Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Energy of Belief: Poison or Power? Fundamentally Upgrade Your Belief System

Part One 

Are you Brave enough to examine the Beliefs that drive your life?

Sadly, not everything in life is unicorns, rainbows and endless good cheer. Sometimes, to create more light in our lives, we have look into our own darkness and love the lurkers in our own shadows. To do that, let's take a closer look at the energy of belief. 

Can you remember a time, when you saw a child (or were the child) bursting with excitement, literally jumping up and down over some little something. The child runs up to an adult, who feeling the stresses of life, inadvertently squashes the child’s enthusiasm? Can you think of a time something really exciting happened and you couldn’t wait to tell your special someone, who feeling the stresses of life, inadvertently brushed you off? In a second, your excitement got hammered and squished into something negative. Maybe it was hurt or sadness, annoyance or anger, shame or embarrassment, but whatever the evil butterfly moment (see prev. post), it rose out of a belief.

Every belief has a set of emotions it champions and sends out to battle against anything not itself. Every belief has a favored group of thoughts that it orders to crowd out all other thoughts that might oppose it. Our thoughts and feelings arise out of our beliefs.

Every belief has an energy field that we step into anytime we feed attention to that belief. This energy field snaps into existence any time a belief is triggered by circumstance or association; additionally, the more energy (in the form of attention) that a belief has been fed over the course of its parasitic lifetime, the more the belief bleeds its own energy into our soul, our heart and our mind. Think about radiation poisoning. Our beliefs constantly leak, poisoning the groundwater of our life. Can you see how dark some of our beliefs are; can you grasp the volume of vile junk those beliefs are vomiting into our experiences --- even when we are not noticing them or consciously attending to them?

The most basic and the most damaging of these beliefs always centers on our own worthiness or capacity. You know these thoughts:

I’m not good enough.
I don’t deserve it.
That might work for you, but it could never work for me.
I can’t do it.
I am bad, so I deserve what I get.
I never had a chance.
I am not able.
I’m not pretty enough, or thin enough, or smart enough.
I can’t --- I’m not --- I don’t.

Life plain sucks in the energy of these thoughts. And that energy comes from all the underlying beliefs that vomit up the thoughts and feelings that are constantly distorting, denaturing, or darkening our perception of the circumstances unfolding around us. 

Spiritual teachers and philosophers tell us that all circumstances are completely neutral. We are the ones who project meaning upon whatever we experience. Things are not positive or negative until we decide to see them that way. The way we see them, the way we assign meaning to experience is largely (if not completely) based upon our belief system. 

Our NOT thoughts will always poison our circumstances with their negative bias. For example, we can be with a wonderful person that loves and supports us, but our NOT thoughts will gobble up their goodness until we hardly even notice it. But by god, we’ll notice EVERY little way in which they are NOT what we think we want or what we think they ought to be. If we are not finding enough NOTS, our NOT thoughts will happily make up some shit to fill the gaps. The NOT thoughts will spew out confusion and doubt at every turn until new relationship opportunities are poisoned and pushed away; while older relationships are damaged, sometimes beyond repair. 

Worse, it was never the person. It was the energy of the NOT thoughts pooling around us, the belief in NOT filling up our space until the other person had no choice but to step into the energy of our NOT  thoughts. This calls out the energy of their own NOT thoughts; it activates or triggers their own negative beliefs. Then their negative beliefs and your negative beliefs happily occupy themselves fighting, complaining, competing and generally reinforcing themselves, getting bloated and fat on your attention. “See,” the NOT thought says, “See how she doesn’t appreciate all the work I do to provide for us?” or “See,” the NOT thought says, “See, all he ever does is complain and criticize.

Like a slasher flick, we stab ourselves the same way. We go into the basement of the creepy house. No wonder we end up metaphorically screaming when the chainsaw roar of our NOT thoughts massacres our self-esteem. The basement is our own darkness and NOT thoughts drive us down there over and over again despite how the chainsaw guy splatters our well-being all over the walls. 

