Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Monday, August 04, 2014

The Power of Perception - Part Two

The point of attention, focus, on the scale of anything determines whether something is considered a problem.  A great deal of time and energy is spent “fixing” or solving problems.

What’s a problem?  The dictionary definition is any thing, matter, person, etc., that is difficult to deal with, solve, or overcome; a situation, matter, or person that presents perplexity or difficulty.  

First, the Good news:  You have the ability to change your mind.  The Bad news?  There is no bad news.

The only way to “solve a problem” is to change your mind, which is to change your point of attention.  It is the only way to allow a solution to happen.  A solution to a problem is always a change – it has to be, otherwise, it is not a solution.  Nothing new about this.  Long ago a Greek Philosopher, Epictetus, noted that “people are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.”  Good insight there.  Shakespeare  continued this knowledge in Hamlet:  “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” 

You are in control of your thinking, not the problem.   Don't think about the problem.  Think about something else instead.   Any pleasing thought will do.  If you want to solve problems, think about something your enjoy thinking about.  How does that work?

Sometimes people will create a situation which continues to re-create itself over time.  Because it is created over time (chronic) the process may habituate and thus occur outside of usual consciousness.  Thus, some folks might complain of being in a rut.  A “rut” is nothing more that habituated thinking recreating a situation/circumstance over and over and over…  The good news is that a “rut” is not a hole in life, but a result of chronic creative thought.  One doesn’t “climb out” of a rut.  One recreates, or, re-thinks it.  I call it shifting perspective.

A rut is not the same thing as a routine.  Generally, we are aware of our routines – patterns of behavior (usually) that we create in order to achieve some task, usually something we encounter frequently, such as going to work each day.  We realize that we can modify our routine of doing-things whenever necessary.  It may take some time to adjust to the new perspective.

For instance, a couple of years ago I moved a prominent clock in the kitchen.  It’s still in the kitchen, just in a different location.  I’m just now getting used to looking at the clock WHERE IT IS rather than where is used to be.

For any change in our experience to occur, there must first be a shift of perspective.  We need to observe, and thus think, about something in a different manner.  Move the clock, so to speak.  When the thinking changes, so the environment and experience changes.

Throughout our history there have been master Teachers and Guides presenting "perspectives" to assist us in co-creating a more satisfying Life experience.  We'll look at some of these in a moment. 

But first, let's re-visit our thinking.  When we think about something, anything, we are giving it our attention.  When we give something, anything, our attention, we are, in fact, asking the Universe for MORE of whatever it is.  It's subtle, but crucial.  What we think about, what we focus on, what we give our attention, is what we draw into our view and experience.

July and so far August have been remarkably cooler and wetter.  I suspect a number of folks thought or said "I'm grateful for such a lovely summer."  That's an expression of gratitude.  Another person might have thought, or spoke:  "I appreciate this beautiful summer!"  That's an expression of appreciation.

Although considered similar, gratitude and appreciation are not the synonyms.  When one is grateful, one automatically contrasts the desired thing with the undesired.  The thought/statement "I'm grateful for this lovely summer" contains the thought imagery of very hot, dry, uncomfortable summer days.

When one appreciates someone or something, there are no pre-conditions.  It's an in-the-moment recognition of a delightful state of being.  And that's the image given attention.

The Law of Attraction does not distinguish between thoughts.  It merely brings together thoughts of similar vibration.  Practicing appreciation and giving thought to what is desired (and giving less attention and thus energy to undesired) takes awareness.  It's necessary to pay attention to what we're paying attention.

Let's look at one of the most profound teachings in its variants and see where the attention is directed.

Ancient Egyptian:  Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.  Circa 1800 BCE.  One of the earliest known versions of the teaching.  Where's the emphasis? 

Baha i Faith:  Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. 

Brahmanism:  This is the sum of Dharma (duty):  Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.

Judaism:  ...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  (Leviticus 19:18)
                        What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man.  (Talmud)

Hinduism:  This is the sum of duty:  do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.  (Mahabharta)

Buddhism:  ...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?      ...hurt not in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

Confucianism:  Do not do to others what you do not want then to do to you.  (Analects)

Christianity:  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them...  (Matthew 7:12 KJV)
All of the teachings are correct.  Those that can hear, will hear.  A person, or a people, giving their attention to pain/suffering may only hear and understand a teaching in that vernacular, hence the number of teachings from what we'd consider the "negative" - if it hurts you, don't inflict it on another.

The great shift in perspective is with the Golden Rule as it’s referred.  The thought comes from within FIRST - how do I wish to be treated?  That is how I shall treat others.  This is an awesome concept.  It's appreciation.  It is using thinking to create what is desired – how I wish to be treated.  Think about it.

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