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9 Jul
2012
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What To Do When The Past Gets In The Way Of Peace And Happiness

Something happens, it doesn’t really matter what it is – it could be an argument, betrayal, disappointment, rejection, something you did that you shouldn’t, something you didn’t do that you should… but it generated negative emotion within you and continues to play on your mind.

The problem lies, not in the happening, but in the continual mental replay, and the constant analysis. This is where you attempt to figure out what you should have done differently. In other words, you want the past to be different from the way it was and if you could only figure out how to make that happen, then you’d be okay. If you can’t figure out how to make that happen then your life is effectively over. Yes, I know I’m exaggerating a little, but that is frequently how it feels while the intensity of the ThoughtStorm is still being played out in your mind.

So you are looking for a solution to make everything ok. What you really want (change the past) is impossible – so would you accept a solution that simply makes the past irrelevant?

You see what most people really want is peace and/or happiness. But they always want these things from a place where they have neither and so have a tendency to place conditions upon them. When you actually arrive at an experience of peace or happiness what you realise is that nothing matters. Nothing matters because you realise that peace and happiness arise from within. They are a state of mind, not a state of circumstances.

The first step you need to take is one of looking at what is actually going on. What is going on is that your mind is filled with an unpleasant memory and that memory is surrounded by, and fuels, a barrage of thoughts… and analyses… and what ifs… and should’ves… and shouldn’ts… and maybes.

A memory is itself just thoughts about something that happened and when you access those thoughts you have associated pictures, feelings and sounds. The thoughts themselves are sounds. Just as if someone was taking to you. So the Hell you are experiencing is just pictures, feelings and sounds. All of which are going on in your present.

If you could find a way to stop these feelings, pictures, and sounds then you wouldn’t have a problem. It wouldn’t matter what had happened, you just wouldn’t have a problem.

A clock ticking is just a sound in your mind.

How much importance do you give to that sound?

A bird singing is just a sound in your mind.

Do you let a bird run your life?

Your mind is filled with sounds from your external world, yet very little of it is remembered or even noticed.

When you get caught in a ThoughtStorm remind yourself that it is just sounds and sensations.

Become aware of the activities that engage you fully: a hobby, or a book, or a videogame, or craftwork, a puzzle…

Then use your favourite activity to distract you. In time you will train yourself to shift your attention away from that memory.

The problem of course is when you are convinced that what happened shouldn’t have happened, or that life has been really unfair to you – but that’s another story.

 

Michael

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