We’re on the home stretch now to complete this series on Positive Change. If you’ve followed along with me as I’ve explained my journey to explore and master this aspect of my life, I am confident that what I’ve written resonates with you on some level.
Even if you haven’t always agreed with my opinions, ideas and conclusions, the fact that you are taking on board my words with an open mind is admirable. I appreciate the attention and hope I’m helping you realize positive change in your life.
If this is the first time you have read this series, please read through the following previous sections to gain a more complete picture of the process –
The previous chapter of this series (chapter 6) introduced many ideas taken from various spiritual authors and resources from what you might call the “New Age” movement. I’m not a fan of labels, because they tend to create subjective bias simply because of the baggage people associate with them. The same can be said about the people spreading the ideas, as they certainly have “baggage” built up based on what media says about them, what they have done or not done in their lives, or what your immediate peers have told you about them.
I attempt to see these resources as coming from people with ideas to share that I can choose to take on board, or not – and it’s the ideas you want to assess, not the baggage or the people giving you the ideas. Make up your own mind, don’t follow other people’s assumptions or gossip.
As best I can, I apply the same reasoning whenever I encounter any resource, whether it’s words that have come from something historical, like the bible or Bhagavad Gita, or a more contemporary book, or from ancient spiritual figures like Jesus or Buddha, or a modern day mentor or even someone who I come into direct contact with, like a family member or friend. It’s not easy to do this, but becoming aware of the need to do so, is a positive first step.
The challenge when studying any resources, as I outlined in chapter four about avoiding ignorance, is that by default you can’t help but respond with some kind of bias based on the source of the information you are receiving. You’re going to give more credence to someone who has studied and practiced something – who is a perceived expert – over what your friend tells you, or perhaps you might value your friend’s input more simply because of who they are to you, or a whole range of other influences, some your are consciously aware of, others you are not. It’s human nature to attach emotional expectation and validation to ideas, things and people, regardless of how accurate it is (Eben Pagan calls this concept “emotional estimation”)
I’ve yet to master a complete lack of bias or judgment when I encounter new input, and I expect there’s bias in how you view the world too, you can’t help it because you have built up a frame (your view of the world) and have an ego. Even as you read these words you filter the ideas through your lens, which results in some kind of instant feedback mechanism within your mind based on your current beliefs.
The greatest potential danger when you have bias is when your ego attaches itself to an idea, which then limits your ability to take on other ideas. It can be so strong that you feel an emotional response when someone challenges your beliefs, or delivers information to you that you don’t agree with.
If you find yourself feeling angry or annoyed or a need to defend yourself or project what you think is “right” on to someone else, then you’re suffering from an attachment to your own view of the world, which hinders your ability to see some things. You become blind because of the absolute nature of your perception – what you think is right is right, and if something or someone contradicts it, then they are therefore wrong.
You can see these judgments, or bias, or maybe you want to call them opinions, live in action in the comments left on the articles that make up this series on Positive Change. In particular, if you read through the last two chapters (five and six), and read the comment streams that follow them, you will see some very strongly worded discussion from people who have something to share about the subjects I’ve introduced in this series.
The comments demonstrate people come at this from all kinds of viewpoints, and experience all kinds of emotional responses to my words, and the words of other people who leave comments.
Some people simply want to thank me for sharing my experiences and thoughts on this blog, others want to agree with and extend the ideas I talk about, or offer suggestions for further study from a desire to help. Then there are those who challenge the validity of the concepts, and others who have a very strong existing belief structure, which clashes with what I’ve written about, so they feel the need to demonstrate that the ideas I discuss are not the correct path, and their way is the truth.
The discussion can become particularly heated when you have two or more people with viewpoints that simply can’t coexist. The holders of these viewpoints have attached their ego so strongly to their opinion or beliefs that they must vehemently defend them – and even attack others. You can see evidence of this in every flame war that has ever occurred online.
Beyond the comments left to my blog, I also receive private emails from readers of the articles offering more feedback. Some want to thank me for the insights I gave them and congratulate me for the new direction I’m taking with my blog. Others want to complain and warn me against wasting time with these subjects and focus back on pure internet marketing and blogging subjects.
Some want to tell me that Jesus, or God or whatever religion or savior they follow will one day enter my life and I’ll be fine, and offer me invitations to explore their faith. Others want to blast concepts like the Law of Attraction and The Secret as a load of bunk and warn me against writing about these ideas because they misguide people. Then there are those who advise me to look towards and study accepted modern day fields, like science, or psychology, which they perceive as having verifiable and thus practical truths, proven methods for doing things the right way.
In short, I get everything from thanks, to stop talking about this useless information to guidance toward a particular religion or to believe only in science and accepted practices.
