William F McLaughlin
How To Think With Clarity and Power
Whether or not your life works depends on how clearly you see things and that depends
on how relaxed and centered you are. When relaxed, you know what you're doing, and only do
what you know. Things then fall into place without stress or strain, and goals are achieved as a matter of course. But when you're disturbed or excited about something painful or pleasurable,
the opposite happens: you lose your objectivity and think you know what you're doing
rather than know you know. Things then become an effort and a struggle. They don't click
as thought or planned, and you experience disappointment or failure as a result.
The distinction between knowing what you're doing and thinking you know is subtle,
but makes the difference between frustration and success in all you do.
Let's look at how excitement or disturbance not only affects your ability to see clearly,
but also how it sets off a chain reaction process by which the problem is perpetuated indefinitely -
and without your even being aware of it.
Have you ever been so sure of something only to find you were totally wrong about it?
Wasn't it bewildering? Maybe it was a school, work or business decision, or the choosing
of an investment or marriage partner. You considered everything so carefully,
had no doubt it was right, that it'd work - then it crashed and you wondered what went wrong.
This is what happened: Instead of basing your decision on matters relating to the issue itself,
you got emotionally involved in it. Such involvement affected your ability to remain impartial. Instead of seeing all sides of the situation indifferently in order to make the right decision,
you influenced it - took it personally instead of objectively or neutrally. Your personal (emotional) involvement contaminated the decision-making process. The decision wasn't based on fact,
but on the influential sway of your own personally-biased opinion. You colored the decision, interfered with it, unconsciously manipulated it to coincide with how you believed or "thought"
it should, would or could be. This biased decision caused the outcome to be inevitably different than the way you envisioned it - different meaning negative and negative meaning stress.
The negative outcome is perpetuated when you carry over residual stress from past situations
into the present one, insuring it too will result negatively. On a short-term basis, it's like being upset over a flat tire and reacting by kicking it and stubbing your toe. Then in angry reaction,
you punch the fender and fracture your hand; and in reaction to that, you yell obscenities, are arrested for disorderly conduct, put in a straight jacket, and placed under psychiatric observation.
More commonly, it's like being resentful over a bad golf stroke, then carrying that resentment
to negatively affect the next stroke, then the next, until your whole game is off - which would throw your whole day off. And if you carry this cause and effect cycle to its logical conclusion,
your whole week would be off, your whole month, and whole life would be off.
Other examples would be fear of dogs because of being bitten as a child, fear of starting
a new business venture because of a past failure, fear of closeness or openness in a relationship because of a past hurt, and so on.
Thus are you involved in an unconscious (hypnotic) chain reaction process where stress causes you to not see clearly what you're doing; not seeing clearly brings about a negative outcome,
and the negative outcome causes stress which causes you to not to see clearly what you're doing all over again.
In a circle or cycle there's no difference between the beginning and the end - they're the same point. Whenever you enter the moment stressfully, you set events into motion which brings stress in the end. If you're in error going in, you'll be disappointed coming out.
What goes, comes; what gives, gets. The end is always a mirror reflection of the beginning.
The state of mind you're in now is the one you'll return to when all is said and done. Your future
is nothing more than a projection of your present state of mind - plus a few more gray hairs.
The remedy becomes this: Change the beginning. Change the present. Enter each moment calmly neutral instead of tensely personal regardless of what happened a second ago or a year ago.
It's simply a process of changing your attitude, the way you habitually look at things:
It's not raining on you personally, it's just raining; that clerk is not insensitive toward you, personally, he just happens to be insensitive, and you just happen to be convenient.
And that half glass of water isn't half empty or half full; it's just a half glass of water.
The personal view is an opinion; the objective, centered view is a fact. Intelligence is not
what you think; it's the matter-of-fact way you look at things. It is this centered, unaffected viewpoint that allows you to see the situation you're in with such extraordinary clarity that fear, conflict, and error are naturally eliminated, and all of your actions and responses become perfectly appropriate, effective, and effortless. It's amazing!
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