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Dear 1stSelfDevelopment Subscriber,
What is really real?
I don't know whether you will find this communication obvious or surprising. But if you think it is obvious then what is surprising is that you probably do the complete opposite! This article deals with the very thing that ails you, me and the rest of the world- the confusion between mind and matter.
Firstly we need to state the obvious about what exists in the world. The only things that exist are objects, such as the boy or girl next door, the elephant in the circus, the rent bill, and the house we'd live in if we had the money; and what are really movements of objects, such as what we wish we hadn't said to the policeman who stopped us for speeding, helping the old lady across the road, flashes of lightning, and running for the bus. That is there are objects in space and movements of objects in time.
Have you ever had thoughts like 'She is obnoxious!' and 'This is impossible'. Did you notice that these were only thoughts and did not exist except in your own mind? 'Obnoxious' is not an object or a movement. And 'This is impossible' is not an object or a movement. Obnoxious and similar words do not exist in the world - they are not things or movements. They exist, if they can be said to exist anywhere in our own minds and nowhere else. Yet these thoughts are what have a major influence on our lives.
A person can pick their nose in public, but what does it mean to say they are obnoxious? Obnoxious is just one of the many thoughts we could have about them. We could say they were 'forgetful', 'free spirits' or 'non-pretentious' or any of perhaps thousands of expressions, some good some bad, some neutral. (I think they are obnoxious though!)
As we have said, certain things exist in the world, others only in our minds. It is not the things that exist in the world that upset or please us, but our thoughts about them - things that exist only within us. Things we have created or are creating that control our other thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviour.
We say, for example, that cigarettes are nice (or nasty) or chocolate is nice (or nasty). But if these and other things were truly nice or nasty, then everyone would think so. Some people go crazy over Mozart others hate it. Different people have different thoughts and feelings about the same thing. So it is not the things but our thoughts about them which create the physical and neurological effects in us.
Therefore, if it were possible to change our thoughts about things- especially people - their power over us would decrease. We would no longer be afraid or depressed or have a negative self-image. At least we would know that these undesirable thoughts and their resulting feelings are the result, not of the poor old world, but the result of what we do in our minds!
Firstly understand the difference between things that exist in the world - things that you can see, hear, touch or smell, and our ideas about them.
Notice how it is ideas that affect us, and cause us the most concern.
Imagine what it would be like for you or another person to react differently, and what thoughts you or they would have. Think those thoughts and experience those feelings.
Can you tell me how you can think these thoughts and experience those feelings without thinking and reacting differently? It is impossible isn't it? Be careful though, you don't want to get rid of your helpful thoughts, only the unwanted ones!
This is your first step on what is perhaps the whole road of personal development and change. Enjoy the journey!
Until our next communication
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Most Recent Revision: 20-Mar-99.
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