Reacting to Change
Change has been occurring all the time but we are becoming aware of it faster and more acutely than ever. While we cannot stop change from occurring, we can change how we view and respond to it and how change affects us. By changing our perspective and beliefs, we can change
Fear into Excitement
Anticipate something positive out of a challenging situation rather than fearing the worst.
Worry into Wonder
Rephrase concerns into an “I wonder” question, eg., I wonder how this situation will work out.
Expectation into Anticipation
Look forward to a good outcome down the line – it may be tangible or intangible.
Resistance into Acceptance
Embrace and accept the unpleasant and unwelcome and it will pass. What we resist persists.
Disappointment into Detachment
Take things as they are without being too attached to an outcome. This will minimize disappointments.
Addiction into Preference
Don’t insist on anything – nothing is a “must have”.
Requirement into Contentment
Learn to be content with whatever situation you are in and find things in it to be grateful for. (cf. Bible, Phil 4:11; Heb 13:5)
Judgment into Observation
Observe events without judging them as good or bad. With our limited perspective and partial knowledge, our judgment will often be wrong. (cf. Bible, Luke 6:37; John 7:24; 1 Sam 16:7).
Sadness into Happiness
Since happiness is not the result of circumstances, but rather our interpretation of what is taking place, we can change our feelings by changing our thoughts. We have the tools to recreate our life experience.
Reaction into Response
Reaction is instantaneous and instinctive and not always the best. Response needs a little time. If in a crisis we take a moment to stop and think and don’t give up, some action toward survival is always possible.
Time of Turmoil into a Time of Peace
By applying some of the shifts in thinking and perspective discussed here, peace of mind can be had even in the midst of a storm. (cf. Bible, Phil 4:7)
The Power of Perspective
It is indeed perspective that determines how we view and respond to life’s situations. To have a sound perspective, we must combine both spiritual and mental vibrancy, insight and experience – drawing on the mind and reason as well as the wisdom of the soul which comes from the Divine source beyond our mind. God communicates in many ways, including inspiration, insights, other people, and circumstances. We need to be able to perceive and listen – this is given by grace, and even then our understanding and interpretation will be imperfect.
As humans, we have body, mind and soul. A part of our mind is the ego which differentiates us, the thinker, from our thoughts and thus allows us to experience our unique identity. Each person is an individuated part of a universal whole or Oneness, and the ego is the tool by which individuation occurs. The ego is a marvelous tool, but if it functions incorrectly, the ego can be our greatest enemy, incorrectly thinking we are our mind and separating us from our Self. In reality each individual is bigger that the self-awareness of the mind. The mental (mind) and spiritual (soul) within us need to function together.
Working of the Mind – How Reality is Experienced
From the mind perspective, six things create (or cause) our reality in this physical experience that we call life – events, data, truths, thoughts, emotions, and experience. Our reality is a combination of outside events and inside interpretation. Reality is static, but our experience of it changes depending on our perception and interpretation. Therefore happiness is not dependent on a given situation but on what we think about the situation. The connection between exterior events and interior experience is only in our head where events receive meaning through our thoughts and interpretations. We can choose what to make of any outside event. Events and created realities move in a circle. The above “Mechanics of the Mind” interact and can be perceived as the engine of our experience. The “System of the Soul”, discussed below, provides the fuel.
Nature of Truth
There are three kinds of truths – actual or ultimate (the concept that everything operates on love), apparent or observed (based only on observed facts), and imagined (distorted by adding what our mind adds to the observed facts). These bring about a triune reality in the world. Only the last two are available to the mind alone (without involving the soul). Of the two, we should aim for the observed reality without distorting it by adding wrong interpretations, imputing evil motives, catastrophising, etc.
All truth is subjective or produced. This is because all that is observed is affected by the observer. The place from which we are looking determines what truth we see. Each person therefore has to answer for themselves the key question of life regarding their identity (who am I?) and station and purpose in life (where am I, why, and what am I doing here?).
Working of the Soul
The human soul/spirit is related to the universal “Oversoul” or God. The spirit of God is universal energy that moves everything (including inanimate objects) and keeps it going. Though invisible, its effects are clear. It can be equated with the life force that permeates everything. Life is the largest manifestation of a system that replicates itself in smaller and smaller versions through a process that empowers the system itself to exist and expand. (God has also a personal aspect and can be personally related to. This aspect of God has been revealed through the person of Jesus Christ. Cf. Bible, John 1:18; Col. 1:15-20.)
Through our soul, at the subconscious level, our unity with all life can be perceived. The soul has access to actual truth, including life’s information and wisdom, while the mind stops at apparent truth. Our experienced reality is not all there is – it is illusory. Because of the expanded range of information available to the soul, the “line of causality” of reality produced by the mind, events, data, truths, thoughts, emotions, and experience, can be added to to also include: being (including consciousness and awareness), perspective, perception, belief, and behavior (one’s own and/or that of others). These twelve aspects which create our reality move constantly in a circle – like on a clock. In the dimension of time, this process can be represented something like this:
By going within, to the level of the soul, we can check that our perspective is sound and therefore our reality will not be distorted. This can be achieved through stillness and meditation (cf. Bible, Ps 46:10). Here are a few tips.
