You have what some behavioral experts refer to as?a higher and lower mind, and they function very differently in how they perceive reality. The lower mind is the mental state you may go to when you haven’t had a chance to think things over. We’ve all had experiences where we had an initial negative reaction to something and threw a tantrum. Later, looking at the whole situation from a more reasonable point of view and taking more factors into account, you change how you feel about something you originally perceived as a great catastrophe or annoyance. Maybe you even become very grateful for something you originally perceived as a hardship. This more informed, more enlightened side of your mind is more of what is considered as the Higher Mind.
So we really need the Higher Mind to fix the malaise and stress caused by our lower mind. Problem is, we can’t always see the bigger picture, or we simply don’t realize our own ignorance about the people and events in our personal lives. Then we remain in a lower mind-driven state as a default strategy for dealing with our everyday life challenges. In this state stress, anxiety, depression, and other unbalanced emotional states flourish and take a toll on our physical health. The good news, is that something CAN be done?about it, and we can go on to appreciate the people and?events in our lives we once resented. It’s like mentally connecting enough dots to stand back and see an image.Stress dissipates. We feel and function better. Even very serious and complicated health problems can?improve substantially.
Before you can connect those dots, you must better understand how the lower mind operates. Your lower mind has a story that?it is very identified with, and’that it must defend itself against. Unfortunately this story can run you mentally and emotionally taking up hours, days, weeks, months, or even years replaying the same saga over and over again–ultimately leading to numerous health problems: anxiety, adrenal fatigue, migraines, depression, digestive problems, etc. Your lower mind excels at creating a great deal of stress in your life causing health problems, lack of vitality, strife and discord in personal relationships, and an overall heaviness you have to carry each day.
Yet your Higher Mind has access to observing the healing order of cause and effect in your life in a very profound way. Your Higher Mind sees the purpose and links between challenging events and then the opportunity concealed within them–the ripple effect of meaning that was created the moment a challenge occurred in your life. Your Higher Mind can help you glimpse a profound and purposefully orchestrated reality, giving you access to understanding the greater opportunity within why something has happened. Because the truth is, within your greatest challenges in life past and present, are links to your highest expression and purpose.
One must experience and see these links in his or her own life to genuinely know the truth of what I am presenting; however, I came across an interview between Oprah and Tony Robbins where they both demonstrate this link of cause and effect quite profoundly. Together they poetically share how one of their greatest childhood challenges helped awaken them to one of their most fulfilling causes and purpose in life.
You have a story of past challenges, that are in truth linked to a specific strength and purpose in your life. The ability of your Higher Mind is to connect the healing dots of cause and effect in your life and access a fulfilling and powerful force lying dormant within you. It is liberating and empowering to find the gifts hidden within your greatest challenges.
Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours. ~ Noela Evans
Bella Dodds is a Demartini Method Facilitator, META-Health Coach, META-Kinetics Practitioner,?Somatic Respiratory Integration Practitioner, and President of The International Foundation for Human Potential. Her focus is working one-on-one with clients to identify?and neutralize the?mental root causes of’sress.Get a free 15-minute consultation with her via phone or Skype through the 180 Get Help Program.
ZOH MAI GAWD FIRST
Ah, this is so true. There is one particular episode of my life from over a decade ago that still has the power to suck hours of time from whole days. As soon as I recall it, I’m off and running, defending myself all over again, saying all the things I should have said when it was going on, making all the wrongs done to me right. And before I know it, my shoulders are all tense, my low back is aching, I’m suddenly really tired…but it’s like a guilty pleasure because I get to prosecute all the people who wronged me. Because I am still so pissed off about it that some very wounded part of me just can’t let them off the hook. Of course, they’re as off the hook as they’ll ever be and I’m only hurting myself.
Hi Julia sorry took me awhile to respond I have had a busy week! : )
Actually you may beat yourself up by finding yourself continually going back to the same story … but in truth it means there is something important within it for you.
First detach from the story and get curious. What is it that upsets you about the event? What is your leading emotion and feeling about it? What do you perceive about it?
Do you feel you were:
Get clear on the energetic charge. That is why you keep coming back to it.
Now get curious and see if this charge shows up in other stories of your present. Same emotion and perspective different characters?
If so you know you have a great life theme to work with, which clearing can give you a great deal of fuel and clarity for your life.
