Some thoughts on the Nature of Bullying

Creon: “An enemy is still an enemy. Dead or alive.”Antigone: “No, I was born with love enough to share: no hate for anyone.”
From Antigone by Sophocles

If someone is acting in a bullying manner, we can be sure of one thing alone; that this tells us very little about ourselves but a lot about the psychological state of the person caught in the bullying mindset.

If you are on the receiving end of any kind of abuse some action is required and common sense informs us that it is a far from ideal situation to be in. Bullying of any kind is clearly wrong, but it is not really the root of the problem. Clearly if someone is suffering from the results of abuse it is important to seek help or for the individual to remove themselves from the situation, even if it be temporarily.

However, taking a closer look at bullying from the inside we get a clearer understanding of what is going on. There is one simple fact that we could keep in mind; no one who is feeling secure, happy and good about themselves is ever likely to bully another person, and this makes perfect sense to most people. What we can conclude from this is that bullying comes from feeling insecure, unhappy and a certain sense of personal dissatisfaction with oneself or one’s situation.

Perhaps the question we could ask is: what is the cause of someone falling into this state of unhappiness and bullying mentality in the first place? And more importantly, to ask how some people are not affected by the low mood level and general demeanour of a person in the habit of bullying others?
Firstly, all psychological states arise in dependence upon the power of thought, in other words, to get into any mind-set or emotional state, we must first have thinking to create that state of mind. Individuals that are suffering from unhappiness can sometimes get caught up in a bullying mind-set. Additionally, it is important to recognise that all of us have the capacity to fall into states of unhappiness and we can also innocently create a victim mentality for ourselves (albeit most of the time either state is only a temporary one). As a consequence of this we habitually either feel justified in our assault upon another or we feel as if we are being picked on by the world.

However, invariably a bully is someone who is suffering, and this suffering is innocently coming from personal thought and as a response to this self created suffering they bully others. Sometimes this is an attempt to give back to others what life seems to be dealing them, or has done so in the past! If we could see that suffering itself is a natural part of personal, in-the-moment thinking gone astray, it would make it easier to recognise how we can all innocently create our own suffering via the power of thought. This in turn would give rise to us recognising that lower moods are a natural part of being human; everyone has them and that they always pass. This helps us to have more empathy with the bully as we begin to see their psychological innocence that they just like us are doing the best they can with their current thinking. As we see this more clearly in us, we begin to see it in others too, and it helps us to feel more relaxed about being low ourselves.

I am not suggesting that we condone bullying in any way, simply that we see that the cause of bullying is an innocently created psychological state the bully has produced and how it is their thinking that informs and guides their antisocial behaviours.
Thus it is not that we forgive the antisocial behaviour of the bully, but that we see the suffering person behind the behaviour and recognise how we all fall into low moods from time to time. When we begin to see the world through these new eyes we start to give ourselves an easier time when we are not feeling so good; we start realising that we are not victims of our circumstances anymore, but temporary sufferers of our own low level personal thinking. Awareness of this fact is the key, it may not help recover our good feelings at that time, but at least we know it is both natural and fleeting, and it will soon pass. Additionally, and importantly we see the bully is just like us, they innocently create their own suffering too, but this time we have a clearer picture as to why it is they are being internally but innocently driven to bully others.

I would like to make one final point about those people out there in the world who seem unaffected and impervious in the face of bullying. To most they may seem like an exception to the rule or some kind of anomaly that is special in some way and beyond reach of most people. However, these are the folk that in the moment of abuse still feel secure, self confident and happy enough in their world to not be upset by the, would-be bully. Interestingly we can all experience this from time to time; when we feel good about ourselves we are much less likely to take the world and what it has to say about us seriously or personally. This is a very freeing state to be in and one that most people would love to experience, and we all can, quiet simply.

