How to Escape from Yourself…


Life has many ironies which God seems to have thrown in for good measure, as if to say things aren’t always what they look like. Ironically, sometimes the thing you need most to do in order to alleviate your present dilemma appears to be the exact opposite of what “you” think you should do. Today the world seems consumed with this notion of self and a myriad of things you need to do to best care for yourself. But, what if many of those suggestions are based in error? What if your solution for your problem isn’t at all what you thought it was? What if your best efforts to feel better ( and let’s face it, a lot of what we do or try to figure out is in an effort to feel better) are unsuccessful because the starting premise is wrong? Error only works when you are unable to see it for what it is…

We all want to be happy. We all want to feel good. We all are aware that life is filled with challenges and we all understand that every day isn’t necessarily going to be a blissful experience because of those challenges. But, we also all know what life is like when we feel good and for that we are forever on a quest to feel good. When our mind feels out of sorts; when we feel agitated or troubled; when our experience feels boring or lacking fulfillment, we know that also. We accurately perceive when our energy is down; when our excitement is diminished; when our enthusiasm is missing and in our desperation we turn inwards. Our mission to feel good drives us further and further into ourselves, searching ardently for that thief, that hindrance, that devious bastard keeping us from our pure happiness. “Maybe it’s because of how I have been acting lately. Maybe it’s my diet. Maybe I’m doing something wrong. Maybe it’s my wife or my husband or my job or my family or my…….” Whatever we think it might be and however it affects us, the end result is the same in that our focus and attention is driven and pressed and steered deeper and deeper into ourselves…

It has been said that the deeper you look at the things God has created, the more perfect they become (think snowflakes, leaves, granules of salt, to name a few). Conversely, the more deeply you inspect things that man has made, the more their errors and imperfections become evident. Similarly, the more you focus (or more accurately are driven to focus) on yourself, the more miserable you will become. Oh sure, you think looking inward will lead you to some divine enlightenment you have heretofore been missing. You believe buried somewhere in your subconscious mind is a temple of knowledge awaiting your arrival. But, sadly, you are wrong. All you will find, if you must persist, is more and more unhappiness and the distinct absence of what you have been searching for so diligently!

Your problem isn’t how you feel, though Lord knows it seems like it. Your problem is one of focus or where you are focusing your attention. If I may say it bluntly, you are inspecting your own imperfection and expecting perfection. You are considering your own weakness in an effort to find strength. You are searching for human solutions to spiritual problems and by spiritual problems I mean the real source of your difficulties. As odd as it may seem to you, your challenges are being engendered by something outside of yourself. And that same damnable force behind your troubles is the same one pushing you inward, deeper and deeper inward for a solution that doesn’t exist within yourself. Your efforts are futile, no matter how well intended they may be. The answer isn’t to look within, but rather to look without.

When you finally figure this out, you will begin to see that you were designed to seek outside of yourself for help. Your focus is supposed to be on God from which all good feelings like joy and peace and love, freely flow. In essence you just give all of your human bullshit to God and leave it with Him. You have to get outside of yourself. You have to escape from yourself and all of your associated baggage. You must stop putting yourself and how you feel at any given moment ahead of everything else in life. It’s not self-care, it’s self-sabotage! It’s a deception of gargantuan proportions. The world’s remedies consisting of focusing on yourself and your happiness and your feelings and your problems don’t lead you out of darkness but instead to more and more darkness. Happiness comes back with a quickness as you move the focus away from yourself! True happiness comes when you walk in the light!

If you’ve been around long enough you know that when you stop moving forward in life and start slowing down and looking around you or within you, you are going to find more and more of that which troubles you. You will discern more and more darkness and more and more reasons to be distressed. Stop doing that! Get up mentally and move ahead. Lay your troubles on God and thank Him for helping you discover what has gone south on you. Ask Him to make it clear again and to restore your soul to that grand place you like to dwell in. It is that simple…

When you find yourself unhappy, disturbed, perplexed or confused, don’t look within, look without. Don’t spend another millisecond muddling through the heaviness. Unload it all as you were intended to do and change your subject of focus. Your answers are there, your happiness is there, your enthusiasm and vitality for living are there, waiting for you to find them again. Don’t look within, look without! Your happiness depends upon you escaping from yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

 

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The Good Thoughts Pledge…for Yourself


download-1I’m going to tell you something tonight that may come as quite a surprise to you. It’s not really a part of mainstream thought. I would even go as far as to say that you may be besieged by thoughts to the contrary. It seems so irresponsible; so laissez-faire; even reckless. It sounds ostentatious; lacking forethought, presumptuous. It may quite threaten the way the western world thinks. Nevertheless, here it is…there is no profit or value or benefit or lesson or good outcome in thinking negatively or critically about yourself.

