Keeping Your Head On Straight

acceptscan188We know things go better when we are thinking positively and feeling great. But do we know how to move quickly from a negative to a positive attitude?

 Sometimes things happen that dismay or disturb. When those incidents do occur, how quickly can you reclaim your positive attitude? Who is in charge of your emotions?

Dr. Tom Costa, Founder of the Palm Desert, CA Church of  Religious Science  used to say, “If you are going through Hell, don’t pitch your tent there. Keep on moving.”

One of the main skills we learn in  Centers for Positive Living is  how to keep on moving. We are united in our belief that we don’t need misery and we can claim happiness.  When people need to overhaul their belief systems,  Positive Living Centers are the place to do it. We don’t stare at lemons and wring our hands. We make our claim on joy and drink  lemonade or champagne, as we choose.

Of course, things happen and people do get down. The important thing is recovery speed. Hanging onto our stories creates new tragedies. In the novel, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens,  Miss Havisham, wears her tattered, ancient wedding dress and lives her in her personal Hell built around being  jilted. Her decision to wallow in grief, anger and a need for revenge, ruins many lives.

Most stories aren’t as dramatic as that Victorian soap opera but we all know people who get down in the dumps and can’t crawl out for days, or weeks, or months, or even years. Like Miss Havisham, and they believe they have no control over their feelings. We know better.

In Positive Living Centers, we learn our emotions are a part of our consciousness. That consciousness includes our emotions, thoughts and beliefs and it constantly sends messages to Universal Mind (God). What’s more, Universal Mind responds to the messages by sending more of whatever we are thinking, feeling and believing.

The responsiveness of Universal Mind is both good and bad news. It isn’t so great to learn that a bad mood attracts more negative stuff. On the other hand, it is wonderful to discover we can change our minds and that creates change our in our lives. The more we can stay positive in our thoughts and actions, the more positive our lives will be.

Almost no one can be positive all the time. There are times when, for most of us,  negativity is a natural response.  If your lover dies, you are sad. If your job disappears, you are discouraged. It may not always be possible to keep from reacting to events. On the other hand, you do have control over how long you stay in a negative reaction.

Negative moods are seldom useful. Grief may be normal but it does no good. Wearing black forever is boring. Freeway  impatience may bubble up on the drive to work but it shouldn’t spoil your day. If you make a mistake and use tooth paste for shaving cream at 7 AM, there’s no need to be upset at 11 PM. The anger or grief that you hold onto are only felt by you. They do not affect the other person – you are the one who flunks the stress test.

Taking charge quickly and  controlling  our emotional response to events is a very effective skill. Learning to control of our familiar moods is also very useful. Some of us have formed habits of sadness, depression, self-pity or self-condemnation over many years. We identify these habits as negative moods. There are skills for dealing with those old habits as well. We do not need to pitch our tents in an old story.

There was a time when I would get very depressed and cry all weekend. I was in my forties and convinced my life was ruined. Between my 12 Step program and Science of Mind, I learned to handle my moods and live a happier life.

From 12 Step, I learned the past was gone forever. I also learned to live one day at a time. I used the Serenity Prayer like a mantra and said it until my mood shifted. I also learned I had to go to meetings and stick with supportive people.

Science of Mind gave me an amazing array of positive techniques to use in my daily life. It took a while, but I learned to use spiritual  tools. One of my personal tools was to think of myself  as a cranky two year old when my mood began to slide downward.  What do you do for a fretful (or screaming) toddler? You distract her.

I discovered I didn’t need to solve most problems.  If I simply distracted myself my life would generally heal itself.  I would lure myself away from self-pity by watching an old movie or reading a chapter in my Science of Mind Textbook.  I switched channels  and moved on.

Last week,  our Conversations in Consciousness group talked about personal techniques for changing moods. Some of the things I’ve listed came from that discussion. Others I learned others along the way.

Helping someone else raises your self-esteem.

Laughter heals the heart. Cultivate belly laughs.

Choose books that have happy endings. Watch comedies on TV.

Stick with cheerful people.

Wear bright clothes. Give away the clutter.

Make friends with some children.

Exercise – any kind of exercise works.

Get a massage. Go to yoga classes.

Get out in nature. Chase squirrels. Study beetles.

A walk on the beach can lead to happiness.

Today, see if you can add activities that make the list longer. We can all benefit from having plenty of techniques for putting our heads on straight.

Ask Yourself

When I want to move to the sunny side of the street, how do I do it?

When I want to get my head on straight, how do you start?

What are my tools for positive  mood swings?

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A Rosy World View

 This is blog #100 so I want to say something profound and here it is… Each of us views the world through our belief-colored glasses. The rosier they are, the happier we will be.

Albert Einstein was right when he said the most important question is whether the universe is friendly.

I feel smarter than Einstein because I know the answer. The world is as friendly as you think it is.

Of course, Einstein was a true genius because he developed the question out of his amazing original thinking. Most of what I know comes from Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science and author of the Science of Mind Textbook. My genius was in recognizing the wisdom of the ages when I saw it.

