Creative Thinking: It’s your birthday

Elsa Franco Al Ghaslan

Published — Monday 10 September 2012

Last update 10 September 2012 8:21 am

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Imagine that today is your birthday. Another year has elapsed and you are a year older. How does it feel? Great? Not so great? Exciting? Depressing? Aha! These are incredibly different responses, a wide range of reactions that indicate different feelings. Why are these feelings so different? Does it depend on your “age”? It might, but only partially. The main factor is another.
We have already said, more than once, that the reality you experience exists only in your mind. Haven’t you fully grasped the meaning of such words yet? Try this. Sit in a room where the air conditioning is on. You are aware of the buzzing, rather loud noise that the A.C. set is producing. Usually, you are not bothered by it because it is a familiar sound, that you accept as part of your day (and night). Now you start talking to a friend, or begin reading a book or you let your mind wonder in pleasant thoughts (or unpleasant ones, it doesn’t matter for our experiment, although the final result will be quite different!). All of a sudden you realize that you haven’t heard the noise of
the A.C. throughout the duration of your conversation, your reading or your thinking. What happened? Did the sound disappear? Not at all. It was you who stopped experiencing it. Why? Because you were busy with something else. Because your mind was concentrating on another task, it was focusing elsewhere.
So? So, I believe this to be a sufficient proof of the fact that, if you pay attention to something, you experience it. If you ignore it, it doesn’t affect you. Not only. If you decide to have the experience, you can also choose “how” to feel about it. You do that by accepting one “interpretation” rather than another. Still using the previous example of the air conditioning, once you are conscious of the noise it is producing, it’s up to you to consider it as normal, even pleasantly rhythmical or perceive it as too loud and annoying. Did the sound change? No, it didn’t. Did your hearing apparatus change? No, it didn’t. What “does” actually change in any such situation? Your perception. How does this happen? What creates it? Your mind is the “producer” of your film, the “manufacturer” of your product .
According to the way you “decide” to perceive a certain situation or person, your feelings will follow accordingly. At this point, you will probably say that you “don’t” decide. The feeling just pops up and you only accept it. You also say that the feeling is created by the situation. Wonderful. You have the right answer, the perfect justification to your “negative” moods, behaviors and feelings. It’s always something that happens “outside” that causes your upset, isn’t it? You are the simple receptor and your mood is the natural consequence.
This is what you like to believe because this is what you have always seen happen around you. Your parents certainly believed it because you saw them behave as they did. The same happened with all the other people you have dealt and interacted with throughout your whole life, up to now. “You make me angry when you do/say that.” Didn’t someone say this to you and didn’t you, yourself, utter the same words, one time or another?
When something you don’t like happens, it is only natural for you to feel unhappy. But the immediate, human feeling of upset can be overcome right after having been acknowledged, without inviting it “to stay” and make a
home in your inner self. The danger is not so much in “feeling” the upset, it is in “nursing” it, making it your own and allowing it to generate a negative, aggressive, passive, offensive etc. response on your part.
You well know that your mind is the forge where your thoughts are generated. You also know that your thoughts are the creators of your feelings (and not the other way around, as most appear to believe). Do you remember a famous song that says: “When you’re smiling, the world smiles back at you“? Doesn’t this mean that it’s you who — “first” — must smile, i.e. be happy, show a positive attitude? Only then will also your external experience be positive, because this is what your perception will make you feel, no matter how old you are. Your biological age has nothing to do with it.

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