Living in the Past, Which Is Your Future
Here’s another example that demonstrates how familiar emotions create a corresponding future. You are invited to a co-worker’s 4th of July barbecue. Everyone from your department is expected to attend. You don’t like the host. He’s always number one, and he doesn’t mind letting everyone know it. Every time he’s hosted an event before, you’ve wound up having a miserable time, with this guy pushing every single one of your buttons. As you’re driving to his place now, all you can think about is how at the last party, he interrupted everyone’s meal so he could present his wife with a new BMW. You’re certain, as you’ve told your partner the whole week leading up to the cookout, that this is going to be one miserable day. And it becomes exactly that. You run a stop sign and get a ticket. One of your co-workers spills a beer on your pants and shirt. The hamburger that you requested be done medium-well comes to you barely beyond raw. Given your attitude (your state of being) going in, how could you have expected things to turn out any other way? You woke up anticipating that this day was slated to be a horror show, and it turned out that way. You alternated between obsessing about an unwanted future (anticipating what would come next) and living in the past (comparing stimuli you were receiving to what you received previously), so you created more of the same. If you start keeping track of your thoughts and write them down, you’ll find that most of the time, you are either thinking ahead or looking back.
Live Your Desired New Future in the Precious Present
So here’s another of those big questions: If you know that by staying present and severing or pruning your connections with the past, you can have access to all the possible outcomes in the quantum field, why would you choose to live in the past and keep creating the same future for yourself? Why wouldn’t you do what is already in your power to do — to mentally alter the physical makeup of your brain and body so that you can be changed ahead of any actual desired experience? Why wouldn’t you opt for living in the future of your choice — now, ahead of time? Instead of obsessing about some traumatic or stressful event that you fear is in your future, based on your experience of the past, obsess about a new, desired experience that you haven’t yet embraced emotionally. Allow yourself to live in that potential new future now, to the extent that your body begins to accept or believe that you’re experiencing the elevated emotions of that new future outcome in the present moment. (You’re going to learn how to do this.) Remember when I said that my daughter needed to live her present life like she’d already had the experiences of the great summer in Italy? By doing that, she was broadcasting into the quantum field that the event had already physically occurred. The greatest people in the world have demonstrated this, thousands of so-called ordinary people have done it, and you can as well. You have all the neurological machinery to transcend time, to make this a skill. What some might call miracles, I describe as cases of individuals working toward changing their state of being, so that their bodies and minds are no longer merely a record of their past but become active partners, taking steps to a new and better future. Transcending the Big Three: Peak Experiences and Ordinary Altered States of Consciousness At this point, you understand that the main obstacle to breaking the habit of being yourself is thinking and feeling equal to your environment, your body, and time. Obviously, then, learning to think and feel (be) greater than the “Big Three” is your first goal as you prepare for the meditation process you will learn in this book. I’d bet that at some point in your life (perhaps even frequently) you’ve already been able to think greater than your environment, your body, and time. These moments when you transcend the Big Three are what some people call being “in the flow.” There are a number of ways to describe what happens when our surroundings, our bodies, and our sense of time’s passage disappear and we are “lost” to the world. In speaking to groups across the globe, I’ve asked audience members to describe creative moments when they were so consumed by what they were doing, or were so relaxed and at ease, that they seemed to enter an altered state of consciousness. These experiences generally fall into two categories. The first of these are the so-called peak experiences, what we think of as transcendent moments, when we attain a state of being that we associate with monks and mystics. Compared to those highly spiritual events, the others may be more mundane, ordinary, and prosaic — but that doesn’t mean that they are any less important. These ordinary moments happened to me many times (although not as often as I would like) while in the process of writing this book. When I first sit down to write, I often have many other things on my mind — my busy travel schedule, my patients, my kids, my staff, how hungry/sleepy/happy I am. On good days, when the words seem to flow out of me, it is as though my hands and my keyboard are an extension of my mind. I’m not consciously aware of my fingers moving or my back resting against the chair. The trees swaying in the breeze outside my office disappear, that bit of stiffness in my neck no longer nudges for my attention, and I am completely focused on and absorbed by the words on my computer screen. At some point, I realize that an hour or more has gone by in what seemed an instant. This kind of thing has likely happened to you — perhaps while you were driving, watching a movie, enjoying a dinner with good company, reading, knitting, practicing piano, or simply sitting in a quiet spot in nature. I don’t know about you, but I often feel amazingly refreshed after experiencing one of those moments when my environment, my body, and time seemed to disappear. They don’t always happen when I’m writing, but after completing my second book, I find that they occur with greater frequency. With practice, I’ve been able to take control so that these experiences of being in the flow are not as accidental or serendipitous as they were at first. Overcoming the Big Three to facilitate the occurrence of such moments is essential for losing your mind and creating a new one