I didn’t immediately recognize the eternal wisdom, I just hoped it was true. Whatever – I’ve spent the last thirty-eight years testing Holmes’s ideas. As I studied and practiced Science of Mind, my glasses (and my world) turned rosier and rosier. My life is much better than expected and I credit my rosy glasses for that upturn of destiny.

I was definitely headed for trouble when I was younger. I avoided my probable fate as I discarded my dark glasses and deliberately set out to become an optimist. That decision worked wonders for me

I’ve encountered setbacks but Science of Mind has helped me in every area – creativity, prosperity, relationships, and, despite some serious problems, health. During my most recent trip to my lung doctor, he used the phrase, “ridiculously well” several times. So far, I have defied the COPD prognosis and every day is a blessing.

I’ll be 80 in April and when I look at my original beliefs about old age, I see that I’m doing much better than I was taught to expect. I have a purpose, I try new things, enjoy life, learn new skills, make new friends and have good times. I’m certain that I’m here and happy because I’ve been resolute about changing my thinking.

You don’t have to be brilliant or pious to use positive thinking. Anyone can do it. On the other hand, we all encounter surprises and challenges as we move along life’s path. As I’ve aged, I’ve had to learn some new skills and adapt to my new body and changed circumstances.

I still get to control the direction of my change and I still get to be healthy and happy. Change is still possible but change does not come the way it did at thirty. For example, I release that idea of romantic love and accept many good friends. I don’t look for high-paying work but continue to find ways to live well.

The key remains the same – being open to release old beliefs and make room for the new. I am happy to  admit that I did quite a bit of releasing and accepting as I travelled along my spiritual path.

Sometimes seems as though I released one negative belief only to discover six more but I kept on keeping on. I remember Dr. Tom Costa saying, “If you are going through Hell, keep moving, don’t pitch your tent.”

I learned that changing consciousness is a lifelong work and I also saw that spiritual principle supported my changes immediately. My journey has been one of release and support and it has been a testing ground for the power of Science of Mind and affirmative prayer.

I can now say, with perfect confidence, that it is  absolutely true that what we believe about the nature of reality has a tremendous influence on how our lives spin out.  I can also conclude that changing beliefs is complicated because some are cultural and others are deeply embedded in childhood experiences. However, I am certain that we are not really at the mercy of fate or kismet or kharma.

There was a time when most people believed that our life story is created by fate. Fate was usually portrayed as three women at a spinning wheel who twisted the yarn and spun out our story until one of them snipped the thread and it was all over.

You may remember these three fates as the three witches in MacBeth. They also appear together or separately in many fairy tales. That belief system makes us victims of fate. The Three Fates have all the control and life happens at us. Not true!

If we believe in fate then we are victims. It is always hopeless and we are always helpless. Not so! We can train our minds and gain control over much of our lives. We are not victims.

Trained minds touch into the Infinite Possibility, Infinite Power and Infinite Intelligence of God. We say, there is a power for good and you can use it. That is a shorthand description of the wisdom of the ages.

The Master Teacher, Jesus said, “As you believe, so it shall be done unto you.”

About 400 years later, the Greek philosopher Plutarch said, What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. He was speaking as if he were a quantum physicist only he said it 2500 years earlier.

In between the early Christians, ancient Greeks, and modern quantum physics, I found the teachings of the Asian masters by way of hippie gurus such as Alan Watts. Among many other things, Watts said, Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know”.

I fell in love with the idea of personal freedom and the ability to change my destiny in the Sixties. My early journey included Tarot cards, booze and acting out characters from old movies. For a while there, I really thought I was Sadie Thompson.

Eventually, I turned to a serious study of Science of Mind and I found Truth in the works of Ernest Holmes. He was a great synthesizer. He said, “Borrowing knowledge of reality from all sources, taking the best from every study, Science of Mind brings together the highest enlightenment of the ages.

In retrospect, my life is living proof of the practical wisdom of Science of Mind. I share it because it is not theoretical but my very real experience.

In the early Eighties, I began to really soak up the wisdom teaching. I took classes, read books, listened carefully and I experimented with positive thinking. My world got lighter and brighter almost immediately. Over the years, I changed my mind about nearly everything. Somewhere along the road, I discovered I live in a friendly universe.

What about you? Do you live in a friendly universe? Or is it full of lions and tigers and bears?

If your life-load seems too heavy, you can begin with some simple steps. First, try gratitude. Nothing greases the wheels of life as quickly. An attitude of gratitude is a marvelous change agent. Try it – it works!

Then begin accepting more. When someone gives you a compliment, say thanks instead of arguing. If they want to take you to lunch, accept the invitation and have fun. Take the good things that come your way and enjoy them without a struggle.

Gratitude and acceptance are perfect ways to begin your own experiments with Truth teaching. Dr. Holmes uses many names for God and the one I love is Divine Givingness. Open up to the gifts of life now!

Spiritual laws are always working. Put on your rose colored glasses and celebrate this hundredth blog post with me. Use Science of Mind ideas about reality to prove the wisdom of the ages with your own life story. Create a rosy future for yourself.  What have you got to lose?

Ask Yourself

Do I expect the best?

Am I usually grateful?

Am I good at accepting?