How is this state possible we may ask? The answer is simple, and we all have it within us; we just need to relax and allow ourselves to realise that we make or break our day dependent upon how we see the world in that moment via the power our thought. Sometimes we may get caught up in mindsets from our past, but this is not really a problem either if we see that all our psychological states of being arise in dependence upon the content of our thinking. So if we can stop and relax just for a moment, are awareness can rise up, like the hidden sun from behind the clouds and this can be enough to unlock all the good feeling anyone is likely to want to experience in this life, and if we are not feeling those good feeling that is okay too, because this too will pass.

*Note for children, parents and teachers: when a child sees this clearly for themselves they realise that it is not an issue of ‘grassing’ or ‘dobbing’ someone in, but more a case of reporting the bully out of kindness and compassion, seeing that the bully is also in need of help. This is very freeing for a child and helps them move away from the more subtle forms of bullying i.e. peer pressure to keep quiet (and it is not just children that are subject to this).


What Limits Our Potential?

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It is often said that our personal beliefs are what limits our potential. As I thought about this, it appeared to make a belief sound very solid, and by contrast potential sounded a bit ephemeral and abstract.  But is this really true?

What are beliefs? What is Potential?  How do they relate to one another ...

We certainly talk about beliefs as solid things.  We need to get over, overcome or leave them behind us. We sense they limit us, and we speak and act as if they were both within us and "out there."

It is funny how the more we see beliefs as limiting, in the way, or something to deal with, the more important they appear. And the more real.  But are they? (See the radio show on Thought Ruts). 

In my experience, beliefs are not solid things. They are just thoughts. A thought never hurt anyone all by itself. A thought never hurt you either. Even the feeling of a thought never can hurt you.   Even if you have been believing or thinking something for a long time and no matter how many other people agree ("The earth is flat!") look and see, is it really anything more than a passing idea?

We are quick to consider our thoughts and beliefs as "truth." But it does not make them so.
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Potential is something you have inside you.  Think of it as untapped ability.

A horse may not ever in the whole of it's life jump a fence, but it certainly has the potential, or the ability to jump.

Potential is not what you think you can do, it is what you use to do what you decide to do.

I can't pack a parachute properly. My potential to do so lies in the innate intelligence I have to learn anything.

Potential is a very interesting things to consider, because it is not a belief. It lies behind what you think and believe, as permanent possibility.  Only its expression can be limited by what we think is possible.

In fact, anyone believing certain things to be true about themselves will conceive of their potential and their possibilities in a particular way. If their thoughts are limiting, that sense of limitation and the feeling of constraint is a real experience in the moment, but not a permanent truth.  And, more importantly, it doesn't change what potential is.

You cannot tarnish potential just because you see yourself as limited. But you can experience yourself as limited.

Your potential is a power.  It is an unseen force that is expressed very differently in each of us in beautiful, unique ways.
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What happens to your ideas about your own potential when you think of potential as a power?

What happens to your ideas about change when you think of beliefs as solid?


On this note, it's interesting to remember that even matter is not solid.  Modern quantum physics says an atom does not have a nucleus made of "particles" in the way it was once thought. 

Energy in the nucleus, electrons, can express in forms of waves or particles. It depends. (See Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle). So even matter, although it's hard to grasp this, is not that solid.  And since electrons can express in different forms, that means the core of an atom is actually potential.  

Just like the core of you.

Understanding Strong Emotions

I received an inquiry from someone whose child had died many years ago.  Her feelings then were intense and overwhelming.  Recently she has been learning the Principles and wonders how she could have used the Principles to "manage" her thinking and feelings in order to "cope" better.  This is how I answer her:


I recognize how strong our emotions can be around loss, especially loss of a child.  All of us have had very strong emotions at times that seem to completely take us over.  The point of learning the Principles, as far as I can see, is not to learn how to manage and control our thinking and feelings.  And believe me, I tried very hard to do that for years when I first learned them.


