Monthly Archives: October 2014

Beleive Me

Belief is a powerful force. You could say it is one of the most powerful forces in the human experience. The power of the mind to create and recreate our perceptions of the world, our very reality is amazing. Here is the thing though: people will believe anything.

Human beings are capable of conjuring up incredible schemes to explain everything. Belief drives both the loftiest and the most horrendous pursuits of humanity. This is because having first convinced ourselves to believe something we are then willing to live and die for that belief. If the belief includes some sort of mandate from a higher power to convert others or annihilate disbelief then we will kill in service of that belief.

I used to live in an apartment complex that had a security fence with signs at the gate which said “Residents Only”, “Private Property” and “No solicitors”. Because I worked an evening shift at that time I put a sign on my door that said “Please do not disturb”. None of these requests however, deterred individuals who at least once a month, would come ringing my bell in order to save me. (If they were persistent enough to keep ringing until I got up and got to the door they were actually the ones in need of saving.) This disrespectful behavior was driven by nothing more than the power of belief. In particular the belief that what they believed entitled them to disregard my right to privacy or anything I might believe.The world is full of misery created by beliefs like these. Just open up any news site and you will see tons of evidence to that effect. In fact most human misery is created by beliefs. Here is another thing though; the power of belief can also be used for good.

It is by the nature of my beliefs that I can gain positive control of my contentment. If, for example I choose to believe that my feelings come from outside me, from the world, then I will be a perpetual victim. I cannot do anything to ensure my contentment. I must wait until the world decides to give it to me. Or, I must manage and manipulate others so that I can feel good. On the other hand if I choose to believe that my feelings are an inside job and under my control then the world becomes a much more enjoyable experience. By deciding to believe that I control my contentment I become able to protect myself and respect the beliefs of others. By choosing this belief I banish depression, anxiety, loneliness and the pain of unrealistic expectations. As a consequence I also banish hate, intolerance and fear from my interactions with others. It is a simple choice of beliefs with huge consequences.

If every person on the planet made this choice, and leveraged the power of that belief, there would be no war, no poverty and peace in the heart of humanity. If we all would harness the power of belief in service of joy, love, passion and purpose we would accomplish the ultimate dream of peace on earth and good will for all. It is not a fairytale. It is real. The choice is ours. Believe me

Convincing Contentment

“Your attitude toward life is a direct reflection of your opinion of your self.” I don’t know who said this, I saw it somewhere today. I believe that it is absolutely a true statement. Most of us would hopefully agree that the chronic complainer or consummate martyr is a miserable person at heart. Such negativity cannot arise from a core of joy. Interestingly, another place I notice this very often is in people who are extremely dedicated and energetic about repeating positive mantras. Check out Facebook sometime for the number of people stridently proclaiming that life is beautiful and their gratitude for the gift of life knows no bounds and how magical was the most recent sunset or the last tree they noticed, etc., etc. I have come to realize that such proclamations are often desperate cover ups.

As I work with clients and observe their journey from shame and fear to acceptance and peace I hardly ever see anyone loudly announcing their accomplishment. In fact I have become a little doubtful when someone arrives in my office all excited about having achieved contentment. All of my experience tells me that arriving at true contentment is a personal, self contained, affair.

We know from scientific studies that certain things are calming. If we pet a dog our blood pressure goes down (and so does the dog’s). If we believe we are being listened to, and understood, our entire system calms. When we are in the company of someone who accepts and does not judge us, we relax. All of the studies I am aware of, and my own experience of contentment, points to it as a soothing experience. The first impulse is to simply sink into and savor the sense of connection and serenity, not to run out and announce the experience to the world. In fact such announcements can actually be problematic.

It is almost impossible to adequately communicate these experiences. Sometimes with my partner I can share something of it. This is of course based on our already established level of connection and even then there is the probability that in attempting to communicate the experience I will lose my focus and the experience may be jumbled. A habit of contentment is even more difficult to communicate because it arises from a foundation of automatic thinking, so there is not much to talk about. I cannot be accepting of the world unless I first accept my self and the experience of that kind of acceptance is not exciting, it is gentle and peaceful. This is why loud proclamations of connection and contentment seem to me discordant.

If in my secret self I believe I am in fact a piece of shit and then I try to convince myself and others that I am ok with declarations of joy, the artificiality shows through. Unfortunately no amount of vociferous declarations to the contrary will change my inner reality. In fact on occasion, when I have found myself describing my serenity to others in great detail or with effusive enthusiasm, there is usually a quick realization that I am attempting to compensate for something inside. Now when I find myself with a desire to convince a friend how happy I am I have learned to shut up and ask myself why? What is this need to convince and who am I convincing? Trying to convince myself or others that I am content may be more difficult than just being content. I am pretty sure contentment is something better experienced than communicated.