Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Bad Connection

“People actually do read your mind.  What you ‘think’ is projected through the airwaves to the person you’re meeting with.  They pick it up subliminally.  So if they’re going to be reading your mind anyway, make sure what they’re reading is worth reading.”

Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen – The One-Minute Millionaire

Something interesting happened yesterday.  I had to go to the Post Office and as always there was a long line.  There was only one person working behind the counter.  Finally someone else came out and things started moving a little…until the manager told the first worker to take a break.  Then the line slowed to a crawl again.  I was with my daughter, who was hungry and tired and that made me more anxious…and angry.  I complained to the lady behind me, twice, about how this post office seemed to have a rule, which stated, the more people they had waiting, the fewer workers they would allow to help customers.  After waiting more than 20 minutes, the clerk couldn’t, or wouldn’t, help me.  So the whole wait was pointless.  I made a rude remark and left.  I was furious.
Then I got in the car and suddenly I began feeling afraid.  I could feel a panic attack coming on though I had no reason to be afraid.  Angry, yes, but afraid, no.  I was with my daughters so I had to stay calm, but the fear was growing.  I was able to talk myself out of my fear, and it helped that something that was worrying me was quickly resolved.  But where did the fear come from?  Why was I suddenly imagining the worst?  Then it hit me.
It was related to my anger and my frustration with the post office.  It wasn’t wrong for me to be angry, but it also wasn’t helpful.  And I made it worse by complaining incessantly.  I lost control of my emotion.  And then I realized what happened:
By giving up control of one emotion, I allowed other emotions to take over, too.
Some one recently told me that fear and anger are related.  Now I’m wondering if all negative emotions are related, just as all positive emotions are.  What if fear is rage and rage is depression and depression is prejudice and prejudice is hatred and hatred is greed and greed is lying and lying is cowardice and cowardice is murder?  What if they’re all different parts of the body of evil and self-sabotage?
In Galatians 5:22, St. Paul says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 
As I’ve said before, it’s interesting that Paul uses the verb “is” – the singular, rather than the verb “are” – the plural.  They’re all one.
But what if there’s a dark opposite?   What if all my worst impulses and thoughts are all connected as part of one bad, life-wrecking package?
This means that if I allow one to take over, then I allow any or all of them to take over.  If I let one cockroach or rat come in, then they will all come in.
It also means if I can control one, then I can control the others.  If I guard my heart, and words, against irritation, then I might be fighting fear as well. 
What this means is that I have to control my thoughts whenever something negative comes up.    “You must control your thinking,” says Earl Nightingale.  He’s right.  But I now realize that I don’t have many enemies, just one.  This enemy is protean.  It can assume many forms., but it’s really just one enemy.
And I can beat it with self-disciplined thoughts.
This is amazing to me. 
On one level I already knew this.  On another, it’s a new idea.  It’s a fresh perspective on an old problem.  If I want to not be afraid, I need to not get too irritated.  If I want to not be upset with delays, I need to not regret past mistakes.
It’s all connected.  But it’s a bad connection.           
So I’ve spent much of the last 30 hours watching my emotions.  Thinking about thinking is called meta-cognition.  I’ve been doing a lot of that.  I’m amazed at how much of my thinking is negative.  So now I’m working on training my mind to be different..
I think this could make me a new and better man.  I think it will help me Get Started and Keep Going…to my house on the beach, where I will have a better connection.