a larger brain in proportion to body size than other animals. One thought is that the larger brain developed in relation to foraging for food. Grass-eating animals don’t need to make much in the way of feeding choices but fruit-eating animals like monkeys need more brain capacity, for example, to locate fruits and remember when each type of fruit is in season. Fruit-eating animals are known to have larger brains.

But the primates that eat fruit and meat (are omnivorous) have the largest brains in relation to body size because greater processing capacity is required for hunting and acquiring meat. Early humans didn’t hunt for large prey alone but engaged in social interaction in the process of hunting. Hunting by its very nature shows the capacity to comprehend and plan for future events.

Hunting also required the development of specialized tools like spears which requires remembering and symbolic reasoning abilities as well as coordinated skills. Self-satisfaction emerges after successful foraging for fruit and hunting for meat. The emotional side of humans potentially developed as self-satisfaction became happiness at the attainment of food and mate attraction goals through motivated actions.

In accord with the prevalent theories of evolution, the development of the ego conferred advantages to human beings with regard to food acquisition and adapting to varied environments like grasslands versus forests or warm versus cold climates. Internal feelings of self developed as a response to demands imposed by the environment.

Social Reasons for Evolutionary Ego

The size of the brain of a primate species is also related to the size of the group. It’s just more complicated to interact with more individuals every day so greater brain capacity is required. Humans have very complicated social arrangements that range from the mundane, like how to set the table and use a fork, to highly significant protocols between heads of state. While rams might simply butt heads to achieve dominance, the human ego can lay intricate plots with future planning to achieve a goal of power and dominance.

The evolutionary development of ego conferred advantages on the individual in social situations as tribal living became the norm. Animals that live in groups inherently develop a pecking order and self-awareness in terms of ego is necessary to assess your place within the social order of your fellow humans.

With the need for group interaction and cooperation, the evolution of humans favored those with a strong sense of self for social reasons. The need for a sense of self was further reinforced when language developed so a person could compare their self-image with what others expressed about them. Concepts of esteem, guilt or embarrassment easily find their way into the discussion and reinforce the continued evolutionary pressures placed upon the development of the ego.

The development of ego and evolution of the human species are permanently joined together. Ancient evolutionary forces caused Homo sapiens to evolve as a separate species from the other apes. The larger brain facilitated enhanced memory and the development of specialized skills in relation to gathering of food and making us attractive to members of the opposite sex. The ability to plan for future food needs then allowed humans to live in larger groups which in turn placed additional evolutionary pressure upon the emerging ego. The social human then required a self-image in order to interact properly within the group and eventually developed into the higher state of individual goals and feelings.

Have we outlived ego’s usefulness?

There exists a growing group of theorists and social anthropologists who think that humans have outgrown the need for the ego. We have long ago surpassed our basic survival needs of food and shelter. The ego’s fear based fight or flight instincts could very likely be the basis for much of the aggression, violence which have plagued our species. Egocentric behavior keeps us focused on the self. It is hard to see the world from someone else’s shoes when we are focused on the self. Ego keeps us separated from each other and encourages us to be always in an attack, revenge and defend mentality.

If Homo sapiens are capable of transcending the ego, could universal love and forgiveness provide the impetus for us to lay down our arms once and for all?

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Why I do not trust my emotions

Why I need to be on guard whenever an emotion surfaces

I have recently discovered that, in certain situations, my emotions have a tendency to distort my perception of reality.

Let’s look at an example of the simple emotion of “wanting or desire”. Last night, I took the joy of my life out to dinner to our favorite steak house. Alas, they happened to have a new wine list. One of the featured wines on the list was a very expensive bottle from a well known French vineyard. The bottle was twice the cost of a very respectable bottle of California Cabernet.

My wife cautioned me against such a lavish expenditure, but overcome by “desire”, I would hear none of it. The bottle came and it was a disapointment, not a bad bottle mind you, but a disapointment none the less. This morning, upon reflection, I’m suffering from guilt and regret. This, of course, compounds the disapointment all the more.

What happened was that the emotion of “desire” overshadowed the balance between the realities of the postitive and the negative. The positive being a great bottle of wine, and the negatives being my depeleted bank account and pissed off wife. This emotion allowed me only to see the decision as only 100% attractive. The emotion of desire only allows us to percieve the positive and hides the negatives from our good judgement.

I watched a good friend destroy his life with a blonde, half his age, over exactly the same emotion.