Like we did with other people, we do to ourselves. We can be practically a saint, but our NOT thoughts will gobble up our goodness until we hardly even notice it. Sadly, we’ll notice EVERY little way in which we are NOT what we think we ought to be. If we are not finding enough NOTS, our NOT thoughts will happily make up some shit to fill the gaps. The NOT thoughts will spew out confusion and doubt at every turn while the chainsaw guy laughs and slashes away until we feel smaller and smaller. We forget that our diminished state is an act of self-directed violence. 

Take a breath. . .

When we are outside the energy of our NOT thoughts, we naturally see ourselves as bright, beautiful, capable, strong, confident superstars. We know we are the triumphant hero of our own tale, vanquishing the chainsaw guy with such love and goodness that he gives up his violent tendencies and becomes a gardener, tending the flowerbeds of our soul.  

When we are outside the energy of our NOT thoughts, we see our partner's painful behaviors as a cry for love and validation expressed through an ineffective strategy, not as an attack. We see it as an opportunity to grow closer and deeper and better. This understanding is a very saintly perspective and a difficult response to offer others, precisely because our NOT thoughts are used to getting their way, used to distorting our perspective and casting their own interpretation on everything. The NOT thoughts rape and pillage and plunder our well-being. The NOT thoughts steal away our natural bliss; bliss that is an ocean of never-ending love and acceptance. The NOT thoughts hide not only the boat we use to power out into our bliss, but also the pier, the marina and even the whole ocean side town. We forget we have a boat, tied to the pier, anchored in the marina, located in the most desirable ocean side town we can imagine. We forget an ocean of bliss is RIGHT there in front of us.

Even as I say: All experiences are neutral and mean only what I think they mean. Even as I assert:  All experiences are neutral and ONLY I can assign meaning to them; even as I feel the vastness, beauty and empowerment of those words --- another part of me is screaming:  But what about… 

What about this or what about that? What about evil, or suffering, or taxes? What about starving children or politicians? This is not to say that there are no evil taxes or selfish politicians, clearly there are. It is to say that existence is not the same as meaning. We can choose to see suffering as a negative situation to be avoided or we can see it as an opportunity to look into the mirror of our experience and change. Only as we change ourselves can we hope to make a difference globally. I have to laugh, “but what about…” That’s just my negative beliefs, well fed and well cared for, panicking, crying out “Please, may I have some more?”

My hope and intention in adding another layer to our discussion on how beliefs operate in our lives, is to emphasize that beliefs broadcast energy and that energy affects both us and others around us. Positive beliefs broadcast positive energy, energy that feels good to be in and around. Negative beliefs broadcast poisonous and dark energy that sickens us and sucks away our life and attention, giving nothing in return but disease and depression and despair. Knowing this helps motivate us to marshal our most precious resource, our attention. It propels us to focus on learning how to watch our thoughts, so as to refuse the dark ones attention and to deny negative beliefs the opportunity to suck away our life and poison our perception of the events unfolding around us.

So what do we do with the negative beliefs leaking their poison into our lives? I’ve outlined the elementary answer in nearly all of my recent posts. Cultivate mindfulness, self-awareness, and the ability to watch your own thoughts. Use that awareness to cut off the juice feeding negative, unhelpful or ineffective thoughts in the very moment you become aware of them. This brings us back to where we started. The reason to cut off the juice from negative thoughts is because that thought arose from a triggered belief and every belief has an energy field that we step into anytime we feed attention to it. Its energy field affects us. Hanging out in an energy field has consequences. Most of us don’t like the consequences that arise from hanging out in negative energy fields.  

That alone is enough reason to stop feeding attention to negative thoughts.

I say this is the elementary answer, because watching your thoughts and being mindful of the contents of your mind is a cultivated response adopted to modulate your perspective and feeling space. It is an opportunity to shift your thoughts, to change the energy of your emotions, to choose how you will broadcast into the world and what the energy you transmit all around you will be. 

Are you going to embrace the light side of the force or stay mired in the dark side? Is it the saint or the chainsaw guy that represents your interactions with others? It’s your choice, chainsaw guy or saint. Which one steps forward is a natural, inescapable consequence based upon where you focus your attention. However, that being said, mindfulness cannot change your beliefs. Nothing can. All mindful awareness can do is shift your attention from unhelpful, unproductive chainsaw thought-types to more loving and beautiful ones.

