Thoughts, Beliefs and the Ego

by Tracy Webb - 

Life seems to be a continual challenge. 

One thing after another and the eternal search for happiness. We spend so much of our lives creating an identity for ourselves with all the likes and dislikes that go with it.

These preferences build associations within us, which then turn into expectations, conflict and many problems.

We tend to compare our beliefs to other peoples and then defend our position making them wrong as they’re ideas don’t fit in with our picture of how ‘it should be’.

Life is unlimited. 

It is arrogant and naive to think that only our thoughts and beliefs are right.

They may be right for us with the limited knowledge we have at this moment but the more we learn and grow the more opportunities there are for new information to become available for us.

The information we defend so valiantly is only ever a very small part of a much larger truth, being open to the thoughts of anything is possible helps to expand our minds and experiences.

How many beliefs have you held that seemed to support your way of thinking and then something happened to change your point of view?

Take Father Christmas for example as a child you believed fully in him then as you became older you let go of that belief. At the time it was true for you and now it isn’t.

What would happen if you treated all your knowledge with the thought that this is what I know today and tomorrow, new information maybe available to me to gain a new perspective? How liberating!

Try being open to allowing everyone their point of view.

The beliefs we hold will be directly related to our experiences and it may be difficult for us to understand another’s way of thinking, however, there will be a rational (for them anyway) reason why they think in such a way.

Live and let live. 

All the beliefs we hold only get in our way. Instead of allowing life to ‘be’ we look at our situation and cast a judgement on it – either we like or dislike it.

The choices we make will bring us corresponding experiences. Our dislikes are really our resistances to ‘what is’.

By not living in the present and not accepting the current reality or situation we find ourselves in we create more problems for ourselves.

We get caught up in the emotions that follow, because we have chosen not to accept it but react against it instead. It seems to have become an international past time – to prove each other wrong and validate our own thinking.

All this happens because we had an attachment to our belief. 

We believe our thoughts to be real and the only truth. We then use this information and compare it to our experiences and other peoples point of view.

When these don’t match, we have to either accept that perhaps we have been wrong in our thinking or defend ourselves against them.

When seeing your situation in this way it is magnified. Our sense of self is threatened as our ego tries to make sense of what’s happening, fighting all the way.

Our tendency might be to become a victim of the circumstances or to launch a full on attack. Either way, it only leads to more pain and suffering. We can’t change the situation as it has already happened so the only logical thing we can do is to accept it.

Find a solution, learn from it and take steps towards damage limitation.

When we notice all your likes and dislikes it becomes apparent how futile they are and how they enslave us. We are led from one experience to another, like being on a roller coaster of emotions.

What would happen if you dropped all those cravings and aversions?

What if you were just happy anyway? 

Not because of circumstances but because you have chosen to be. Probably sounds impossible. When you stop and think about it for a minute it is the only logical thing you can do.

To find that happiness within allows you to keep it, as it doesn’t depend on any outside factors. It is your chosen natural state of being.

Situations come to us everyday. Our job is not to fight them, our job is to accept them. It is our reactions that determine how we experience life, not the situations we find ourselves in.

Can you view your life as a gift bringing you valuable lessons for your growth or do you have the view that there is a vengeful God handing our bad experiences to you?

Life isn’t personal, although because we are so attached to our identity and defending our positions we take it to be so. Your thoughts about life create your experience of it.

Have you ever tried to accept anyone or anything in your life unconditionally? Accepting them for who they are without prejudice or judgement?

It’s not about being tolerant of them as tolerance implies that you are putting up with something.

True acceptance allows compassion to come in and for you to see their true essence without the clouds of your judgement upon them.

It’s a beautiful experience. Acceptance brings love into your heart and the experience of unconditional love that flows from there. 

Can your ego allow you to act in this way?

It is possible although it may take time to undo past habitual behaviour patterns. We are so used to defending our position to the end – what will it feel like not to do that anymore? To allow someone else to be ‘right’ and not have to attempt to impose you’re way on to him or her?

It’s a very humbling experience. 

We each have equally valid points of view and the more you try to convince someone that your way is right they will counter defend with just as strong an argument of why their way is right.

No-one wins and both leave feeling frustrated and with ill thoughts towards the other.

The interesting thing about our thoughts is that we only know what we know – we all know different things in different ways and through different experiences and everyone’s thoughts are true for them, so how can you convince them otherwise?

The more awareness you can bring into your life the more you will notice how you interact with ‘life’.

Our reactions have associated feelings, making them even more challenging. When a situation occurs, feelings and emotions surge through our bodies and the reaction comes from there.

It is mostly unconscious and very powerful. It practically takes you over. The strength of the reactions adds fuel to the situation making it even more unbearable.

Can you see how we are slaves to our emotions? 

The feelings of being hard done by or mistreated or taken advantage of create associated reactions and depending on the depth of attachment you have to each one will depend on the intensity of the reaction.

Have you watched other people react and felt how out inappropriate it was? This points to the depth of attachment and associated feelings they have to the situation they find themselves in.

They are fighting to regain control. The anger, aggression, sadness or whichever emotion arises is projected to others and they feel fully justified in doing so.

What happened to self control and taking responsibility for ones emotions? It seems to be acceptable to attack another because they don’t like what they said!

Everyone has an agenda is every situation – have you ever tried to meet a person where they are and not where you are? 

The interaction is so much more interesting and rewarding. 

You really get to understand the person you are speaking with on a different level and get a feel for why they act in certain ways.

A lot of times people don’t listen to each other as they are too busy talking about themselves or thinking of the next thing to say. So much talking but so little progress!

Next time your find yourself in a challenging situation, why not try to take the time to observe the feelings and emotions rise within you? Feel the power it has to overwhelm you and how quickly the reaction can happen. Know that this is ‘your’ reaction to the situation.

It may be impossible for a while, but try to just ‘be’ with the feelings. The other person is having the same surge of emotions through their body only they have chosen to give in to theirs.

When you manage to observe and understand your reaction you will have started the process of breaking down that association.

It is a very powerful experience and once you have experienced it you will be amazed at how reactionary we are. How unconsciously we live our lives!

People are creatures of habit and the more we do something the more ingrained it becomes within us. Changing our habits can change our experience of life. 

Instead of being rigid and limited in our perceptions we can flow with life and be open to the unlimited possibilities available to us.

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