A similar example happen recently with a negative emotion, “repulsion”. While shopping for a car recently, we came across a great bargain. It was a vehicle that fit what we were looking for and was priced $2,000 below the going rate for that model car. The problem was the color . . . it was a color that I found repulsive. Despite my wife’s urging, I could not bring myself to ignore the replusion and see the positive side of this emotional confrontation. Again, I was looking at a distorted picture of reality.

We left the car dealership without the car. Throughout the next 24 hours, the joy of my life successfully convinced me to look at the positives of the deal. Well, to make a long story short, the next day we went back to the dealership to make the deal and you guessed it . . . the car had been sold. We ended up buying the exact same car in a different color for $2,335 more than we needed to pay. Again, the result was a depleted bank account and a pissed off wife.

The lessons learned:

  1. Listen to the joy of my life more often.
  2. Unexamined emotions whether they be positive or negative can impair my judgement and obscure reality.
  3.  Always question all thoughts and emotions, never take them for a true reflection of reality.
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Rushing is guaranteed to make you misreable

Even small obstacles are seen as a conspiracy by those in a hurry

Hurrying to get to the next moment is clear evidence that you are out of sync with what is happening in the present moment. It is evidence that you are not happy with this moment and live in the fantasy that the next moment will bring you to bliss. Of course it never does, because when you get to the future you are not happy there either. You immediately start looking around the next bend to make you happy. It becomes a joyless treadmill.“A minor delay at
the Post Office can cause suffering”

Those of us in a hurry see even minor inconveniences as evidence that the universe and everybody and everything in it is involved a giant conspiracy to prevent us from arriving at the future where the ego has promised nirvana. Anyone or anything that steps in our way, that slows us down, that stops us from getting exactly what we want when we want it, becomes the enemy.

Our obsession with rushing and hurrying results in feelings of anger and rage. Rage is everywhere: road rage, air rage, shopping rage, parking lot rage, vacation rage. Thanks to all this rushing and hurrying, we are experiencing an epidemic of rage, anger and violence in our society.Anger, frustration and fear that stem from the rage saps vital blood from our frontal cortex. This blood loss reduces our ability to focus and concentrate. That causes our personal performance and productivity to decline, which only makes those tasks that we do end up doing take more time. This perpetuates a slowing degenerative spiral, which leads us to hurry and rush all the more.

Rushing puts us out of the natural rhythm of life. We think that by hurrying and rushing, we can cram more of our unrealized expectations into life. If we only hurry, we can have more glittering careers, art courses, exercise routines, reading, eating out, socializing, playing sports, watching TV, shopping, time with the kids, playing with gadgets, volunteering, surfing the Web and, of course, the gnawing unmet goals (I was supposed to have my PhD by now).

The result is a gnawing disconnect between what we want from life and what we can realistically have, which feeds the sense that there is never enough time. Time is not the issue, the issue is our bloated expectations. Ask yourself this question, are more experiences and and acquisitions going to truly bring me a more satisfying life? True fulfillment as a human being requires that we pay attention to such things as happiness, peace and serenity. It is vital that you examine what is really important in your life from time to time and downsize the to-do list and slow it down. Start living your life right this instant and quit living in the future.

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Oprah Interview of Byron Katie

Byron Katie

This is a message that everybody should hear

For those of you who are in my classes such as What Everybody Should Know About the Law of AttractionThe Secret to Dealing With Overload and Letting Go of Detrimental Thinking, you already know how much I hang on every word of author Byron Katie. But for the rest of you, here is hoping you get to know this marvelous woman.

Byron Katie’s The Work is truly inispired. Put simply it is a way for you to begin to know and understand how harmful unquestioned thoughts can be. If you find your self in a low mood situation at times (some of you all of the time) get to know Byron Katie and The Work.

A good place to start is by watching this interview between Oprah and Byron Katiewhich appeared on Oprah’s Soul Series on Monday night.

Don’t go past go, don’t collect $200 . . .  JUST DO IT!

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Why change is so hard

We are hard wired for comfort

When we are at ease our brain cells are bathed in soothing chemicals. Along comes the desire to change and as our brains to develop new synaptic connections those chemicals require greater resources. Our old hardwired cells begin to experience less and less of the soothing juices and begin to experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by a drug addict. The old hard wired cells begin to feel discomfort. Those discomforts get converted by our brain into words that our conscious mind can understand . . . our egoic self talk. It will begin to lie, cheat and steal to get you to give up the change so it can be in control of normal again.

Every person, place, thing, time, or event in our life will make a more lasting imprint on our brains synaptic connections by its repetitive exposure. We become neurologically wired to an association with every one of these experiences to a specific feeling, and the effect is that they become part of our neural processes and reaffirm who we are.

Changing a person, place, thing, time, or event in our life means that we are breaking the neurochemical juice circuit that we have kept intact. If I ask you to start using a new order of action while brushing your teeth, you may not be able to do it . . . you may do it but feel a great deal of discomfort, or you may do it but quickly abandon the effort. You will most certainly tend to return to the easier, more familiar way.

Imagine, then, what kind of effort it would take if I were to ask you to end a relationship with someone who repeatedly deals blows to your self-esteem and has done so for the last 15 years. If we have grown accustomed to feeling unworthy we want to continue to feel that way because we are in the neurochemical juice habit of being unworthy. It is the routine, familiar, natural, easy way that we have been thinking and feeling about ourselves. Those thoughts are based on memories that we have of our interaction with that person. Those memories have feelings associated with them, and those feelings are neurochemically juiced based. Love then, may indeed be all about chemistry.

What happens when we finally make the choice to stop thinking and feeling shame, anger, or hatred for a single day? This decision is really no different than what happens when we decide to go on a diet. Once our will is engaged in overcoming our thoughts, it’s as if we wake the body from its slumber and it hasn’t had its morning cup of coffee–in this case, its juice fix of shame, for instance.

As a result, the body starts to voice its displeasure to the brain, “What do you mean, you aren’t getting your shame juice? Whose smart idea was this?” What starts out as subtle urges and cravings from the body in the form of an impulsive thought usually–when not carried out–turns into a louder and louder internal monologue that pleads for an immediate action.

The body goes into chaos, as a result of this juice deprivation and its inability to return to its normal state, It does not want to recalibrate itself, because it has grown accustomed to the increasing number of juice units dedicated to shame. Now it feels out of control.

At this point, we will be bombarded with all kinds of urges. The ego chatter in our head will be clamoring to be heard, to make us feel shame. We know that “voice” that we unconsciously respond to every day. That voice, nothing more than old habitual ruts crying out from pain of being deprived of their chemicals as change begins to happen. The chemical reactions being interpreted as words our conscious minds can understand. We listen to it and act as if it is the gospel of our own inner guidance. When we are in the midst of change, it nags and whines the loudest and of course, we rationalize ourselves back to the starting point.

Anytime we are willfully changing an emotional state, we will react the same way to loud and adamant messages from our body. If you respond to these thoughts, you are headed for a release of a lot of chemicals that will reinforce who you have always been.

It is as though we can’t Just eat one bite of the chocolate cake, we eat the whole cake. Have you ever noticed that when you were in an emotional storm and you felt frustrated, you felt angry? And when you were angry, you hated When you hated, you were judgmental, and when you were judgmental, you were jealous. When you were jealous, you became envious, and when you were envious, you became insecure, As you felt insecure, you became unworthy, and when you were unworthy, you felt badly. When you felt badly, you felt guilty. That’s when we eat the whole cake, because like an addict, you could not stop until you totally stimulated the body to a chemically higher level for a greater rush.

As the chemical brain turned on all its emotional peptides and altered your internal chemistry, you activated those related neural networks that house associated memories. You created all the levels of mind that matched each chemical thought with a feeling. The body became an unbridled horse running out of control.

The future has no feelings because we haven’t yet experienced it. Remember that all our episodic memories are stored ultimately as emotions. The past has that emotional component, but the future does not. The future has only the sense of adventure we initially started with, but that easily gets lost in the feelings of our body and the memories of the past. The neuro-synaptic self gets homesick, and when this happens, it wants what it can predict and depend on in the next moment. Dreams of a different future usually get smothered by the feelings connected to the feedback loop of the body. When our identity (which is made of past memories) and the feedback loop of the body reign, we can easily rationalize returning to the familiar.

The old identity that has defined “the self” just wants to return to familiar, routine circumstances, the normal feelings that define it. If we give in to these urges, we are making choices only with our body, never with our mind, and we will never change. Our life will always be a mirror of how we feel and how we are wired neurologically. In order to have any new experiences, we must leave behind the thoughts, memories, and associations of the familiar past. If we are having the same feelings every day, this means we’re not having any new experiences. There must be experiences we have yet to embrace that could produce new emotions.

The physiology of emotions can work both ways. How often, if ever, have you had emotions based not in the familiar feelings of survival, but rather, those somewhat elusive feelings, such as inspiration and the joy of creation? Those heightened moments of gratitude, self-love, bliss, freedom, and awe are within us. They are just too short-lived, And if we can create a cascade of chemicals that cause us to spiral downward into more contagious emotional states and influence the next series of thoughts and feelings, we can also willfully spiral upward, and allow other chemicals to drive other emotional states that provoke thoughts related to those feelings.

In fact, did you ever notice that when you were truly joyful you were in love? And when you were in love you were inspired, and that inspiration led you to be allowing and unconditional with everyone? When you felt truly unconditional, you loved yourself. When you loved yourself, you gained a rich sense of gratitude and a freedom of self-expression without self-judgment. This flood of thoughts and feelings created a wave of more virtuous thoughts and actions, and it seemed so enriching that you did not want it to end. We have in our possession, ready at our disposal, an island of calm in a sea of turbulence. It is evolution’s greatest gift to us.

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Why changing our thoughts changes our reality

Welcome to the wonderful world of priming

Have you ever noticed that if you think about flowers and recall the image of a rose, the other flowers you have stored in your brain are likely to fire as well? This process is often referred to as priming: we have an unconscious response to an external source that makes us think and act in a certain way, without even being conscious of what we are doing it. our environment constantly triggers implicit responses.

Why is it that we can be having a pleasant day, and then, inexplicably, one irritant (a neighbor’s son drives by with a thudding sound system in his car) sets off a cascade effect of mood-dampening responses? We immediately recall the slight irritation we felt when the same neighbor invited nearly everyone else on the block over for a holiday get-together, but didn’t invite us. Then, anger swells as the vision of our mailbox dangling from its post, the clear victim of a baseball bat attack, rises before our eyes.

Inadvertenly, we’re running all the programs in our head that tell us how much people disrespect us. Suddenly we are in a full mood downward spiral. That nice day turns dark, and we can’t explain why, because so much of this has been an unconscious, reflexive response.

How much of our day is about allowing the environment to cause us to think? This is exactly what priming is. When we allow the environment to rule our thoughts, it turns on all the implicit, associative memories we have hard-wired, and we are then running programs — unconscious streams of consciousness — with no conscious awareness. This means we are unconscious most of our waking day.

Our consciousness which sets our expression of intentions vibrating the energy into the universal quantum field into brings all good into our life, or it would not be here, because nothing that is not a part of our consciousness can appear to us. Everything that appears or is expressed by us first has to be in our consciousness, or we could not be aware of it.

This can be proved in your own experience, after walking down a busy thoroughfare, stop to take stock of what you have seen on the street, and then upon retracing your steps observe how many things did not register with you at all. Why? Because they were not a part of your consciousness.

The point is that one person walks down a street and sees every jewelry store they pass, and almost nothing else, while another one sees every dress shop, and almost nothing else. Everything that appears in our life must first be a part of our consciousness. Therefore, when we recognize that each and every form — the very table that is set before us, the dividends that come in, the salary, allowance, interest, or whatever it is — is a product of consciousness.

Just as priming allows us to notice more cars like the one we recently purchased, if we focus on becoming a more grateful person in our mental rehearsal, we will not only realize more things that we have to be grateful for, but we will also witness more acts of gratitude that we can assimilate into our ideal.

When we change our implicit perception from a negative one (the world is inherently unfair) to a better one (I deserve good things and I have them all around me), we go from seeing things unconsciously, based on past memories and experiences, to seeing things consciously.

When we consciously choose to focus our attention on exploring more evolved virtues, we have gone from an implicit, unconscious view of the world to an explicit perception. As we practice this new attitude consistently, we will change this new state of mind into an implicit memory. Because priming activates circuits that cause us to behave in certain ways, we can prime our brain to function equal to a focused ideal. Instead of spiraling downward, we can rise upward. In this way, we demonstrate that it is possible to change, that we can disconnect ourselves from the environment and the collective influences that have shaped us.

When we mentally rehearse, we are priming the brain to help us be at cause in the environment, instead of feeling the effects of it. Self-priming allows us to be greater than the environment. Once you know and understand this concept, you can see how easily it is to manifest all of the good stuff into your life or you can manifest misery . . . it is the priming that you do with your thoughts.

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