Beliefs cannot be changed. They are or they are not. You cannot change a belief, only create a new one. Yet, while beliefs cannot be changed, they can be transcended, which is different than shifting your attention to more positive ideas. Transcendence is a much deeper practice, much harder to both understand and accept, but it offers a golden key to the kingdom of your own mind. It is Jacob's ladder, leading ever higher up your soul. This practice offers an end to the struggle against your own negative beliefs, if you have the self-love and tenacity to go all Gandhi on their ass, if you have the courage to go all the way down the rabbit hole. This will be the content of my next post. Like Gandhi changing a country, you can change your life. I mean deeply, fundamentally change your life. I’ve only just begun my journey down the rabbit hole, is it wrong of me to want your company?

You are worth it, you know. Your light is so bright, if you could but see it. What YOU have to offer is irreplaceable and necessary. You are needed. The potential product of your mind and heart is priceless. You are Awesome; you are Love; you are Beautiful! Believe it. Own it. Make it your skin and climb in. 

You can --- You are --- You do.

Let’s make our lives matter.

With love and aloha,

Click Here for Part Two: Getting Out by Giving In

P.S. My most sincere intention and hope, if my writing resonates with you, is that you will feel inspired to share this post with all your friends and social media. Together we can reach as many people as possible; Together we can all pump powerfully positive, loving, accepting, juicy energy into the world. Namaste. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Evil Butterflies? Who Knew... How Changing ONE Thing Can Change Everything!

Why think you "aren't?" Instead, KNOW you ARE 

Believe me when I say: Imagination is creation

What we believe we become

It is often said that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in some far distant land can be the cause of a tsunami where we now stand. Could such a small thing really be the reason for the terrible storms and the torrential rains that fall into our lives?

Some years ago, a friend introduced me to a five star resort & spa southwest of Scottsdale, AZ. It’s a beautiful and serene resort and I really wanted to work there as a massage therapist. I studied it on the internet; I downloaded and filled out the application; I prepared my resume. Bright and extremely early (ten) in the morning, I straddled my motorcycle and raced over. I pulled around back to where the HR department was located. 

I strode up to the door and stopped dead in my tracks; as frozen as if the childhood game Red light, Green light had become cosmic law and some joker had just cackled out “Red light.” Just to mess with me. Or, as if I’d shifted in to Dr. Who’s reality and somehow transformed into a Weeping Angel and no one blinked.

Nothing I could do would allow me to open that door. Defeated, I thought, “Okay, maybe if I look around a bit first…” So, I toured the facilities. I looked at the spa, poking my head into where the massage services were being offered. The setting was gorgeous. I really, really wanted to work there. 

Sadly, I could not bring myself to talk to anyone. So, I looked over the pool area and wandered around some of the lounges, paths, terraces, and lobbies making up the resort. Finally, I ended up standing at an overlook peering down at the HR building. I was completely paralyzed. Three hours had passed since I’d roared up to the resort on my motorcycle. After a half hour more berating myself and flinging lots of self-directed monkey-mind poo madness in the form of unkind self-talk, I walked back to the parking lot, slumped on my bike and slunk home. It was not one of my finer moments, but it was a fine example of the fear that arises from our inner self-definitions, the fear that complicates and limits our lives. I blame it on butterflies. Evil little buggers, with their beady eyes and creepy wasp-like bodies and their flap, flapping evil little wings. 

Obviously, I don’t mean the gentle creatures fluttering about in nature. 

The evil insects I’m talking about. . .

. . .are the bugs that burrowed into our beliefs when we were children, or perhaps are burrowing still. Those are the flapping wings that create the storms we suffer through now.

Maybe it was the picture you drew and ran excitedly to show your daddy, but he was too busy to look. Flap. 

Maybe it was it was the funny looks you got when you sang out with joy and exuberance, or the shushing you got from your mother in the grocery store or at church. Flap, flap. 

Maybe it was when you got yelled at for just playing or the hundred other ways your natural, vibrant being got contracted, constricted, or controlled. Flap.

