Well, you do have a magic wand, but it’s shaped more like a melon than a sparkly stick. It’s your brain.
Since our interpretation of all experiences in life emerges from the brain, any change in our brain alters our reality. At the most basic level, your reality is nothing more than your brain’s interpretation of some electrical impulses.(see blog: My Reality Is Not Your Reality)
When giving meaning to these signals, our brains add memories, beliefs and attitudes about ourselves, others, and the world influenced by family, religion, school, culture and life experiences. Every spoken word we hear, word we read, experience we have, absolutely everything, is always, always the product of our brain’s subjective interpretation of stimuli.
By changing your thinking, you can change your world. It’s that simple. Simple, but not easy. Through neuroplasticity, the brain”s ability to change its’ physical form and function in response to actions, perceptions, and even thinking and imagining, whatever you do repeatedly becomes etched into your brain.
Any situation, person, or thing can be seen from multiple perspectives. With conscious awareness, (See blog: The Meaning Of Mindfulness) you can choose your thoughts, attitude, and response to the world around you,and with consistent practice, this pattern becomes physically wired into your brain. Ta da! (See blog: Responding Rather Than Reacting)
Take for instance, someone in your life who is a royal pain. I’m sure you can think of someone, maybe even a couple. Yes, there’s no disputing that this person may provide plenty of situations inviting grief and aggravation into your life, however it’s your choice to see them only from that one point of view. You could choose to back up, broaden your view, and look at them more objectively. Acknowledge and own your attached emotions, judgements, and opinions and how they might be coloring your thoughts about the person and the situation.
Then try on a new perspective, even a conflicting one, considering what their thinking, wounds, and motivation behind their behavior. While still being a royal pain, this person can also be seen as a teacher for you when you consider how they may be pushing you to grow and step outside of your comfort zone. Ask yourself if there is something you could learn from your interaction with them and be willing to be honest and open with yourself.
I’m used to living alone. Recently, I not only had my two sons living with me, but also another 19-year-old male. I thought I’d become this calm, centered, mindful being,but I found myself getting agitated at insignificant, petty things arising with them in the house.
I found that I’m really sensitive to the sweaty boy smell, and instead of pointing the finger at them, I had to look at my own reaction, what it was activating in me, and what I could learn from the experience. Patience. Tolerance. Compassion.
On a much bigger scale, my ex-husband found many reasons to continue the conflict years after we divorced. While it took me a long time to realize and acknowledge his positive contribution to my life, I can see that he was one of my greatest teachers providing me with countless growth opportunities. I’ve made tremendous strides in strength, courage, and self confidence with each damn lesson.
Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun philosopher, gives the unique advice of going directly into the situations from which you want to instinctively run in her book, The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics). In these situations is the opportunity for personal growth.
According to Chodron, we always have a choice to let the people and circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly angry and afraid, or we can let them soften us to become more compassionate. This wisdom, or magic wand, is always available to us although we tend to block it with habitual reactions and living unconsciously.
So, pick up your magic wand and get busy. I don’t mean to imply that *POOF* you can make everything just as you want it. I mean that you can cultivate peace, joy, and acceptance at any time because, although you can’t control what happens, you can control how you think about and respond to it. Magic!
image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dbnunley/