On the surface, you probably agree in premise. But, can you agree in practice? Can you do it? Should you do it? Do you feel there is a value in chastising yourself or that critically evaluating your behaviors helps you get better? I think most people do and as a result take themselves through endless loops that never end up at – good. I’m not talking about honestly evaluating what you could have done better. I’m talking about rehearsing mistakes you made or reliving negative scenarios. I’m discussing that all too familiar human tendency to berate yourself for saying that dreaded thing or performing that shameful act. Do the people you berate transform themselves? Does feeling ashamed prevent poor choices in the future?

I’m sure you’re curious, so let me explain myself. When you do something wrong, you know it is wrong. Wrong things have a way of communicating a painful message to you and it happens rather quickly. Stubbing your toe may hurt like hell, but is nothing to be compared with willfully stubbing it over and over again. Well, how about your thought life? Will rehearsing that negative scenario make it go away? Is there a remedy or benefit to be found in the rehearsal? If you dutifully replay the event on the VCR of your mind, will you somehow arrive at a place where it now makes sense? Oh, if you could just go back in time, right?

Maybe it will help you to think in terms of the physical. Let’s imagine that you just put your hand on the hot stove. You weren’t seeking to bring pain upon yourself, but because of distraction or ignorance or some competing idea, you set it down on the burner. And as burners do, it burned you! The lesson is immediate! Ah shiiiiiiiiiiii*! You briefly contemplate what happened and then quickly seek a remedy. You most likely won’t ever do it again. Now again, imagine that three days later you are still going through the painful scenario in your head. People would rightfully conclude that you are nuts. But, isn’t that exactly what you do with the other mistakes you make in your life and most likely you did for similar reasons? (Distraction, ignorance, competing ideas) I’m here to tell you today that there is absolutely no profit in it. In fact, there’s grave danger in it.

Dwelling on past mistakes is almost a surefire guarantee that you are going to make the same mistakes again. And, even if you are smart enough to avoid them, dwelling on them only serves to reinforce the idea that something is definitely wrong with you. Not your behavior, you! What possible chance could you ever have of succeeding or overcoming if down deep something is wrong with you?

I’ll put it in terms of the spiritual. Let’s say that there is a force in the world that seduces or deceives you into doing things that are bad. So that force, that the world is woefully unaware of, tricks you into doing something evil. I would say that in itself is bad enough. But, what if you could derive a greater damage to a person by getting them to rehearse the matter for the rest of their lives? I would say you have done an excellent job of defeating that person for a lifetime! Well folks, that is exactly what is taking place when you innocently or ignorantly hold your mistakes; your faults and failings in your mind. It’s insane. No manner of self-chastisement atones for the wrongs done, but instead only hurts you in the process.

This notion of incessant focus on your shortcomings, or more importantly perceived shortcomings is epidemic! It’s a cancer that eats away at all that is good. When a child makes an error he immediately seeks forgiveness. He doesn’t try to undo the wrong. He doesn’t evaluate what might be wrong with him to cause such a thing to happen. He doesn’t review the matter in his mind for two years. He simply seeks forgiveness from his parents and once he receives it, as he knows he almost always will, he moves on – quickly and emphatically. Well, the same is true for you and me. When you hurt people or damage things or hurt your own heart, you make an effort to immediately seek forgiveness and then move on. Refuse to rehearse it or think about or give it space in your mind. If it’s God’s forgiveness you need, get it as He is faithful and just to forgive you, every time!

So, I’m asking you to make a pledge to yourself, for yourself. Do not give the mistakes you made or your faults and human failings or your shortcomings (perceived or real) another thought. Don’t allow them to take up residency in your mind. Put an end to all negative evaluations of yourself. Just stop it! There is no profit or value or benefit or lesson or good outcome in doing so. Being critical of yourself will never make you a better person. Being critical only serves to weaken you from being everything you really ought to be in this life!

Will you take the pledge? I hope so…

Just some good thoughts…