Maybe it was any of a hundred times you got the message to stop, shut up, sit down, or slow down. Flap, flap. 

Whatever it was, suddenly you felt bad, suddenly you felt small, and you grew to fear the way big people would punish you and cause you pain. Flap, flap, flap. Damn bugs.
You became less to protect yourself. From this lessening, from all the painful things that crashed down on each of us, we began to believe that there was something fundamentally wrong inside of ourselves. When we acted on that belief, by conforming, we were rewarded and our belief grew strong.

Fear crept in and rooted in our beliefs. Remember, it is our beliefs that create the way we perceive the world around us. So we began to see the world as a place to fear and walk through with care and trepidation. One after another fear-based beliefs began to fill up the container that is our soul. Every added fear-based belief clogged up our system just a little more and every one of them pushed out our ability to perceive from our pure and natural space of awareness. 

Simultaneously, we developed many healthy, self-serving, empowering and beautiful beliefs. These are the beliefs that give us fire and blast our light across the cosmos. These are the foundation of our emotional intelligence and the channel through which our love and compassion flows through us and into the world. These are bedrock beliefs that get us out of bed every day. 

The desirable and empowering were forced to share their bedroom with their evil twins  and inner conflict was born as the light side and the dark side of our self-beliefs battled for time and attention.

So there I was, standing in front of the HR entrance and all my attention was plundered by a belief that said I wasn’t good enough, or confident enough or deserving enough to work in such a commanding position at such a prestigious resort. I was focusing my attention on NOT. I was focusing my attention on a belief in what I lack; “You are NOT this,” or “You are NOT that,” my beliefs would lament, completely convinced of their own truth and veracity. Beliefs always believe themselves, or else they would pop and poof away. 

Remember, negative beliefs are just a thought that has lived in our souls for a long time and gobbled up so very, very much of our time and attention to ghoulishly cling to their own distorted, perverted life. Negative beliefs are the walking dead; the zombies that devour our brains. It is so easy to be blind to our own blind spot, to miss the negative beliefs that create our dark side; then, while peering into our own darkness, to miss the positive things that are so bright and beautiful in life.

Sometimes we hear things many, many times before the message is finally realized, and so it was for me this week when I finally woke up to the weight of my own sick attraction for all the beliefs of NOT, NOT, NOT that I have carried around with me for most of my life on this planet and all the ways I clung to NOT, NOT, NOT to protect my “self.” Yet, what is that self I was protecting all these years? It was a bunch of negative, destructive, limiting beliefs – nothing to do with the real ME at all. The real ME is pure, joyful awareness that has been buried year after year in hurtful, joyless, and self-limiting rubbish piled deeper and deeper on top of ME. 

All this flooded into my mind that morning as I rode the bus to school. “Why,” I asked myself. “Why am I spending so much time and attention on NOT?” Why don’t I spend that same amount of mental time and attention on what I AM, on what I want to be? I asked myself: “Why am I spending so much time affirming that I am not already a kind, loving, peaceful being? Why don’t I begin affirming what I want, instead of what I don’t?”

So, there I am on the bus, mulling over the message that had flowed into my consciousness from the divine source that shines equally through us all, if our limiting beliefs don’t completely clog our channel to the ALL, and I’m asking myself --- “Now what?”

I determined to first begin imagining myself as exactly the type of kind, loving, peaceful being that I wanted to be---because imagination is an act of creation--- and then second to observe and reinforce all the ways in which I was already that. I determined to notice, every time I felt like something less than that, how a negative belief had crept back into my consciousness and to then squish it like the wing-flapping, freak of a bug that started all this trouble in the first place. Finally, I reminded myself: when looking to shine the light of love and acceptance into your own darkness, don't forget to celebrate the light you already have!

Now here I am, at the end of the week, sitting not on a bus, but at my desk, looking back and looking within – not at evil butterfly thoughts flapping against my peace and well-being --- but rather at the lighthouse shinning in my center. I feel more loving. I feel more kind. I feel more peaceful, more determined than ever to more consistently embody these qualities --- and damn, if it doesn't feel good. To the extent that I remember to watch my thoughts and squish the negative ones, it is like the evil butterflies are lifting up and flying away.

