Escape Reality

Bill Canfield Photo

 

What exactly does it mean to escape reality? I’ve heard those words bandied about with some frequency. People go to movies, shop, drink, and get high to “escape reality.”

No one who uses a fix to escape can possibly know that the reality they so desperately seek to avoid was self-created. We create our own reality in every moment throughout our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. If we can think, then we’re creating a reality within our own minds. There is not one reality; there are as many personal realities as there are people on the planet.

Even when we’re looking out at a landscape, one could argue—-well that’s not in my mind, that’s out there; everyone can see it. Yes, it may be out there but if two people were standing on either side of you they would each see something different, or differently. One might not even notice the scene because s/he was so absorbed in some other thought.

One crisp fall day, I remember commenting to someone about the beauty of multi-colored foliage. Her response was, “Oh I hate fall, it reminds me of death, all these leaves will soon die.” Now that’s two very different realities, side by side, taking in the same scene, “out there.”

Whatever we notice “out there” will always be imbued with our thoughts about it. What we see can appear as though we’re wearing rose-colored glasses, or gray tinted ones. What most people do not know is that the mind will clear, whether the thoughts are rosy or gray, and things will look different again, and again. We never know how things will look in the next moment.

A shift in our thinking is natural. We call them moods. High quality thoughts put you in a high quality mood. Low quality thoughts put you in a low mood. It’s really that simple. I’m not suggesting that you conjure up some positive thoughts – consciousness does not bring forced thoughts to life the way it brings our “out of the blue” thoughts to life.

Armed with the knowledge that thought and consciousness bring us a particular state of mind, our ignorance is removed. Armed with this knowledge we can navigate our lives with more grace and ease. We may still be bumped around a bit, but we won’t get smashed as we would if life came hurling at us.

Imagine being in the middle of a mental storm, simultaneously knowing that it’s a temporary condition and that we can simply observe it without acting on it. Somehow, these emotional storms pass a lot more quickly when we recognize them for what they are; momentary personal takes on reality. None of us has the absolute truth about any view of reality.

A friend of mine experienced excruciating pain a few weeks ago during an attack of a virus. He thought he had food poisoning. Later, after the pain had subsided, he admitted that if there had been a window up high, he might have jumped out of it to avoid that horrific pain. A few days later he wondered how many people had actually gone ahead and taken their lives during moments of physical or emotional pain, whereas if they had just waited it out, they would have felt better and been grateful not to have taken the contemplated leap.

What a difference a thought can make.

People who have gained a deep enough understanding (it only takes exploring the many ways available now) have seen how to access beautiful feelings beneath their thinking. This is available to everyone. It requires letting our negative thoughts pass through, unattended. That’s the best way to escape “reality.” It’s natural and totally harmless. Then nice feelings rise to the surface; where people are at their best. Higher-level characteristics automatically spring forth. People then find they are more creative, more patient, more compassionate, and more generous, not because they decided to be but because these are the characteristics fostered in pleasant states of mind. It’s a natural outcome. No technique, practice, or drive is required.

Think of this as a public service announcement and spread it to others. It’s knowledge we can all stand to know. For those who would like more information regarding the workings of thought and consciousness, click here. 

If you enjoyed this article, please click the Facebook ”Like” button..


Share/Bookmark

The Key to Self-Discipline

An interesting thing to contemplate, especially this time of year with holiday parties and all sorts of merry-making to take us away from our typical (hopefully healthy) routines. Maintaining healthy self-discipline can be a burden in the best conditions. So I thought it valuable to reflect and have a deeper look at what self-discipline really involves. Reflection often leads to insight and insight leads to sustainable change from within.

As I reflected, the realization came that discipline is everywhere in my life, from brushing my teeth to leaving my office in time to get to my Yoga class. Since we know every experience in life comes to us via Thought and Consciousness, we also know that our experience of discipline comes via Thought and Consciousness.

Knowing where discipline originates sure helps:
  1. Knowing this explains why we have thoughts that lead us away from healthy discipline such as good dietary and sleep habits.
  2. Knowing that Consciousness makes our thinking appear so real also explains why we have thoughts that lead to unhealthy behaviors or what we might call lack of personal discipline, that can result in

  • eating disorders
  • inadequate sleep, or
  • excessive exercise.

