What would make your life better? More money? More hours in the day? A better relationship? Better sex? Some sex? A better house? A maid? Time to relax and meditate? Less stress? A new job?
Typically people look outside themselves for answers, but you’re not likely to win the lottery anytime soon, and since Prince Charming has already used the glass slipper, let’s consider the things you can do to improve the quality of your life.
A life is made up of decisions. Thousands of decisions each day. Some decisions are more important than others, but every decision, even the small ones, contributes in its own way to whether your life goes stunningly or poorly. There are about 27 major decisions made over the course of a lifetime with profound implications. And although you do the best you can, some of your questionable choices end up painting you into a corner.
So, without a rich uncle or winning the lottery, the best way to improve the quality of your life is to make better decisions. But you are already doing the best you can! So, how do you change things? How do you free yourself from the influences that cause you to make poor choices? The concept is simple, but it can be difficult to do.
Every decision must take one of two paths. You get wrapped up in the circumstances surrounding your decisions, but each decision asks you to either:
1. Serve your fear, or
2. Lift your horizons and serve your soul.
Irrespective of the context, each decision comes down to those essential considerations. Either respond to your fear and close off, or risk rejection and open to life.
Opening yourself to life, saying, “Yes,” is being in harmony. It is holding the God Space. It is sometimes as simple as relaxing by taking a deep breath, or it may be more complicated, as in saving the world, but the essential challenge is the same. You either say, “Yes” to life or you say “No.”
Imagine yourself facing a plate of your favorite dessert. The challenge is to eat reasonably and thoroughly enjoy it, or give in to the part of you that is desperate to be loved, and consume the whole plate, ignoring for the moment the long-term consequences. That is always the essential conflict. The toxic effects of short-term decisions are cumulative. A bad decision here, a bad decision there and pretty soon you’re in quicksand. Conversely, (and here’s the rub), if you relax and try to take the long-term path, you will feel vulnerable, perhaps too vulnerable. You cannot be truly hurt, but until you know that, you will be pressured to contract, and this is the great conundrum of life.
Something as simple as breathing can teach you a lot about choices. With each breath you can chose to breathe deeply, relax and be calm, serving the long-term needs of your body (and your soul), or be anxious and tense, contract your shoulders and abdomen, and breathe shallowly. The contraction gives you a feeling of control and a false sense of protection. But what it really does is to raise the level of toxicity in your body, killing off some cells.
The consequences of short-term decisions are always harmful, but they are often not immediate, making them easy to rationalize away. You would like to be able to relax and flow with life, we all would. But you can’t always do that. When you feel threatened or needy, a force rises up and takes control of you. And in that moment it doesn’t matter what you “should” do, what is morally right, or what your soul needs. The only thing that matters in the moment is the need and/or a compelling fear that requires you to say “No.”
The need to say “No,” (we can also refer to it as your ego) compels you to take the short-term perspective. It pressures you to get by, to take the “no risk” road. It says, “Don’t be honest, that will make you vulnerable.” “Don’t stand out, you might get criticized.” “That second helping won’t hurt you, go ahead, you’ll feel better.” “Don’t be emotional or let your feelings show, that’s weakness.” “And for God’s sake, don’t let anyone know about your inner pain, they’ll think you are damaged!” “Oh, and by the way, we could use some chocolate and ice cream.”
This mysterious force taking you over is the hurt, angry, vulnerable and needy child you were when you were 3 or 5 or 8. She felt unloved and then concluded that she was unlovable. She is dominated by her feelings of unworthiness. These painful feelings and the beliefs she created from them require that you focus on survival based, self-preservation. As long as she holds her beliefs, she must say “No” to life. She can also be quite deprived and will be driven by that need as well.
She is focused on getting through the moment, taking as little risk of exposing her woundedness as possible. And, she is incredibly powerful. You have your wit and your wisdom and your intellect, but she has your power. When it comes to anything emotional or even remotely threatening, that is her territory. As long as she is hurting, her horizon must be short-term. The short-term focus is an avoidance mechanism that allows her to not expose her woundedness and vulnerability (at least in the moment). As a result, you end up serving the needs of fear, giving minor if any, consideration to the long-term implications of your decisions.
You can get by doing that for a while, but eventually there must be a consequence. Remember, there will always a consequence for short-term thinking. But, so long as fear lives within you, it will exert a powerful influence over your decisions.
Some people cover their fear through efforting, but pitting miniscule human energies against the vast energy of The Universe is a recipe for trouble. It is exhausting, and it leads to disease! Other people emotionally starve and intellectually browbeat their inner children into submission, but it is an extremely costly practice. It takes an incredible amount of personal energy to restrain her fear and anxiety. It also frequently leads to disease. She may be coerced into submission, but she still has all the power, and now the fury of a caged lioness.
In contrast to the short-term perspective of fear, the God Space always takes the longer view. It wants you to be strong, stable and at peace, no to be vulnerable to fear and anxiety. It wants you to open to the God Space not just in the moment, but forever. And because it holds a long-term view, it is willing to tolerate some turbulence to help you learn to get there.
One characteristic of the longer-term perspective – it always involves taking what feels like a risk. Being vulnerable can be scary when you are first exposed to it, especially if you have spent the rest of your life being closed. Making a long-term decision also means that you will lose the sense, however false, of short-term protection. You are asked to make a “sacrifice” of your short-term protection when moving into the God Space. (I wrote an article about “Sacrifice” on my web site, as part II of the series on Personal Power).
The short-term perspective creates conflict – inner and outer. It must. The long-term view resolves conflict. Where the short-term attitude creates fear and anxiety, the long-term view ameliorates it. However, if her perspective is that when she becomes vulnerable she is going to be hurt (again), she has little choice but to shut down risk-taking behavior and take the short-term path.
To summarize: in every situation you can make a short-term choice and serve your ego needs or take the longer-term path and serve your soul. Learning to shift from one to the other is the essential secret to life, but to get there, you must address the pain of your inner child.
copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2016