Right and Wrong

ApplicationThought creates. We create and re-create our version of ourselves constantly. We may say “ I used to be a worrier but now I’m much more relaxed about life” for example. We recognise that we have changed in some way.  If we get stuck in a pattern we do not like we need only remember that we can change that aspect of ourselves.

Events in childhood shape our views – we may accept certain viewpoints and reject others based on our experiences and choices. I remember the story of two  brothers whose father was an alcoholic. One was also an alcoholic and the other never touched alcohol. When asked why, they both replied in the same way – ‘With a father like I had, how could I be otherwise?’

The important thing to remember, however,  is that we are the ones in control.

How we behave in any given moment reflects our current version of ourselves and who we are. If we change our thought about ourselves then everything changes – we literally re-create ourselves according to our new version of who we are.

It is common for us to go through life trying to get others to change their behaviour towards us and get very frustrated because this never works.  The only possible change is our thinking about ourselves.

Say, for example, we have been neglected.  This neglect has led us to decide we will never treat others the way we have been treated. So we then go down the other extreme, giving of ourselves to the point of self-sacrifice. This can cause us all sorts of problems. But then, one day, we realise that our ability to give like this stems from the very neglect we condemned. If we had not experienced the neglect, we could not have known its opposite.  This understanding frees us to come back into harmony and balance for ourselves. We have created ourselves as loving and giving – we can drop the self-sacrifice, the extreme opposite of neglect, and enjoy the loving, compassionate person we can now experience ourselves to be. Life is all about experiencing who we are and changing anything we want to change about ourselves. We can re-create ourselves as many times as we like. As far as others are concerned, we can only be an example of how it is possible to live.  Any striving towards an imagined perfection, “getting it right”  limits us  hugely and can often leave us feeling miserable in the process.

There is no such thing as a fixed ideal, a right and wrong.  From a personal perspective, neither is there such a thing as good or bad.  Nobody ever deliberately sets out to do something which they consider bad.  They can always justify it from their own perspective, even if we consider what they do to be completely unjustifiable from our perspective.

In education, in particular, we need to re-define what we think of as right and wrong, to teach our children to enjoy making mistakes to improve their experience of learning.

Alexander criticised the teaching methods of his day:

Under the ordinary teaching methods, the pupil gets nineteen wrong to one right experience. It ought to be the other way round.

There may well come a time when we stop teaching our children what is right or wrong or even material that has right or wrong answers, teaching them instead to make good mistakes, thereby discovering their own answers instead of collecting data out of memory.

Alexander also stated:

The old idea of trying to be right has remained with us, in spite of the fact that conditions have changed and our right is wrong.

Everyone wants to be right, but no one stops to consider if their idea of right is right.

From a historical perspective, our ideas of right and wrong are not fixed – society’s views change all the time. It is no longer acceptable to hang someone for stealing a loaf of bread, for example.  It is currently OK to end someone’s life, against their wishes, in a war situation or if ( in some societies) it is an execution. It is not generally OK if we help someone, who wishes to die, to end their life, even though this act could prevent a great deal of suffering.

Yet thoughts change, the rules change,  and what we think of as right and wrong changes too. Not long ago, there was huge stigma in many countries, including Britain and the USA,  if you were unmarried and pregnant – enough to drive people to attempt suicide. Now, in a number of these countries, many people have children and see no point in getting married and nobody cares about this!

Our world is experiencing unprecedented change at this time, and this is happening faster than ever before. As the rules continue to change and we continually re-define what is considered acceptable and unacceptable, we have to be prepared to change too, connecting within ourselves on a physical, mental and spiritual level and observing who it is we choose to be in the very powerful ‘now’ moment.


The Power of Thought

ApplicationIn a very real sense, it can be said that ‘we are how we think’.  We think about moving, for example, and neurons are triggered to ‘fire’ to make the movement happen. Nervous impulses travel throughout the body via synapses. Extra synapses form in circuits that are frequently used, making it easier for nerve impulses to follow those particular paths. Things get easier with practice because more ‘ thought pathways’ are created. We are a whole series of ‘thought pathways’, synaptic connections. And these pathways change if we think differently.

Thoughts are powerful. BrainGate, for example, is a technology, a tiny chip implant, that enables paralysed and injured people to use the power of their thoughts to move objects.  We relate to the world via our thoughts. While many people see the glass as half full, many others see it as half empty. Our experience of life itself is subject to relativity. We can only know ‘happy’ if we are familiar with ‘sad’ , ‘big’ if we know ‘small’ , what it means to be ‘anxious’ if we understand ‘calm’. And it is possible to choose where we want to be on the spectrum.

It may seem hard to believe but we really do create our own reality.  Look at it from this perspective:
The universe is a gigantic copying machine. Whatever thoughts we send out there get copied, possibly many times, and then sent back to us in the form of life experiences. The key is in the very first thought. So, if we send out “ I want more money/ love/ job security/ better health” etc.,  what we get is more wanting because I want is our very first thought. Similarly, I need brings us more needing, lack brings us more of that too.

We have to change the way we think about ourselves, our situation – assume, and really feel, that we already have whatever it is that we really want, and allow that to be played back to us.  This opens all kinds of new opportunities for us.

Never feed fear, anger, doubt, guilt and similar emotions. Switch your mind to the other end of this spectrum and feed instead love, compassion, joy and fun, in whatever way you can. When starved of thought – time , fear has no option but to disappear. Then we can allow something different into our lives.  So the next time you are caught in a downward spiral of emotional turmoil, stop, detach and simply watch what happens, then move back up the spiral.

Don’t look back – you’re not going that way. Move forward and up.  Do what you’ve always done and you’ll repeat the pattern again and again. You’ll get what you’ve always got.  You’ll feel how you’ve always felt.  Allow something different to happen, emotionally, mentally and physically and notice the change. Don’t take it too seriously, either, play with it. Lighten up – literally! Let go of self-imposed limitations. You have nothing to lose but your stress.

2012 is being billed by many as the end of the world. What if it’s the end of the old world, the old way of doing things and the beginning of the new?  This involves change.  We are already seeing massive amounts  of change in the world, and not just weather patterns.

People are thinking differently. They don’t, for example, want to continue with a world where huge amounts of money are spent on weapons to enable us to fight and kill each other while children die of hunger.  A change of thought on a worldwide basis could change all that overnight, of course, and we’re not at that point yet.  But if you look around you’ll see there are changes.  Countries are beginning to talk about reducing arms, finding peaceful ways to eliminate conflict; young people in many countries are questioning ‘the way things have always been’.

Whatever doom and gloom the media is endlessly doing its best to portray, there are also many signs of hope, of communities coming together to create something new in a spirit of co-operation and mutual help. This thinking also has a ripple effect.  Life can be simpler, perhaps. And do we really need so much ‘stuff’? ( Possessions are a bit the toys in a childcare nursery – you can play with them while you’re there but you can’t take them home).

The way we live, respond, feel, can all change.  Change your thinking and everything around you can change.