Let me know if you have more Q’s on how to work with it. Self-healing really is fun xo
The feelings are abandonment, gross neglect and anger at no one having the balls to cop to the obvious mistreatment they put me through. It recurs because the same cast of characters (my family) is still in my life. But it has happened in a lot of friendships and relationships as well. I suppose the leading feeling is OUTRAGE. Like I clearly see that what they did was wrong and that they owe me an apology and an explanation. And I’m really a very forgiving person once I can understand people’s motives. People are usually just trying to protect themselves when they hurt others and I can understand that and I’d love to have a kumbaya moment over it, but no one in my life ever seems to have the f*cking balls to cop to the fact that they did something shitty. And they expect me to suck it up. And they seem genuinely confused when I become fatigued with the relationship. So what’s the deal, Bella? Why me? :)
AND it leads to confusion over my sense of self-worth. Do they just feel really really bad and are embarrassed? Or do they not really care because they consider me and my wellness to be no big thang? It’s not the most pleasant sea of emotions to navigate. Like I’m a real big fan of admitting to EVERYTHING and honesty at all costs and forgetting your ego and finding the truth and blah blah blah. I wear my heart on my sleeve. My face gives away my every emotion, I can’t lie, I can’t put on a front…I’m incapable of it and I don’t think it’s healthy. And I think a lot of people deal with hard situations by just stuffing their true feelings and choosing a self-serving course and not looking back. One of these people, I tried to open a dialogue with and they told me they couldn’t “live in the past” and then went onto to explain that Jesus has healed them, yadda yadda yadda. But the thing is, I have no interest in living in the past either. It’s just that there’s no future until you reckon with it. Maybe fairness is a thing too. I’ve always been really preoccupied with justice. And when I see an injustice, I’m the first person on the line fighting against it. So it’s tough when it’s me that is being treated unjustly and no one there to defend me but myself, in the context of my family. None of this was like this until my mom passed when I was wee, so that adds to it all. And there is my over-sharing heart on display for all the internet to see. If you are interested in responding, let me know and I’ll email you:)
I think it is probably that they don’t want to spend the emotional energy to consider why they did the things they did. It’s a tough thing to look in the mirror and consider that you did something (even unintentionally) that really harmed another person. I had some similar stuff in my childhood, and I still haven’t gotten what I would call real remorse and restitution either. There is a lot of avoidance of negative emotions in our culture, and a lot of people are not very self-aware so it all adds up to some problems.
You do, of course, have a right to be angry and make it clear how you feel, and you also have the right to choose not to associate with people who continue to hurt you. When someone dismisses how you feel about something they did, and says you are over-reacting, it’s a way of invalidating your feelings. But I doubt you will ever get what you actually want from them, unfortunately.
Bella might say that the reason you are so quick to defend against injustice, is because of what you went through. That’s the gift.
I ran into this quote on Tumblr a few days ago, not sure where it’s from originally but I really like it: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I too have a guilty pleasure of going through old stuff in my head, dreaming of getting back at people who’ve hurt me in the past. Obviously it’s only hurting myself but it feels so satisfying. It helps to look at it like that, I’m really quite literally killing myself with stress (adrenaline fatigue), there’s no point in holding onto this anger when I’m the one who’s losing.
Is that Che?
There is some truth to this, unfortunately, New Age hucksters like Tony Robbins extend it from being true in some small amount of cases to being true in all cases. This is what happens when you get losers who earn their living preying on people who are desperate or who want to be fed bromides.
I have a problem with some white guy in Orange County California telling the world that their suffering can be overcome if they just change their attitude and perspective. Imagine yourself in the middle of an area plagued by war or in a country in which some pestilence has destroyed your crops and your children are starving. If you think this type of thinking will aid the individuals in that situation, you’re delusional.
The piece of advice in this article might help somebody with problems on the scale of those of Dr. Phil, i.e.”I just broke up with my boyfriend, what do I do? Boo-hoo.” For more serious issues, chronic depression, extreme poverty, etc. this advice will be of little help. In fact, it could be very dangerous, because some desperate person could imagine that their plight is entirely of their own making (I am extremely poor, I have cancer, I am a victim of violence because I created it) and the fact that they are incapable of overcoming their particular problem must be because they are not POSITIVE enough or didn’t have enough money to take the expensive New Age workshop.
Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours. ~
LOL, a philosophy that belongs on a bumper sticker. There is a silver lining in every cloud or so they would have us believe it. No, some time you get your ass kicked by life and there isn’t a silver lining. Even a worthwhile philosopher like Nietzche seemes seems to have copped to this bit of romanticism, in his now oft-quoted (ad nauseam, ad absurdum)saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Yeah, he wrote that before he went insane and was bed-ridden in his sister’s house who tried to pass him off as a proto-nazi.
Yes, well and also we need to be aware of the pitfalls of overly positive thinking. My mom is very into positive thinking. So much so that she was able to completely ignore some very troubling things occurring in my family growing up, rather than confronting and stopping them. Sometimes we have to accept and address negative things (such as poverty, the destruction of a country by war, the root causes of your depression, etc.). I think our society as a whole engages in mass avoidance which is why we have things like prozac in record numbers (including for things like normal grief), alcoholism, kids who don’t know how to cope with losing and so on.
I don’t think the article is saying don’t address negative things, but just agreeing with the point that you do need to address the bad as well. I’d rather change things for the better than try to feel positive about a shitty situation and continue living with it.
Well put Thomas. I think the critical take-away here is that the Higher Mind has the power to heavily influence the Lower Mind. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to figure out how to do this. Your Lower Mind is trying to draw your attention to a problem it still perceives as important and it’s generally concerned about one thing: your survival. The resolution doesn’t come from positive thinking something away. It comes from understanding specifically the message your Lower Mind is sending and why, and then taking whatever actions are necessary (may require open and uncomfortable conversations) to get resolution on that. I have had problems persist for years that no amount of mental gymnastics ever resolved. The Lower Mind would continue running its story. But once you get an answer or a resolution (by whatever means), you really can release yourself from them.
I also do not agree with the statement “your greatest challenges in life past and present, are links to your highest expression and purpose”. I remember bringing this up at a Q&A we were having at our Buddhist Center back in April. We were using the example of a great running back for some football team (I don’t follow sports so feel free to insert name here). One day he’s in a horrible accident and loses both his legs. How does he move on? How does he find purpose?
The simpler more common answer is that he learns the pain and suffering of going through this condition and now helps other people that have lost their legs. Yay meaning! Yay purpose!
But that’s not the real expression of Bodhisattva activity. The real expression of a fully matured being would be more like this. My body is a tool I have but it is not me. I am here to benefit beings. I love playing football and many people take joy in watching me. I am no longer able to play football, but there are other things I love that are beneficial to others. I will do one of those activities instead. No slip into negative mental states. No victim mentality. Just moves right on.
Of course to do that you would have to have no identification with football, your legs, your physical prowess, etc. There would have to be no expectations about what you’re achieving, where you’re getting to, etc. It would have to be an entirely non-personal expression of joy.
Arghhh….I’ve sworn off internet arguments, but I just can’t help myself– mostly because I’m so sick of cynicism being equated with intelligence. You (Thomas) obviously didn’t actually read the article or watch the clip. What Dodds was writing about and what Tony and Oprah were discussing are not positive thinking but using our god- given consciousness to take power back from the events that have happened to us and choose to step away from our stimulus response kind of thinking (ouch. stove hot. me no cook no more) and, instead, fashion our own meaning from them (ouch. stove hot. me learn to master stove). In the clip, Robbins uses the example that an offer of charity can leave you feeling humiliated and emasculated (like it did to his father) or it means people care (as he himself felt). Same event but two completely different reactions to it. And if you’ve ever actually listened to Tony Robbins beyond this, he hardly ‘blames the victim’ or glosses over desperate situations such as war, violence, cancer, etc… In fact he is much more likely to talk about these kinds of events and life situations than ‘boohooing about a break-up.” ( I have a dislike of Oprah just because she seems to be a very non-critical thinker and rather vapid even though she’s obviously very intelligent and speaks of spiritualism, but I’m willing to admit I could be wrong, because her insight in this clip seems very genuine) But, don’t knock Tony– he is extremely talented and has a lot of valuable advice especially for the chronically depressed, drug addicts, those in extreme poverty and suffering from cancer. I’m sure a lot of people who come to this site could use that kind of mental conditioning, enlightenment, ‘bromides’ or whatever you want to call it. As for my bona fides– I’m not desperate and have no need for platitudes. I like intelligent and deep thinking. Hell, I grew up in the kind of family that literally read Pilgrim’s Progress, Inferno, and Paradise Lost rather than go to Sunday school. I’m no stranger to great books and deep ideas. I’m sure some people thought Fu Xi and Confucius were hucksters, too. (That’s a joke, btw; I’m not sincerely comparing a self help guru to great philosophers, just alluding to Thomas’ love of eastern philosophy.)
