QUESTIONS WHICH WILL HELP DISCOVER HOW WE ARE CREATING OUR REALITY.
Some may find some of the following questions rather difficult to answer at first or perhaps experience some inner resistance. Others may feel the mind goes blank, or may write down just a few superficial answers. After passing through these initial stages, we will learn to dig deeper and more honestly into the roots of our emotions and behaviours. If we have difficulty writing at first, we can simply begin writing about how we feel at the moment we are sitting there waiting for something to write. How we feel at that moment will be a key to one of our basic obstacles towards this process. We might fear honestly accepting the truth about our personality, or fear accepting responsibility for our lives, or fear change itself. As previously explained, these questions are expressed in the third person so and we can answer in the third person if we choose. They are expressed with the pronoun «she» or «he» simply for convenience and in attempt to be fair to both genders. When we are not satisfied with our initial answers, we can try again after a week or so and then after another week. In this way we will be able to dig deeper and deeper. It might be useful to read through the complete explanation of the questions and sample answers first and then come back to this point and begin to answer them for ourselves.
A. What are her attachments and addictions? What does she believe that she needs to have, or must have in order to feel secure, worthy and happy?
SOME SAMPLE ANSWERS
1. She believes that she must have her husband’s presence in order to feel worthy, secure and happy.
2. Enough money for the various her and famil members’ needs and pleasures.
3. She is attached to her children’s needing her.
4. Mary needs to receive affection as proof that her husband loves her.
5. She is attached to being able to have the freedom to do what she wants.
6. She is attached to her children’s success in school and in the world.
7. She is attached to her physical beauty through attractive clothing and cosmetics.
8. Mary likes to know that her friends accept and love her.
9. She likes to have enough time for herself to read spiritually stimulating books.
10. She is attached to having the time and space to do her exercises.
11. She is addicted to sweets, especially when she is depressed.
12. She is attached to being spoken to with respect by her children, husband and friends.
13. She identifies her self-worth with her professional standing and also with her salary.
These are only a few of thousands of possible answers to this question.
B. How do the above attachments affect her life positively or negatively?
Let us analyse the above mentioned examples of attachments as to how they might affect Mary’s life.
1. When her husband is there she will feel secure and happy as long as she is not worrying about him getting ill, dying or leaving her in some other way. When he is not there, she might feel unsafe, insecure and unhappy. If he begins to show attention to other women or communication breaks down between her and her husband, again she will feel vulnerable and unhappy.
2. When there is «enough» money then Mary will feel secure. However, one who depends on money for a sense of security rarely comes to the point to feel that there is actually «enough» in order to stop worrying. In addition there is always the worry of possible disaster such as fire, illness, earthquakes and war for which one can not be insured. Thus this tendency creates only suffering and worry or at the best momentary relief that there is enough for the moment.
3. As long as her children are young and need her to play the role of the mother, she will be be happy. But as they enter into their teens and begin to develop their own independent center of action and security, she may begin to feel useless and unneeded. She may try to prevent her children from growing up and this may create conflict as the children fight for their own identity.
4. If her husband is the type who shows affection then this addiction will not produce problems. But if her husband is the type who does not express affectionate feelings (although he may feel them inside himself), or if he is simply tired, or nervous and doesn’t have the energy or peace of mind to express affection, then Mary will create feelings of alienation, of being unloved and misunderstood. She may even begin to seek attention by becoming ill or behaving negatively in order to get the attention she believes she «has» to have in order to be happy. This may then develop into a chronic situation of either illness or negative interactions with her husband in order to get his attention.
5. When she has enough freedom to do what she wants, she will be happy and content. If however her husband is the authoritarian type who has been programmed to believe that women should stay in the house and not have other interests, then she will suffer. She will then be caught between her attachment to her husband’s support and affection and her need for freedom. This may create conflict within her, and also between her and her family. On the other hand, this attachment will help her to develop her particular abilities and interests outside her role as mother and wife. This attachment may also conflict with her attachment to have her children depend on her.