It is time to stop thinking 'am not' and start thinking "AM TOO!"

With love and aloha,

P.S. My most sincere intention and hope, if my writing resonates with you, is that you will feel inspired to share this post with all your friends and social media. Together we can reach as many people as possible; Together we can all pump powerfully positive, loving, accepting, juicy energy into the world. Namaste. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Key to Getting Everything You Desire

The Secret to Getting 
What You Really Want:
Part Three
The Key to Getting 
Everything You Desire

Where we are so far --- the treasure map of our journey into thinking about thinking.


We've talked about suffering, which occurs when our thoughts (in the form of beliefs and ideas) fail to match up with what is actually present. To stop suffering, we need to drop old beliefs and let go of ideas that fight against each other and fight against other people's ideas (both conflicting ideas within us and the ideas of others we are interacting with).

Exploring further, we discovered that if we really look within ourselves, we can locate the exact center of our being and that if we look out from that place, we can literally see everything else (including our thoughts) as being external to our sense of being. From this we conclude that we are not our thoughts; we are not our beliefs or our ideas or our body. We are deeper than all these things. This gives us the power to choose whether or not we donate our precious attention to feed any given thought.

Then we expanded on how thoughts often work against us, competing to capture our energy and steal away our attention to feed themselves and to grow stronger. 

The Law of Attraction
We mentioned the four core components of the Law of Attraction:

1. Whatever you want, you get.
2. Whatever you believe, proves itself true.
3. Whatever you think about, surrounds you.
4. Whatever you feel, invites more of that feeling into your experience.

We concluded that each of these four states: wanting, believing, thinking, and feeling, all work simultaneously and are often in conflict internally and also one against another. We saw that they all ultimately run off the energy of thinking. This led us to detail the lifecycle of a thought; to consider how thoughts operate: how like a parasite, they are born, feed on you, grow stronger at your expense, live forever unless you refuse to feed them, and are hard to starve away. Let’s put it even more clearly.

There are 5 stages in the thinking cycle:

1.   Sensations: The raw data that comes into the brain.
2.   PerceptionsThe brain begins to process incoming data according to rules and shortcuts that have developed over time. Associations between incoming data and past perceptual interpretations, evaluations and judgments --- all running at subconscious levels --- give rise to thoughts.
3.   Thoughts: The “packet” perceptual interpretations delivers to the conscious mind for further consideration and processing.
4.   Ideas: As patterns begin to form between different but similar thoughts, ideas form.
5.   Beliefs: Ideas that continue to “make sense” and receive consistent attention turn into beliefs. Beliefs form the heuristics (the rules and shortcuts) that the brain uses to process data in the perception stage.

This brings us back full circle. What we think on a consistent basis turns into what we believe. What we believe influences and forms the filters and processing cues that our mind uses below conscious thought. What we believe literally changes how we see the world around us. What we believe literally dictates how our life unfolds. Beliefs rule the roost. They are at the heart of everything that happens around us.

In physics, we learn that gravity bends time and space. Beliefs are the gravity of our soul. They bend our personal spacetime by allowing certain sensations to pass through the cycle and excluding other sensations so that we do not perceive them at all, or so that we ignore them; which means that they never make it out of the perceptual pool. From this, can you see that to change your thinking, you must first change the beliefs that are creating the types of thoughts that are allowed or are likely to enter into your mind? This is the heart of the Law of Attraction. 

We get what we want

The most simple (and incomplete) statement of the Law of Attraction is that we get what we want. This is true. However. . .

Want arises from the needs and desires of the body, and from thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs. Of all of these, Belief is the pit boss; belief is the hall monitor shaking you down and demanding to see your hall pass. Often, things we think we want never get passed the pit boss of our underlying beliefs. Beliefs run the show and often we don't recognize that we are no longer in charge.

So many of us suffer from the belief that we are undeserving or unworthy. What has already shown up in your life as a result of that belief? None of us wants more of that. As wants arise from beliefs, shouldn't we dig out the ones that harm us, hold us back, or invite suffering and lack into our experience?

