(Currently a draft, but it speaks the basic truth. I'll amp it up later.) It is necessary to read How The Mind Developed., so you know how Dumb and Dumber operate and how the brain works!
The little tiger and his beliefs - what level are you at?
Defining what they are
The two basic beliefs
The source of all of our unhappiness
Are our thoughts real? Really?
Almost no fear is legit!
A key vital, essential question to ask yourself
Do we "need" more to be happy?
Fear is not pain - and it need not be painful
Pain now to elimnate pain later?
Let's just not give ourselves pain at all!
Are we holding ourselves as children or full adults? Vital!
Where to go from here?
INSTRUCTIONS: Read this article on this page, with maybe a few side readings if they seem urgent, but mostly just go back after reading the article and click on those links of interest to you. But, DO be thorough, as it pays off for you to be
"complete" about this incredibly vital issue. About a book by Byron Katie, at www.thework.com: Tiger-Tiger, Is It True? is a story about a little tiger who thinks that his whole world is falling apart: his parents don’t love him, his friends have abandoned him, and life is unfair. But a wise turtle asks him four questions, and everything changes. He realizes that all his problems are not caused by things, but by his thoughts about things; and that when he questions his thoughts, life becomes wonderful again.
Simple, but true.
We believe that our thoughts and beliefs are "real things", but they are not - they are all 'imaginary', created by us in our minds, with no permanence. When we are convinced that they are not, then our life changes dramatically. Few are convinced.
Thoughts are just thoughts, chemical and electrical activity in the brain. The beauty of this realization is that, if we know something is just a thought generated almost at random as a part of brain activity from Dumb and Dumber, then we can pick and choose among them. (See the reference to suffering and struggle below, which contains the route out of suffering to virtual non-suffering - a worthy journey!)
DEFINING WHAT THEY ARE
Thought: A complex "mental construct" grouping of bits of data from memory, often grouped with new data perceived. These are similar to computer programs, as discussed in Thoughts, Beliefs, Recordings Of The Mind. Be clear that they are not real!
"I see a bird" is a thought, putting together the current perception and matching it to data in the brain. A belief is a more complex thought, with most likely some emotion attached and a "rule" of "if this, then this".
A "mental construct" is anything our brain constructed. What was constructed is not real and existent in the world out there. (Duh!)
Belief: A thought. Conviction or accepting that certain things are true or real.
Content of memory, grouped data. Usually considered to be conscious thought.
recall knowledge from memorythought
the content of cognition
THE TWO BASIC BELIEFS
There are two basic beliefs that are primitive and not true, though both are based on a version of "I'm screwed" (which is not a true statement!):
I am powerless [helpless] and dependent (on others for survival).
I need approval, rescue, can't stand abandonment, must be good
enough [worthy, perfect, etc.], am afraid there is something wrong with
Since I need people, I am lonely and dejected without them, need their
validation; my life must be meaningful or I have no basis for living.
Something bad will/has happen(ed) to me and I'll suffer and have pain and
I'll be unhappy.
I fear future happenings and I don't think I'll be happy when they happen.
I'll be unable to handle it (kinda relates to the helpless viewpoint).
I better WORRY so that I am prepared and have considered everything.
(Worry doesn't work!)
(Another version of this is in Change Your Mind, Change Your World, Dr. Richard Gillett. His statement is that every single limiting belief has two components:
"I am not good enough" and
"I can't, I'm a victim of circumstance."
Unravelling these two causes almost all the other negative beliefs to dissolve. Some people think they have so many negative beliefs that it will be impossible to handle them. They just do not know that unravelling the key ones causes the house of cards to collapse.)
[For those of you who believe they are relatively fearless and/or really tough, please notice that if you have anything that you don't do easily, then you have a fear hidden in there somewhere.]
THE SOURCES OF OUR UNHAPPINESS
Fear is also the source of almost all of our unhappiness, in the form of emotional pain about:
Without those, we are basically happy.
So, let's get on with virtually eliminating those!
ARE OUR THOUGHTS REAL? REALLY?
Ironically, we believe that our thoughts are real and true, which is ridiculous if one looks at it deeply. Yes, as a child, the "bogeyman" and the monsters seemed real, but, then, we thought we grew up and realized that they weren't. However, we just developed a more sophisticated version of the same thing.
We go to movies and "get scared", but somehow this fear reaction doesn't cause us pain. How could that be? Oh, you say, it must be because I know it is not real. Well, duh, then why do you believe thoughts are real, if they are nothing more than chemical, electrical events generated often at random by the brain, from primitive programs that can't reason? (See How The Mind Developed.) Are these any different than strips of film? Basically, again, once we know that this "movie" in our mind isn't real, we no longer experience pain about the fear or "being scared"!
