How To Be in Charge of How You Feel and Behave (and Which People You Attract)…
We each create what I call an “Internal Map of Reality” as we grow up.
This Internal Map is my name for a collection of internal cognitive processes that create:
++How you feel (and other internal states)…
++How you behave (or fail to behave, in some cases)…
++Which people and situations you attract or become attracted to…
++What meanings you assign to what happens…
…and what meanings you assign to what happens.
Your Internal Map of Reality, then, is really just a way of taking what comes in through your senses and turning it into what you feel, how you behave, which people and situations you attract or become attracted to…
There are several steps in this process. The real question, though, is whether you create these four key parts of your life OUTSIDE your awareness (in which case those four things will be created automatically, depending on how your Internal Map was programmed by your past experiences), or WITH AWARENESS (in which case those four things will become a choice).
In the simplest sense, you begin by deciding what to pay attention to. Then, you decide how to pay attention to it–in other words, you decide how to represent it to yourself internally (i.e., how to think about it).
Deciding what to pay attention to involves choosing what you allow in through your senses–a simple example being whether to watch television, read a book, or watch the sunset. Next, of all the millions of bits of information touching your senses in each moment, you have to decide which to notice…
…and which to delete and therefore not notice.
This is no minor decision (and, right now, if you’re like most people, you’re making it unconsciously and automatically).
The amount of information coming in through your senses in each moment is enormous. You can pay attention, in any moment, to only a tiny fraction of it, which means that you must delete most of it.
And because this onslaught of sensory information keeps coming and coming and coming, you must make this decision over and over, in every moment.
To make this easier, your Internal Map of Reality consists of certain automatic, pre-set ways of deciding what to let in…
…and what to delete.
This method, as handy as it is, has certain drawbacks. You decided how to choose what to pay attention to when you were very young, before you had any real criteria for deciding how to do it. To be truly effective as a human being, you’re going to have to take this process off of autopilot and learn to do it consciously and intentionally.
In each moment, depending on the outcome you have in mind, what’s resourceful to pay attention to changes.
Consciously deciding what to
pay attention to (and what to
delete) has huge advantages.
Your beliefs strongly influence what you pay attention to. Beliefs are crystallized, pre-set ways of focusing attention, and as such become self-fulfilling prophecies in the sense that we find ways to make whatever we believe come true in reality (or at least seem to be true, which usually amounts to the same thing).
When you believe something, you delete whatever does not support the belief, and keep the rest.
Beliefs cause you to attract or become attracted to people and situations that help confirm that what you believe is, indeed, true. A wit once said, “If I hadn’t believed it, I wouldn’t have seen it.” Though tongue-in-cheek, this bon mot is a pretty accurate description of how your beliefs can sabotage you.
For instance, if you believe that men will be untrustworthy and unreliable in relationships, you’ll be likely to notice, attract, and become attracted to men who are, indeed, unreliable. In a crowded room…
…your attention will be automatically
drawn to such men!
At the same time, you’ll fail to notice or become attracted to men who don’t fit this profile (another example of how we unconsciously attract certain people and situations). If you encounter men who are reliable in relationships you won’t be attracted to them, or you’ll interpret what they do as evidence of unreliability, even if that isn’t really true.
If you believe it’s difficult to make money, you’ll focus your attention in such a way that will cause you to attract or become attracted to situations where it is, indeed, difficult to make money.
You’ll also fail to notice situations where it might be easier to make money. And if you do notice a moneymaking opportunity, you’ll discount it, or act in a way that leads to failure anyway–again, confirming the “truth” of what you belief.
Your goal, of course, is to operate your Internal Map of Reality consciously and intentionally, adjusting how you use it on the fly to fit each situation…
…and the outcome you want to create.
This means choosing what to believe based on the outcome you want. Since you’ll find a way to make anything you believe either come true or seem to be true, choosing what to believe becomes a method for creating what you want.
This idea of changing what you believe to fit the situations sounds crazy to most people. Here’s why it isn’t crazy:
Most people choose what to believe because “it’s true.” In other words, you believe this or that because you have “evidence.” Once your “evidence” leads you to believe something, you’ll find ways to create more evidence–which is why psychologists call beliefs…
So here’s my advice:
Instead of using past evidence to decide what to believe, decide based on the outcome you have in mind.
Now how do you do that? Doesn’t that mean you have to disregard “the evidence”–to pretend that what the evidence tells you is
true isn’t true? Yes, you do, in a sense. How, then, do you go against the evidence you currently have?
First, understand that beliefs generate their own evidence, and that evidence strengthens what you believe (which leads to the creation of more evidence). If you decide to believe something that is more resourceful, you’ll generate evidence that your new belief is true.
In fact, ALL beliefs are “true,”
in the sense that all beliefs
generate their own evidence.