6. If her children always succeed in school and in life, then she will be happy, and this attachment will not create problems. Of course, each one defines success in a different way and it is seldom that a child can match up completely to his or her parents’ expectations. If most parents were to examine their expectations, they would see that they themselves fall far short of fulfilling them. So Mary will most likely suffer to a greater or lesser degree as a result of this attachment as her children will not always be able to live up to her expectations. This is especially true in a school system and society which operates on a totally false value system, which the child may inherently reject as hypocritical. Mary’s disappointment may turn into a constant nagging and disapproval of her children which may undermine their own self-love and self-acceptance thus forcing them into negative behavior patterns. In this way Mary’s addiction may create much suffering for her and her family. At this point some may be thinking, “but it would be irresponsible to not be attached to our children’s success”. We must understand that our attachment and subsequent negative reactions and attempts to manipulate the child are seldom ever helpful to the growing child. Loving, understanding and providing opportunities for learning and developing a wholesome character can help the child to develop into healthy human being. A good example is the best teaching. An unhappy mother cannot easily help her children to be happy.
7. Her attachment to personal beauty may cause her to take care of her body and thus her health to a certain extent. It may, however, produce an exaggerated concentration on the superficial aspects of beauty, and thus, as she grows older and perhaps less «attractive» in a superficial sense, she may begin to worry. She will also spend much time, energy and money on this attachment. She will be vulnerable to what others have to say about how she looks. She will be constantly at the mercy of the impressions of the others. She may also feel competitiveness, jealousy and fear when in the presence of other women who are more “attractive.”
8. When Mary receives love and acceptance from her friends then she will be content. If, however, her friends occasionally disagree with her or release some of their negativity on her, or are simply tired and not expressive of their positive feelings toward her, she may begin to feel alienated, alone, unloved, insecure and possibly even hostile towards her them. This could create a negative response toward them, which might then generate into a vicious circle which would destroy the relationship. This attachment may also cause Mary to do things which she would ordinarily prefer not to do, so as to win her friends’ acceptance. In such a case, she might begin to secretly resent them for «forcing» her to do these things, when in reality her addiction to their approval has forced her into these compromises. This attachment may also cause Mary to be afraid to tell the truth about how she feels in certain situations out of fear that her friends will stop loving her.
9. On the one hand this attachment will cause Mary to read material which will help her to grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally. But if she is addicted to this need at a moment when her child, husband or friend need her time and attention, then she will feel a conflict between her need for reading and her need to express her love and be loved. This desire may also conflict in terms of time consumption with other needs such as for a attractive appearance.
10. Her attachment to doing her exercises will certainly bring her benefits in the form of health, mental peace and spiritual growth. But as in the case of the attachment to reading, when other factors prevent her from being able to do them, she experience an inner conflict. She may even develop a type of guilt complex which says, «I’m okay if I do my exercises, and I’m not okay if I don’t».
11. Her addiction to sweets might eventually create health problems of various types. In addition she may develop an overweight condition and a subsequent negative self image, and lack of self-love which could undermine her relationship with husband, children and friends.
12. When others speak softly and respectfully to her, she will feel okay. But if anyone should speak in a negative, harsh, or irrespective way, Mary will feel hurt, perhaps demeaned, and perhaps even angry. Her addiction will not let her see that the other has problems which cause him to act in that way. Her feelings of hurt and consequent negative response will weight heavily on the relationship.
13. As long as she is able to create a professional position which satisfies her need for self worth and, perhaps, economic security, she will feel fine. Her need, however, for this position may cause her anxiety when it is endangered. It may also lead to feelings of competition with fellow workers and possible subsequent negative relationships. It may also cause her to overwork, thus weakening her health or perhaps creating conflicts concerning her need to offer to her family.
Here we see just some of the many possible ways in which Mary’s main addictions can affect her. There are many other possibilities.
C.What are the beliefs which cause her to be succeptable to these addictions and their negative affect on her life?
Let us now look at some of the possible beliefs which could be causing these attachments and dependencies, and their resulting situations. We will have to remember the previous lists concerning Mary’s attachments and their possible results in her life.
1. Concerning her husband’s presence, or in general the presence of a man (spouse,lover, exclusive personal relationship).
a. I am secure only if I have a man by my side in life.
b. I am not capable of protecting myself or surviving on my own.
c. Others will see me as worthy only if I have a man. A woman without a man is not socially acceptable.
d. My value as a person is determined by what others think of me, and that is dependent on how attractive I am to the opposite sex.
2. Regarding her attachment to money:
a. Whoever has money is safe from the possible dangers in life.
b. People who have more money are respected more by others and are more worthy than others who have less.
c. I need money in order to be loved and wanted by others.
d. I need money in order to have those comforts without which I could never be happy.
e. With money I can control people and thus have more power.
f. If I have money, I will have freedom and will not have to beg my husband or others for what I want. I am freer with money.