All of this, whether it comes from a desire to help, or share, or guide, or disprove, or argue against, I believe comes from the ego’s need for recognition – to feel important, or right, or smart, or to be perceived as a caring or intelligent person by others or because of an absolute attachment to a set of beliefs, beliefs so strong that it’s beyond possible to consider them as invalid – it could cause a mental breakdown. Even my motivation for writing a series like this has an element of ego in it – I want the recognition for sharing these ideas and the sense that I have value because I impact other people with my words.
Let me be clear here – I’m not attacking anyone who leaves comments on my blog or sends me an email, whether they are perceived as positive or negative. I value all feedback, and especially appreciate those who are willing and brave enough to share their thoughts publicly on my blog. I’m pleased that I’ve invoked you enough with my words that you feel the need to write back. In fact, I especially appreciate those who don’t agree with me, because when I receive your emails and comments that disagree with what I’ve taken on board as valid, I feel a strong emotional response. My ego fires up and I want to defend myself, my ideas and viewpoint and prove your ideas wrong and show you how ignorant you are being.
Despite my initial desire to defend my ideas, I stop and remind myself that what I consider right is no less valid than what you consider right, even if our two opinions can’t overlap. What is right is subjective, and I have to accept that my readers apply a judgment to me and the ideas I share, just as I do to other people’s ideas. Your frame of view of who I am, is impacted greatly by what I write about here, so much so that you may even stop reading my words if you don’t like what I’m saying. Therefore I risk damaging relationships when I discuss challenging topics, but that’s the nature of good blogging.
Ok, you might be saying to yourself – this guy is seriously over thinking all this!
I promise you it’s necessary that I begin this article with this discussion, because as I continue this series I will talk about resources and concepts that have been vital in my process for creating change. Without exploring the nature of opinion, bias, judgment, frames, ignorance – and ultimately – truth, I can’t accurately explain how I became aware of the ideas. I believe it’s helpful to you, if you know where I’m coming from. The process behind the conclusion is just as important as the conclusion itself.
It’s also vital that I attempt to obliterate any frames you currently place over your perception that might stop you from at least considering my words. Of course I know you can’t completely destroy your frame, you have to come from some kind of perspective (this is actually very important and I’ll talk more about it later). What I’m hoping is that your perspective is at least open to these ideas, so you can assess them, then choose what to do with them, if anything at all.
I believe it’s of vital importance that you raise your awareness to a point where you understand there is no objective reality, only subjective reality based on your choice to perceive things in certain ways. That was essentially the point of the discussion above and the entire chapter on ignorance.
I went through this awareness process and while I really benefited from becoming open minded to different ideas and relished the power I had to interpret anything in any way I so choose, it led to a problem. I became a fence-sitter, a person who never wants to commit fully to an opinion, or at least I thought I had.
When you focus on avoiding judgment, you tend to be very careful about what you believe in. I became so “open to ideas” that I was becoming lost in a sea of possibilities. Sometimes, especially when it comes to very existential topics, I confuse myself because I can’t come to an absolute conclusion. I enjoy thinking about this stuff a little bit too much, and you can’t reach a conclusion only through thought. You need to know things through experience and feeling.
Confusion leads to indecision, and indecision stops action, which means you don’t have the experience that leads to significant change. Experience is absolutely vital in the process of life – and is a critical component of change – so being in a state of indifference is not helpful.
Without a platform to stand from, you can’t actually get things done, because in order to take action, you have to come from a place of belief. You have to believe in something in order really go after it, so if you spend your entire time pondering the possibilities assuming nothing is absolutely true, then you’re stuck.
You could say I had managed to dig myself into an existential hole while trying to build the foundations for the grand castle that is my life.
Thankfully, there is an answer to this problem, which you can’t avoid, because you’re doing it every day, even now as you read this.
The truth, in my perspective, is that in every given moment you are creating something and having an experience, even if you think you are doing “nothing”. Even the choice to do nothing is an experience, the experience of inaction. However none of us truly do absolutely nothing and at all times we take actions based on what we have decided is true in the moment.
While there is no absolute truth, and no objective reality, there is your truth right now, based on your subjective reality and what you choose to focus on. Even simple actions, like choosing what to eat, or what clothes to wear, or what to say during a conversation, or what time to go to bed, requires you believe in something as true, even if in the grand scheme of things these decisions aren’t that important, subjectively, to you.
In short you can never really fence sit absolutely because your existence denies the possibility. You have to cease to exist to cease making decisions – to cease creating. If you’re doing anything or nothing, then you’re still doing something, which means you’re having an experience and always feeling something. In other words, you are perpetually creating – and as I have written about before, you are constantly changing, you can’t help it, you exist, therefore you change.