I would venture to say that virtually all good religions and philosophies point out that our thoughts are just thoughts and not real. (Great thinkers have already figured this stuff out. So it would seem that we might honor their conclusions and their reasoning!)
I suspect that you do not yet believe the above completely, as we tend to hold onto what we've thought for a long time: that our beliefs are true. But they absolutely aren't and that can be proven, proven, and then proven, so completely that you'll wonder how you could have been so unintelligent!
But it is not that you are unintelligent, it is just that, til now, you haven't applied your intelligence to this area completely enough!
In meditation, we are freed up as we simply notice thoughts as being nothing more than thoughts. But so many people think meditation is kooky, while they go about life believing their thoughts are real and going through unnecessary suffering that they created in some incredible fantasy!!!!
It's simple: Thoughts are not real! (Unless the thought about a bogeyman actually produces a real bogeyman. Or dreams are actually real...)
Look again at the movie A Beautiful Mind to see how we can "see" but not believe what the mind "makes up."
Few people seem to "get" this, except at the trite level of stating they believe it, but then not having it be so well understood that it is automatically seen that, indeed, thoughts aren't real, and can be screened with almost all of them not being taken seriously at all.
A reinforcing piece about how brain patterns can be "not useful" is in the piece
ALMOST NO FEAR IS LEGIT!
There are almost no incidences that occur that justify real fear (as a motivating emotion).
Sure, we can have a fear thought, as Dumb and Dumber (monkey mind and lizard brain) do their jobs designed to have us respond to every possible threat in the jungle in order to survive better - but, I hate to break the illusion: we don't live in a jungle any more! And we never would have responded with so much fear to the non-essential stuff if we were cavemen - we would have laughed uproariously!
We don't have hardly any real threats! Therefore, it might make sense simply to look at a thought that comes up, say "is it true?", and, where the answer is no, dismiss it quickly (with no energy or effort) as being not worthy of our attention!
Fear is simply a (chemical) warning to help us survive, a message: "Hey, might be good to notice this and do something about it!" I repeat, just a message! (An emotion is just a signal from the body/mind!) Read the foundational basis for this in How The Mind Developed.
A KEY, VITAL, ESSENTIAL QUESTION TO ASK YOURSELF: BUT HOW MUCH DO WE "HAVE" IN LIFE THAT IS UNLOSABLE?
So losing a limb might be legitimately something to fear, but then again, maybe not!?! People who do lose the use of limbs return to their normal level of happiness within a year - or they adapt as did W. Mitchell. It seems W. Mitchell got burnt badly (face, etc.) in a motorcycle accident, and then crippled in an airplane crash, but now he is a motivational speaker (and he ran for mayor on the basis of "not just another pretty face".)
W. Mitchell's famous quote: "Before I was paralyzed there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are 9,000. I can either dwell on the 1,000 I've lost or focus on the 9,000 I have left."
We dwell on the 1,000 lost (or that we wish we had beyond what we received in life, beyond any real version of reality!), but there is no point in dwelling on those! Incredibly stupid to do that! We simply need to use our great abilities and built-in power to get what we want AND to realize that we already have so incredibly much given to us in this package we received at birth (conception, really). (See and practice what is in the Gratitude section! See the piece on what we have that is unlosable.)
DO WE "NEED" MORE TO BE HAPPY?
But we set up a "mental construct" that we must have "more" to be happy - but, at the same time, it is true that many people are happy without having "more".
"Well, how can that be? What's wrong with them? Are they stupid!!!??"
Well, no. They are smart (or just not confused). They look and see what is there and then appreciate it. If they do it, we might learn from them. (Duh...) (See Gratitude as a practice. Maybe consider doing what actually makes us happy. D'ya think?)
The legitimate fears to respond to in a big way are the threat of the loss of one's life and/or the equivalent of being in a vegetable state. (Read and thoroughly understand Fears, particularly Threats And Fear.) The rest is just small stuff, and we all know it is not helpful to "sweat the small stuff". But it is important at this time to note that fear is just a signal that is manifested by some chemical reaction in the body that is designed to get our attention so we can act (and thus survive). (See Physics Of The Mind.)
FEAR IS NOT PAIN - AND IT NEED NOT BE PAINFUL!
Fear is NOT pain. If we do not create suffering around the fear, we do not experience pain! Clarify this for yourself by reading the section Suffering And Struggle!
PAIN NOW TO ELIMINATE PAIN LATER?
Now if something COULD happen in the future, do we need to have pain over it now in order to stave it off?