When we have feelings and emotions there is no need for our egos to get in there and judge them as good or bad or right or wrong.  If we understand that every feeling is created from Universal Mind then we don't have to see it as our job to fix, control, or manage our feelings.  If we understand the nature of a feeling we know that it is being created perfectly from the Principles.  We realize that our feeling is simply a temporary experience created from our own thinking and is not caused from anything outside of us.  We can then realize that our feeling is not a permanent reality.


My favorite metaphor to illustrate this is the weather.  We don't delude ourselves into thinking we can control or stop the rain or wind.  We can understand it and factor it in so that we accommodate it in our lives.  And it is not as if ultimately the rain is bad and the sun is good.  The Principles are the creative force behind our human operating system.  They create our experiences and they are working perfectly.  We can trust the intelligence behind this system.


We have all kinds of feelings and emotions.  Understanding that they are always born from within by the creative energy behind life allows us to simply experience them as a little child does.  Children often experience strong emotions without complicating them with analysis and efforts to manage them.  Understanding allows feelings to go through us in a way that allows us to be resilient.  All of the feelings and emotions that you have been having are normal and natural.  These thoughts come into us before we have any say over them.  Understanding allows us to have these without resistance, struggle, guilt, or judgment.  Understanding leads us to thinking less about ourselves and our experiences.  Understanding leads us to greater resilience, and we become more comfortable and accepting of all of our emotions.


My heart goes out to everyone who goes through the loss of a loved one, and I hope that this is helpful.

An end to depression and the start of joy


‘We are all only ever one thought away from happiness’ Syd Banks

Have you ever wondered where low feelings come from; why some people are plagued by feelings of depression and unhappiness?  What is interesting is the fact that all people create feelings in the same way, and we can all have low moods and depressed feelings, which means we can all have good feelings too.

Even people with diagnosed mental health problems have moments of clarity during any given day – this gives us a clue to the true nature of mental health.  The question we could ask is: where is the mental health problem when the person experiences these moments of clarity?  The clue we are given here is that each and every one of us has a default setting of psychological or mental health and well-being and when our thinking slows down, we return back to healthier and more comfortable feelings – so if our core is one of mental health and good feelings, where do we go wrong?

We are thinking our whole lives and some parts of our thinking we are more conscious or aware of than others.  Those parts of our thinking that we are less aware of are sometimes called unconscious or even sub-conscious thinking, but it is still only thought.  Thought that we are either aware of or not aware of – the root of thought is always the mind.

The secret lies in understanding the relationship, the perfect match or marriage between the power of Thought and our feelings and emotions.  There is a very simple pathway that flows naturally together; feeling and thought arise in the same moment of consciousness, it may appear to be otherwise, but this is simply unconscious thought that makes it look as if feelings come unbidden and without thought.  We simply cannot experience feelings and emotions that arise independent of our thinking.  Another reason for this assumption that feelings are separate and come first could be that we are not always certain of what we have been thinking, but if asked we can often say how we feel, and we invariably act upon our emotions, and as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: ‘The ancestor of every action is a thought’.

What is fascinating is that all feelings are neutral until we decide which ones we don’t like, and then label these as negative.  We still have to have a thought to have any judgement about the value of a feeling in relation to our personal experience.  When we start to see the relationship between thought and feeling, we begin to recognise that when our thinking is relaxed and has slowed down we enjoy life more, take our communication and relationships with others more lightly, become naturally more optimistic and are left with more compassionate and peaceful feelings.

Conversely if we start feeling low, unhappy and experiencing more negative emotions, this is a warning sign that our thinking is out of kilter, and that we are taking things and people more personally and more seriously. This may sometimes look like it is made manifest via the circumstances of our lives, but we can only be victims to our personal thinking about our circumstances, not the circumstances as they in themselves are neutral too.

Suffering comes from over-focusing on the very things we wish were not part of our lives and joy in our lives comes from a quiet mind and not thinking too much about the circumstances and issues that we believe are the cause of our suffering. To feel good all we need do is relax back into those more natural feeling without any effort at all, and to feel bad, requires much effort on our part to keep this illusory state alive in our minds.

