Inside out thinking

How would it feel if you had less stress in your life? How would you like to feel calmer and more relaxed?

Today I’m going to share one of Sydney Banks’ 3 Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought. The Principle of Thought is the basis for ‘Inside Out Thinking’ and you can apply it straight away.

I’d like you to start by making a list of all the people and things that make you happy. Next think about something else for a few seconds to change your state e.g. Donald Trump, Brexit or Manchester United losing on Sunday. There we go. Now read your ‘happy’ list, immerse yourself in each item and I bet you feel happy. You can repeat this with the things that give you ‘petty rage’ such as people not indicating when they change lane in front of you or colleagues leaving unwashed mugs on the sink. Once again immerse yourself in your list and you will find you that you feel irritated. Now go back to your ‘happy’ list… ah much better.

Do other people make you feel angry? Do you worry about future events? If so, this article is definitely for you. Maybe sometimes you have that much going on in your head that you feel overwhelmed. Well, dear reader, I’m going to tell you something that will enable you to change all that.

The Principle of Thought suggests that our feelings are generated from our thoughts NOT from external events or other people. I know it seems like that is how it works but consider this: When the sun rises in the morning, it looks like the sun is revolving round the earth. In fact, most humans believed this to be true until about 500 years ago, but we all know now that the earth revolves round the sun even if it looks the other way around. It is simply an illusion.

My son Josh used to have a teddy bear called Softy. Softy could speak and had his own unique voice. On long journeys to Devon he would often join in a game of Eye Spy. Once when it was Josh’s turn to spy something beginning with the letter R, Softy’s little voice said, ‘Is it road?’ We were giggling all the way to the coast.

A teddy or similar toy comforts young children to such an extent they get upset when they can’t find Teddy but do the feelings of comfort come from Teddy or from the child? Logically we know Teddy is made from fabric, but it does seem that the child is getting the feelings from Teddy. As we grow older, we have teddy bear substitutes – a new bike or a new smart phone – which make us feel good. From then on, we learn that ‘stuff’ equals feeling good.

So, what about the teddies we have as an adult? Do the good feelings come from your new car or designer handbag or from you thinking about them? Do you use a shopping trip to make you feel good?

From a very young age we develop our ‘script’ or model of reality which becomes our mental model of the world around us. Our brain is continually predicting what is going on around us, firing out best guesses at the information coming through our senses. The information is then interpreted based on the data already in our script which in turn leads to thought. The next time you drive your nice shiny BMW and feel good, remember it is all coming from your thought. I’m not saying don’t have a nice car. What I’m saying is that your feelings are coming from thought.

The same process applies to things and events which worry us or annoy us. My feelings recently when United lost one nil was not coming from the pitch or the players but my thoughts which originate because of my script. Once we become conscious of our thought by saying to ourselves, ‘It’s just a thought’, the feelings will dissipate, rather like the snow in a globe settling and the globe becoming clear.

When we realise our feelings are coming from our thoughts, we will have less stress and feel our inner calmness, our mind becomes clear resetting to its natural default position. All we need to do is take a walk, go for a jog or do anything relaxing.