Discipline is a choice:

Discipline requires us to choose one thought over another thought. Can you recall the cartoons where a miniature devil sits on one shoulder whispering in the recipient’s ear while a little angel sits on the other side whispering opposing thoughts in the other ear? It occurs to me that armed with enough understanding about how Thought and Consciousness work together to bring us experience, we can see that not all our thoughts are created equal; some are good for us and some are terrible for us. Yet we can so easily succumb to the thoughts that lead us astray. You know, that devil-may-care attitude to which we can fall prey. Intellectually we may know that something is bad for us but those devilish thoughts can catch us off guard and then send us sliding down a slippery slope.

Our psychological operating system:

Knowing how thought works is truly invaluable to us – it reveals our “operating system.” It tells us that every experience we have comes to us as apparent reality, as if it is an absolute black or white truth, when really it is simply the result of a set of thoughts. So if we think, “shucks, going one day without brushing my teeth will not make them fall out of my mouth,” that thought could convince us to skip a brushing. Then finding ourselves unexpectedly running into a friend who engages us in conversation, another thought might materialize: “Yikes, I didn’t brush today, I wonder if my breath gives me away?” The thoughts we take seriously and follow will always bring a particular outcome, whether in the short run or the long run.

What can happen when we don’t know how it works?

Before I knew how thought and consciousness work, I often tripped myself up with my own thinking. Now that I know that my reality is a self-created illusion – a personal interpretation of what’s happening, I have far more control over my choices, which makes life easier and gentler.

Imagine this:

Imagine being at a holiday party where your devil starts to convince you that “you can have one more rum punch; after all it is a holiday.” Do you think you would succumb to the temptation if you realized it was that little devil up to his tricks again? It seems to me that it’s not the original thought that is the real culprit; it’s the next thought that evaluates the first one. Is this good for us or bad for us?

Natural high vs. unhealthy temptation:

Self-discipline in life can give us a natural high. We can succumb to unhealthy temptation hoping to feel high from something outside ourselves such as drugs or alcohol or any addiction with negative side affects, when in fact, there is no greater high than exercising our right to take care of ourselves. It feels so empowering. Seeing the results of our efforts, knowing that the experience was due to us, rather than some random event feels wonderful. After all, we are the ones in charge of ourselves in every moment of our lives. Knowing that our thinking will lead us astray if we go along with it is invaluable to help us choose wisely.

Knowledge is the key to self-discipline —                                                                                               the knowledge of what is creating our experience in the moment …

The Key to Self-Discipline

An interesting thing to contemplate, especially this time of year with holiday parties and all sorts of merry-making to take us away from our typical (hopefully healthy) routines. Maintaining healthy self-discipline can be a burden in the best conditions. So I thought it valuable to reflect and have a deeper look at what self-discipline really involves. Reflection often leads to insight and insight leads to sustainable change from within.

As I reflected, the realization came that discipline is everywhere in my life, from brushing my teeth to leaving my office in time to get to my Yoga class. Since we know every experience in life comes to us via Thought and Consciousness, we also know that our experience of discipline comes via Thought and Consciousness.

Knowing where discipline originates sure helps:

  1. Knowing this explains why we have thoughts that lead us away from healthy discipline such as good dietary and sleep habits.
  2. Knowing that Consciousness makes our thinking appear so real also explains why we have thoughts that lead to unhealthy behaviors or what we might call lack of personal discipline, that can result in
  • eating disorders
  • inadequate sleep, or
  • excessive exercise.

Discipline is a choice:

Discipline requires us to choose one thought over another thought. Can you recall the cartoons where a miniature devil sits on one shoulder whispering in the recipient’s ear while a little angel sits on the other side whispering opposing thoughts in the other ear? It occurs to me that armed with enough understanding about how Thought and Consciousness work together to bring us experience, we can see that not all our thoughts are created equal; some are good for us and some are terrible for us. Yet we can so easily succumb to the thoughts that lead us astray. You know, that devil-may-care attitude to which we can fall prey. Intellectually we may know that something is bad for us but those devilish thoughts can catch us off guard and then send us sliding down a slippery slope.

Our psychological operating system:

Knowing how thought works is truly invaluable to us – it reveals our “operating system.” It tells us that every experience we have comes to us as apparent reality, as if it is an absolute black or white truth, when really it is simply the result of a set of thoughts. So if we think, “shucks, going one day without brushing my teeth will not make them fall out of my mouth,” that thought could convince us to skip a brushing. Then finding ourselves unexpectedly running into a friend who engages us in conversation, another thought might materialize: “Yikes, I didn’t brush today, I wonder if my breath gives me away?” The thoughts we take seriously and follow will always bring a particular outcome, whether in the short run or the long run.