Tips on Stillness and Meditation
There are many ways to meditate. Meditation is not about emptying one’s mind of all thoughts, but rather about focusing on something. This can be a word (mantra), object (a candle or mandala) while sitting still. One can also practice a walking meditation and stopping meditation.
Take a walk and focus on an object in nature, such as grass, a flower or a tree. To perceive the object at a heightened level, focus on all aspects of it – colour, texture, smell, appearance, how it feels to the senses. Block out all else in the surroundings to experience the chosen object in it completeness. Practise this for about three objects, spending about half-an-hour walking. After three weeks, one’s perception will be greatly enhanced and sharpened. The final step is to try to focus on all that we see around at the same time with all our senses. This will heighten our awareness, raise our consciousness, and expand our ability to be fully present in the moment.
This can be used in the midst of a busy day. It involves stopping one’s activity for ten seconds at a time to focus on the task at hand and all the aspects of it. Appreciate the small moment in its depth, taking it into its component parts. Do this daily, six times during the day. After the ten seconds of intense focusing, return to your activity by rapid blinking or snapping fingers. You may find your other activity a whole new experience as your awareness heightens. You’ll be able to appreciate life in a new way.
If experiencing an unwanted emotion, ask “who?” Who is this here right now having this experience? Chanting this will eventually give us awareness of our larger self, the true self – which is an aspect of the Divine. In this physical life, we are to experience who we really are with the opportunity to recreate it into a new and glorious version of our true selves.
Daily practice of meditation, (for example, walking meditation in the morning, stopping meditation during the day, and sitting meditation at night) will teach us to focus on the Now – the present moment. Peace and love are found in these experiences of higher awareness – we enter into a holy experience.
Nine Key Changes
The following nine changes will help us deal with our changing reality.
1. Change your decision to “go it alone”
When going through a difficult change, involve others – read, counsel, share with understanding friends.
2. Change your choice of emotions
Emotions are acts of our mind and will as the mind moves the energy of thought into motion. Being the creative force of the universe, they create our experience of reality. Emotions can be changed by changing the thoughts that produce the emotions. However, do not deny the feelings and emotions of an unpleasant experience. Acknowledge them (for what you resist, persists). Then consider that all is under control – the soul knows what it is doing and it is ultimately for everyone’s highest good. All emotions can be seen as different aspects of Love, the emotion that runs the universe.
3. Change your choice of thoughts
Thoughts come from inner truths based on prior data – data from past events and experiences. Thoughts sponsor all emotions, therefore changing thoughts will help us change emotions. To change thoughts (and truth perceptions), we need to “think twice” – evaluate our thoughts and beliefs.
4. Change your choice of truths
The mind doesn’t differentiate between true and false data. Faulty data leads to wrong conclusions. In turn false thoughts can give us emotional hell if we dwell on them – even though they are not reality. By contrast, accurate thoughts can eliminate much suffering and grief.
Our truth (apparent or imagined) comes from past data of our lives, but we can choose what data to look at – judged past data (viewed through the emotions that accompanied the past event) or factual past data (simply the event without its emotional component). If no past data for the present event is found, the mind consults the cellular memory (instinct) which stores the history of experience of our biological line (ultimately all humanity).
“Noticing the Moment” is a tool that helps to change one’s perspective and inner truth. By focusing on the Now and realizing that Then and Tomorrow are different, the mind is taught to focus on the present moment without adding to it. This then becomes the apparent, rather than the imagined, truth. It in turn leads to a new emotion and experience based on observed reality rather than distorted reality.
5. Change your idea about change itself
At the mind’s level, an event produces our reality (observed or distorted). When we sidestep the mind and enter the realm of the soul, pure awareness produces our reality. We perceive actual truth and through it, ultimate reality, including the truth about change.
All change is ultimately for the better and for our good, even if it doesn’t always appear so from our limited mind perspective. Change is not a disruption, but rather the flow of life – an eruption of life into fuller bloom. Life is movement and movement is change. Without change, life would cease. Change is the ultimate expression of Divinity sustaining itself through adaptations that render itself eternally magnificent. It is the fundamental impulse of life itself. Life’s energy always moves towards synergy, harmony, glorious expression and expansion. It seeks an experience of itself in fullness and moves in the direction of love.
The soul is the energy of self-animating life. Through a system, it sustains itself by constantly adapting so that it forever remains functional. The energy of life continually transforms itself and so life is always in formation through change. God, which can be equated with Life, is the source of Supreme Intelligence manifesting itself as the pure energy of life. Through the Divine Life in all things, evolution is a constant process. All adaptation or change expands and enhances life, rather than contracting or diminishing it. While all change doesn’t seem good, it is only because we don’t see the whole picture and judge wrongly by appearances. We have the power to change a change in life, even return it to the previous, but better, state.