Next, look around and realize that someone else, somewhere, believes what you would like to believe. (And, perhaps, they’re getting better results than you are.) If so, it’s obviously possible to believe it.
So, borrow that other person’s evidence until you have your own. Believe “as if” the belief is true. If you do this, you’ll generate the ideas, the motivation, the internal qualities, and the behavior, that will make it come true.
You can choose what to believe, based on what you want to create. When you change what you believe, it changes what you pay attention to and what incoming information you delete…
…which changes how you feel and
behave, and what you attract.
Another key aspect of your Internal Map of Reality is your values. Values are what you think is important. When you think something is important, you pay attention to it, and you spend time on it.
Values, then, are another filter that determines what you pay attention to (and the results you get). Values are also are the source of motivation. If something is important to you, you pay attention to it, and…
…it motivates you.
As with beliefs, you can choose what’s important to you. Most people make this choice when they are too small to have any criteria for choosing, and then what they choose operates unconsciously, for good or for ill.
How, as children, do we make this choice? We choose based on pressures applied by our parents. Parents have an agenda, sometimes positive and sometimes not, for what should be important, and this becomes another unconscious, automatic part of your Internal Map of Reality.
You can, however, choose what to value, and in doing so…
…take charge of your life.
There’s another collection of filters we use to decide what to pay attention to and what to delete. These filters are called metaprograms. Metaprograms are content-free (unlike beliefs or values, which have content). Metaprograms can be applied to any content.
Let’s look at a couple of the more important metaprograms.
The Direction Filter determines whether, in a given situation, you move toward what you want, or away from what you don’t want. If someone asks you why having a good job is important to you, you might say that having a good job creates a good living and allows you to exercise your creativity.
You’re describing what you want–a good living, and exercising your creativity.
You’re moving toward.
You might, though, use this filter in the opposite way. You might say that without a good job you’d struggle to make ends meet, and that you’d feel bad spending forty hours a week in a dull, uninteresting job.
In this case, you’ve described what you want to move away from–not being able to make ends meet, and spending your time on something that doesn’t interest you.
In both cases, your intention might be the same. In the first case, though, you want to get it by moving toward it, while in the second you want to get it by moving away from the opposite. These two ways of focusing your mind will, however…
…create very different outcomes.
Whether you move toward what you want or away from what you don’t want, you have to focus on it. Your mind takes what you focus on as a goal to be achieved. If you focus on what you want (ie, move toward what you want) your mind with figure out how to get it. If, on the other hand, you focus on what you want to avoid (move away from what you don’t want), your mind will also figure out…
…how to make it happen.
Even though that’s NOT your intention.
Your mind takes what you focus on literally and assumes that you want it. If, for instance, you’re afraid people don’t like you (which causes you to move away from being disliked, i.e., to focus on what you don’t want) you’ll find ways to attract people who actually don’t like you, or who don’t like anyone.
Or, you might unconsciously act in ways that cause people not to like you, or interpret what people say and do in a way that makes it seem as if they don’t like you, even if they do.
I hope you can see that focusing automatically (and unconsciously) on what you don’t want isn’t resourceful, yet many people do it. To be in charge of what you create, you need to use this filter consciously, with awareness.
You just can’t allow it to operate unconsciously.
How do you gain the necessary awareness? Meditate, or better yet (and much faster) use Holosync. As your awareness increases, you’ll see yourself moving away from what you want in the areas of your life that aren’t working, and you’ll be unable to keep doing it.
Awareness creates choice, and once you have a choice you’ll always choose what serves you…
…and drop what doesn’t.
A second metaprogram filter, The Reason Filter, determines why you do whatever you’re doing: because it’s possible, or because you have to. We call this “sorting by possibility” or “sorting by necessity”.
Many people unconsciously and automatically follow a set of rules or “supposed-to’s” they learned while growing up. These rules create pre-programmed focusing and pre-programmed behavior.
There are certain benefits to this approach–rules are shortcuts, allowing you to act in ways that have (supposedly) worked well in the past. No set of rules, though, can cover all possibilities. Life is often complicated. What do you do, then…
…when you can’t find a rule that works?
What’s more, many of the rules we carry with us from childhood are nothing more than the hand-me-down limitation of our parents.
Rules and “have-to’s” cause us to filter out and not see other possibilities. And if you don’t see them, they don’t exist (at least for you). If, on the other hand, you focus on the possibilities in any given situation, you may still end up with the same action the rules would have suggested…
…but you’ll be doing it for a different reason.
Even better, you’ll see many other possibilities–possibilities that would have otherwise been invisible–that might generate a much more resourceful outcome.
But what about the shortcut advantage? Won’t you need to consider all the possibilities–which could be infinite–in every situation? Relax. There’s a part of you that can consider them all, evaluate them, and choose the most resourceful…
…and do it in an instant.
