If you open up and take a look inside you can change your mind. It doesn’t have to be a lifelong endeavor; it can happen quickly. In two hours, I have helped a friend who was angry at a relative transform that anger into compassion and understanding. He said it was as if a light bulb went off. It helped that we were friends, as we had developed a trust with one another, and right at the end as he was about to leave, he relaxed, and that alternative view I offered again in slightly different way occupied his mind just for a second, and then boom, the light went off, and he got it. That moment changed his life forever. Whenever I see him he lights up and tells me a new story, which always makes me smile.
Opening up is how we can transform conflicts between our inner values and our personality. Opening up does two things really well. One, it brings into doubt everything we have acquired growing up. Secondly, it brings us closer to our inner values. At some level, inner values can be seen as the light which can guide us, which can make us shine ever so bright. So what happens when you get close to your inner values and you start to question who you are as a person? You compare one against the other, the light seeps into the cracks of doubt in your personality breaking apart any misguided perceptions and gives you a better one. It does this at the personality level. You change as a person. It’s fantastic. You see the rules and philosophy are already built in. You just have to look inside and you will find them. You don’t’ have to ask me or anybody else what to do. You just have to look inside until you see the light.
These expressions with light are so common place that they are cliché, yet do you find them in psychological texts? Have you read the book, “The Study of Light: A psychological inquiry of the mind.”? There is no such book. Scientists rely on their rational thought by definition. What’s amazing is that when you get down to it, emotional thought is very rational. Why would it be otherwise? Think about all the things that we didn’t understand that we used to make stuff up about. Then one day someone figured it out and they’d write about it and then we had an actual understanding. The same is true of our emotions and everything else that is in our head. We make up stuff for what we don’t understand. Whatever we make up seems to make sense at the time. But how can a psychologist know what’s in a person’s mind unless he or she has gone into every crevasse of their own mind. It’s a bit like watching an athlete play a game, observing countless hours, writing everything down and then proclaiming you understand the game. You have to play the game to truly understand it. I’m not a psychologist. I am engineer. I can tell you one thing. I’ve explored my mind. That’s not to say I have don't have any conflicts remaining inside. But I can tell you how terrifying a feeling it is to meditate to the point that you feel you’re on the edge of sanity and even then going further trusting that you aren’t insane and so when you step off and embrace the unknown you’ll come back okay. I’ve made those decisions. I’ve played the game. The only pyschologist I know who has done this as well is Maslow. He and I pretty much agree on this stuff. Yet, you can't just read this to know it, you have to experience it.
Think about it. Science has an aversion to things which are in evidence yet are unmeasured and immeasurable. There’s even national TV shows on this stuff, X Factor, what is the X Factor? What makes one genius do little with his life and another genius do things beyond our comprehension? What does science say? It’s your heart, it’s how much heart you have. Scientists don’t truly have an explanation. I can tell what’s happening. Those who are successful have a brain that is operating efficiently. It’s not running around wasting energy on internal conflicts. The best brains are healthy brains. The best brains let emotions help them all of the time. That’s why emotions are there. Heartache? Did you know there is actually a muscle in your chest over your heart that can be in constant tension? I never knew it was there until one day while meditating I realized it must be there so I reached out with my mind and relaxed it. This muscle is wired to your emotional state. We are not separated out as different entities, rational, emotional, and physical as science would have you believe. It’s all intertwined. And the biggest driver of our success is our emotions and our emotional state. That’s the whole point of emotions, to react, so when we are emotionally healthy, we react well to almost every situation. When our heart aches, we have to heal it!
In order to help allay any fears you might have by opening up its good to go over what that will consist of for you. At its simplest, opening up is talking about your day, about your life, in a safe environment. Being able to share your day someone who is there to listen is incredibly beneficial to you. It allows you to express whatever emotions came up during the day. This allows you to shed the tension accumulated during the day. If this is all that you ever do then hooray, life feels better! Our goal here though is to shed the tension accumulated during your life, a much bigger proposition. Ready?