Think about how those beliefs are manifesting in your life right now. Is it any wonder that life can be so confusing? Remember, thoughts that are fed attention gain a life of their own. They become sticky. It is not difficult to feed our attention to opposing and conflicting thoughts. Both thoughts will then constantly battle for your attention. Each thought will have its own set of demands, filters, and desires. Since we get what we want, can you see how confusing life can become?

Like a caterpillar devouring leaves or like a cancer eating away at you --- many of the beliefs that you have within you right now work against the life you both desire and deserve. These negative beliefs undermine your relationships, undercut your success, create endless drama and suffering, drain away your life and energy, and generally bully you in unnecessary, unproductive, and undesirable ways.

What do we do?

So what do we do? How can we support the positive thoughts that we want to promote? How can we strengthen the insights that flow in from our highest wisdom places? How can we eliminate negative and distorting filters to promote our greater truth? In other words, how can we live the kind of life that we really want?

We have to take back control --- and the key to everything is attention.


The most pure form of free-will that we have is the choice of where we direct our attention. Once our attention chunks down into a choice, our free-will steps aside in favor of consequences. This is why attention is our most precious resource. What we attend to plants the seeds that blossom in our future. Let me say that again: attention creates your future. Attention is the food that thoughts gobble down to live. Attention is what turns a thought into an idea and an idea into a belief; beliefs create our present. Are you starting to see how it all works together?

Mindfulness is the name we’ve given to the idea of watching our own thoughts, the idea of maintaining awareness of what you are thinking at any given moment, at every given moment. Mindfulness is the process. Mindfulness is your champion, the hero you send into battle to gain and protect your kingdom. 

If you are aware of the thoughts that are sent up to your mind from the perception department, then you are in control. If you are not aware, if you get lost in these thoughts --- because they support and reinforce a belief --- then the belief is in control and that belief is planting the seeds of your future without control or input from you. Then we wonder why our lives seem to have gone so far afield.

The solution is awareness. Awareness takes practice. Lots of practice. The idea is simple; the doing is difficult.

The Practice

The moment you become aware that you are thinking a thought that you know goes against the life you want, a negative thought of any kind, the first step is to --- STOP. (And then stop again, and again, and again, as long as is necessary.) 

Cut off the power; remove your attention. Bear in mind that the belief gobbling down your attention doesn’t want to stop thinking its own thoughts and like a dragon will fight tooth and nail to enslave your attention as long as it possibly can. Attention is gold and the dragon-thought in your mind wants to gather and hoard this gold all for itself.  Negative and poisonous thoughts LIKE to think themselves; it’s fun for them, no matter how much it hurts you or damages your relationships. Like a virus, this is how the poison holds on to life inside of you. 

The second step is to direct your attention to a different thought. The moment you kill a thought by pulling away your attention, your mind is empty. The negative thought will try to rush back and fill that vacuum and once again seize your attention. Push it out and take control of your mental space. Switch your attention to the kind of thought that you know creates the life you want. 

It is a good idea to have a go-to thought pre-prepared, one that you can switch to immediately after you stop feeding attention to the unwanted thought. This means that you have deliberately created a pleasing and powerful thought and spoon-fed it attention. This can be a memory that inspires you, or a mental picture that brings you joy, or a feeling of gratitude for someone you love. It can be a picture that represents something that you desire in your future. The important part is the you have deliberately and consciously spent time feeding attention to your chosen thought, specifically with the intention of using that image to take back your mind when the dragon roars or the monkey starts flinging poo.

When it is too great a leap to go from the dragon or the money to the positive or the glorious, it can sometimes be helpful to leap first to a neutral middle thought --- like visualizing a wooden spoon.

It's your life and it's your mind

Every time you manage to slay the dragon or shoo away the monkey and its weird fascination with poo, you will notice how your shift in attention brings with it a shift in energy and emotion. It moves you from constriction to openness, from feeling down to feeling content. It invites peace. It creates calmness. It plants the kind of seeds that you want to harvest and eat with your salad, rather than the weeds you dread and all the extra work weeds create. Yuck, who wants extra work?

