We have been travelling around South Africa for six weeks now. A beautiful country, however, what I find sad to see is so many people live in homes with barbed wire and spikes on railings surrounding them. In fact, one place we stayed in had all this around the property, plus two security doors, three zones of burglar alarms within the house and metal grids on all the windows. The owner always carried a gun with him and he had a big baton in his car. It was like living in a prison. The weird thing is that for him he probably felt safe inside, and feared to be outside.
Reflecting on this, it is a great metaphor of how so many people live their lives inside of their head. Do you often live with fear, anxiety and insecurity? You may have lived that way for so long that it feels like the norm. Perhaps you believe that you were born that way or you just don’t know how to change – the more you try the worse it gets. Do these feelings hold you back? Stop you from doing what you’d love to do or even constricting your mind so much that you cannot see clearly what you want from life? But what if I told you that you can get out of the prison. The door to your mind is always open and you are able to walk outside to freedom whenever you choose!
Being in South Africa is so interesting. We visited a museum called Cradle of Humankind, which displays remains of species that scientists believe we have evolved from. For thousands of years, humans lived in the wilderness, sharing the land with lions, rhinos and buffalo. These humans were constantly on the lookout for predators, otherwise, they could have been eaten or trampled. They needed to be attuned to their feelings, a quick signal to alert them to danger. This gift of feelings has been part of the human psychology for thousands upon thousands of years. We needed it – otherwise, we would have quickly become extinct!
When we go to get food these days, there are no lions waiting out there to kill us. We may feel similar feelings to our ancestors, but, it is very rare that we are in life or death situations. I believe that we are at a stage of evolution where our feelings are still similar to those felt by cavemen and women, despite society changing dramatically over a relatively short space of time. Psychologically we haven’t moved on. I wonder if generations to come won’t suffer the torments of the mind that so many people do now!
Luckily, when we have an understanding of how we experience life at a psychological level, we can live a liberating life and get out of the prison that can be our minds. Our feelings are a reaction to thoughts that run through our heads in any moment. We are not our thoughts, we certainly don’t need to take them seriously. A thought is just a thought, it is neutral. It is our reaction to that thought that can cause us issues, if we focus on it too much.
Sometimes, when I go to events and need to stand up and talk, my stomach will churn, my heart beats faster, I feel hot and am sure that my face is red from embarrassment. However, I’m not going to die. I now just ignore these feelings I have inherited from my descendants and carry on. The thought that “people may think I am talking rubbish” doesn’t need changing, my reaction to that thought doesn’t need changing… That is such a lot of work.
“All feelings derive and become alive, whether negative or positive, from the power of Thought” ~ Sydney Banks
I have realised that these thoughts and feelings are a by-product, trying to protect me from getting hurt by the scary lion or the not-so-scary people listening to me talk. The thoughts and feelings themselves mean nothing. So what if we just carried on regardless of these feelings? What if we just allowed those feelings to continue in the background, like a dreadful song playing on the radio, knowing that the music will change? As I said to a client recently, stop hitting the replay button, then the music of our mind will move on.
“Freedom is the oxygen of the soul” ~ Moshe Dayan
When we understand that there is a natural flow of our thoughts and feelings, and they change effortlessly when we don’t meddle with them, then life moves on easily and freely. This system is the same for us all. We all work the same way. When we realise this, we can get out of the prison that we sometimes create for ourselves. Ok, we may occasionally pop back in there, however, at least we know that the door is always open and it’s easy to get out!
I am Lindsey Reed, an experienced international Coach, Trainer and Author. My aim is for us all to have a joyful, fulfilled life. I love connecting with people and helping them to remember who they really are, their true selves and re-ignite their lives with confidence. Currently travelling around the world, I am still coaching, the wonders of technology. If you would like to connect with me, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My book Got It: The Answer to a Confident, Productive & Stress-Free Life is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle/ebook format and is now in over 22 countries. It describes how we create our experience of our own reality called life and through this understanding, we can have a more confident and freeing life.