The next step is to move onward to deeper thoughts of professional goals and the state of relationships with friends, enemies, family, loved ones. Instead of telling the story of how your day was, you begin to the story of your life. When you’re doing this work you’ll find you move through emotional levels and often if you go deeper you’ll quickly retreat to a higher emotional level. So even though in this text I'm progressively going down emotionally deeper and deeper in actuality you may bounce around a bit. Focus on opening up and going deeper. Focusing takes effort, when you’ve reached a deep level, then you try to relax that effort so you remain open with the least amount of effort. Our goal is to improve the efficiency of our minds. The great thing about working with a guide is that it allows many people to work through issues that they wouldn't have been able to tackle by themselves. By feeling safe enough to talk about yourself, and eventually whatever conflicts are within, you begin to figure things out on your own. You will learn a lot about yourself.
Before we go even farther, into areas which are likely to stretch your mind and begin to break you free of preconceived notions, let's look into emotions and how they play a part in our lives. How do you perceive emotions? Emotions are in response to our environment. We receive information from the environment through our senses and we feel an emotional response. Our emotional response is cultivated as we grow up. We learn how to feel and react for a given situation. We develop a mind set, emotional perspective, a personality. Our personality guides our reactions to events throughout our lives. Often we are not aware of how we are reacting within any greater context. We react without thinking. Even when we take the time to think our acquired emotional patterns help govern how we act.
We acquire emotional patterns from the people around us as we grow up, mostly our parents or primary care givers. The personality and perceptions of our parents, elders, peers, and siblings have a direct effect on the emotional patterns we develop. Sometimes elements of their personality or even their perceptions of you are not healthy. Correspondingly, our own emotional perspective often suffers. It doesn't matter whether we mirror or rebel against our parents, in such cases it is virtually impossible to not be negatively impacted. Similarly, we are affected by the culture that we are brought up in. Society may have unhealthy views which negatively affect your emotional patterns, or emotional perspective. These unhealthy emotional perspectives and patterns that are now locked within you at an early age may be biases of race, gender, appearance, or more subtle biases. In addition, random adverse occurrences in life can also cause unhealthy emotional responses later in life. For example, if one of your parents almost drowned and was afraid of the water perhaps you avoid learning how to swim. Remember, emotions are there to help you! Unfortunately, if we have an unhealthy emotional perspective then emotions may hold us back. Sometimes we even feel bad. Let's fix it so we feel good!
Feeling good happens by transforming what's inside of you that makes you feel bad. Its pretty simple! You will feel better just talking to someone regularly and that will encourage you to take it further. To achieve the deepest levels of transformation, takes emotional risk, you have to be willing to work. You have to be willing to open up and keep opening up. Opening up at a deep level is its own experience. At great depths, it is often talked about in relation to mysticism, religion, and spirituality. Let me be very clear. This experience can be felt whether an atheist, a devout religous follower, or anyone else. When you open up, you transform your perspective. When you simply share your day, you feel better, your perspective changes without notice from one perspective to another. When you open up very deeply, the actual shifting of your perspective is something that you feel. You feel a connection to something deeper within you that is part of the transformation. For myself, this connection began with a sense that there was pinprick of light within my mind. The feeling of light within the consciousness is a common feeling of sensation when doing this work. The concept of light is universally acknowledged as reflective of a deeper understanding. Follow the light inside to let yourself shine.
What I'm about to describe in detail is my understanding of the most common deep intense experience. I have also observed and even triggered it in others. This is the bread and butter of this work if you get into it far enough. Understand that opening up and looking inward allows you to examine the emotional patterns in your memory and correct the unhealthy ones. Initially, it takes some work to get to a state from which you may have this experience. There is a natural progression as you move through your emotional layers. Often you will begin by talking how your day was, what emotions you had which are still troubling you, moving through the layers in your mind, until you reach and identify deep raw emotions in your memories. Learning to express feelings can take time. As you express them, you become more and more familiar with them. Emotions such as repressed anger may come forth. As you become even more familiar with your emotions, you will begin to have a glimmer of doubt about these feelings. It will often occur rationally first, and then emotionally. Emotionally you open yourself up to the possibility of a different emotional experience. Doubt at this level is powerful, emotional uncertainty about feelings which previously felt a part of you is scary. However, bringing doubt to the greatest depth you can will allow you to transform. You will naturally choose a better emotional experience. The transformation is powerful, emotionally jolting, as if electricity has been applied across your mind, or when someone frightens you. It will involve the sensation of light in your consciousness, as well as take emotional effort. The emotional effort is why this stuff is almost universally known as "work". The benefits of "the work" are incredible; a new better perspective on life! For moments afterwards, you will feel healthier. You've done it, that is OPENING! Remember that feeling in those moments!
