11. Don’t ignore the plate in front of you. The vibrations from emotional trauma travel through the moment, the most powerful of all “nows.”To face the moment is to face the past because the moment is the sum total of everything that ever happened to you. 12. Look at alternatives and choose the most advantages. In the outer world there are always different choices. In the mind, there are always different ways of looking at the same thoughts. The more choices and the more ways that can be identified, the more opportunity exists. Make the smartest choices and choose the best way of looking at things. You’ll see in my journal that these ideas, as well as many others, were used to overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and horrible emotional scars. As my inner world changed, the outer world improved. I overcame self-hatred, and saw the world differently. An influential person that promotes hatred is dangerous, and creates bad luck, misery, and bloodshed. The stronger in thought we become, the weaker they’ll grow, for weeds can’t thrive under a healthy forest.
As I overcame the mental torment, I often felt like I was at war and the winner would be the one who outsmarted the other. Below, I describe a predicament I was often in and how I dealt with it: It’s a beautiful day! The sky is blue, the birds are singing. It’s warm and comfortable. Inside, I feel sad and dark. The lizard pops into mind. The lava and the smoke are hiding in the corner, soon to emerge. It’s a sad, dreary, depressing, horrific day! I stood in the middle of both worlds. The outer world was appealing. The inner world was horrific. Which to believe? Both influenced the mind. Both fed stimulus. I chose to believe in the outer world. I acknowledge the lizard. This created a picture. This was very important. The act of acknowledgement and subsequent mental picture is a natural mental act. Think, and your mind will create a mental picture. Think of a cat. You should see one in your mind’s eye. Think of a dog, a house, or anything, and your mind will create a mental image of it. I thought of the lizard and acknowledged it. I then identified the mental picture created by my mind, simulating knowing what it was, just like thinking of a cat and seeing one in my mind’s eye. The picture didn’t reveal why the lizard was created, but I felt better. The lizard lost its influence and power over my thoughts. It was stopped cold. The lizard was left with no more effect than if I knew what it was. This made it easier to function with the feelings. I saw the beautiful, sunny day! I saw the lizard. I created a picture of the lizard in the sunny day! Creating pictures allowed me to gain control. I chose to concentrate upon the sunny, beautiful day, and not become preoccupied with the lizard! An emotion that isn’t acknowledged dangerously roams the mind. For me, ignoring emotions would have destroyed my life. I would have been at their mercy, and would have continued to be bullied and pushed around by feelings. I would have grown more and more scared of my emotions, and would have become reclusive, attempting to avoid them. One can dwell on a problem, or face it and look away. By simulating knowing why the mental images existed, I was able to battle the feelings, take control of my life, and appreciate the sunny day. Acknowledging the feelings and identifying the mental pictures produced inner stability. By identifying different types of thought, such as 1-2 thought, the origins of the mental pictures were located. When the lizard made the world look bleak, the relationship between “I am,” and the perception of the world was 1-4 thought, because the perception of the world was clouded by feelings. The correct action was to acknowledge the lizard, acknowledge the bleak world, and identify the feelings and thoughts that led to the depression. This created mental pictures of the lizard, the bleak world, and associated thoughts. This moved my mind from 1-4 thought to 1-2 thought, and created original thoughts in connection to the feelings. This allowed my thoughts to become a choice, regardless of the mental pictures, images, and feelings echoing from the past. You don’t have to accept emotional condition; you can fight, create pictures, and control your life! Below, I discuss further the idea of creating pictures.
The Chain of Thought
The first impression is said to be the most important. If you want to impress someone, make a good first impression: dress right, be courteous, listen etc… If there is a bad impression, the person will look for other things they don’t like. If they don’t like your hair, they’ll look at your shoes and notice they’re dirty, or notice one thing or the other regardless of its validity or value. The point is, they’ll look for other things to criticize and may decide they don’t like you. The same thing happens in the mind with depression. People look for reasons to be depressed, and choose to think about depressing things. There will always be a reason to justify feeling bad. It’s important to examine depression to see if it’s due to a pattern of thought. If so, the depression can be overcome by choosing to think differently. When I was fighting PTSD, I was fortunate to think one of the greatest thoughts I’ve ever thought. I noticed that the feelings formed a horrible mental picture, and this picture was like an immovable object; to deal with the picture was to look for trouble, for dealing with the picture was like falling off a cliff. Above, I discussed acknowledging emotions, and identifying the mental picture created; here, something different was happening. My mind was creating pictures without me knowing it! I only later noticed. I wrote on July 21, 1976, at the age of eighteen: “This thing I’m suffering from seems to detach from thought and live on its own. It becomes a mental picture! A picture of what my thoughts projected. Once the picture detaches, I can’t get rid of it. No amount of positive thinking or good thoughts can counteract these powerful mind-controlling pictures. This explains why I suffer days of depression even when I’m trying to feel better. It seems easier to defeat these pictures by leaving them alone and not dealing with them. Instead, create a more favorable picture adjacent to the unfavorable picture and concentrate upon it.”
Although I didn’t know the thoughts that created the depression, I reasoned I’d take control and create a new picture with conscious thoughts—thoughts I controlled—thoughts more favorable, more optimistic and positive! Having faith in Christ, I created another picture adjacent to the depressing picture, and concentrated upon the new image! This is like overlooking the first impression, and giving someone a second chance! This is changing the thought pattern from looking at depressing things, to looking at optimistic things. This is breaking the chain. Choosing to see depressing things leads to depression and worse. So how do we guard ourselves from falling into a dangerous thought pattern? As stated previously:
“It’s your spiritual duty to diligently observe thoughts and seek improvement. The pursuit of inner improvement isn’t a luxury, but a necessity…Correct thinking must be exercised like muscles—correct thinking is every bit as important, even more important, than physical exercise. You go to the gym and work out, well, you also must work out inside your mind!”
Thought is like physical motion. Both the way we move our bodies and the way we think our thoughts become habitual. Correct thinking is learned the same way sprinting is learned, a golf swing, or physical posture. Dangerous thinking is learned by forming bad habits. When thoughts get out of form, we must adjust thoughts like the golfer adjusts the swing, the sprinter perfects his style, and the person stands straight. We must examine thoughts, and form new, beneficial habits. This is our duty as a member of God’s community, for we were created to think correctly, and to deviate is to move away from God. Read the book!