Conquer Self Or Be Conquered By Self

Know Thyself

Rigidity and toughness, combined with a mirror-like polish, are desired traits when it comes to refinishing fine furniture. Layer upon layer of stain and varnish must be carefully applied to create just such a desired result.

Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;While this may be the result one might hope for when dealing with elegant furniture, it is much less constructive and productive when it comes to the human mind.

 

Since birth, perpetually and quite unconsciously, our brains have been fed a slew of sensory input. Our minds analyze and assign meaning to each and every sensory input which, like the furniture veneer, create layer upon layer of notions, biases, and beliefs.

Confirmation Bias

PeaceMost of us accept what we believe to be true because our old beliefs continually validate our experience of the world through a process known as Confirmation Bias.

Confirmation bias also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.

The subconscious mind makes no distinction as to whether or not our reasonings or deductions are based on a solid foundation of logic. Like a computer hard drive, it’s primary function is simply to store the information we input to it regardless of its truth or validity.

Thus, if we have previously made an incorrect analysis of some inputted data then any future input data, filtered through this faulty analysis, will, in turn, be distorted and misrepresented. Basically, a falsehood will perpetuate another falsehood.

Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;Much as it is with broken computer code. Regardless of the variables, if the computer code is flawed so too will the output be erroneous.

Lacking any meaningful checks and balances, most of us remain woefully ignorant of this fact.

 

The moral of the story being, “Don’t believe everything you think.”

Neurological Associations

Hand in hand with confirmation bias I soon discovered another mental flaw when I began to seek out a greater level of inner awareness. Unconsciously, I found myself responding judgementally toward others in an almost knee-jerk fashion.

If I saw an overweight person eating at the mall, I felt appalled, If I noticed that a person was poorly dressed I immediately questioned his work ethic and self-worth.

Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;I knew nothing of these people’s particular circumstances or why they were the way they were. What I did know was that I felt ashamed and embarrassed for so quickly reverting to these cliche stereotypes.

I reasoned quick enough that these negative thoughts were arising entirely unguarded from my subconscious mind. Both unconsciously and consciously I had allowed my mind to create its own myriad of negative links. More specifically, neurological associations.

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”

Buddha

 Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;

Pushing Our Boundaries

I realized then that if I ever truly wanted to feel at peace with others, I first had to find peace within myself.

This required a reanalysis of my every thought, belief, and assumption.

This required a wholesale mental review of not only my personal relationships but indeed my professional ones as well. 

For many of us, an external conflict in the workplace or with an extended family member results in a stressful inner conflict. That argumentative boss or unyielding relative can cause excessive mental anxiety that quickly transmutes into physical illness or even disease.

Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;Still, others develop harmful habits such as alcohol or drugs in an effort to better cope with certain people and circumstances. This self- destructive behavior only serves to exacerbate troubling situations compounding mental or physical ill health.

Design Your Own Peace Practice

Over time, I developed what I refer to now as “A Daily Peace Practice” This type of personal practice can include but is not restricted to disciplines such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, martial arts, pilates, and meditation.

Such self-awareness techniques can greatly reduce one’s dependency on drugs and alcohol as the desire to intoxicate the mind decreases correspondingly to ones rising level of inner awareness.

Peace, Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;Learning to acknowledge and understand our thoughts is the first step in empowering our minds. Doing so allows us to better distinguish between those furthering our goals and those holding us back.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

Too often we think of our thoughts as being somehow real, concrete and tangible when in fact they are self-created illusions of our own minds. The only reality they possess is the reality that we ourselves assign to them.

Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea. 

~ Shunryu Suzuki

By adopting one or two self-awareness practices not only will you significantly reduce your stress levels, but your sense of peace, calm and groundedness will increase dramatically.

Peace, Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;

Start Imperfectly

At the outset, you should fully expect these new methodologies to be challenging and difficult to practice consistency. After all, you have spent an entire lifetime consciously and unconsciously training your brain to automatically react with set biases to any given stimuli.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunry%C5%AB_SuzukiThis steady hardwiring of our brains has resulted in reactive rather than proactive responses. Like Pavlov’s Dogs, we have unwittingly disciplined ourselves to answer the bell without any conscious thought at all.

The lights are on be we aren’t present.

Having relinquished our thought responses to the subconscious minds we have become blinded. Totally unaware as to what is initiating our every thought and action. Left in the unenviable position of being mastered by our minds rather than being the mastering our minds.

“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

Robin Sharma

Incorporating your own Daily Peace Practice into your daily routine you’ll learn to direct your thoughts rather than having your thoughts direct you. As you increasingly feel more at peace with yourself, you will inevitably become more at peace with others.

Your light will encourage others to come out of their own darkness.

Peace, Zen, Buddhism, Tao, Taoism, Self Help, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger, Stress, Happy, Lifestyle, Success, Money, Business;

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29 thoughts on “Conquer Self Or Be Conquered By Self

  1. We need to learn not to be so judgemental of others. Negative thoughts are never good and only bring with them more negativity.

      1. I think most people does’nt fully know themselves. Most often, we find ourselves in circumstances where we did not thought we could do or say. I believe once we fully understood and appreciate everything about us, only then that we see everything around us differently.

  2. Know thyself! That’s so important especially when it comes to learning your boundaries and in as much as possible, avoiding those triggers. At least, I’m always avoiding what can push my mind off and make me mentally unstable.

  3. I am the one who is always being judged and I don’t like it at all. I am a WYSWYG (What You See is What You Get) kind of person. No pretentions, no make up, simply dressed. I live two blocks away from a major supermarket and since it is in the neigborhood, I go there for stuff I need dressed as I usually do – shorts or track pants, a t-shirt and sneakers or flip flops (when the weather is hot). I always notice people looking at me with judging eyes, like saying, “Does she have money to pay for her groceries?” or sometimes a store security person in plain-clothes follows me around. Do I look like a shoplifter? I mean, come on! A short 2 blocks walk to a supermarket and I am required to wear make up, have a nice hair do, wear skinny jeans and high heels??? Stop it people!

    1. I too was quilty of being judgmental, as the blog points out. But with time I have worked to overcome this fault. I hope others learn to never judge a book by its cover. Thank you for your insightful comment.

  4. I will take that Suzuki quote to heart:”…don’t serve your thoughts tea.” We truly are our thought. As a man thinketh, so is he…paraphrasing a Bible passage there.

  5. Very relevant read. There have been a lot of research in recent times on the effect our thoughts can have on our attitudes and physical health too. Like you said, these methodologies can be difficult in the beginning, but then practice makes a man perfect 🙂

  6. We do have biases about all kinds of things. I know they are internal and sometimes hard to get out of. I try to get out of them by purposely trying to get to know the person I have biases about so that I know who they are as an individual.

  7. Great post! I agree that you need to find peace within yourself No one can make you feel good about your self other than you. It’s important to take time to focus on yourself so that you can then focus on others.

  8. I agree: we should be more open to ourselves and our inner thoughts as well as for the others. we are all different even if we just look back at ourselves.

  9. Acceptance, self love and knowing our own selves are enough to make us happy with our own life. This would make it easier to achieve inner peace.

  10. If we can’t find peace in ourselves, we can’t find peace anywhere in this world! I liked the message of your post. I’m trying to devote time for self care these days!

  11. I recently made a conscious decision not to be judgemental at all. I’m slowly getting into the habit of always trying to put myself in someone’s shoes before throwing in some quick judgements.

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