I hope I have laid out a case for learning to watch our own thoughts and for why attention is our most precious resource. Where we place our attention matters. Taking back control of our attention and the beliefs that attention feeds and supports is the key to creating the life we desire and manifesting the relationships we want. Attention, and the awareness it arises from, invites the lasting peace, love, joy and contentment everyone desires and so few consistently attain.

May we work every day to take back control of our own attention and may our lives be filled with love and aloha,

Friday, October 3, 2014

Think about Thinking or be its Slave

What happens in your mind matters. You can't go wrong starting with a quote from the Matrix.

The Secret to Getting What You Really Want:
Part Two
Think about Thinking or be its Slave

Take this guy here for instance. Talk about being a slave to thinking. Am I any different, are you? I remember the first time I tried to meditate --- yikes. 

Is silence really so fearful? 

What strikes me over and over again, the more I practice watching my own mind, is how often my brain produces utter rubbish and nonsense. I’m talking about the gutter-level trash that serves no good purpose and yet appears with such regularity. Unkind and untrue gossip about myself and others, valueless observations based on some simmering cesspool of negativity buried somewhere in the stinky bits of my brain. I am not alone; alas, the vast majority of humanity suffers from similar monkey mind poo flinging.

The sad thing is that for every mean, angry, selfish, confused, fearful, or poisonous thought that sullies my mind, or simmers beneath the surface of my thoughts, lurking and creeping about in my darkness, there are radiant, loving, insightful alternatives pushed out of the careening train car of my brain before they have a chance to be born. The baby never even made it into the bathwater. Within us all, there lays such brilliance waiting to illuminate our lives if we but clean the windows of our mind and toss out the clutter from our souls.

I am talking about thoughts.

For every thought worth thinking, how many more serve no good purpose and simply distract us from the greatness we really are; or worse convince us we are not that all ready. Let’s emancipate our minds and shake off the chains of mindlessness and habit. We rob ourselves, stripping away our true nature, dampening our light, and cutting off our power. In so doing we create suffering. Frankly, that just bites.

I am talking about thoughts.

I propose we construct a metaphor for how it all works. We will take back our power. We will reclaim who we really are. We’ll call this metaphor the Lifecycle of a Thought.

The Lifecycle of a Thought

Something happens and a stream of sensation enters our brain through our senses. The brain receives this sense data and processes it. As a result of this processing, a thought arises, like a fish jumping out of the water. 

One of two things happens next: either we scoop the fish right out of the air by catching it in the net of our attention; or unattended, the fish flops back into the ocean. 

When a thought first pops up and we notice it appearing, we can choose to attend to it--- 

                          ---or not. 

                                           We can --- STOP. 

Thoughts feed on attention, they cannibalize our energy, highjack our emotions, and steal away our time. They pervert our perceptions and distort our reality --- but only if we feed them attention. If we do not pay a thought our attention, if we do not give it any mind --- it cannot abide and it dissipates.

Ah, but what if we get sucked into the thought and it captures our attention? Let’s pretend that a thought has a growth threshold. Let’s say that a new thought starts at level 1 and every bit of attention it can wrestle away from you brings it closer and closer to the power-up that boosts the thought to level 2. The thought isn’t done, not if it can help it! It will suck away more and more juice from your soul and power-up again and again: level 3 and level 4 and level 5 and so on.

Every level the thought gains   drains away more of your life and sucks away more of your energy ---stealing it away and gobbling it down. It’s not just a thought anymore. It has a life of its own, sticky and clinging, lurking and creeping, plotting to steal away even more of your time, perception and attention. If a thought gets enough of your attention, it becomes a belief and beliefs sink into the bedrock of your consciousness, swollen from a mere fish to a super-shark ready at any time to leap out of the ocean and take a bite out of your boat.

Not every thought is a villain in the melodrama of our life, but a great many of them are. The vast majority are based upon distorted and inaccurate interpretations. Once a thought takes root by feeding on our attention, it creates a set of filters. These filters begin to privilege other thoughts that support it and deny any evidence to the contrary. The thought must see itself as right to survive. 

Ask anyone familiar with current brain science about how accurate our memories actually are. 