Okay. Rant over.
Thomas I don’t want to chastise you, but I can’t help but notice how perfectly you are demonstrating the reaction of the Lower Mind. You did not present any ideas respectfully, in a well thought out manner, nor with questions that could open up a healthy dialogue.
I am not sure what you are defending that people continue to stay in pain and be miserable? To stay stuck? To take drugs and accept the bitterness of the world? Is this really what you are defending?
Anyone can be a critic. It takes no effort and is easily done. Offering an effective solution well that is a different story.
Blame, guilt, shame, anger, fear – these are stress inducing bio-chemical states that are scientifically proven to create a myriad of symptoms: depression, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, weight gain, irritable bowl syndrome, cancer, etc.
You want to accept all of the above? What gain do you get from your perspective? You get something. It may be blocking you in other areas of your life, but it is a strategy that you are benefiting from.
I find most people I talk to on the other hand don’t want to accept their wounded stories but rather move forward powerfully, with purpose and to be free. Last I checked that was not postive new age thinking but rather difficult and courageous.
Robbins and Oprah experienced challenging childhoods of poverty, neglect, abuse, alcoholism and rape. Now individually they impact billions of people around the world. In this clip they are relaying what gives them their fuel to do what they do. Quite beautifully actually. There is nothing that suggests positive thinking and praying on the weak. It is about courage, meaning, self-accountability and choice. I have worked with individuals who have experienced horrible events in their lives and I assure you it is strength, commitment and courage that pushes them to rise above and mature beyond their story as they choose to heal and empower themselves. It is beautiful to witness. I don’t think they feel prayed upon when they are finally set free from a disempowering story of the past.
My statement – within your deepest wound is linked to your most inspiring purpose… I suppose if you have never experienced this before or witnessed it with hundreds of individuals then you might think this to be too convenient. I assure you it is the VERY opposite. It is the opposite of trying to pretend life is positive by denying the negative. It is however self-healing to every single one of your cells, your mind, heart, body and spirit to take the very area causing you the most pain and STRESS in life and transform it into meaning and purpose. Why? Because your purpose is inspirng. It isbeyond yourself and a self-defeating black hole that sucks the life out of you toward helping others – Which by the way helping others is actually shown to release serotonin in the brain. Isn’t that interesting that our biology biochemically encourages cooperation and lending a helping hand? But in truth this is not surprising we are after all not one single organism but are a cooperative of 70 trillion individual organisms and 500 trillion microbes working together to give us life.
Finding meaning from the polar opposites of the world made up of challenge and support, cruelty and kindness, neglect and comfort create rungs on a ladder that you can choose to climb…if you want to. It does not mean it is easy, but it is life-changing, self-healing and rewarding.
Thank you Susan for taking the time to rant! Loved your explanation of what I was hoping to convey. :-)
Quote: “Which by the way helping others is actually shown to release serotonin in the brain. Isn’t that interesting that our biology biochemically encourages cooperation and lending a helping hand?”
I am not sure that this is necessarily a good thing. I am under the impression that brain chemistry is still not completely understood. Also, brain chemicals are not so straightforward and can act differently under different circumstances.
for example: http://www.news.wisc.edu/21970
I think it’s a shame that these posts get so few comments. I love reading these posts and the comments.
I’m trying to understand what is positive thinking and what is it about positive thinking that is so limiting? Quoting what Susan said, ” what Tony and Oprah were discussing are not positive thinking but using our god- given consciousness to take power back from the events that have happened to us and choose to step away from our stimulus response kind of thinking”. Isn’t the belief that we can improve our situations a form of positive thinking?”
Is the positive thinking philosophy more about ignoring negative thoughts, thinking only positively and passively waiting for good things to happen?