Understanding the Mind
As humans we live in two worlds. There is the external physical world of work, family and friends that we travel in. Then there is the world of our mind and imagination. It is a virtual reality that can at times appear and feel just as real. When it comes to our emotions the virtual world of our mind can often affect on our emotions more than the real world.Â If we want to be happy, we may not always be able to change the physical world or other people, but we can always change the virtual world of our mind.
If you are seeking to create greater fulfillment and happiness in your life most sources will point to making changes in your external world.Â They will talk about goal setting, success, financial wealth or attracting the perfect partner. Â Those suggestions to find what you love, do what you are passionate about, find the perfect partner, and achieve your goals will lead you towards happiness. However without addressing how beliefs in the mind affect your emotions you can still end up disillusioned and empty. The importance of addressing the role beliefs play may be difficult to grasp.Â Thatâs partly because the beliefs in your mind that youâve acquired from school and society donât point you in the direction of changing them.Â In fact, they point you away from changing them.
Change Begins with Perception and Awareness
We donât see what we want to see.Â We see what our belief system projects. For the person that gets called into their bossâs office their mind may project visions of getting reprimanded or fired. When they get there they might find they are getting a bonus.
A person might project that their partner is cheating on them. In their virtual reality they create a movie of their partner leaving them abandoned and alone. Their virtual reality generates emotions ofÂ fear,Â jealousy,Â anger, and loneliness. In reality their partner might be madly in love and devoted to them. But they arenât responding to their real partner. They are reacting with the person in their virtual reality they imagine as their partner. They treat and act towards their partner according to the beliefs and images their virtual reality projects not the way their partner really is.
In these scenarios it is not a matter of people seeing what they want to see. People do not want to see visions of being reprimanded, fired, or abandoned.Â People perceive what the virtual world of their belief system projects.Â Â The virtual reality of the mind actively projects scenarios continually throughout the day separate from what we want. When these projections in the mind are based in fear the result is unhappiness.
People do not see what they want to see. People see what their virtual reality projects. This fog isnât so dangerous by itself unless a person invests faith in what their mind projects. Without belief in these images they have no power to produce emotions or reactions.Â If you are watching a movie, and are aware it is a movie you donât react.Â When we have this awareness that much of what our mind projects is fictional we donât react emotionally either.Â In fact when we have enough awareness even horrific scenarios in our mind begin to seem silly or funny instead of fearful or threatening.
When you perceive that your beliefs about your self, and the rest of the world, donât match up with the real you or the real world you conclude that changing your beliefs is something worth doing.Â Of course coming to this often uncomfortable realization requires a bit of humility.
How to Make Your Self Happy
Most everybody has heard that money doesnât make you happy, other people donât make you happy, and that you have to make your self happy. Very few people will tell you how. Your mind will propose that happiness has something to do with the success and accomplishment in the external world. This is exactly what the belief system in the mind has been trained you to believe and act on.
As long as you are more focused on the external world of success and accomplishment your beliefs can avoid giving up the control it has over your attention and emotions. In certain respects the ego mind has an agenda of preservation of beliefs ahead of your emotional well being.Â It does this by trying to get us to focus our attention on the outside world and not notice our own beliefs.
As you put your attention on the dynamics of the virtual reality of the mind it begins to lose control and power over your choices and thoughts. The process involves first becoming aware of the mind and the projections it makes. Â More self awareness will result in being aware of your self as separate from your mind that is generating thoughts and opinions.Â The result is that life is less automatic and more conscious.
The realization that our belief system distracts us from noticing what our mind is doing is a big step in awareness.Â It helps us stay focused that happiness and life fulfillment is really determined by what goes on in the world of the virtual reality and therefore is something that we can affect. Â This is an empowering realization.
Your Happiness and Unhappiness is Created Internally
Letâs take a circumstance such as being fired from your job. In the moment you might feel like it is the worst experience of your life.Â You feel rejected, worthless, mistreated, and angry at your boss or company.Â Â Those feelings are really created by the self judgment, criticism, and beliefs in the mind. Â These opinions about the event are generated in the belief system about being fired. It is these opinions and beliefs that drive your emotions.Â At the time it seems like our circumstances are determining our emotions.Â What we believe seems completely true.
Now imagine that a few years have passed. You have moved on and circumstances are better in your life. Your new interpretation of beliefs about being fired might be that it was a beneficial turn of events that helped facilitate a better life. It was an event that was necessary to bring you to your current job/career and state of enjoyment. The story projected in your mind changed and so did your emotions about that same event.Â One might say that it is easy to change your emotions after a couple years because your point of view changed.Â Â But isnât point of view part of your belief system also.Â Canât we work to gain control of the point of view we look at situations from and use that to change our beliefs and thereby change how we feel in the moment? Â If you believe you have choices then you can make them here in your belief system where they directly affect your happiness and emotions.