What can happen when we don’t know how it works?

Before I knew how thought and consciousness work, I often tripped myself up with my own thinking. Now that I know that my reality is a self-created illusion – a personal interpretation of what’s happening, I have far more control over my choices, which makes life easier and gentler.

Imagine this:

Imagine being at a holiday party where your devil starts to convince you that “you can have one more rum punch; after all it is a holiday.” Do you think you would succumb to the temptation if you realized it was that little devil up to his tricks again? It seems to me that it’s not the original thought that is the real culprit; it’s the next thought that evaluates the first one. Is this good for us or bad for us?

Natural high vs. unhealthy temptation:

Self-discipline in life can give us a natural high. We can succumb to unhealthy temptation hoping to feel high from something outside ourselves such as drugs or alcohol or any addiction with negative side affects, when in fact, there is no greater high than exercising our right to take care of ourselves. It feels so empowering. Seeing the results of our efforts, knowing that the experience was due to us, rather than some random event feels wonderful. After all, we are the ones in charge of ourselves in every moment of our lives. Knowing that our thinking will lead us astray if we go along with it is invaluable to help us choose wisely.

Knowledge is the key to self-discipline —                                                                                                                                                                           the knowledge of what is creating our experience in the moment …

 

 

 

 

 

Share/Bookmark

How To Fall Back In Love

PictureJyll Kashmann Photo

What if I happen to fall out of love after marrying, will it be possible to fall back in love? This is a common question I get from couples who see me for premarital counseling.
They’ve heard numerous tales of woe from friends and family. The old adage… “until death do us part,” has lost it’s glory, if not it’s meaning.


Couples fear the feeling of inevitable pain and suffering if they get too close to one another and something goes awry. No one wants a broken heart.

My answer is always the same – or at least some rendition of same: Yes, you will most likely fall out of love at some point, and back in love and out and back in again, perhaps several times. Why is that? Because love is mood related, and anyone who thinks thoughts, will experience moods. Bad moods are the result of low quality thoughts and high moods are the result of high quality thoughts. Get it? Moods and thoughts are thoroughly connected.
Falling in and out of love is an illusion created by the way in which we use Mind, Thought and Consciousness. These Three Principles are at work within each of us 24/7. They are working behind the scenes. Think of the process as being much like that of a theatrical production, in which there are those who are not seen, but they are crucial to producing the scenes of the play.

Thoughts deliver up our reality in every moment we are alive. We think whatever we think and consciousness brings our thoughts to life, though we may not even know what we’re thinking. Who stops to think about this? Not many; we just go about our business and experience it. It’s like what happens when we are immersed in a movie on the big screen just as if we are in it, “live~~in living color”. Then we remember, oh; this is just a movie.
The same is true in relationships. We can feel very close to a partner but will never actually be inside the others thought process. So, no matter how close, no one ever truly has the exact same thought experience. We each still have our own separate realities. In fact, even within our own heads, our reality shifts and transforms with each new thought. It may happen faster than our awareness of it.

What does this have to do with falling in and out of love? Everything; because our experience of love also comes from thought and consciousness, making loving as well as hateful thoughts appear to be 100 percent real. One day your partner may appear to be a monster because he forgot to take out the garbage after you reminded him three times. You might think that he forgot on purpose just to make you mad. When people are stressed, tired, bothered, feeling pressured, or on deadline at the office, emotional function may be temporarily impaired. This is a fact that affects every human being.
Given this explanation, does the idea of falling out of love still seem so frightening? Hopefully not.

In summary, here’s what I know from my understanding of how Mind, Thought and Consciousness creates experience: You will probably feel like you’ve fallen out of love at some point. It doesn’t mean it’s the end of the relationship. Because love is thought/mood related… You always have the potential to fall back in love. You don’t have to take anything you think too seriously. You have free will to choose the thoughts you want to entertain further. Thoughts come and go on their own.

When the heart is open and personal thinking does not take precedence, wonderful and unexpected things tend to happen. Judgements and expectations are not truth, they are thoughts. In other words, people fall in love when they’re not looking! It sneaks up and seems to come from out of the blue, but now we know; it comes (like any nice feeling) when we’ve gotten out of our own way!

