Defenses are Cues for Growth

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Mind has a tendency to construct a model of reality, which is largely just a crude representation of reality at it’s best. It’s this reality that we are all living in. We are living a lie narrated by our minds.

When mind gets confronted by something that threatens the reality, defense mechanisms kick in. First defense mechanism is denial. In fact for information we learn for the first time we outright dismiss, it has never happened to us before. Often to get even our attention, new things require repetition.

There are exception, in familiar and safe environments any changes in the environment gets right away our attention.

There seems to be a kind of filter of expectation. Our minds is at peace when everything goes as expected. Like a radio channel which plays the sort of music you are expecting. If something does not work as expected, your mind wakes up and starts to react.

We do not necessarily notice new elements in familiar kind of pop song only until much later on. This happens all the time. Our minds get enough of the familiar, so we do not even pay attention to the slight changes that have happened.

All this is natural and automatic. Consciously we can become aware and mindful about these and at key moments take a moment to consider what is going on. This is especially good practice when you notice defenses.

15 Common Defense Mechanisms is good place to start identifying which of these do you use most often and then to start practicing the more mature responses in situations.

When was the last time you listened to yourself, your mind, your body?

By listening here I mean just that listening if there is something to learn. Listening is different from taking action based on what you learned. Taking action based on impulse is animal behavior. Taking action based on considering all the relevant facts is considerate behavior.

We need to operate from our current state of affairs. For that we need to know in which kind of state our body and mind are. Sometimes even as adults we lack even the words to describe the feelings, states and thoughts and recognizing that is a good start.

Life is cyclical in nature. Our bodies to live through cycles and cycles within cycles.

Self-awareness helps us to be more forgiving and loving towards ourselves and others.

Learn the Inner Joy

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Joy is not very permanent thing as is not happiness either. Actually closest thing to a permanent it’s when we accept our fate and learn to be happy with it.

From my past suffering I’ve learned not to escape the present suffering. Often I still do wrong decisions that actually cause more suffering. Best response towards the present suffering is to accept it and learn to love the fate. Amor fati.

So with this in mind, if I do not feel joy it’s sign for me to still work on myself. Solution is not to seek joy from other people, or substances. What I’ve found is that mostly takes some rest, quiet meditation and clarification of priorities.

Nature of suffering arises something that we did or didn’t do and then we start to feel helpless. However, once we regain the sense of control and are able to do something the joy starts to come back.

Start from the inner joy. Drink only to celebration so to speak. Strengthen that which is right with the world focus less on everything else.

Use Negative Swing to Create Positive Momentum

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Power of perspectives is so powerful, you can literally turn anything upside down and build upon the momentum. This applies in good and in bad. Usually people would rather have more of the good and less of the bad.

It’s completely within our power to decide how each event will serve us: is it a lesson or a burden. Masters find the lesson in everything and everyone. It’s sure to be there, if you look deep enough.

Then use those lessons to create habits.

Use those habits to create combinations of habits that shape your days.

Use those days to make your dreams reality.

Growth. Something in physical terms would mean to increase in size or mass. In emotional terms it would probably means mature response versus immature response. In spiritual terms, I don’t know. In intellectual terms it would perhaps mean better performance in a quiz or test.

Around 2007 I found the idea of conscious growth from Steve Pavlina’s blog and around 2009 I think I’ve been practicing daily.

Growth is always in relation to who are and where we want to be. We cannot compare ourselves to anyone else and we shouldn’t. Bill Gates would have said that comparing yourself to anyone else is an insult to yourself.

To grow then, we would need an understanding of our present state, to understand that we are but in the beginning of our journey.

To grow, we need to accept that we are all beginners. Masters are the masters at this skill, humility.

Humility opens up the mind for learning. So the way to grow is to start a fresh.

Good luck!

Janne

Quiet Contemplation on Decisions

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On occasion it’s good to have no structure and enjoy the chaotic connections and insights that arise. In order to prioritize we must determine and decide what is important. For that the time to reflect and weigh different options is necessary.

It seems I need to spend at least a day of a week in this kind of quiet and reflective in order to stay operational and to be able to function.

Life is rather easy if we think about it: we just need to prioritize spiritual, social and physical wellbeing and then when the time to do something comes, we are able.

Yet a life of growth is a bit different, because we are not facing the same challenges every day, instead we are facing progressively more difficult challenges.

Stress challenges our mind, body and spirit, and with rest all these grow stronger. Rest is much more than sleep: in physical terms it’s also everything that maintains our body. Our mind also needs healing: thinking practices, social bonding and emotional intimacy. Our spirit needs also nourishing: from social life and spiritual practices.

If we each day and week face increasingly more difficult challenges, how come we spend so little time to prepare for such?

