What You Think Matters!
by Jonathan Hilton
You May Disagree
I have many beliefs that are not very popular with other people. Yet I do not throw my beliefs in the face of others because it makes no sense to argue over them. It is a waste of time. I believe the things I do because of a lifetime of experience and the questions that I ask. Each being answered sufficiently by experience and experiment. You can choose to not listen or to disagree or dismiss that is your prerogative.
How You Think Leads to How You Live
This is a belief that I have come to later in the game of life. The thoughts that you entertain in your mind are going to influence the experience you have in life. If you are thinking judgmental, mean or hateful thoughts about other people or groups of people, there is no doubt that you will experience those things in your own life.
These are negative thoughts which lead to unhappy experiences
If you choose to focus on accepting, kind and loving thoughts then that is going to be the general experience of your existence. How do I know? I used to think the former and now focus on the later and although I am the same person, the experience of life has been completely different.
You can question it any way you want to. Fear is the chief weapon of those who are critical. Often times when things are safe in your life, a person rejects any thought or action that will lead to change.
There is nothing wrong with experiencing fear itself, because fear gives you adrenaline to act, but if you focus on that and allow it to move your actions from day to day, your experience will suffer.
Change is Always Possible
The most daunting task for anyone to accomplish is to change the way that you think. We have spent a lifetime accumulating experiences which come along with mental programming which has managed to keep us safe and alive.
Yet there is nothing in that deal about enjoying life. Once you start to pursue happiness you have to start to notice what is making you unhappy. What is it that makes you hang your head with worry? What makes you afraid to speak? What makes you hide your individuality? What makes you hide who you are? Fear.
Fear that you won’t be accepted, or fear that someone is going to take something from you that you love. Fear that someone is going to harm you or those that you care about. These fears are fed by the mainstream media to gain ratings and Madison Avenue to earn consumer dollars.
The reality is that fear is just a thought and an illusionary thought at that. What you are afraid of is not real, it is a thought and that is it. What if? What should? What Might? Questions that provide these thoughts, they are not real they don’t exist yet they provide very real suffering for people.
Getting Out of Fear
Beliefs are merely thoughts that you choose every day to add weight to.
Getting rid of fear in your thoughts is simple but it is not easy. Stop thinking fearful things. Now that would be easy if we could control all of our thoughts, but you really can’t.
Thoughts pop into your mind at a rapid pace, representing your lifetime of experience. Bias, prejudice, hatred, fear are all a part of your experience and they are all associated with others.
You can’t stop them from popping into your mind, but you can control how much you pay attention to them. Simply noticing the thoughts of fear as what they are , fake, surprisingly releases you from their power. All of their power over you comes from you. Let the negative go and replace them with something more positive.
Replaced thoughts of fear with thoughts of love
Once you recognize and admit what your fears are and let them go, it is amazing how easy the good thoughts and feelings flow. It feels better to be happy, it is healthier to love and it is more enjoyable to live without fear.
It takes some time and you have to be honest with yourself. Recognizing your own weaknesses can be painful and difficult, but you have a simple choice here. Keep living your life in fear and be unhappy or admit to your negative thoughts and recognize that you have the ability to just let them go and think differently.
That is one of the things that I believe that many would disagree with and that is OK with me because I don’t really have any personal stake in whether anyone thinks I am right or not. I can only worry about the decisions that I make on a daily basis. That is all I can control and worry about. It is up to you what thoughts you think and the experience that you have in the world.
What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?
I’m not sure how to write about anxiety without feeling the need to offer a glimmer of hope to the reader. This state of mind is all consuming at the time, however, as droplets of sunlight somehow find their way through the densest of branches to reach the forest floor, it is possible to gradually cast off the weights of worry that have brought you to a place of woe.
It makes sense to me that anxiety is part of an instinctual response towards danger. For me assumptions feed the mounting panic to a point when it is difficult to assess the scale of the threat or to use logic and reason to formulate a plan, to flee or fight. The result is a bunny rabbit dazzled by the headlights, unable to move one way or the other.
In the todays’ World, physical dangers are present, yet my period of anxiety was mostly internal. The unseen canker grew within, it fed on self doubt and self loathing. Conversations and events were replayed over and over in my mind. The facts and significance of incidents became warped and out of step with reality. I would go through the motions of day to day life. This was counterproductive at a time when my occupation demanded total engagement and a need to excel.
You would think that a break from it all and time to relax would help to redress the balance. Unfortunately for me the thought of a holiday involving travel would fill me with dread. The act of preparation, the fear of forgetting something, the panic of waiting for a taxi to the airport that may not arrive or cause us to miss the flight led me to build in unreasonably long lead times. The constant internal tension impacted on my potential to enjoy the trip. This was uncharacteristic of a person who had moved from England to Australia. I would go out for a meal and become stressed because there appeared to be people waiting for our table, shouldn’t we hurry our meal? It is time for us to leave!
Just when I thought that I had hit rock bottom and begun the slow climb out of the abyss, the sudden death of my mother resulted in a total loss of my grip on reality. I tumbled to a new depth of despair supplementing anxiety with depression.
Despondency is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. I quickly filled the resulting void with negative thoughts of paranoia, fear, anger and apathy. I spent hour upon hour of mindless meanderings of thought processes, the outcome of which was a downward spiral of my mood. All successes and achievements were forgotten. There was precious little left of confidence in my abilities. I feared failure, how I appeared to others, I avoided social situations and enjoyment of life seemed reserved only to those who were happy.
For me the only way out of this situation was to make changes to my life that reduced the self imposed pressures of money, status and unnecessary demands on my time. With the love and support of my partner who believed in me I was able to seek a new path. Together, we found the way through my ordeal.
Hindsight has miraculous properties; I am attempting to make sense of what happened and to put things into perspective. I look upon the years of descent and eventual re-ascent as a side trip on life’s journey. This opportunity to look within allowed me space to reevaluate what is important to me. The physical plane appears to be brighter than it did before. The path to enlightenment seems clearer. I attempt to navigate life’s foggy path with my destiny as my goal while keeping one eye on the weather and the the condition of my craft. The other is trained on the light that illuminates my way.