“We are the creators of our own reality” is phrase that appears more and more as people turn to various esoteric and more widely known spiritual practices in order to let go of control and free the mind.
Practices such as meditation, mindfulness and manifestation, once reserved only for those who had the time, money and will to travel to the far East and learn from a master, have now hit the west with a bang and people are turning to these wonderful practices to try and connect with themselves and solve their issues with power of the mind.
The need to launch ourselves head first into these practices often stems from mental health problems and the desire to take control of our brains. The problem is that we are so used to trying to control every aspect of our lives that quite often we miss the point of these exercises – to let go of control.
Many of us try to traverse our way through life at the helm of a steam barge with very little stopping power or manoeuvrability.
We try to control our jobs, our relationships, our free time – worrying about what we are doing and sabotaging good things that come to us. We try to force ourselves to live in a certain way, thinking, dressing, talking like others to try and maintain this sense of identity and belonging.
Many people feel trapped. Trapped in a location they are bored of, trapped in a job they don’t like or trapped in a relationship that is failing to make them feel free. It is this false sense of being trapped by external circumstances that cause so many people to exhibit the aptly named escapist behaviours.
Escapist behaviours are often used to distract from painful thoughts and emotions in life, and are often exhibited by people suffering with anxiety, depression and or low self esteem. Escapism can also be a method of blocking out or distracting from painful experiences or current traumas.
Examples of toxic escapist behaviours include:
- Over/under eating
- Extreme promiscuity
- Sex/masturbation addiction
- Excessive use of Drugs/alcohol
- Video games addiction
- Strong desire to abandon your job, relationship, home, (of course there are many circumstances where it would be wise to abandon one of these things)
- Excessive exercise
- Excessive working
- Most obsessions
If you notice a change in any of these behaviours it is important to stop and ask yourself why.
Feeling Like You Are Losing Control
The sense of losing control causes people to panic and start trying to manipulate their situation. When the mind slips and we start to experience stress, panic, anxiety we desperately try to grab the reigns and try and steer our lives in the direction we think they should head.
Counter-intuitively it is in these exact moments where letting go of control is most crucial. When we start to notice ourselves having irrational thoughts, impulses to act and make drastic decisions, or the desire to suddenly abandon or undertake a new project, we need to stop, breathe, do nothing, and spend some time alone with our thoughts.
Of course this does not mean that making big decisions or changing plans for a project is a bad thing, it simply means we must understand the roots of the decisions for change.
Is the desire to change rooted in:
Will this change ultimately improve my life and bring me closer to where I would like to be?
When we experience these impulses, or notice a change in our behaviour – such as drinking, eating, smoking or even exercising more than usual we need to try and objectively view our situation and find what it is that we are trying to run from.
Writing down dreams, recurring thoughts, and also just how we are feeling in a journal helps to pinpoint the real issue at hand. It is important to keep asking “why?”. When we keep asking “why?” for all of our behaviours we soon arrive at what are known as our core beliefs.
Some common negative core beliefs:
I am not good enough – I am not worthy of happiness
I am not smart enough – I will fail at anything I try
I am unlovable – Nobody appreciates me
People are untrustworthy – They just want to take advantage
Our core beliefs are the intrinsic beliefs that we have about ourselves, other people, and the world as a whole. Beyond the ego and beyond our daily surface thoughts, they are the beliefs and values that govern how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.
By learning to recognise thoughts and impulses that come from our core beliefs we start to notice certain triggers and patterns in our behaviour.
This in itself is an exercise in mindfulness. By letting go of the urge to take control of a situation we inadvertently take control of our mind and life. The more these simple exercises are practised the more we start to feel free.
We soon start to realise that trying to control every aspect of our lives actually imprisons us even deeper inside our own mind and it becomes apparent that the villain in our tragedy is ourselves. We are the ones that are restricting ourselves and removing our freedom.
We are the creators of our own reality but the key to creation and true freedom is letting go of control and trusting that the life you desire will manifest itself.
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