We can see from these examples that we associate some objects, or persons, or situations with various basic needs and believe that we could not feel satisied or happy without them. For example we believe that our security, self-worth, freedom, happiness, pleasure, etc. depend on money.
3. Concerning her attachment to her children needing her:
a. My worth as a human being is determined by how good a mother I am.
b. I am a good mother if my children need me. If someone needs me, then I am capable and worthy and can have self- esteem.
c. I have no other role in life. If my children do not need me, then my life has no meaning.
4. Concerning her need for affection from her husband:
a. My self-worth is dependent on how much my husband loves me and respects me.
b.His love and respect for me are determined by how much affection he gives me and how much he pays attention to me.
c.If he is not affectionate, this may mean that he doesn’t care enough for me, and that might mean that he might leave me. In such a case my security and self esteem will be greatly diminished.
d. I must receive this affection from this particular person. The affection which I receive from my children and others cannot replace that which I need from this man.
5. In regard to her need for the freedom to do what she wants:
a. Others can limit my freedom.
b. I need to establish my freedom in relationship to others.
c. Freedom means to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want to. (It does not matter that I am not free from programmings and emotional mechanisms which make me want to do various things, regardless of whether they are good from me or not.)
d. Freedom means being able to do the opposite of what others ask and expect of me.
6. Concerning her children’s’ success:
a. I am responsible for and create my children’s’ reality. There are no other factors which contribute to their success or failure.
b. Thus if they are successful, then I am successful. If they fail, then I am a failure.
c. Others will judge me according to my children’s’ success or behavior. My self worth depends on what others think and say about me.
d. I cannot accept myself, when others reject me, or think of me as inferior.
7. Regarding her need to be physically attractive:
a. My self worth is dependent upon how much attention others pay attention to me and are interested in me.
b. People will judge me according to my appearance, and will want me only if I am beautiful.
c. I have nothing else which will make people respect and want me.
d. If people do not want me, I will be alone. Alone I am not safe. I am unable to survive, or be happy, if I am alone.
e. People see only our appearance and are not interested in our real self.
8. Concerning her need for respect and attention from her friends.
a. My value as a person is determined by what others think about me and say about me. If they accept me, then I am acceptable. If they respect me, then I deserve respect. If they love me, then I am lovable.
b. If others do not love and accept me, then I am not worthy of their love and respect.
c. If others do not love and accept me, I will be alone and I will not be safe and secure. My only safety is in being with other people.
9.Regarding her attachment to having time to read.
a. Only through reading can I: relax, gain knowledge, become informed, grow spiritually etc.
b. Only if I am informed will people respect me and pay attention to me.
c. Only if I proceed spiritually will God love me, or will people in my spiritual circle respect and love me.
d. He who has more knowledge, or who grows spiritually more quickly than the others, is worth more than the others and deserves more love and respect.
e. I will make a good impression on others if I know more than them.
f. I am worthy only if others see my worth.
g. Information which I may obtain in books may help me to survive more easily.
10. Space and time to do her exercises.
a. My health and vitality depend on my doing these exercises. Otherwise I may lose my health, vitality, physical appearance or spiritual growth.
b. If I become ill, or lose my vitality, then I will not be able to perform my duties properly, or enjoy various pleasures.
c. If I lose my physical appearance, others may not want me. I may be alone.
Note: Let us interject with a small note here. We are listing here the beliefs which create attachment to these various needs. We are not saying these needs such as reading and exercising or receiving affection are not important and useful in our lives. We are simply pointing out that when they are attachments, rather than preferences, then, rather than help us, they can create inner and outer conflicts which may in the end cause more harm than good. In such a case, we will want to examine the beliefs which make us dependent on having that to which we are attached, even though it may be causing us so many problems and unhappiness and perhaps even ill health. The next step then would be to transform each attachment, which is causing suffering, into a preference. When we make it a preference, we work energetically, in order to manifest that which we want, but will not be unhappy if we cannot have it. Let us now continue examining the various beliefs, which make Mary attach herself to various persons, objects and situations.
