Monday, 31 August 2020


This refers to experiencing the world as no longer colored by the Narrative-Self. Yes, it's time to put your hands together and give thanks to Mum and Dad, who were complicit in shaping your mindset. Being a choice and being shaped in this way means you can use your magnificent plastic brain to change your mind, rewiring neural circuits towards developing an outlook that will keep you happy and thriving. As a composite being you're not stuck with a fixed or growth-oriented mindset. Much depends on what influences your state of mind at any point in time, including: Are there things weighing on your mind? What concerns, worries and anxieties are you dealing with on a personal or work-related level? Are you in a place that makes you feel safe? Are there others around you who you know and trust, who are on your side, who get what you're trying to achieve and will look out for you? How well are you? Your level of fatigue, your internal resources of stress resilience, level of interest, general health, pain or hunger all play a part. With a little bit of persistence, the perspectives and practices that we're about to dive into can become resources available to you whenever you find yourself in emotionally challenging situations. What's more, my hope is that the insights put forth here will help you disentangle your psycho-emotional world so that you can be more efficacious as you continue to fight for environmental justice, health care, and universal human rights. It's been said that the personal is the political. I don't think that sums it up at all. The personal is the political is the spiritual is the emotional is the neuropsychological is the familial is the economic is the interpersonal is the sexual is the societal is the professional. All threads of our lives form one fabric. Frayed though we may have become, reintegration is not only possible; Because it does. *1 Internal Family Systems is an integrative psychotherapeutic approach first developed by Richard Schwartz.

Drawing on systems thinking and family systems theory, Schwartz and others have created a model of relating to one's inner parts as discrete subpersonalities and tending to their various needs and concerns rather than ignoring or pathologizing them. From the new viewpoint of Fundamental Wellbeing, especially from Location 2 on, it appears as if the previous sense of self was nothing more than a story that's no longer relevant. Now, the Narrative-Self and the way it colored the world both seem gone, or at least significantly reduced. Some Finders use the phrase die before you die to refer to the disappearance of the Narrative-Self. Occasionally, the moments before the transition to Fundamental Wellbeing can be as terrifying as accepting physical death. It can feel like a psychological death, yet the only thing that seems to actually leave is the Narrative-Self. The body and all its senses, the life animating it, the person's memory and personality, and so forth remain. The Narrative-Self seems to be the part of us that fears and obsesses about death. Fear of death is one of the things that fades away for most when Fundamental Wellbeing arrives. This doesn't mean that Finders no longer care if they live or die. Rather, the fear of death often leaves, and brings a tremendous feeling of liberation with it. Creating a place of safety in a high-stress environment There's a big difference between how we manage our mindset when operating in an environment that is calm, stable and predictable and when in a high-stress situation being shot at by snipers all around us. Like the time you're fending off those barbs of passive aggression from a colleague during a meeting. Or when you received that nasty email or social media comment. Or that time you received an urgent summons from your boss and had no idea why. Or when your world was tipped upside down by the threat of a global pandemic. Under pressure we veer towards the negative and start assuming the worst. We engage in more `what if' that frightens us. Our sunny disposition can be severely put to the test when we're being shouted at, or we're dealing with someone we feel is being completely unreasonable or blaming us for their misfortune or are being relentlessly bombarded by negative media reports.