The reasons our memories are so appallingly off kilter is precisely due to these mental filters that bias and distort our perceptions. Every thought has its own inborn filter set. The greater the sum total of attention a thought has received, the greater the power of its filters to distort and bend our perception of everything unfolding around us.  Remember the third Law of Attraction? Whatever you think about, surrounds you. Not only do these thoughts and their filters distort our perceptions, but they broadcast the energy of themselves and attract more of that back into your experience.

These old and powerful thoughts set traps to attract more attention, a shark hurtling itself up from the depths at the slightest association or provocation. Then, whatever is happening around us is no longer in our present; it’s been ripped down into the our dark depths, locked in the jaws of one of our own inner super-sharks. 

The TV reality show of our lives has changed channels and we seldom even know it. The thought is distorting our perception of the present by superimposing its own agenda and interpretations on everything that happens.

Once a thought gobbles down enough attention to live on in your subconscious mind, waiting for its chance to highjack your attention and swallow more of you down, it does not change. It cannot change. Other thoughts might arise that differ and they will fight for their fill of you as well, like Parana lusting to strip the meat off your bones. 

The more attention they have hoarded for themselves the heavier they become, sinking, rooting, burrowing deeper and deeper into your subconscious. Every time they can grab an association or similarity with anything happening in the present, they burst out of the depths and clamp down on your consciousness. They cannot be changed. They can only be denied attention. 

Every time you catch yourself thinking such a thought and cut off the juice, the thought weakens a little. The more attention it has stored away, the more difficult it is to shrivel it up and starve it into extinction. But it can be done. In fact, we can argue that your peace of mind and personal progress depend upon it.

There is more elaboration possible, but we’ll save that for another time. Meanwhile, let me sum up our story.

Thoughts feed on attention. Attention is your most powerful and precious resource. Thoughts that can’t feed, bleed back into nothingness. Thoughts that capture your attention gain a life of their own and then compete for more attention. They filter and distort your perceptions to prove themselves right and to prolong their existence by sucking up more and more of your precious attention. 

Thoughts that capture enough attention become beliefs and, for better or worse, beliefs tend to run the show. Worse, thoughts are noise and noise drowns out the radiance of the divine that is our true birthright. No matter how bloated and fat our old thoughts have become, we can refuse to feed them further until they dry up and wither away.

The solution is frustratingly simple to say and frightfully difficult to do, in the beginning at least. The solution is to watch your own mind. Learn to witness what happens there. Practice awareness. It takes practice, lots of practice. Yet the capacity is fully built in, we just have to start using it. You know when you are thinking, a part of you always knows.

We tend to get lost in our thoughts; but a part of us always knows. So just determine to watch yourself thinking and every time you become aware of your thoughts, congratulate yourself. Some teachers suggest naming the type of thought you catch yourself having. “Ah,” you can say to yourself, “That was a planning thought.” Or a memory, or an imagination, or an evaluation of self, others or circumstance. 

This practice can help you become a master of meta-thinking, and break the chains of slavery binding you to the dark parts of your own mind. Meta-thinking means thinking about thinking; but it really means watching it all happen in your mind, just being aware, just being conscious, just being awake.

It’s worth the effort, as I’ve suggested at length across all my posts.
If our lives are anything less than uproarishly vibrant, unendingly powerful, unshakably peaceful, unspeakably loving, then we can be assured that the lack is utterly and completely due to a thought that has invaded the realm of our true self and devastated the countryside of our awareness. We are prisoners of war in our own minds. Freedom is a watched thought away. I say it one more time: emancipation and true freedom is only a watched thought away.

Now that we've spent a few lovely moments considering how thoughts operate, how like a parasite, they are born, feed off of you, grow stronger at your expense, live forever unless you refuse to feed them, and are hard to starve away --- we need to talk about how to support the positive thoughts that we want to promote. How can we strengthen the insights that flow in from your highest wisdom places? How can we eliminate negative and distorting filters to promote our greater truth? And how does it all tie back into the four  core concepts of the Law of Attraction? Stay tuned for part three. So until next time. . .

With love and aloha,