Thus the primary state of being more relaxed and having less on our minds is the natural state for human beings and requires no effort whatsoever and leads naturally to feelings of joy, and the alternative state of less comfortable feelings, which requires much effort on our part is an incredibly effective illusion created via the power of Thought.


Stillness: the Natural State

The world is continually searching for stillness, for quiet; to feel good and happy and contented. The paradox in all this searching is that the stillness and good feelings that we strive toward is the most natural state in the world.

Let’s look at it like this: we all experience moments of stillness that simply come upon us, these moments arise spontaneously and invariably seem random; moments such as having the leisure to observe somebody undertaking an activity or task that requires deep concentration. We watch and pick up on the good feeling of neutrality.

Another example would be when we are involved in a hobby or task ourselves where we are fully absorbed. Because our thinking is focused on only one thing to the exclusion of all others, we can think of nothing else, time seems to stop and there is an endless peaceful flow to our feeling state.
Nature is another good example where we can simply relax into a good feeling state simply by observing a beautiful sunset, or a rainbow or some beautiful scenery that captures us in what Wordsworth called ‘spots of time.’

What is fascinating about all of these examples is the fact that none of them require any effort on our part at all! There is a big clue here to how and why stillness is our natural state. It is one of the greatest paradoxes of the life that to achieve the state of stillness we think we need to make effort, practice something, and do something – all of which is the antitheses to the state of stillness itself. In other words all we really need to do is to relax.

Some may say that to relax is ‘easier said than done’, and therein lies another clue: we ‘think’ we need to do something. However, ‘to relax’ is not an act or an accomplishment of something, but more a returning effortlessly into the emotional state of neutrality and natural good feelings. And by neutrality I mean seeing the world and others through the eyes of love and compassion rather than from the perspective of personal judgement.

When we start to see this from within, from our personal experience, one of the greatest mysteries of life is uncovered – that all the stillness we desire lies within of each and every one of us. It requires no effort to achieve, simply a recognition on our part that it is our personal thinking that fills up the space in which we usually enjoy stillness of our lives. Thus, if we wish to enjoy more peace, stillness, love and understanding in our lives we need only let go back into it, because the natural state is one of joy.


What is Free Will and How Does It Affect Us?

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Bill Canfield Photo
What is invisible, yet incredibly powerful? What is at work all the time, whether we’re aware of it or not? What is the “mechanism” always available to us that dictates our every action? What is an amazing gift that every human receives at birth? What is completely free for the taking in every moment of life?

No, it’s not Superman!
OK, I admit it, not much of a brain teaser since the answer is right in the title — I just figured I’d use my free will to have some fun with you, which mixed with your free will, creates an outcome: You might be turned off by what you perceive to be silly and X out of this blog or you might get a light-hearted feeling and decide to hang in with me for a bit.

So one person’s free will affects another person’s free will and the synergy of the two (or more) creates a certain outcome. Comparing it to physics, one magnetic field affects another magnetic field determining whether the negative and the positive go forward together or the two negatives repel one another and go their separate ways.

Free Will is an incredible gift that we have at our disposal, 24-7; yet, who stops to consider it for one second? Not many, which is exactly why I want to draw your attention to it; so you can take better advantage of it.

It seems to me that the way in which we use our gift of free will determines the direction our life takes. In that regard, our decisions result in certain consequences, which ultimately create an outcome down the road apiece… just like the illustration of the magnetic pull of magnets, we affect ourselves and one another, but we humans have choices available to us; magnets and other unthinking entities do not.

We have the freedom to choose, the freedom to accept something or let something go. We can choose to be free from the bondage of our own minds, by virtue of where we put our attention. Just as a photographer can choose to focus on the foreground or background, diffusing any portion of the scene, we are all capable of doing the same with our own view of things, in the moment. We’re capable of taking our focus off what doesn’t serve us or anyone else., but how often do we exercise this capacity? If your radio station was full of static, you wouldn’t keep listening to it, or would you?