Here the dimensions of power and purpose start to influence the different mindsets we experience every day. Although, as will be clear, I draw tremendous inspiration from the IFS model in this article and share some of its terminology, I also use different language than is typically used in IFS, where inner parts are generally grouped as managers, firefighters, and exiles. For readers interested in learning more about IFS, I highly recommend Schwartz's work. See, for instance, his audioarticle, Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts: Discovering Your True Self Through Internal Family Systems Therapy (Louisville, CO: Sounds True, 2018). *2 With nods to the punk band Angel Hair. A NOTE REGARDING THE PRACTICES IN THIS article Like a bicycle, this article rides on two wheels: sections of articles containing theory, philosophy, and science; This is in keeping with the traditions of meditation wherein potent ideas have always integrated and intertwined with potent inner processes (and vice versa). The two together are meant to form a vehicle that takes one beyond mere musing or intellectual understanding into direct experiences that engender meaningful and abiding change. Thus, you will notice this article alternates between the two, making this a less linear read. One way to use this article, then, would be to read a section of articles first and then take the time to explore the practices that follow before moving on to the next set of articles and practices. Life is still cherished, but death is not feared. In fact, many fears and anxieties diminish or leave altogether with the Narrative-Self. It seems that its obsession over the past and future, dogged pursuit of validation, and never-ending problem finding suppresses our innate peace and wellbeing. Unless someone is in immediate physical danger, in all likelihood the only threats to wellbeing are coming from thoughts about the past and future. In Finders, the reduction or absence of these thoughts allows a peaceful and positive internal state to arise. Filling The God-Sized Hole Another remarkable thing that arrives with Fundamental Wellbeing is a sense of completeness. Religions commonly use the phrase God-sized hole to describe the sense of an internal void most people feel. This is powerful recruiting language, as even happy people typically realize they feel incomplete.

A famous advertising executive once said, We're never going to make a commercial that says you're okay, exactly as you are. If you're working super hard but finding it hard to maintain your motivation, it's easy to become despondent, and to start to feel disengaged from what used to give you that spark of passion and purpose. Drawing on your inner strength at this time can feel like a challenge. Making a decision founded on courage rather than fear requires what Dr Dan calls `the choice of significance over safety'. If the ship is sinking and the lifeboats are leaking, saving yourself and everyone else around you means asking yourself some questions: What can I give here that will help everyone? What other resources can I tap into that will make a difference? What action am I going to take right now to make a start to bringing about the desired change? When faced with adversity or a challenge, which mindset do you adopt? Which question will help you adopt a thriver's or positive, growth-oriented mindset? Changing your mindset That said, there are those of you who may want to skip the practices in order to keep reading the theoretical articles. Or, you might find that you read a article, discover something in it you want to go deeper with, skip ahead to the related practice, and then jump back to the theoretical articles after that. And then there are those of you who will use this article nonsequentially--opening it to whatever article or practice is most relevant to you in that moment. I advocate any of these approaches and hope you trust your own most earnest guidance here. It's a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure novel. Hopefully, one with far fewer dragons and dead ends. A blanket trigger warning is appropriate here, too. The practices in this article are designed to give you a path and methodology for relating directly to your mind's psychological and emotional content. That content may involve pain, shame, fear, distress, or disturbing memories.

In some of these practices, you'll be asked to bring up a memory from childhood or to remember something that angered or frightened you so that you can offer yourself compassion and activate healing energy processes. The entire marketing industry thrives on pointing out this hole and the persistent underlying sense of discontentment that everyone has in them, and then trying to convince them a product or service will fill it. Of course, the hole never gets filled. While having a great marriage, a wonderful family, amazing relationships, enough money, and spending your life in meaningful pursuits have been shown to increase happiness and wellbeing, ultimately even these are not able to fill that God-sized hole. Most people live their lives in the constant pursuit of what will fill this void, whether they realize it or not. They listen to their thoughts about what might fill the hole, pursue those things, and get at least some of them. Of course, no amount of success fills the hole and the process repeats. Sound familiar? Ironically, the most successful people among us, those who achieve their goals again and again, often come to believe that their hole simply cannot be filled. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fundamental Wellbeing fills the hole. Cultivating a growth-oriented or thriver's mindset for greater success and happiness begins with a decision. It's yours to make. Check your thoughts Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up in a bad mood? The grey skies outside match your outlook. You grump into work with a frown and the expectation that the day won't go well. Guess what, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. On those days when you wake up in a good mood, not only does the sun seem brighter but you feel more capable, more confident and yes, you get more done. A positive state of mind helps you to acknowledge and accept the disappointments and failures you encounter along the way.

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