Lee is an author and lecturer on the topic of spirituality and awareness. Van has been friends with Lee for decades and in the early 90s, Lee taught the Mental Strategies Workshop with Van. While the content of this article should be familiar to long-term Van Tharp readers, it comes from another messenger and is always worth repeating.
You cannot make changes in your life until you accept responsibility for what is happening in it now. This does not mean you should review every aspect of your life and figure out how you caused it to happen; however, consider how your beliefs about a situation directly correlate to how you experience it. To foster true change in your life, first you must take responsibility for your reactions to what is happening.
Take a few moments to think of a current situation that bothers you.
Decide to see the situation differently. Even though you may not like the situation you are in, how will it ultimately benefit you? What benefit can you see from simply having this experience? If you can release the idea that something is wrong, notice how much more relaxed you become when you think about the situation. For a simple look at how you react, consider the following areas of your life.
Use the mirror image method to see what you do not like about yourself. Think of someone who annoys you. Identify the characteristic of this person that you dislike the most. If there are several, try to pick the one you find most obnoxious; write it down.
What you most dislike about this person is what you most dislike about yourself. Meditate on what you dislike in someone else and ask for the answer as to what about that quality bothers you in yourself. It may be the reverse or a direct link. For example, you may dislike your co-worker’s punctuality because you put significant pressure on yourself to always be on time or because you feel guilty that you are constantly running late. What emotions come up for you when you try to see how this person’s characteristic relates to you? The stronger the emotions, the more direct the relationship. This may take several attempts since we tend to hide what we dislike about ourselves.
You will regularly find insights and realizations from those answers that can free you from significant blocks.
One of the ways we hide things is through projection. This is one of the main ways our beliefs color our experiences. When we focus on the faults of others, we avoid examining or even seeing our own faults. Like a movie projector, we literally project our beliefs outward on the world. The world then does an amazing job of acting as a screen and reflecting it back. If you believe the world is filled with dishonest people, you will see dishonesty all around you. Try to think of examples of how this process occurs in your own life and the world you experience.
Using projection in a helpful way. Reverse the procedure and you can become aware of how you see your world. What you believe you see out there is what you believe inside. Now you can get a clear picture of your belief system. Write down some of your more obvious beliefs based on how you view your current life. Try to pick one you are willing to change for one day. Watch the results.