by Judith Bobbe, LCSW
“If you don’t consciously choose the direction of your life, your past will choose it for you.” Rod Stryker
We are creatures of habit. Our habits of thought and behavior are embedded in how we think and in how we experience the world. Just like other animals which can be trained, we are trained unconsciously by our lives to see, think, feel and behave in particular ways.
Every time we think a thought it is conditioning our mind to believe that thought.
Each time we believe a thought, our patterns of feeling and behavior are inclined to support or justify that thought.
Our unconscious beliefs reinforce our identification with our thoughts. We think our thoughts are true, and we think we are our thoughts. There is a cycle of reinforcement of habits inside us, of which we are largely unaware.
The interaction of thought belief and feelings gets translated into our sense of who we are and what we are capable of.
Real change depends on changing this quiet but powerful dynamic.
“Your mind has measureless capacity to affect the quality and content of your life” Rod Stryker
When we choose to repetitively introduce new thoughts, actions, and intentions into our minds, and choose not to automatically believe our habitual thoughts, we create room inside for the growth of new perspectives. We cultivate a new experience of who we are.
With repetition this newly felt experience becomes a foundation for taking the risk to change. Taking steps over and over again to embody new actions, and new intentions, provides the courage to let go of the self- limiting patterns of the past.
The funny thing about humans is that we all seek comfort, predictability, and familiarity. We feel better when we know what to expect. Familiarity helps us to feel safe and to tolerate the changes which life thrusts upon us.
But in addition to seeking familiarity and safety, we also seek a larger sense of ourselves. We seek a deeper connection with the spaciousness of life, which by its nature, is unpredictable. There is a yearning, which calls upon us to grow beyond our perceived capacities. We want to fulfill our deepest potential for productivity and happiness.
This call to growth can be looked at in terms of spiritual growth, or emotional maturation, or simply the desire to be more loving, kind, patient and generous with life.
It is possible to change and become happier with ones self and life, but it is a inside job. HH Dalai Lama says “happiness is an inside job”. This means that we have to change the way we think. Openness to changes in thinking becomes the basis for freedom and positive engagement with the world.
We tend look to external things like people and situations to make us happy, but this is always ultimately frustrating and temporary because life is always changing. When we learn how to rely on a more deeply felt sense of the timelessness of our own true being, we become stronger and happier.
We can cultivate an unshakeable belief in our own wholeness and power. We can grow beyond habitual thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, and can become more creative, more flexible, and in love with life every moment.
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