This isn’t done by your one-step-at-a-time linear mind, though. Instead, it’s done by a part of your mind that can easily process an unlimited number of variables all at once and choose the one that’s most resourceful.
This part of the mind, though, only works, though when you “sort by possibilities”.
And, again, the secret to engaging your ability to sort by possibility is awareness–and the easiest way to create more awareness is to use Holosync (or, if you want to go more slowly, to use traditional meditation).
These (and about twenty more) metaprogram filters determine what you pay attention to. You can either use them unconsciously, as you probably are now, or you can create the awareness that allows you to use them consciously and intentionally.
When these filters operate unconsciously and automatically, they create your life in a certain pre-set way. If you use them consciously and intentionally, though, you can create almost anything you want.
It’s that simple.
Mastering your Internal Map of Reality
This may all seem incredibly complex, and in a sense, it is. (In fact, we’ve just scratched the surface of your Internal Map of Reality, looking at just a few aspects of it.)
You’re fluent in your native language, however, and even the simplest language is mind-bendingly complex. Mastering your Internal Map of Reality is like anything else–you start where you are, you practice, and you make progress.
Since this process is one of discovering yourself and how you create your experience of life, it’s a fascinating undertaking…
…with profoundly positive rewards.
Mastering your Internal Map of Reality is much the same process a jazz musician uses to learn to improvise. The musician practices chords, scales, and other pieces of musical vocabulary. He consciously thinks of these things and how to arrange them while he practices.
At some point, however, the musician’s ability to play no longer requires conscious thought. He relaxes his linear mind and turns his playing over to that part of his mind I mentioned a moment ago, the part that knows how to utilize the skills he’s practiced.
This other part of his mind can see all the possible choices for what to play in each next moment, evaluate them, choose the best one, and then play it–all in a fraction of a second…
…and without conscious thought.
The jazz musician must play this way. The music happens more quickly than the linear mind can process. So, he plays with little or no linear thought, in the same way you talk to others without considering grammar, syntax, or thinking through the content of each sentence.
Okay, so you aren’t a jazz musician. But you probably do know how to drive a car.
When you first learned to drive you had to think your way through each move. “Time to stop. Where is the brake? When, exactly, do I step on it, and how hard–in order to stop at the right place and the right moment?” “Okay. Time to change lanes. I’ve got to look over my shoulder, judge how much room I need, decide how fast to go, and when to go, and then use the right amount of gas, braking, steering, and so forth, all at the exact right time.”
It was a lot of work because you had to do it…
…all with your conscious, linear mind.
Now, though, you drive with little if any conscious thought. To be a little bit Zen about it, when you drive you’re one with the car. How did you get that way? By practicing, by driving until you developed the ability to evaluate all the possibilities in each moment, choose the right one, and then do it…
…all without consciously thinking about it.
Just like the jazz musician, you began by being unconsciously incompetent (you didn’t know how, and you didn’t even know what you didn’t know). Then, with a little bit of practice, you became consciously incompetent (you began to realize what you didn’t know, and what you needed to work on).
Next, you became consciously competent (you could do it, but you had to think your way through it). Finally, you became unconsciously competent (you turned it over to a part of your unconscious mind that can evaluate an infinite number of variable, instantly, decide what to do, and then do it).
The ability to move through these various stages, by the way, is connected to the amount of neural real estate devoted to whatever you’re learning. Once you’ve practiced enough, the part of your brain responsible for driving, or playing music–or consciously and intentionally operating your Internal Map of Reality…
…takes over and does its job.
You can learn to take charge of your Internal Map of Reality. First, you learn the basics of how it works. Next, you notice how you’ve been using it and what results your way of using it has been creating. Then you play with each part and find out what it does, and notice all the other choices you haven’t been exercising. You play with those and find out what they do.
Eventually, the same mechanism that allows you to drive a car while you eat, talk on the phone, change the radio station, put on your makeup, and talk to your passengers, will take over. You’ll be just like the jazz musician who, after practicing for many years, effortlessly generates beautiful music.
The fact that you may not know anyone with this kind of control shouldn’t keep you from believing that you can become such a person. It can be done (I’ve done it, and I have taught many others to do it). All that’s required is the desire to do so, and the persistence to practice. The process is fascinating, and the rewards are huge.
What would you do if you really could be in charge of what you feel, how you behave, and what people and situations you attract into your life?
We each have a choice. We can continue to automatically create whatever our Internal Map of Reality has been pre-programmed to create, or we can develop the awareness, and the flexibility, to intentionally and fluidly change our Map of Reality, moment-by-moment, as needed, in order to create whatever we want.
You may not have realized, up to now, that this choice existed, but it’s a real choice. You can take the reins of your mind, and in mastering your mind, you can master your life.
Centerpointe’s Life Principles Integration Process (LPIP) is a step-by-step method for mastering your Internal Map of Reality. To experience a free preview lesson, just click here.
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