In other words, is it useful to experience all the pain in the present so that somehow we will avoid feeling the pain in the future? (Is that dumb or what?! But do we do it? You bet!)
Oh, and right now, I am very tired because I got up too early and my body feels "not so good". So should I be unhappy now? No. My body only just doesn't feel good right now, just a chemical thing - kinda like bad weather, we can be miserable about it or just accept it and go on with life! I don't need to add pain in over a mild discomfort of the body!
Back to worrying about something bad happening in the future...
Note that this relates to the idea of the "source of all suffering": Resisting reality, and actually not knowing what reality is. (Read the rewritten, for understandability and clarity, Buddhism, especially The Four Noble Truths, Rewritten.)
We die. (This comes with the deal, part of what we get with the gift of life - a
We have things go wrong with our bodies. (Things deteriorate, but we still have
Reality is: We are extremely, extremely fortunate to even exist, plus we have all these incredible great things in our lives!!!! (This is a verifiable, scientific fact.)
It doesn't make sense to give ourselves pain for the only reason I can think of for us to do that - to motivate ourselves to somehow stop the future bad event, i.e. to stop the pain. (This is one of the beliefs to eliminate and to substitute a new working, useful one for.)
First of all, much of it is unstoppable, so no efforts to stop it make sense. (Efforts with no results or even minor results don't make sense - you can hype up and do the opposite by visiting Live8020.com.)
LET'S JUST NOT GIVE OURSELVES PAIN AT ALL!
Next, why give ourselves pain at all, when that is what we are trying to avoid?
We could simply say "is this a real threat? And, if so, can I do something about it?" If the answers are yes and yes, then we simply must 1) Get perspective on it, 2) Plan what to do, and 3) Then do all the actions that we think are going to be effective - and do it asap, so we can put it aside and not have to experience ongoing pain about it. (Remember the bit about "completion" as a principle: "What you do not complete, you're doomed to repeat!" Learn the key Life Management Skills and the Steps to Success in anything.) But when we fail to control the outcome (one of the realities of life, I'm afraid!), we just get to deal with the consequences as best we can. (We can actually be happy, no matter what! See Fearlessness.)
We can't, with any effect, just wish the outcome was different, as that is (an 8 year old's) "magical thinking" - it won't and can't change the outcome!
We can only go forward and create something we like - much as W. Mitchell and Helen Keller (blind and mute, but not screwed and without hope!). See those who had Bad Past, Good Life, in the Inspiration section.
How could you dare compare your plight in life with W. Mitchell and Helen Keller and still consider yourself screwed and the victim of big problems?! (Don't sweat the small stuff...and it is [virtually] all small stuff!)
ARE WE HOLDING OURSELVE AS CHILDREN OR FULL ADULTS? VITAL!
Only a child/victim could conjure up that falsehood, so you might consider whether you are thinking like a small child.
I know you might be insulted by that and ask "how could he dare say that? I'm an adult! Screw him!", but notice that if you are worrying and experiencing much pain and/or anxiety in life, the only way you can be doing that is through child/victim thinking! It doesn't exist in the Rational, Nurturing Adult (read that section and be clear on this - then start operating that way!). Of course, there are people who say "no, I'm ok. I'm not suffering from anxiety or any of that crap!" But, I submit, that we should not look at what they say, but instead, look at the evidence: the use of addictions to ease their anxieties, as evidenced by the use of alcohol, pills, smoking, overeating (if they're overweight, the cause underneath it all is anxiety), shopping beyond basic needs, tv, etc. Yes, note that "soft" addictions are still distractions and harmful to one's life.
Oh, also, other evidence: anger, reactivity, irritation, resentment, frustration (beyond fleeting), overwhelm, worry, nagging, criticism of self or others, and other "negative" emotions and practices.
All those things will disappear in your life if you do the "completion" process that we avidly recommend. Do it on your beliefs, especially around fear. Don't just stay stuck with trite truisms, like:
"Fear is false evidence appearing real." That's helpful, but not sufficient to solve the problems at the level that they are no longer ongoing, no longer repeated over and over and over and over.
Handle these and your life will be relatively easy and highly happy.
You'll no longer have to please others or get their approval or not be bold and authentic. You'll no longer hold back on self expression and no longer limit yourself unduly.
You won't even have to heed the (false) belief that "life is difficult" or "life is a bitch, and then you die".
Instead, you'll see that life is a blessing we get to have for a period of time - the most incredible, incredible, incredible gift!
Bon voyage on this journey, first through the so-called "tough stuff", through learning that it isn't tough, and then learning how to maximize it for enduring, underlying, always present happiness!
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE?