There was a time I believed my brain was virtually "all that". It was smart beyond belief and I believed my thoughts were true....after all, why would my brain lie to me?
But isn't it your brain that sends the message you can make it across the tracks even though a train is clearly approaching? Messages from your brain come quickly and you need sort them quickly, and it takes practice to understand thoughts are not real. Recently I found myself in a jam, a big jam. I believed every thought I was having about this problem, many placed in my head by well meaning parents. Since we are programmed to believe everything our parents tell us we are at the mercy of some very inaccurate, though apparently noble thinking. For instance if your parents (and their parents, and their parents etc) taught you to depend on yourself, which is apparently noble, you will not ask for help. When you do find yourself against a wall, (and everyone does) failure is all you see because you cannot handle the problem yourself, no one can. If your parents grew up in hard financial times and all they saw were hard financial times, then that vision is what they pass to you. Have you ever heard the phrase, "I come from a long line of....." You fill in the blank of, doctors, dentists, farmers, policemen, drug addicts, gamblers, alcoholics, ministers, or artists. The tapes I heard as a child were to never give up, don't reach too high because someone will take it from you, work hard and remember you aren't really that smart. Also times are always hard, money will always be tight, vacations are for rich folks and working the angles is something everyone does. There wasn't a shred of abundant thinking, it was all limited in scope, belief and truth. Isn't that called learned behavior?
Those were the tapes that played in my head all the time. Not always loudly, but always there. When my life was fairly routine the tapes presented no real problem, but when a real challenge presented itself those tapes were all I had to fall back on. After all, your parents are never wrong. So you find yourself trying to use information incorporated into your life from generations of people. Some of it helpful and some destructive. We find ourselves doing exactly what our parents did, even if it didn't work for them, because we feel powerless to change. But here is the rub.....I wasn't even aware of what I was doing.
Being faced with a problem too big for me to handle, my apparently noble brain told me I had created it, therefore didn't qualify for help. So I told no one. Not until I met Valerie Dimick and began to understand thought patterns did my life begin to improve. She taught me that my thoughts were not real. I wrestled with that for a long time...my fears were real, she was wrong....I listened to the thoughts that told me money would soon run out, I needed to find a way to get my couch to the third floor of the apartment building I would soon be living in, and that I had caused the problems therefore I couldn't ask anyone to help. Weren't those thoughts real?
No, thoughts are not real....you do not have to accept someone else's destiny.
But I was accepting someone else's destiny. My brain was telling me things taught to parents generations upon generations back, because that is all my brain knew. I didn't realize mastering my thoughts could change the trajectory of my life. I did not need to live under the Sword of Damocles, but fear was all I knew. It had invaded every part of my body with a saturation I have yet to understand. I believe the reason some soldiers have PTSD is because war uncovers something in them they can't handle. The trauma of war uncovered that weakness and the disorder appeared. For me, the recession uncovered every fear planted in my being and I experienced my own PTSD.
My thoughts filled me with hopelessness....."times will never get better, I have ruined my future, I deserve this, there is no help for us, we are too old to improve our situation, we should sell everything we love because we don't deserve it."
Although I am very religious I didn't even think I deserved help from God. All because I did not understand the true nature of God. The relationship I had with God mimicked the one I had with my earthly father. I knew my earthly father loved me, but he placed quite a few conditions on that love. I transferred that experience to Heavenly Father....I believed he was unhappy with me and therefore wouldn't help me which increased my fear and hopelessness. Valerie helped me understand the true nature of God, which transcends all beliefs. I now understand that God is not punitive, we cannot disappoint Him. He doesn't crash airplanes into the side of mountains, or give you a disease...He doesn't dig a hole to push you into it, just to see if you can get out of it. Earth life does that, which is something every person on this planet has in common. For all of us this is a place of good and bad, disease and accidents, dishonesty and character. ...If you are free from fear and other negative emotions you can find the positive solutions God has planted in our path, because He wants us to succeed and be happy.....Don't stop reading because I mentioned religion. Fear and anger suppress our ability to see the solutions that are always there. It is a Universal Truth.
Even after months of study with Valerie I didn't really believe I could be happy or believe I could change. But I kept working with her hoping for relief because what she was teaching felt right and felt good. I so needed relief because the fear I experienced was painful, like a chronic headache. The anxiety was painful....fear is painful. Often I heard that the opposite of faith is fear, which drove me deeper into guilt with the obvious conclusion I didn't have faith. More hours with Valerie patiently and sometimes not so patiently explaining truth. And the truth is we can choose different thoughts and believe, really believe there is happiness to be had.
I now believe I am the architect of my life. I make choices that will either drive me away from happiness or toward it. I shape so many things in my life through my thoughts.
First I choose to believe solutions will appear. When faced with problems in my prior life I would panic (negative emotion) melt down (negative emotion) and resign myself to hopelessness (almost suicidal reaction) The replacements for these emotions are .....deep breaths, (shallow breathing really does contribute to panic) forced calmness with a focus on success. Concentrating on how many ways this can succeed over how many ways it can fail. I no longer limit myself by saying I am too old or too inexperienced to succeed at what I do. My thoughts are different, they are positive and peaceful. I am learning to let go of the past and regrets I have, and to not look to far into the the future which can bring fear, but to love today. Because today is all I really have.
Do I regress? Of course I do. But to help the regression be as brief as possible I read uplifting books, right now I am reading "For Times of Trouble" by Jeffrey Holland. I do all I can to avoid contention and pray to see people the way God sees them. That helps me look past their sometimes troubling veneers into their hearts. I spend some time each day meditating...my definition of mediation is concentrating on breathing and being very calm which drives out negativity. I have always prayed a great deal, but now my prayers focus more on gratitude. I still ask, and ask and ask and I still plead for forgiveness from God and from the folks in my path I know I injure, but the focus is on gratitude. I try to avoid taking things personally and forgive as quickly as possible. This is a big list....so when I fall short, I forgive myself as quickly as possible, assess and start over. Earth life is a place that ebbs and flows with storms and peace. In order to stay as peaceful as possible I pray to either be saved from the storm or saved in the storm. However your parlance defines what I have just written, it is another Universal Truth. As my relationship with God increases with an understanding of His nature, my temptation to judge others has lessened. There was a time I wanted everyone to believe the way I do, now I just hope everyone is kind. What a person believes no longer is a stick I measure with and I am filled with more love than before for them because there are no conditions on our relationship.
My journey is hardly over because my default emotion is still negative so I fight it every day. Some days are more successful than others for sure and I long for the day I no longer have to struggle with it. But in the mean time I will use this struggle to become stronger, more grateful and closer to God.