by E. Lee Caleca
“To know the way, understand the great within yourself.” – Lao Tzu
By default, you’re currently a victim of your environment, your upbringing, and your experience. What you know, or think you know, has shaped who you are. The product known as you is the brainchild of the world in which you live. If this is indeed true, is there any reason to believe that the next generation of the product that is you will be any different than the current one?
By agreeing to take a look at why you believe what you do, you’ll have taken the first step to discovering a new world view. When you look at all the decisions and mistakes you’ve made and realize why you made them and how they shaped your life, you’ll receive a moment of enlightenment. You’ll see a different person then you see right now, you’ll love that person, maybe even feel sorry for him, and you’ll feel a knowing presence within you that tells you that you’re ok. It won’t be self-talk, but a real knowing that everything that led to this moment has taught you something from which you will now draw and grow.
Recognize your uniqueness. No one else can travel your path.
Begin by looking at the events of your childhood and teen years, a place and time where many things can occur that are seemingly beyond our control, and which may have caused us fear. Fear is the greatest manipulator of our emotions and our spirit. If you believe you will lose something of yourself, or you’re afraid of being laughed at, or you fear the unknown, you’ll begin to understand why you can’t move forward by looking at events that initiated those fears. Much of what we do or don’t do is tied up in negative emotions, all of which are based in fear.
“You may have the loftiest goals, the highest ideals, and the noblest dreams; but remember this, nothing works unless you do.” Dr. Nido Qubein
Every time you cried it was due to pain or loss. But we can never really lose anything. Becoming attached to things keeps us bound to the clock and the wallet, but more importantly, being attached to outcomes keeps us bound by emotions that skew our perspective. Yes, we need to keep a roof over our heads, at least that’s the conventional wisdom. The reality is that we choose to put a roof over our heads. This is a conscious choice though it, too, is founded on conditioning. If we were raised by wolves, we might think differently. So you can see how perspective defines everything.
What do you really know about yourself?
Make two lists – list all the positive experiences you can remember and all the negative. Include people who were involved in the experience. Look at each event on the lists and remember how you felt when it occurred and why. Write down what it took to get that award or make that speech, how you felt when you were selected for the drama club or the baseball team, how you felt when you carved your name in your mother’s dressing table and she screamed at you, and how you felt when you were laughed at for fumbling the ball.
Describe your parents, and in doing so, ascribe all their qualities and perceived faults. Break everything down as much as you can. Maybe your mother was told she would never amount to anything because she wasn’t pretty. There are many reasons why people are the way they are.
It may be obvious that through the distillation of these two people is where you got your qualities, but if you dig deeper you may discover that your father was attracted to your mother because of the scars he perceived in her soul and the refinement she strived for, something he felt he never had. That insecurity in him came from his upbringing and from past events he didn’t have the knowledge to turn around. Ironically, her background was the same as his.
Reconcile why you were born to this family. Pursue a higher synthesis of your two parents. Be guided by the “coincidences” in their union. It may not be clear now, but keep this in your mind. At some point, you’ll discover a higher evolutionary meaning of why you were born to these two particular people and how “what they are” affected “who you became”.
When you look at your “negative” and “positive” lists, you may notice that what you’ve placed at the top of the lists are the deepest notions you’re aware of. These are your most heartfelt memories. This is your current reality and the source of both your power and your fear.
“The logic of the emotional mind is associative; it takes elements that symbolize a reality or trigger a memory of it, to be the same as that reality. If the emotional mind follows this logic, things need not necessarily be defined by their objective identity; what matters is how they are perceived.” Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence
The emotion you attached to each incident when it occurred is what caused it to stay with you.
To create a new perspective on the personal history that has taken place for you, you must understand that thought is an evolutionary process, as demonstrated by the example of the world which was believed at one time to be flat. Man’s perspective – the way he thinks about or views his world – has changed drastically over 2000 years.
So perception is bound within the time frame of its occurrence. History is fluid.
The medieval world view defined everything in terms of the supernatural. The universe was indefinable and unfathomable. But even then, a few managed to convince the many that they were the rightful and only link to the God of the universe. They were able to convince people that every crop failure, every rain, every illness or loss was the direct result of their own actions and these results were their punishment.
In a sense, they were partly correct because people allowed themselves to believe something which wouldn’t have existed except for those who instilled the belief in the first place.
With a new understanding of the physical world, man discovered that “what we perceive as hard matter is mostly empty space with a pattern of energy running through it.” (Einstein). In much the same way that man discovered fire – quite by accident – quantum physicists discovered that elementary particles are pure energy, malleable to human intention and expectation.
So now that you’ve taken a look at all the various incidents that have shaped you, put them into the proper context and know that they can only touch you at the moment they occurred. You may have spent years allowing one little misunderstanding or event to keep you from one of your dreams, and as it turned out, the thought you created was instrumental to what your life became.
One little thought changed your life. Your thought became, but you can turn anything around by creating new thoughts and therefore a new perspective.
Through recognizing negative thought patterns created by past experiences, you can change your perception of your reality.
Many people go through life desperately trying to hold onto the flame in our souls, the remnant of who they were, who they were meant to be, literally living the “hallucination” that someone else has created for them. You didn’t wake up one day and say “I want so and so to control my life in such and such a way, so I’m going to allow myself to become part of that cycle until I don’t recognize any longer who I was supposed to be.” You didn’t do that.
Human beings have the power, by virtue of a reasoning mind, to live out loud, to lead lives of excitement and joy precipitated by an interest of their choosing. Recognize the things you are most familiar with. Notice which of those things makes you happy and which make you uncomfortable and make course corrections. Discomfort will include fearfulness, anger, timidity, sadness, confusion, even boredom. Boredom is a modern phenomenon.
We all start out as babies and grow into the lifestyles of our parents because we’re dependent on them, after which, at the age of majority, we have become slaves to the very system of beliefs, more or less, which surrounded us for eighteen years or so.
What I’m asking you to do is to simply wake and say “I want the main influence in my life to go in this direction, a direction of my own choosing”. Find the deepest inclination of your heart and follow that. Even if you only believe this is possible in your wildest dreams, do it. Take responsibility for pointing yourself in the right direction. It will start you on the path to changing your perspective about life and about what’s intended for you.
Take the first step. Do what you can and you will be amazed at where you arrive.
Looking with new eyes at the experiences that shaped you will shine a brilliant light on the person you are today, and making course corrections using this new filter will create a new reality, thereby shaping what you will ultimately become.