I’d love to hear from you about what you think about the process of falling in and out of love and what you’d like to learn more about.

How To Fall Back In Love

11/15/2011

Jyll Kashmann Photo

What if I happen to fall out of love after marrying, will it be possible to fall back in love? This is a common question I get from couples who see me for premarital counseling. They’ve heard numerous tales of woe from friends and family. The old adage… “until death do us part,” has lost it’s glory, if not it’s meaning.

Couples fear the feeling of inevitable pain and suffering if they get too close to one another and something goes awry. No one wants a broken heart.

My answer is always the same – or at least some rendition of same: Yes, you will most likely fall out of love at some point, and back in love and out and back in again, perhaps several times. Why is that? Because love is mood related, and anyone who thinks thoughts, will experience moods. Bad moods are the result of low quality thoughts and high moods are the result of high quality thoughts. Get it? Moods and thoughts are thoroughly connected.

Falling in and out of love is an illusion created by the way in which we use Mind, Thought and Consciousness. These Three Principles are at work within each of us 24/7. They are working behind the scenes. Think of the process as being much like that of a theatrical production, in which there are those who are not seen, but they are crucial to producing the scenes of the play.

Thoughts deliver up our reality in every moment we are alive. We think whatever we think and consciousness brings our thoughts to life, though we may not even know what we’re thinking. Who stops to think about this? Not many; we just go about our business and experience it. It’s like what happens when we are immersed in a movie on the big screen just as if we are in it, “live~~in living color”. Then we remember, oh; this is just a movie.

The same is true in relationships. We can feel very close to a partner but will never actually be inside the others thought process. So, no matter how close, no one ever truly has the exact same thought experience. We each still have our own separate realities. In fact, even within our own heads, our reality shifts and transforms with each new thought. It may happen faster than our awareness of it.

What does this have to do with falling in and out of love? Everything; because our experience of love also comes from thought and consciousness, making loving as well as hateful thoughts appear to be 100 percent real. One day your partner may appear to be a monster because he forgot to take out the garbage after you reminded him three times. You might think that he forgot on purpose just to make you mad. When people are stressed, tired, bothered, feeling pressured, or on deadline at the office, emotional function may be temporarily impaired. This is a fact that affects every human being.

Given this explanation, does the idea of falling out of love still seem so frightening? Hopefully not.

In summary, here’s what I know from my understanding of how Mind, Thought and Consciousness creates experience: You will probably feel like you’ve fallen out of love at some point. It doesn’t mean it’s the end of the relationship. Because love is thought/mood related… You always have the potential to fall back in love. You don’t have to take anything you think too seriously. You have free will to choose the thoughts you want to entertain further. Thoughts come and go on their own.

When the heart is open and personal thinking does not take precedence, wonderful and unexpected things tend to happen. Judgements and expectations are not truth, they are thoughts. In other words, people fall in love when they’re not looking! It sneaks up and seems to come from out of the blue, but now we know; it comes (like any nice feeling) when we’ve gotten out of our own way!

I’d love to hear from you about what you think about the process of falling in and out of love and what you’d like to learn more about.

Share/Bookmark

Powering Up

Bill Canfield Photo

11/07/2011

Oh, the things we take for granted in life; like heat, electricity, hot showers and refrigeration. I was amongst the 884,000 who lost power in Connecticut, for over a week. 767,000 lost power during Hurricane Irene.

I’ve backpacked in the Himalayas for 5 days and I’ve biked the South Island of New Zealand, some twenty years ago. It was thrilling to feel so self sufficient back then. That was by choice however. When life without power was not a choice, things began to go haywire in my mind on day eleven. Up until that point, I marveled at how well I could handle it.

I’d lug my 40 pound suitcase up the staircases of friends and family fortunate enough to still have power. I left small items behind, no less important because they were small. A misplaced cell phone charger forced me to conserve on telephone time; forgotten flip flops forced me to get creative in order to shower at the gym, without risking foot fungus, by standing on plastic bags. I mostly enjoyed the experience of my mind creating solutions to new problems – until day eleven when my mind began to implode.

I began to feel sad and angry that it happened at all, and even worse, that it happened to me. I began to worry what would happen when the power did finally come on – would the surge fry my computer? I began to wonder where to begin first in my basement where three inches of water sat for over a week. I fretted that I was becoming a nuisance to my friends and family who gave me shelter.

