Lesson #3: Why the Universe Within You is So Important
Reality is created from within you.
The universe within you -- which is made up of your personal narrative, cognitive networks, personal constructs, and so on -- shapes the way you experience and they way you perceive and interpret that experience. Meaning it co-creates your life experience.As we already touched on through the exercise at the end of the previous lesson, one way to be more mindful of your personal narrative, your beliefs and attitudes, all of your emotions, and your assumptions and expectations about the world and your place in it -- is to start capturing it through writing (audio recordings work too). Now, if you're really sharp at this, you can start to notice these things in your daily conversations just by paying closer attention to what you say to others and why. But that's big league stuff, it's easier to start out with just you alone. (In the next section we'll go over three ways to start this.) In capturing your "raw" thoughts and feelings through writing, you can look to them as clues for what's really going on inside your head. You can also view them in a concrete way, which is really important. 3 ways to start tending to your inner universe Below are three powerful ways to start tending to your inner universe. Pick the one that stands out to you most -- and stick with it for 28 days. It's a good length of time to program a new habit. If you're feeling ambitious, you can pick more than one. But the goal is to stick with at least one practice for 28 days. Gardens aren't grown in a day, but take lots of tending to over long periods of time. So it is too with tending to your inner universe. Here are the options:
- Journal every morning for at least twenty minutes before starting your day -- Before you do anything else after waking up -- brushing your teeth, checking your email, having breakfast, greeting your dog -- sit down with pen and paper and write about whatever is on your mind. Take at least twenty minutes to completely unleash your inner thoughts... so you can start to get in touch with what you really think and feel about the people in your life and where you feel you're headed. Julia Cameron provides wonderful instructions on how to write what she calls "morning pages" in The Artist's Way.
- Talk out loud to yourself each night before bed -- It may sound silly, but you'd be surprised what you learn about yourself when let yourself talk freely, without worrying about what other people think. This is a good exercise to do into a tape recorder and even better if also in front of a mirror (it could be a hand-held one). Just talk about whatever you want to. You can reflect on your day, talk about what was good, or gripe about what annoyed you. The point is to get comfortable hearing your inner conversations that are always there just below the surface.
- Keep a log of your negative thoughts -- This is an exercise I've recently come to cherish. It's a personal log or journal that's kept separate from your normal journal. This log needs to be specifically designated to recording your negative moods -- whenever they arise. Use it to write down complaints, voice upsets, seethe with jealousy, talk bad about someone you just can't stand anymore, or even record negative self-talk that's been drumming on in your head. The point is to acknowledge those raw, not-so-nice emotions rather than trying to stop them. The point is to let them flow through your writing, with mindfulness. The point is to let your ego roam free, and then to take response ability by figuring out how you can nurture it -- your wounded inner child. Once those gut feelings are out there on paper, you can go back to it later and figure out how to work with those emotions in constructive ways.