I awoke today with an urge to post something somewhat New Yearzy, some words of wisdom to raise the spirits and steel the mettle for the choppy seas that loom on the horizon. “I shall write about ‘organizing to the rightness’ in our lives,” I says to myself. (The chatty part of my brain was trying to pull itself out of the blissful miasma of a sleeping in a warm bed in a blessedly chilly bedroom at the end of December. The not-so-chatty brain parts were considerably less interested, concerning themselves with not disturbing the cat between my feet, who by all appearances, has mastered the art of blissful miasma. It took a few hours, but Mr. Loquacious eventually turned the tide and here I am pecking away.)
I have run into many people lately who self-identify as “anxious” or are “filled with anxiety.” It’s a topic I wrote about recently (see “Anxiety and Non-coherence: What Me Worry?”), where I described an effective technique for establishing energetic coherence easily and effectively. More important, the technique (Energetic Coherence 2.0), if practiced diligently over time (gongfu) will likely rearrange your brain’s architecture and create a stable NON-anxious state. The few who have tried it attest to a profound shift in their baseline equanimity.
However, if anxiety is so chronic that you self-identify that way (“I have anxiety.”), then you will probably need more incentive to actually do the practice than, “It works if you do it enough.” That chatty part of your brain that is so busy updating your personal narrative moment-by-moment quickly converts “Energetic Coherence 2.0” into just another piece of the story, into “Oh yeah, that pointing thing. I tried it a couple times.”
Chance of success = 0.0.
I understand. There’s nothing glamorous or triumphant about pointing a finger. And equanimity won so easily is almost insulting to the suffering resulting from persistent anxiety. It needs a bigger context, one that incentivizes such a simple action.
And that brings us back to “organizing to the rightness” and my plan to write about that. When my early morning brainfog cleared I remembered something, “Oh yeah, I wrote that already.” I checked my blog and sure enough, there it was. I sent it to a friend who has a strong interest in the topic, since it addressed a conversation we had recently. Her response was “That’s nice. I skimmed it over breakfast. I had read it before. Something about ‘Look on the bright side.'”
Not exactly. It’s not about Pollyanna platitudes. It’s about how the story you tell yourself affects your relationship to the world you inhabit.
Your conscious mind, your It-mind, has a hugely disproportional impact on the way you perceive the events of your life and your emotional response to them. It creates a “user illusion,” like the way a video monitor presents an image recognizable to humans. The computer is processing billions of electrical pulses to produce the image on the screen. Your conscious mind is where the trillions of impulses that happen each moment among the 70-odd trillion cells in your body are filtered down into a vaguely recognizable idea that occupies your attention for a moment, then moves on to the next moment.
The It-mind not only reflects the vast activity of the pre-conscious mind, but is also capable of changing the channel. It can do a Stephen King and transform a tranquil small town into a horror show, or it can turn a political argument with the in-laws into a nostalgic saunter through baby pictures and dessert. It’s your mind and you get to take it in whatever direction you like.
You have more control over your “user illusion” than you know. There are those who argue that you have no control and that “thoughts arise” of their own in an impersonal manner. Some scientific materialists say that our thoughts are merely a product of electrical impulses in the brain. Idealist philosophers argue that since “there is no self,” and “everything is one,” then it is impossible to have a thought of “your own.”
Answering either of these positions in substance is beyond the scope of this post. For now I suggest you act “as if” you can control your thoughts and see if you feel better that way. I know I do. And if you happen to choose a channel where you get a moment in your life that is reasonably enjoyable, where’s the harm in that?
In celebration of the Gregorian calendar’s idea of a “new year” I am re-posting the aforementioned blog. The title “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is only partly ironic, an homage to the dark humor of Monty Python. Those tempted to take the title literally as naive optimism, please don’t. (The singers being crucified are a tip off that there is a wink-wink going on.)
If you are plagued with anxiety, or know someone who is, you may want to check out these two posts and use them as a guide for changing your brain for 2019. It is a two-pronged approach:
1.Change your energy, change your circumstances. When your energy is more coherent, you feel more whole. And that is a good thing. Your body will like it. (see “Anxiety and Non-coherence: What Me Worry?”) You’ll feel better. And the more you do, the better you will feel. And you may find that you attract more coherence in turn.
2.Change your story. It’s your movie. You are the star, the writer, the director, the producer. How do you want the next part to go? Make it interesting. Fun. Rewarding. Or not. It’s your call. (see “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”) If life has been a bit too dark for a while, it might be time to lighten it up a bit. Too comfortable? Stir the pot and see what floats to the surface.
And I hope that this next slide down the Gregorian flume is exactly as delightfully enchanting as you can stand. Happy New Year!
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
That’s fun for a while. We kick up some some dopamine, some epinephrine, and get motivated to take some effective action. The autonomic nervous system goes sympathetic full-bore and the parasympathetic gets kicked to the curb temporarily. This is fine for handling emergencies, but becomes problematic when the system stays on high-alert for a long time. The parasympathetic nervous system restores the homeostasis (coherence) to the system and is necessary for healing to occur.
So when our world view, our weltanshauung, is dominated by negativity, non-coherence dominates and the wheels start coming off the cart. Worry turns into anxiety turns into fatigue turns into illness…you get the picture. But no matter how far gone we are, we begin to turn things around by interjecting some coherence into the mix.
Of course, faithful readers are already pointing their index fingers at every opportunity to heighten their coherence and body/mind/spirit integration. But some get frustrated because that brief flash of transrational/transpersonal awareness is quickly engulfed by another wave of self-defeating narrative. It’s a laborious process to rewrite a personal narrative that is based on Fear, but absolutely necessary if you wish to awaken from the Trance of Objectification.
You begin by finding something–anything–that is at all positive in the present moment. Try to get into awareness of the present moment because you want to FEEL the coherence, not just think about it. While anything you conceptualize will take you out of the present, some thoughts leave a trail of bread crumbs back to the present. They remind us to feel, rather than just create abstractions. When you start to feel the coherence, your thinking will change too. You choose Love over Fear. You then think of more “rightness” in the moment and go into resonance with that. Your mood starts to lighten and it becomes easier to feel the coherence.
Of course, some will argue that this is not “realistic.” How dare you feel positive emotion when something somewhere is going so badly? Someone was killed in Europe or Asia. The market is falling in Japan. You have a tumor on your kidney. Your dog died.
These things are very “real” to the person experiencing them. And one must respect their emotional response to their circumstances, and even sympathize when appropriate. But I have found that I can more effectively deal with challenges with the clear mind that accompanies energetic coherence. Physical change is also possible.
Fear and worry are natural responses if you hear that you have a tumor, for example. You want to assess the actual threat to health and survival. You want to consider its impact on your quality of life. But a tumor is a physical expression of non-coherence. It is a renegade body part that does not play well with others. Worry and anxiety feed that non-coherence. They also can diminish your quality of life.
The moment you Meet the tumor with your whole being, coherence is heightened. Healing begins. More coherence = more healing. Some conditions spontaneously disappear. Some need time. Some need the assistance of appropriate medical treatment.
A very high level martial artist that I know had pancreatic cancer about twenty years ago. He said he cured it with “fresh fruit juice and laughter.” The five-year survival rate is about 25%. He’s in his 80s now and still going strong.
Organize to the rightness and feel the coherence.