Did the event actually change? No. You were still fired on that day at that time for the same reasons. However sinceÂ point of view, opinions, and beliefs about the event changed so did your emotions. Your emotions are created by the beliefs at the time it happened produced one set of emotions.Â Â A different point of view, opinions, and beliefs later on produced a different expression of emotions.Â If you are unconscious to what is going on with your opinions then your beliefs change unconsciously over time.Â Â However it isnât time that has changed your emotions.Â If you still have the same opinions about someone or something years later you will recreate the same emotions. Â Â With awareness and practice you can change your point of view, opinions, and beliefs in your virtual reality in any moment.
How you feel in terms of happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction isnât as much a function of success, failure, or other external factors. Happiness and fulfillment is determined by the opinions and beliefs in your virtual reality about your circumstances.Â Mastery your point of view and your beliefs and you master your own happiness.
When you understand the significance of how your beliefs impact your emotions it will become more important to create happiness in your mind, and less important to achieve goals that you assumed would be a means to happiness. Â Some people only come to this realization after they accomplish their goals.Â They achieve their goals only to notice that they donât feel the happiness and fulfillment they believed they would. Â Â They end up asking the question, âIs this all there is?â without having an answer. Â Their emotions didnât follow the track of their outside world accomplishments as they assumed.Â Their emotions were still being driven by their internal beliefs.
The Measure of Success is Emotional Happiness
You can be a success in your field, have a wonderful partner that loves you, make lots of money, and receive accolades from peers and authorities in the external world. However if your internal world of imagination dictates that you areÂ not good enough or havenât âdone enough yet to deserve itâ you will hear the stories and self judgment of failure in your head. You will feel the emotions of a failure.Â If you are unable to satisfyÂ the critical voice of the Inner Judge in your belief system no amount of external rewards will feel satisfying.
Numerous studies indicate that wealthy people are not much happier than the middle class. Once a personâs basic needs are met there is very little change in a personâs happiness as they gain wealth or accomplishments. What these studies donât explain is the lack of difference. Thatâs because these studies donât reveal the aspects of fear, judgments, criticisms, and beliefs that make up the virtual reality of peopleâs minds. These elements of a personâs mind do not change because of a change in their wealth, accomplishment, or where they went on vacation.Â However, you can change the beliefs that affect your happiness your self.
Changing Your Mind is Not Easy
When we prune a tree or bush many buds shoot out with new branches. Â When you attempt to squash negative thinking the same can occur.Â As we become aware of what is going on in the mind we often attempt to describe, justify, judge, or explain why the mind does what it does.Â We often end up adding layers of opinions and projections to the belief system this way instead of make it smaller. Â One of the most common, âI shouldnât think that.âÂ In effect our new wonderfully spiritual idea of living a better life has led to the belief system creating a self judgment. Â This is one of those buds trying to sprout.
To make changes in the way your mind projects stories and images in your virtual reality is sometimes counter intuitive. In the beginning directly attacking your thoughts and beliefs attempting to cut out everything you donât want can back fire.Â Â Without skilled techniques and guidance it is likely to bush out and seem bigger and more difficult than before.Â To really change what the virtual reality projects requires that you become skillful in slicing it apart in a way that it doesnât grow back.
In the beginning changing the patterns of the mind and currents of emotion might seem like a daunting task. Â At least that is what the belief system proposes as a thought as if it were truthful analysis. Â But like anything that we fail at the first time, we get better at with good guidance and practice. Â Â Whether it is easy or difficult is irrelevant. Your happiness for the remaining years of your life is the question.Â So whether it is difficult or easy,,, it is worth doing.
A Quiet and Peaceful Mind
The difference between happiness and misery begins with changing the quality of images and story projection in the virtual world of your mind. Â Â Â Â One half of this process is to express love and happiness as the basis for your stories.Â The second half is to dismantle the fear based beliefs that project unhappiness in your mind.Â In the beginning this half may need the most attention.
Beyond these two types of projection you find another world, a third world.Â In the state of a quiet mind the virtual reality is silent and there is peace. The visual images and projections are nil. You see the external world as it is. When you see life as it is you find out that it is beautiful internally, and externally.
The Sufi poet and sage Rumi says it this way, âOut beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.Â Iâll meet you there. â
In that way of living and expressing you do not paint upon the dream screen of your mind judgments, criticisms, fears, justifications, or even opinions and descriptions. When the internal virtual reality is dissolved so are the voices in your head that keep you from peace and quiet. Only when you dissolve the virtual reality of your mind do you have a chance to live in connection with the real world. In the beginning this may only happen in brief moments and by accident, however with practice it becomes more common until it is a normal way to live.
Only through dismantling the false projections of your virtual reality are you assured of being free of emotional suffering in the changing circumstances of your lifeÂ Â When the mind is tamed and dissolved there is no longer the unhappiness, frustration, anger, or sense of emptiness. Â You are able to see the world as it is, and people as they really are. Â Most clearly you perceive yourself as you are.Â You realize that you are a force expressing love through that human body.
For more insights into the relationship between the mind, emotions, and beliefs listen to theÂ free mp3 Audio podcasts on Awareness and Consciousness
For specific practical steps in finding and changing fear based and false beliefs follow the exercises in the Self Mastery Audio Program on Garyâs website www.PathwayToHappiness.com
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