Through the gift of thought, we have the freedom to:
  • accept the “reality” we find ourselves in, or not…
  • accept or reject any “reality” that is not beneficial to yourself or anyone else…
  • pick and choose which “reality” with which to run…
  • blow things out of proportion…
  • make something from nothing or nothing from what could have been something…
  • take things personally…
  • make mountains out of molehills…
  • take offense…
  • feel disrespected…
  • do something about it, or nothing about it…
  • make it a big deal or no big deal (NBD)…
  • take it (whatever is going on) personally,
                                                                           
                                                                          or not…

                                                                 We alone choose

What’s really great is that we don’t have to change or DO anything at all, except — not trap what we’re thinking about — simply let it move through us naturally; like the wind moves through tree leaves or waves move through the ocean. We wouldn’t want to trap a tornado in place – yet we sometimes do just that with our own minds. Does that make sense? It’s one thing if you’re studying information for a test, it’s another thing if you’re bothering the bejeezus out of yourself for no good reason.

The next time you find yourself in an unwanted state of mind, you might remember your free will and exercise it wisely.

What is Free Will and How Does It Affect Us?

 

Using Free Will for the best outcome

Bill Canfield Photo

What is invisible, yet incredibly powerful? What is at work all the time, whether we’re aware of it or not? What is the “mechanism” always available to us that dictates our every action? What is an amazing gift that every human receives at birth? What is completely free for the taking in every moment of life?

No, it’s not Superman!
OK, I admit it, not much of a brain teaser since the answer is right in the title — I just figured I’d use my free will to have some fun with you, which mixed with your free will, creates an outcome: You might be turned off by what you perceive to be silly and X out of this blog or you might get a light-hearted feeling and decide to hang in with me for a bit.

So one person’s free will affects another person’s free will and the synergy of the two (or more) creates a certain outcome. Comparing it to physics, one magnetic field affects another magnetic field determining whether the negative and the positive go forward together or the two negatives repel one another and go their separate ways.

Free Will is an incredible gift that we have at our disposal, 24-7; yet, who stops to consider it for one second? Not many, which is exactly why I want to draw your attention to it; so you can take better advantage of it.

It seems to me that the way in which we use our gift of free will determines the direction our life takes. In that regard, our decisions result in certain consequences, which ultimately create an outcome down the road apiece… just like the illustration of the magnetic pull of magnets, we affect ourselves and one another, but we humans have choices available to us; magnets and other unthinking entities do not.

We have the freedom to choose, the freedom to accept something or let something go. We can choose to be free from the bondage of our own minds, by virtue of where we put our attention. Just as a photographer can choose to focus on the foreground or background, diffusing any portion of the scene, we are all capable of doing the same with our own view of things, in the moment. We’re capable of taking our focus off what doesn’t serve us or anyone else., but how often do we exercise this capacity? If your radio station was full of static, you wouldn’t keep listening to it, or would you?

Through the gift of thought, we have the freedom to:

  • accept the “reality” we find ourselves in, or not…
  • accept or reject any “reality” that is not beneficial to yourself or anyone else…
  • pick and choose which “reality” with which to run…
  • blow things out of proportion…
  • make something from nothing or nothing from what could have been something…
  • take things personally…
  • make mountains out of molehills…
  • take offense…
  • feel disrespected…
  • do something about it, or nothing about it…
  • make it a big deal or no big deal (NBD)…
  • take it (whatever is going on) personally,

or not…

We alone choose

What’s really great is that we don’t have to change or DO anything at all, except — not trap what we’re thinking about — simply let it move through us naturally; like the wind moves through tree leaves or waves move through the ocean. We wouldn’t want to trap a tornado in place – yet we sometimes do just that with our own minds. Does that make sense? It’s one thing if you’re studying information for a test, it’s another thing if you’re bothering the bejeezus out of yourself for no good reason.

The next time you find yourself in an unwanted state of mind, you might remember your free will and exercise it wisely.

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