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Faster Personal Changes
When a person engages in personal and spiritual growth practices they often begin with reading and gathering knowledge. This is a good place to start for background information. However the knowledge approach has limited potential for change. It can also be relatively slow.
Real life changes in emotions and behavior don’t happen just because you have knowledge. When you decide to speed up your personal process and make real changes you will want to add Perception, Awareness, and Action to your process.
How real emotional and behavior change happens.
You’ve probably experienced an epiphany before, perhaps many times. People describe it as the “light going on.” All of a sudden you have a moment of clear perception that can startle you. In that moment your mind often stops thinking. In that mini awakening you don’t have any more information but you are aware of something new. It may have been right under your nose but you hadn’t seen it quite that way before. Mostly what has changed is the way you view something but it completely changes the picture.
When you have a small awakening like this your conscious awareness is changed. New synaptic channels open in the mind. From that moment on you no longer interpret things in the old way. You make different interpretations from this new viewpoint, draw different conclusions, and make different choices. Your new behavior becomes easy to integrate as you naturally follow your new perception. This is a means to make rapid personal changes.
If you think back to when you had an epiphany you can recall that you immediately and permanently changed.
Perception and Observation
Radical changes such as scientific discovery or creativity often come in an epiphany. Archimedes claimed, “Eureka!“(I found it) when he saw a solution to his problem of how to measure the mass of gold in a king’s crown. He had been struggling over the problem for some time. Then one day while settling into a relaxing bath he noticed how his body displaced the water from the bath. In that moment of perception he observed the relationship between water and an object in a different way. His direct perception of the relationship formed new understanding in his mind.
We should note that he had done some background work on the problem. This is where background information from reading can be helpful. However it isn’t the whole process of change.
The key point is that the awakening that created real change did not happen as a sole matter of knowledge gathering or information analysis. The change happened when he looked at the situation from a completely different view point. He looked at it from the perspective of his bath tub as he lowered himself into it. He saw it in relationship to the water rising. The answer to his problem wasn’t found logically. His realization came as a creative process of discovery that happens when you shift the way you look at things.
Knowledge and Intellect Don‘t Facilitate Change
Many times people will be aware of a behavior or self sabotaging pattern that they want to change such as jealousy or anger. They might know when they adopted it, how it was developed, and the motivations behind it. They can also see all the reasons why they should drop this destructive behavior. However all their knowledge and intelligence doesn’t change the behavior. This can be very frustrating until you realize that knowledge does not shift emotions or behavior.
Knowledge can be helpful to define the problem. However that knowledge of definition is not the same as effective treatment.
When it comes to emotions and behaviors you can have all the information but if you haven’t shifted your point of view you still feel trapped by them. This is true even if you have the understanding that it is only a belief about something that isn’t real. This is common in emotional behaviors like irrational fears and unwarranted jealousy. You can have all of the knowledge that the beliefs aren’t real, but until the perspective shifts the beliefs and emotions remain.
This is one of the key differences between knowledge and awareness. Knowledge usually has a very limited viewpoint. Awareness has flexibility and versatility in perspectives. It allows for creativity and lateral thinking outside the box. When you have awareness you can shift your point of view outside typical problem solving paradigms and adopt a different approach to a situation. This is what Archimedes did.
You can do things to Consciously Change Your Perception
A few years back Magic Eye pictures were very popular. At first look, and sometimes second look, the images appear like chaotic pointillism. However, by shifting your eyes the mess of color reveals a three dimensional image hidden within. The picture isn’t really hidden. It’s just that you see it unless you adopt a certain point of view with the eyes to see it. Once you shift your perspective you see something you didn’t notice before.
Seeing with the magic eye effect is similar to changing your point of view so you can see the same thing in a different way. You can notice layers of an issue that you didn’t see before. This is the power of awareness.
When you apply this approach of shifting viewpoints to your personal process you can accelerate your rate of personal change. You will look at your self and emotional issues where you feel stuck completely differently. With awareness you begin to see elements and options that didn’t seem to exist before.
How to Make Changes in Perspective
One of the difficulties in getting someone to see the hidden image in the depths of the magic eye pictures is that you can’t explain how to “see” it. We aren’t use to consciously changing the focus of our eye. We usually leave it to be done automatically by the mind. An explanation of how to change the focus your eye may not translate very well. Even if we know intellectually that we need to focus differently it might be difficult taking those eye muscles out of automatic. Having intellectual understanding about moving the focus of the eye is very different from doing it.
A more effective way to shift the eye is through taking certain actions or tricks. If you hold the image to your nose, look beyond it, and then slowly move the picture away, it can help your eyes make the shift. Notice that this is an action. It’s not an intellectual explanation of how to shift. Holding the image to your nose is a way to break the automatic focusing habit of the eye and shift your perspective.
It is in the process of taking new actions that you can
change perspectives and create personal change.
The Value of Perspective in Relationships
When it comes to difficulties in relationships the suggestion is often “try to look at the issue from the other person’s perspective.” This is nice advice. It’s also usually wasted. Most people have not developed the skill to jump between points of view effectively. To look at an issue from another person’s perspective requires that you drop all your beliefs, opinions, and emotions, and then put on the virtual reality of the other person’s beliefs, opinions, and emotions. This is not an intellectual exercise. It’s like developing a magic eye for relationships and something not many people have taken the time to learn how to do.
For those that are able to shift their perspective, you can immediately develop a respect for another and their point of view. The additional perspective will automatically change the tone, attitude, and emotion in your communication. The attitude of conflict will drop with your perspectives of right/wrong and good/bad. When you can drop the right/wrong perspectives in relationships it is easy to create more love, respect, and happiness.Â You can see depth in a person that you didn’t see before. The critical challenge is to develop your magic eye for people by being flexible in your point of view. To be clear it doesn’t’ mean you have to give up what you want. It just means you don’t use fighting and conflict as a means of getting it.
If there was ever a place where a shift in point of view would dramatically change emotions and behaviors it is in personal relationships.
Habitual Patterns of Perspective
We expend and waste a lot of our energy in habitual patterns. There are also habitual patterns in how we see our self, relationships, and the issues we feel trapped in. You know you are trapped in a limited perspective when you keep making the same interpretations and drawing the same conclusions. That limited perspective can blind you from other options and choices that can lead to your happiness. One of the biggest traps is not recognizing the importance of point of view in these patterns.
To make real changes in behavior and emotions begins with a change in point of view. When you learn to consciously shift your point of view you can see those options and choices in moments instead of struggling with emotional issues for weeks and months. Just like learning to see the magic eye images, it will take some effort to learn how to shift your perception at will. However once you learn to develop this skill you will be able to fast track your personal and emotional change.
Action is the path to personal change
For practical steps in changing your point of view and developing your awareness practice the exercises in the Self Mastery course. The first couple sessions are free. Session 1 and 3 introduce you to the issue of point of view while sessions 5, 7 and 10 accelerate the process.
Making real changes in your self and your life happens faster when you consciously change your perspective in a ways that expand your awareness and your emotional choices.