The miracle of it was that I knew what was causing me to feel so miserable. I knew that my mind was doing it to me. Fortunately, I had been exposed to an understanding of three Principles that explain all human experiences. It allowed me to rely upon the knowledge that my scared, helpless feelings would pass, that human beings are resilient and capable of bouncing back when the mind clears. I could rely upon that knowledge; it brought me a modicum of peace. Then before I knew it, life delivered something new to focus on as my young nieces brought their beading projects to me to untangle, twist closed, or bend into shape. I adore them, they provide such delicious diversions. My mind cleared, all on it’s own, just as Syd Banks taught me during his talks about the 3 Principles that explain the human condition. I marveled at the natural way that happens. I could observe my own resiliency.

Through all the ups and downs of life, I now know that is the experience of consciousness bringing my thoughts to life. As conscious beings, everything we think in each and every moment appears just as real as real can be. As humans we get to experience an unlimited array of feelings and experiences. How fortunate we are to be alive and to embrace whatever life brings us.

I realize that the same conditions have been present in my life for eleven days; I’ve been without a home, because it was just too cold and dark to spend any time there. Yet the place that I always live is in my own mind. There were moments of glory when I thought about the adventure of it and there were moments of horror when I thought about what would greet me when I returned. The 3 Principles explain so eloquently how temporary our experiences are and that they come from within ourselves, not from external events and circumstances even though it appears that way.

Syd Banks would say; “life is like a contact sport, we’ll never get through it without our bumps and bruises, but we don’t have to hang ourselves in the process.”

Share/Bookmark

Powering Up

PictureBill Canfield Photo


Oh, the things we take for granted in life; like heat, electricity, hot showers and refrigeration. I was amongst the 884,000 who lost power in Connecticut, for over a week. 767,000 lost power during Hurricane Irene.



I’ve backpacked in the Himalayas for 5 days and I’ve biked the South Island of New Zealand, some twenty years ago. It was thrilling to feel so self sufficient back then. That was by choice however. When life without power was not a choice, things began to go haywire in my mind on day eleven. Up until that point, I marveled at how well I could handle it.

I’d lug my 40 pound suitcase up the staircases of friends and family fortunate enough to still have power. I left small items behind, no less important because they were small. A misplaced cell phone charger forced me to conserve on telephone time; forgotten flip flops forced me to get creative in order to shower at the gym, without risking foot fungus, by standing on plastic bags. I mostly enjoyed the experience of my mind creating solutions to new problems – until day eleven when my mind began to implode.

I began to feel sad and angry that it happened at all, and even worse, that it happened to me. I began to worry what would happen when the power did finally come on – would the surge fry my computer? I began to wonder where to begin first in my basement where three inches of water sat for over a week. I fretted that I was becoming a nuisance to my friends and family who gave me shelter.

The miracle of it was that I knew what was causing me to feel so miserable. I knew that my mind was doing it to me. Fortunately, I had been exposed to an understanding of three Principles that explain all human experiences. It allowed me to rely upon the knowledge that my scared, helpless feelings would pass, that human beings are resilient and capable of bouncing back when the mind clears. I could rely upon that knowledge; it brought me a modicum of peace. Then before I knew it, life delivered something new to focus on as my young nieces brought their beading projects to me to untangle, twist closed, or bend into shape. I adore them, they provide such delicious diversions. My mind cleared, all on it’s own, just as Syd Banks taught me during his talks about the 3 Principles that explain the human condition. I marveled at the natural way that happens. I could observe my own resiliency.
Through all the ups and downs of life, I now know that is the experience of consciousness bringing my thoughts to life. As conscious beings, everything we think in each and every moment appears just as real as real can be. As humans we get to experience an unlimited array of feelings and experiences. How fortunate we are to be alive and to embrace whatever life brings us.

I realize that the same conditions have been present in my life for eleven days; I’ve been without a home, because it was just too cold and dark to spend any time there. Yet the place that I always live is in my own mind. There were moments of glory when I thought about the adventure of it and there were moments of horror when I thought about what would greet me when I returned. The 3 Principles explain so eloquently how temporary our experiences are and that they come from within ourselves, not from external events and circumstances even though it appears that way.

Syd Banks would say; “life is like a contact sport, we’ll never get through it without our bumps and bruises, but we don’t have to hang ourselves in the process.”