I feel that we have plenty of time to prepare if we do it economically, each day a little bit. To do it economically only thing we really need to do is to keep doing the practices and reinforce the decisions we have made for example to exercise, meditate and socialize with friends and loved ones. Quiet contemplation lets us to appreciate and feel grateful for everything good we have in our lives and to work for those most important things even harder.

We Have All That We Have

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We do not have anything more than the present. We do not have our past and certainly not our future.

Suffering is created by clinging either to the past or the future.

If we go to past or the future we are distancing ourselves from the present. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of suffering, because if we are going to past or the future, we will lose present again.

All that we have is now, the present. Present includes everything. Buddha understood this very well and he also understood about the thinking and action which leads to these results.

In addition to the present, our present mindfulness or our thinking is all that we have. In fact we are not our thinking, because we can observe our thinking. Yet only few of us consciously exercise this human superpower called ‘thinking critically what we are thinking.’

We shouldn’t let our thinking taint our present experience, because present is all that we have. We should come to accept what we have and be happy with that 🙂

Set Exciting and Empowering Goals

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Did you know it takes just about the same effort to be mediocre and awesome? Well I hadn’t thought about it that much, until now I realized this through listening Success Through Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill.

Let’s say remaining mediocre means you can remain in your comfort zone and does not require much mental effort. In real effort through, which does feel better: accomplishing mediocre goals or accomplishing awesome goals?

Set goals that empower and make you feel excited about life. Do not think in terms of what you can or cannot, instead set the goal first and let the excitement fill you. Good goals should energize you each day.

Keep the goal in mind and start thinking how you could do it. Your subconscious starts to work on that. Keep the goal visible, so that you can each morning ask yourself how I can do it, what can I do for today?

Setting exciting and empowering goals, will energize you to think different and in the end make you achieve those goals.

Today utopia, tomorrow flesh and blood as Victor Hugo said.

If you want to dive deeper into energizing goal setting I recommend listening Awaken the Giant Within Abridged edition by Tony Robbins. It’s just 1h and 30 minutes and you will get to set four of your major life goals in a guided manner.

What You Think Becomes What You Feel  

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Interesting point about us that either can think what we feel, or then change our thinking and then feel what we think. I realized this today morning while listening to Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind by Joe Dispenza.

What you think frequently is what you get used to and what will you gravitate towards. Our brain generates emotions which are in fact chemical mixes and then our brain likes to maintain homeostasis – a familiar mix of chemicals all the time. If this gets disrupted, our consciousness gets signals to restore the balance in form of cravings, wants and annoyances for example.

Considering the difficulty of changing emotional life, it does take a  long time. Yet it appears we have no choice.

As I understood it, the cells in our brains we decay and degenerate if nothing new happens: new experiences of learning. Repeating the same is the way for destruction when we are talking about cells.

This biology seems to support the idea of continuous growth and openness to experience 🙂

Making a Difference

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 Do you want to matter? I bet you do, many of would like to. Only few of us are willing to challenge ourselves to do it.

Our energy saving programming drives us to do this.

Yet our conscious desire and ambition should every day do something to challenge this status quo of energy saving. We should push ourselves consciously, in order to make sure we are getting most of our lives and that we are making the life better for generations to come.

Yesterday I was under the tutelage of Jari Sarasvuo again in the form of coaching session. Well a good teacher makes all the topics worthwhile going through again. He asked me why do we need to grow?

Spontaneously I answered something, yet missed the core and that’s okay. What was wonderful is that my mind continues to work with that thought “why do we need to grow.” Actually I’ve written about it in February (Why to Grow?) last time. Yet the mark of the master is everyday start to ask the same questions and furthermore drill deeper in to the nature of things.

So this is as always, a kind of continuation to the last thing, every time getting slightly deeper.

Jari said that growth is what separates us from animals, we are the conscious animal and I agree on that.

Yet at the same time, I gotta same time remind that we are an animal. We may have 40 bits per second of conscious bandwidth, but most of us are not using much of it all during day. Adults are mostly operating by our routines and habits.

Here comes the important point: CHALLENGE YOURSELF.

I’ve written about this too. Last time during summer when I was traveling: Challenge Yourself and Survive. Without the challenge, pattern and routine breakers we gravitate to the center of our comfort zones.

Actually the ability to break patterns is at the moment in my mind the most important skill in leadership, no matter are you leading yourself or others. Even in basic things such as conversations, the ability to break the common patterns is the sign of leadership.

With pattern breakers, the common becomes uncommon, it becomes meaningful and that makes all the difference.

Also real difference and progress is made only when we grow. When we grow to handle our emotional responses; made peace and traveled through the vastness of space. Then have made a difference.

Janne

P.s. Because life is so limited, we also should ask regularly what does matter? Are these results meaningful? In the core of the triple loop learning is not only asking are we doing the things right, or are we doing the right things, but to contemplate on what is right as well. Staying humble and asking questions, because humility unlocks the next level (Model for Long Lasting Happiness).