11. Her addiction to sweets.
a. This may be a habit which becomes addictive through various energy patterns and physiological dependency. The belief, which would keep her in this pattern, is that there is nothing else which can offer her the temporary feeling of energy, pleasure, freedom or satisfaction, which she experiences eating these sweets.
b. There may also be a belief that she does not have the inner strength to go through the painful process of detoxification, and feelings of deprival in order to get free from this addiction.
c. Another belief would be that she is not worthy of a healthier more attractive body. Or that if she is more attractive, she might attract a man, something which she may fear subconsciously for various reasons (fear of responsibility, of abandonment, of rejection, of sexual contact, or loosing her freedom).
12. To be spoken to with respect.
a. I am respected only when others speak to me with respect, otherwise they are demeaning me and I loose my self worth.
b. If people do not respect me, I cannot feel self esteem and inner security.
13. Professional position and salary
a.Persons with higher professional positions are more worthy than those with lesser positions.
b. People will accept and respect me if I have a higher position and a higher salary.
c. Persons with higher positions and higher salaries are more secure and can have more things in life.
d. These extra “things” and comforts which they can have will make them happier.
e. I must prove to others that I am worthy by succeeding professionally. I must prove that I am as capable as men, by succeeding professionally.
Thus we see of the many possible beliefs which may be causing Mary’s attachments and thus her subsequent suffering in some cases.
The next question is whether, or not, she wants to get free from any of these attachments by transforming them into preferences, which she will try with all her strength to manifest but will not lose her peace of mind in the process.
D. Would she like to transform any of these attachments or addictions to preferences? What ideas or plans does she have form making these transformations?
When we are attached to something, it means we cannot be happy if it does not happen. It means that we suffer if it does not happen. When we have a preference for something to happen, it means that we would like it to happen, but we can accept if it does not happen; we will do everything that we possibly can on a physical, mental and spiritual level to make it happen, but if it still does not happen then we are able to accept that. This does not mean leaving it up to fate. We know what we want and we dynamically work toward creating it, but if it does not materialise, we have enough inner security and strength to be happy and content anyway. Thus, the question is, «would she like to transform any of these attachments or addictions into preferences so that she does not suffer so much?» Mary might choose to transform some of the attachments which she has listed. She may feel unready to let go completely of other attachments. She may also feel that some attachments are useful or natural. Her answers might be something like this.
1. Yes, she would like to develop more internal strength, security and love so that she is not so dependent on her husband’s presence for her feelings of security and self-worth. In order to do this, she will begin to spend some time each day, alone, cultivating feelings of inner contentment. She will start a program of positive mental projection, in which she will daily project herself as a strong and secure individual. She may also work with positive affirmations such as, «I feel loved, safe and secure within myself as I am.”
2. Since she cannot control the world’s economic situation , she will begin to be more careful in the family spending, while simultaneously working on not worrying when she thinks about money. She will concentrate on the concept that «Life gives me exactly what I need in each moment in order to survive and evolve». She realises now that her addiction to money is based on negative childhood experiences, in which there was not enough, and that this program is causing unnecessary worry now. She will try to remember that work, and not worry, makes money. She will make money a preference and not a prerequisite for security, self esteem and happiness.
3. As her children are still young, she is not interested in working on this attachment. Later as they are growing up she will be more interested in liberating herself from needing her children to need her. In preparation, however, she plans to spend time now developing other activities and interests, so that when the time comes for her children to leave, she will have other interests to fill her life. She will also provide ample opportunities for her children to develop their own thinking processes and abilities to cope with the world.
4. Yes, she would like to transform her attachment to her husband’s expression of affection into preference. Of course she would prefer her husband to be affectionate, but she is going to work on feeling loved and secure, even when he is unable or unwilling to fulfil her preference. She is going to work on self-love and self-acceptance through the following affirmations:
a) «I accept and love myself as I am, independently of the others’ actions and attitudes».
b)«I feel loved regardless my husband’s ability to express affection.».
5. The attachment to having the freedom to do what she wants is not producing any problems at the moment so she has no need to change it into a preference.
