In the last article we discussed different modes of perception and the cultivation of awareness around how we feel. Developing awareness and acceptance of our feelings can lead us on a path to a more fulfilling and fruitful life. However, once we become more aware we can easily be left desiring change. Learning how to encourage change in the direction we choose, requires tapping into the power of our own mind, but first we need to understand why our mind works the way it does.
Each of us perceives the world through a series of learned subconscious patterns. These patterns come together to create a paradigm that is uniquely biased and inseparable from our sense of self and our lived experiences. Consider a baby, when we are born everything is new, and so each reaction is authentic and uncontrolled. As we grow, we learn how to survive under the conditions that we are provided with, and thus we learn what to expect from the world. Then, throughout our lives, these expectations creep in and become our reality as we continue to repeat these patterns. Personal transformation is inevitable, but the direction of that change depends on the direction of the mind.
The mind is powerful and it creates our reality, so taking responsibility for how we feel is central to our ability to change. No matter the situation that we are faced with, our reaction is ours. Developing clarity between a situation on the outside and our reaction on the inside is key to creating desired changes.
As we practice awareness of our daily experiences, we may encounter feelings that we do not understand. For instance, if we had a bad experience on the beach as a child and we were very afraid, we might learn to associate water with fear. Later in life we may forget the original experience but maintain a fearful association with the water. Then, every time we are near water we may feel fearful, and begin to believe that the fear is justified and that the water is dangerous. This principle applies to things that bring us joy and comfort as well. In another example, as a child we may have experienced meals to be a time of connectedness and enjoyment for our family, so throughout our life meals continue to be a pleasurable and relaxing time for us. Memories become experiences and experiences become the essence of who we are. We are able to change, but first we must recognize that our perceptions of the world are reflections of the paradigm within which we live.
Once an experience is internalized, it exists within us as a potential vibration, and when that memory is stimulated our mind will reproduce the vibration. So, when I go to the beach my mind connects water to fear and the fear vibration is reproduced. I become afraid, and then I may start to make sense of the vibration by thinking something bad will happen when I am on the beach. Once a vibration has been created it can be challenging to change it using a thought, instead we need to use a different vibration to rebalance it. You can begin to experiment with this in your own practice by recalling joyful and comforting memories and then noticing how exploring the memory changes the way you feel. Recalling memories can be a great way to begin to understand how your mind produces vibration that changes the way you feel. Learning to transform the way we feel is essential to making desired changes and tapping into the power of our mind.
Written by Sijie Jessie Zsolt