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News - Final Word
Saturday, 24 February 2018 13:40
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Okay, girlfriend, let’s see if we can do this: Don’t think of an apple. Impossible, isn’t it. Then try this:

Don’t think of a pencil. Your brain cannot hear the ‘don’t’. Whether you say yes or no to something doesn’t matter. It’s only your attention to the thing that gets through.

This means that the trick would be to think of something else entirely. Can pears cancel out appels?

Of course they can. Can you deliberately change your focus to a pear when you feel an apple coming up?

Before you think we’re talking fruit salad here, I’ll try to explain it another way. I was watching an Abraham Hicks video clip about anxiety. This guy said that what he wanted most of all was not to feel the crippling anxiety that’s been ruining his life.

Abraham said that the point would not be to take the anxiety away. We want to be aware of our feelings. Anxiety is like pushing your hand down on a red hot stove plate and complaining that it’s burning you. Don’t ask for something to numb the scorching pain. Just take your hand off the plate.

You’re not feeling anxiety because the world is in trouble; you’re not feeling anxiety because you’re in trouble; you’re feeling anxiety because you’re focusing on the wrong thoughts. So, the first thing to do is take responsibility for your thoughts. You really have the power to decrease your anxiety levels as you change your thought patterns and start focusing on the good in your life and not the bad.

Do you find that difficult to do? Have you been knocked down by so many tragedies that you cannot see how focusing on good things would help? Then try this perspective: Mike Dooley says that any attempt to measure one’s progress in life by assessing their present physical surroundings, including a panoramic glance of their past, is seriously short-sighted. 

“The reason being is that each journey, kind of like a haircut, should never be fully appraised until it’s complete. Otherwise, one could mistake a miracle-in-the-making for a setback, loss, or the ‘wet-look’.”
He says that life is not what you see, but what you’ve projected. It’s not what you’ve felt, but what you’ve decided. It’s not what you’ve experienced, but how you’ve remembered it. It’s not what you’ve forged, but what you’ve allowed.

It is sad that most of us don’t allow a lot of fun in our lives. We get off the red hot stove plate only to end up at a place that Joshua Foer calls the OK Plateau. It is a place where things are going okay-ish enough so that we can stumble along on autopilot without trying to improve anything.

When first learning to release anxiety, we go through the same three stages as anyone learning a new skill. “We start in the cognitive phase, during which we’re intellectualizing the task, discovering new strategies to perform better, and making lots of mistakes. We’re consciously focusing on what we’re doing,” Joshua says.

“Then we enter the associative stage, when we’re making fewer errors, and gradually getting better.

Finally, we arrive at the autonomous stage, when we turn on autopilot and move the skill to the back of our proverbial mental filing cabinet and stop paying it conscious attention.”

And so we get to a plateau where we’re confined to a sort of comfort zone. Life coach Martha Beck says that she has spent years on the OK Plateau when it comes to having fun and that many of her clients report the same tendencies. We tend to assume that having fun is the result of laziness and selfishness, and that we would all automatically have fun if we weren’t so disciplined and virtuous.

Not so. Martha says that fun is a skill and that most of us are terrible at it. “When I ask clients to reward themselves for difficult achievements, they find that coming up with the reward is harder for them than the achievement itself.”

Try to remember what you did for fun as a child. What did you do when nobody was forcing you into anything? Don’t judge yourself. Pay no heed to what others think. Fun leads to positive results, which seem to have nothing to do with the fun you’re having.

Wanna play, girlfriend? As Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”


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