Initially, the feeling and experience are unlikely to last long, the unhealthy pattern and memory will return so you will open again and again to reduce the strength of the negative emotional patterns in your memory. Most often the unhealthy patterns will slowly become history instead of your present day personality. By sharing yourself with someone safe in a safe environment repeatedly with this understanding, it will naturally occur. At some point you will open up in this manner on your own. I call this entire process opening, its just a matter of how deep you are going. The moment of transformation is the fix! Its something you've never done before. Its looking at yourself more deeply than you ever thought possible. Its something that you can develop just as you might learn to take a deep breath to relax. Finding compassion for your story might sound easy from a rational sense, but deep lasting emotional changes are elusive for most.
At the deepest levels of your mind, you will understand more how the process works. You will discover your inner values that you were born with. Looking upon inner values more directly is a different experience then recalling acquired knowledge. It feels different. These values are fixed into your brain and can not be changed. When you come across it and let it occupy your mind fully, it envelopes you as a feeling of beauty. Above all it is emotional. Many like to use the word truth or light. Truth is subjective, this is not. Your inner values can not be taken away from you, they are you. Seeing yourself, the beauty of who you are, is an extraordinary experience. Words such as honesty, freedom, equality, and fairplay are labels which can be attached to the feelings and reasoning that comprise your inner values. Your conscience is a part of this. This is your foundation. On top of this foundation sits your childhood lessons. As you mature your childhood lessons solidify and become a guide for your actions throughout the rest of your life. Simply stated, it is as if you have two instruction sets within you. One, you have your inner values. Two, you have what you were taught. When they don't agree very well, you feel continually in conflict in your subconscious. Opening resolves the conflict. The learned patterns which automatically initiate the specific emotional reactions you have are changed by opening. That's the whole point, you open up yourself and change. You have better reactions. You now have a description for how opening works. You don't need to know, feel, or even think that it works for it to work. You just have to start opening up, give it time, and it will work.
Each step in your progress is like coming across a new sense of wonder, a new intensity of light, with a new duration. The experience is joyful yet exhausting. Each moment will feel the best you've ever had, you may reach a place in your mind just above love, not love like you think of it, reserved for few, but love for all people, animals, and appreciation of the beauty of all things.
You may go beyond this. You can experience contentment at a level beyond what you thought possible. You can become directly aware of the full range of your feelings, of your values. Its wonderful that you can feel the benefits immediately from any effort you make. You may feel a roadblock at times, that is normal. Eventually you'll break through and open further. As you progress, you will live with more happiness in your life every day. You will have less conflict in your life, be more efficient and focussed. Developing your ability to have this experience is an incredible accomplishment and feels unlike anything you may have previously experienced. There is more. The word I use is euphoria, operating at your best across emotional levels of depth, your rational side, and perhaps even physically such that you feel euphoric. The mind and body go hand in hand so when you feel wonderful your body relaxes and you naturally feel lighter, with no burden upon your shoulders. Its living in the sweet spot, athletes call it the zone when they perform at perfection seeing and acting with great clarity and ease. The same beauty and grace that they experience is possible in daily living.
Repetition and time with this process is the key. Work through your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment again and again and again. Every person alive has a unique experience of living out their life but can share things in common with others. This is also true for this experience. Different people will have experiences of different intensities and different levels. There is uniqueness yet commonality to each. Commonalities should be celebrated, differences explored as opportunities for further self understanding. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.