I can still recall the old cartoon image of the two angels who stand on our shoulders giving us advice. The good angel stands on the right shoulder and whispers in one ear while the bad one sits on the left murmuring in the other.
Although this is a childish image, President Abraham Lincoln may have added credibility to this angel theory when he ended his first inauguration speech in 1861 with the phrase, “the better angels of our nature,”.
For the sake of transparency, I must confess that I always found the bad angel in the cartoon image to be the more interesting of the two. The good angel is straitlaced and dressed in whites. The bad angel is colorful, more animated and looks to be having the most fun. The good angel leads you to quiet and dignified places, like the library. The bad angel temps you to the more salacious places, like the discotheque! I think these two angels represent a cultural picture of our puritanical views on pleasure. But this is not how life works.
Are there good and bad angels who advise us?
While I believe spirit guides can influence, I don’t believe in such things as good and bad angels. Life is much more complicated than that. Our existence would be much easier if all we had to do was to pick between a good or evil alternative. What makes our lives difficult is that we don’t choose most of our actions and thoughts, ninety percent of the time we react automatically from the set of beliefs we have been injecting into our unconscious mind over our lifetime.
The role of our unconscious mind.
A good example of this phenomenon is how we learned to ride a bicycle. If you were like me, the first several tries were painful exercises in trial and error, you fell, cried, tried again, lasted a little longer the second time before you fell again. But with each try, you learned to balance yourself a little better, and soon you began to understand the relationship between speed and staying upright. Before long, you were riding your bike like you were born with it between your legs. Riding it became so automatic you didn’t even have to think about it anymore. The reason this happened was because you were programming every little trick you learned about bike riding into your unconscious mind. After much repetition, your unconscious mind took the function over from your conscious mind.
This process is so permanent we can stop riding a bike for decades and pick it up years later right where we left off. You don’t have to relearn how to balance and pedal all over again, your unconscious mind takes over immediately and you are off and running.
This is how we developed our reactions to everything.
Psychiatric science defines the ego as that part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious mind and manages reality testing and our sense of personal identity. This is important to know because, just as the ego helped us learn to ride a bike, it also programmed our emotional reactions into our unconscious mind.
The ego used real time information to decide what he/she believed to be your best course of action. This means he/she used information gathered from your earliest experiences and traumas. Essentially, you have been carrying the same reactions and self-beliefs you formed from your childhood experiences. The problem with this process is that you have also been unconsciously applying these reactions and beliefs to real life adult situations today.
If your childhood experiences led you to perceive yourself as unworthy or not good enough to be loved, then that is what you are projecting onto the world today.
If you learned to avoid painful truths by distracting yourself with other external things or actions to feel safe, you are avoiding reality in the same way today. An addiction is a good example of an avoidant strategy. An addiction is not just related to a substance, like alcohol and drugs, you can also be addicted to activities like work, golf, food, television, charity work, gossip, etc. You can even be addicted to avoidance itself.
The Law of Attraction.
This law is part of New Age spiritual theory. It expands from the Law of Attraction in Quantum Physics that says, “like energy attracts like energy with its unique vibration,”. New Agers use this law to explain how we can manifest our own reality through our unique perception of how we see that reality. The energy we project outward attracts similar energy back to us.
I am convinced this theory is accurate. I have seen it in action in my life. By projecting that I wasn’t good enough, I received experiences that validated this self belief. This is happening to you now, for you are drawing into yourself what you perceive as real. If your self-perception is negative, then the world you are living in is reflecting back to you this negativity. You can’t fix this on your own because these self beliefs have become so ingrained in your unconscious mind you are not aware you are projecting them.
You can change your programming.
What if I told you you could choose the thoughts and beliefs that help you create a more fulfilling life? The truth is you can, but it is not as simple as choosing between a good or bad angel.
Studies of the mind tell us that the average person processes over 30,000 thoughts a day through their minds. It does so like a mental conveyor belt rapidly displaying one thought after another for our perusal. We can actually observe our own thoughts and then choose the appropriate ones, but long ago we ceded this choice to our unconscious mind. If we want to change our lives, we have to reclaim our role as the observer, so we can start picking the thoughts we want.
I know first-hand that this is possible, but I needed the help of an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist to get here. This is possible for you.
Adopting the role of thought observer.
How do you know you are choosing well? The answer is simple, choose the thoughts that provide for others what you would want for yourself. These are thoughts based on love, understanding, kindness, courage, acceptance, inclusion, respect, reason, empathy and open-mindedness.These are the thoughts that come from your most authentic self. This is what President Lincoln meant when he urged our nation to choose the better angels of your nature.
Choosing these thoughts is made easier when you accept that everyone, even those who have hurt you, are doing the best they know how. They learned to be the way they are the same way you did.
If you give in to your ego, who doesn’t perceive this about you and others, he/she will choose thoughts of hatred, revenge, violence, greed, vice, avoidance, sadism, discrimination, superiority and dominance. You will create a world accordingly.
This is where freewill comes in, you get to decide.
We are all part of an all loving, joyful and creative Universal Consciousness. It is ever present waiting to help us evolve, but it passes no moral judgement. It will give us back what we project. Change your thoughts and you will manifest a different reality for yourself. This is possible, but first you cannot do it until you identify the basic beliefs that are undermining you. Most of us cannot do this by ourselves and need the help of a therapist or life coach to identify them. Doing this will change your life for the better.
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