6. Change your idea about why change occurs
Change is a process through which life meets its purpose. Through life and change God expresses God, experiences God and expands God.
Change is initiated by our soul in response to something being out of harmony. In a sense, change occurs because, at the soul level, we want it to occur. The improvement change brings is not always on the outside but often on the inside – contributing to the evolution of the soul. Life’s energy always moves towards synergy, harmony, glorious expression and expansion. It seeks an experience of itself in fullness and moves in the direction of love.
Even though travail and tragedy take place and grieve us, at the soul level, no aspect of Divinity can be damaged or hurt. Outward manifestation is a part of the inward journey of all entities and cannot be understood now because of the limited human perspective. One day, when the perspective changes, this will be understood. Seemingly damaging events can happen or actions be performed that overall advance the evolution of the individual or that of others.
7. Change your idea about future change
Our ideas about tomorrow are shaped by our perspective today, or our current reality. If we realize that what had happened in the past was for the better, and believe, even against apparent odds, that every change happens to sustain harmony in the universe, we can expect positive outcome from future changes. Our present thoughts bring about future outcomes. Life is so magnificent that we can create a brand new experience of it in any given moment. By regarding whatever happens as good, seeing beauty all around us, and seeing ourselves and all people as part of an infinite Unity, we can create positive future outcomes. Understand that the future is not coming to us but is formed through us – through our thoughts, words and actions of today.
If we stop resisting what we dislike (because what we resist persists), we’ll start seeing actual truth, rather than apparent truth. With a change of view, options open and enable us to move through the seemingly negative situation.
8. Change your idea about life
Life is not just a series of lived experiences to learn from. If we learn to listen to our soul, which is our connection with the One Divine Soul, our perception that life was meant to be a struggle changes. (Cf. Bible, Jesus Christ came to bring abundant life – John 10:10.) If we quiet our minds and tune in to the soul, we become aware of the divine life force within. This is accomplished through prayer, meditation, mindfulness exercises, etc, which focus the mind away from itself and enable a state of being.
Meditation is uniting with God and the Self. This spiritual connection is not to be understood, created or defined, but rather experienced as God is beyond comprehension and definition. Commit to spending time with the soul, meeting it, listening to it, and interacting with it.
We are a combination of body, mind and soul, but yet greater than the sum of these. In our essence, we are pure energy – spirit. Our essence, or the raw energy of life, became physical so that it could know itself in experience. Physicality in a sense is illusory as it is not who or where we are. From pure being, through increasing the energy vibration from the original vibration – “quickening of the spirit” from the primal “om” sound – comes light and then other manifestations of physicality. Even in its apparent solid state, the physical world is 98% space.
Our body is the physicalization of Spirit in a particular form in a particular time, for a particular purpose having to do with particularization of every article of The All (Everything) or ultimately God. Through this individuation, experience is enabled. Our mind creates the experience or physical reality but we may or may not be consciously aware of the process. The mind can be trained to at times bypass the past data as it is designed to do, and make a quantum leap to the awareness of the soul. The soul can be reached by slowing down to the frequency rate of the invisible where the soul operates. This is what happens in meditation or chanting.
If we know that every experience in life which each person creates in collaboration with others is for the best, then all that happens is OK with us. In this state of consciousness we set up an energy field of equanimity and harmony with the universe. The universal law of attraction then draws more equanimity and harmony into our life.
9. Change your identity
All things depend on our perspective, which too can be created and changed. Understanding that being part of life, we are an individuated part of the Divine – an aspect of Divinity (since God and Life are one) changes our perspective. We are already in one sense living in the Kingdom of God (heaven, paradise, nirvana), but not always perceiving it as such. The Divine Kingdom has three realms:
Knowing – the spiritual realm where all exists in absolute form without differentiating into dimensions of time, size, gender, value, etc. There is only the Now, Light and Love.
Experiencing – the physical and relative realm which God created by dividing itself up into countless conscious beings of all shapes and sizes through whom God could experience divinity.
Being – the cross-over or middle realm between the above two, if they are represented as the infinity symbol. In this realm, both knowing and experiencing are possible – the wonder of Divinity is fully known and fully expressed in pure bliss.
All individuated aspects of Divinity (humans) travel on the endless cycle of life and thus can on their journey at some point both know and experience themselves as divine – their totality of being.
In this life, the physical realm, we experience who we really are and can choose to recreate our identity based on the vision we have, for life is a continual process of recreating the Self. The re-creation of the Self occurs in three steps – choosing, knowing, and experiencing. Experience is impossible without knowledge, and knowledge is impossible without choosing to know.
When Everything Changes, Change Everything by Neale Donald Walsh (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, London, 2009)
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