The most important choice we can make in this lifetime is to take responsibility for the content of our minds which includes our thoughts and feelings that stem from the beliefs we have at all levels of our conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind.
When we believe that out thoughts and feelings are a result of what is occurring outside of us, we become the victim (or the beneficiary) of the world.
When things are not as we wish, we feel stressful, negative feelings. However, when things are just as we want, we feel joyful, positive feelings. Either way, we are dependent on what happens outside of us to dictate what we think and feel.
This dependency is a pattern that has being going on in human history throughout time. This pattern has enslaved us and is the source of our deepest pain; the realization that we are not in control of our lives as we wait for the world to match or not match our wants.
When we choose to take responsibility for what we think and feel, the focus shifts inward towards the root of these thoughts and feelings which is what we believe about the world and ourselves. Once we have the courage to question these beliefs, we begin to know the power we have to live the life we really want or feel we have been destined to live.
How does this relate to the angry character in the story of the previous blog post?
Let us look at the possibly familiar thoughts this person thinks when they experience someone making them angry:
You know why selfish people make me angry? They leave me no choice but to be angry because of what they do!
I mean really, what are my choices here? I have no choices! They made me angry because what they did was wrong and that’s that! How can I not be angry? Are you saying I should suppress it with a smile on my face and pretend it is not there? What good does that do? They get away with whatever they did and I feel bad because I am resisting what I am, which is angry! I have these feelings in me and I can’t change them because what they did is wrong!
These thoughts are the biggest clue as to what is hiding within. This person believes their anger is the result of what happens outside of them, making them a victim and a prisoner of their own beliefs.
Could it be that the anger was already within them, silently waiting to express when the moment for expression was right, i.e. an outside event to blame rather than taking responsibility for the emotion?
It is an easy habit to fall into; waiting for outside experiences to give us the green light to express what is already lying in wait within us. We can further resist responsibility for our anger by trying to get others to validate our position, justify our blame and prove to ourselves that we are right as the character tried to do in the story in the previous blog post. Another easy habit is to run from our anger by numbing ourselves from the feeling altogether as the character also tried to do by first eating chocolate to temporarily feel better and then moving on to exercise for additional temporary relief.
But what if instead, we were to look directly at any irritation in our life rather than distract ourselves from it by blame, resistance or numbing ourselves? What would happen if we could acknowledge that the anger was already within us as evidenced by the fact that we have felt this way many times before this specific incident occurred? We would stop spending our energy on futile thought patterns and belief systems that although comfortable and familiar, have hindered our ability to see more choices for our lives.
This is what happened to the character in our story:
In the shower after my run, I reflect on the series of events and realize today is not unique. I am like this most of the time. I start out wanting to be happy and to enjoy my life and then always end up angry about something. Up until this moment I assumed it was always someone else fault. Either they did something or they had some character flaw that made me upset.
Why is this?
If we could grasp on to such moments of awakening and perception, perhaps we would open our understanding to see that our anger in internal and was merely TRIGGERED by something outside of us. Then we might perceive the incident as an opportunity to welcome a new choice for a new path to slowly dissolve the internal source of our anger so that eventually we will no longer have it.
How about that for a choice?
We can walk through the first step in choosing responsibility for the content of our mind in the next blog.