The important point, as it relates to positive change, is to understand that what you focus on in a given moment is what changes in that moment. You can spend your entire life focusing on things that ultimately aren’t that important (what television show to watch on TV for example), or be brave and decide to focus your thoughts, actions and feelings on the things you want to change that really matter to you, that result in true positive change on a grand, life-altering scale.
Eventually you’re going to decide that your experience right now is not what you want, and will choose to believe in a possibility – to have hope – and then go after that. In order for that to happen, you have to decide, in that moment, to see a form of truth that is different to what you are experiencing now, and then take actions that are congruent with your new truth.
To recap, the process I went through was first realizing that I choose my reality, and what is true for me is only ever true for me and is all that really matters. I have complete control over this, and it’s all I have control over, there is nothing else because I view everything through my mind and body. I create my reality.
The next step, after this opening of perspective, is to reconfigure your awareness to focus on what matters to you most. Work to change your perception to a truth that is what you want to experience and feel.
All of this assumes you want to experience and feel things you enjoy, but there’s no right or wrong here. I call this positive change, and what is positive is completely subjective to you. It’s your choice to go through this process in order to become what you want to, you cannot ever do anything else – you always choose your own reality – but it isn’t necessarily a reality you derive pleasure from.
For my life – my perspective – I concluded that balance is required. You don’t want to be so rigid that you become ignorant and can’t see new ideas, which could open doors to wonderful things. At the same time, you don’t want to be so fluid that you are stuck and never make changes big enough to get you what you want.
Underlying all of this is the limitation of your perception, you can only focus on a few things at a time. In fact I believe focusing on only one major positive change at a time is the best formula. Of course in your life every day you make hundreds of thousands of little decisions – each thought is one – but you can have big, practical, changes you are working towards, like quitting your job, or finding a partner, or buying a house, or losing weight, or perhaps less physical goals like reconfiguring your thought patterns to positive instead of negative, or deciding to view the world from a lens of trust and love, rather than distrust and fear, or abundance over scarcity.
The options are, literally, endless. It’s all a matter of you deciding what you want to be true for you, right now. There is nothing else, but there is a process, and while you can’t experience the future and the past only exists as data in your mind, you can certainly impact the experiences you have as each given moment changes. This, ultimately, is how you experience true positive change.
This article, in a lot of ways, is saying the same thing over and over again in different ways. In fact you may have seen lots of repetition in this series where I repeat key concepts over and over again, but with a different way of describing it.
This is important and deliberate. It takes more than one practice session to become a master, and for the most important concepts, it’s vital you experience repeat exposure.
Fundamental shift in how you view the world is not immediate, it comes only when you open your eyes to new ideas and see proof of your new perception again and again. You have to experience and feel these truths for you to really believe in them. The challenge, as you no doubt know very well, is not coming to an intellectual understanding of a concept (for example, I know it’s possible that I can become financially free), it’s truly, authentically, believing that it’s possible and then experiencing it as reality in your life. As I said before, you can’t fool yourself.
There are many aspects of my life that I have made very deliberate effort to change, and I’ve gone through the processes I’ve described to you in this series in order to make it happen. In fact I’m doing it right now as I work to change parts of my life to have experiences I want with all my heart. Writing this series is part of the process for me, as I teach and reinforce my own beliefs as I write to you (teaching is the best way to learn).
I believe at this point in the series if I have a chance to open your awareness to these ideas, then it’s done, or perhaps you already did before you started reading my words and I’m serving as further clarification of what you already know (that’s actually all I can ever do).
If not, that’s fine, as I’ve said from the start, none of this is absolute and you take on board whatever you want, however you want to – you cannot do anything else. If you’re confused, that’s okay, keep clarifying your focus and what you need to know you will become aware of. If these ideas are too foreign, irrelevant, wacky, crazy, new age, spiritual, or just plain annoy you, that’s cool, I appreciate you reading this far. If you want to just read the content I publish on internet marketing and blogging, and ignore the rest, I appreciate your attention.
As I promised at the end of chapter six, next I’m going to introduce to you a very important outside resource – a series of books that for me have resulted in a fundamental shift in how I view existence. This book series offered me further reinforcement of the ideas I talked about in chapter six from people like Eckhart Tolle, The Law of Attraction movement, author Paulo Coelho and resources that attempt to mix science with spirit like What The Bleep Do We Know, and added an entire new set of concepts, that for me, has felt more true than anything else in my life thus far.
After that, I’ll take this series to it’s final conclusion, which, as I’ve alluded to before, ties in your role as a creator of positive change not just for yourself, but for all of humanity.
Next Chapter: Continue to the next article in this series – Love, Change And The Reason For Your Existence
Revealing My Truth
And learn how to build a better blog.