6. Since her children are not doing very well in school and she has unsuccessfully tried everything, from bribery to threats and punishment, she would like to try to be able to accept them and have inner peace regardless of the fact that, at the present, they do not live up to the expectations she has created. She would like to begin to see them as souls who have the inner guidance which will direct them in their lives. She would like to develop a more equal-to-equal type of communication with her children, so as to be able to understand how they feel, and what problems might be preventing them from manifesting their full potential. She will work on the concept that her children too must learn from their mistakes, and that the problems that they are facing are the opportunities they need for their growth. She would like to transform this attachment into a preference, since there is nothing she can do to make this external reality conform to her desires. Perhaps as she accepts her children more, they will accept themselves more and naturally improve their performance. 7+8. Mary notices that this attachment to external beauty is associated with the next attachment which is to be loved and accepted by her friends. She now realises that, if her friends accept and love her on the basis of how she looks, that their love will not be the true unconditional love she seeks from others. She would prefer to develop an inner sense of self-love and self-acceptance, so as not to be dependent on the moods and programmings of others. Of course, she still prefers to be neat and pleasant in appearance, and to be loved and accepted by her friends, but she is going to work on being able to be happy even when these conditions are not possible.
9+10. In examining her attachments to spiritual reading and exercises, she realises that she very much wants to continue with these activities but would not like for them to cause negative feelings towards others. She will try to program her life so that there will always be time for these activities, but will not get upset or bitter in the special case in which people, or circumstances, prevent her from fulfilling these desires.
11. She would like to overcome this dependency on sweets. She will develop her will power and positive projection techniques so as to see herself in the presence of sweets without any desire for them. On the other hand she would like to let go of the guilt complex which is associated with the eating of sweets. She does not believe that God or others will love her more or less whether she eats them or not. She simply realises that they are not useful for her in her search for health, happiness and harmony.
12. Since she cannot, of course, control the feelings and behaviour of those around her, she would like to change this attachment to a preference for respect. She will try to remember, when she is faced with a situation in which someone has lost control and is speaking to her in a way which is unacceptable to her, that this person has problems and is not happy within himself, or else he would not be speaking in this way. She will also try to remember that this person probably does not really want to hurt her, but just has too much negative energy which he cannot control and is now releasing it on her, in an attempt to free himself from it. She will develop, through meditation and other practices, a stronger contact with her inner Self, so that she will not be so affected by the words and attitudes of others. Of course, she still prefers to be spoken to with kind and respectful words, but if the other has lost control, she will be strong enough to react with understanding and perhaps even love.
Thus, in working through Question I parts A,B,C and D, Mary has come to an understanding of which attachments are creating her suffering and has decided which attachments she would now like to work on, transforming into preferences. She has made a plan for each and has made a conscious plan for transformation. She will get further help from the dairy which she keeps and the psychology group which she attends.
QUESTION 2 – AVERSIONS
An aversion is simply an attachment to avoiding a situation or person. When we have an aversion, we are addicted to not having contact with someone, or thing, or event. When this aversion becomes very strong it may also be called a fear. Our fears are generally linked with the future. We fear that something will happen or will not happen in the future. This prevents us from being able to enjoy and concentrate on the present. Aversions and fears serve to destroy our peace as much as attachments, but perhaps in a more subtle way. Most attachments can be expressed either as attachments or as aversions. Aversions generally result from fear of not fulfilling an attachment. It doesn’t really matter how we express them; the fact remains that they disturb our peace and we would be better off without them. Let us take the case of an hypothetical John and see what aversions or fears he might possibly have.
A. What are his greatest aversions?
1. John has a strong aversion to his wife’s speaking to other men. He also does not like her to leave the house very much.
2. He has an aversion to being at home alone without his wife. He feels that her duty is to be with him when he is there.
3. John has an aversion to his children’s rather unacceptably looking friends.
4. He has an aversion to being kept awake by the noisy neighbors upstairs. Although he has never really told them about it.
5. He does not like the way his boss does not take his opinion into consideration.
6. He has a strong aversion to his wife’ mother coming over and gossiping with his wife and filling her with all kinds of negative thoughts about himself.
7. He does not like to be disturbed by the children when he is reading or watching the television.
8. He has a strong aversion to his wife’s tendency to get emotional and begin screaming when they are discussing things.
9. John does not like to wait in lines and becomes terribly impatient with inefficient and negligent clerks in stores and offices.
10. He feels uncomfortable when in the presence of persons more capable than himself in certain activities (physical or mental) especially if the more capable one is his wife or child or close friend.
11. He has an aversion to being given advice.
12. He does not like others to notice his weaknesses or fears and thus does whatever he can to hide them. This list, of course, could be endless, depending on how John has been programmed to perceive the people and events around him.
B. How do these aversions affect his state of mind and relationships with others?
Now John must look at each aversion and try to discover how these aversions affect his health and state of mind positively or negatively. We do not need to go into detail in orde