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Stress Relief: Solutions from the Head or the Heart

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Do You Really have a Choice NOT to Be Irritated:
Are you a Victim or a Volunteer?
by Dr Matt Moody 

When tough times directly press upon you, . . . you may indeed be a Victim of circumstance or abuse. But after aggravating events pass into the past, there is a point of transition, a moment in time when you are at choice to "get over it," and "get on with it." After this point of transition, ironically, all further stress is self-made — you actually create optional and unnecessary stress.

"You only get to be a victim once. After that, you're a volunteer." - Naomi Judd 

"That which you perceive as real, is real in its consequences." - W.I. Thomas 

Due to a misperception of "what is happening" in your world, you can create stress of mind and emotion that is unnecessary and optional.

"It's not what you don't know that makes you a fool;
but what you "think" you know, . . . that ain't so!
- Mark Twain  

Here's the truth about STRESSING that some fail to understand: Stress IS a "response" chosen by you, but there is a catch — Self-Made Stress is NOT chosen in the moment that it appears.

Instead, STRESSING is a reaction that flows from you in the now . . . due to your disposition of character — a disposition you've been shaping over many months and years through a history of choices. The cumulative effect of this history is that YOU possess a propensity to "stress" when pressed by certain Stressors. This propensity is your "P.Q." — your Provoke-ability Quotient.

Learning how to lower your P.Q., and finding the BEST solutions to your tendency to Stress, come from asking the BEST questions:

When your premise is poor, it's hard to acquire the prize. When you begin wrong, you will most likely end wrong. Asking unsound questions leads to second-class solutions; it's like climbing a ladder that leans against the wrong wall, it will leads to progress . . . that ain't progress at all (CYS, p. 157).

The BEST solution to your tendency to Stress will not focus upon a choice in the now — falsely imagining that will power exerted in the now is the answer. Instead the BEST solution will reflect upon the series of decisions you made previously, that have combined to create your present disposition — Who You Are — a disposition from which your actions and emotions flow, in the Now. Stressful emotions flow out of You, because of Who You Are and your P.Q. — Provoke-ability Quotient.

When Stress reactions flow out of you, this means that you are Hitting Yourself with the Misery Stick. And to finally cease the self-defeating irony of "volunteering for stress," you and I need to learn the true principles that will bring about genuine and lasting change from the core, a fundamental change in disposition — a Change of Heart.

Changing the Fountain from which Water Flows

Sweet water cannot flow from a bitter fountain; neither can bitter water flow from a pure fountain (James 3: 11). Human Beings are like Fountains: Our behavior flows from us according to our disposition of character. This means, if You are NOT a patient person, then impatient water will tend to flow from you. The solution to stopping the flow of Stressful Waters — and stopping the ironic occurrence of Self-Made Misery — is found in changing the source from which choices flow — You are the fountain from which your thinking, doing, and feeling flows.

Why do some people choose to be Stressed (volunteering for misery), while others choose not to be Stressed — when confronted with essentially the SAME Stressor/Constraint?

Again, being Stressed is a Reaction that is NOT chosen in the now; a Reaction that squirts out involuntarily as a consequence of E-Motion, Energy-In-Motion — it's called a Knee-Jerk Reaction. A Reaction that squirts out today, due to a genealogy of choices made yesterday.

You absolutely cannot escape the consequences of yesterday's choices: Choices made in prior days create "habits." When a pattern of choices is entrenched over a period of time, this cumulative genealogy of choices creates habits, knee-jerk reactions, and addictions.

Here's the trap you are in: the very condition of your disposition is naturally self-perpetuating. You tend to reinforce who you are today, because who you are presently IS the one doing the thinking, perceiving, responding . . . and choosing! This explains why people behave in consistent patterns called Personality.

Eckhart Tolle describes self-perpetuating, automatic thinking thus:

"The greater part of most people's thinking is involuntary, automatic, and repetitive. It is no more than a kind of mental static and fulfills no real purpose. Strictly speaking, you don't think: Thinking happens to you. The statement "I think" implies volition. It implies that you have a say in the matter, that there is choice involved on your part. For most people, this is not the case. "I think" is just as false a statement as "I digest" or "I circulate my blood." Digestion happens, circulation happens, thinking happens." (A New Earth, p. 129)

Some rebel against these words with a defiant cry "I CAN CHOOSE." Of course You Can, so why don't you? Why are YOU stuck in the SAME rut, over and over again. Why don't you simply CHOOSE to quit your self-defeating cycle?

Note how Eckhart Tolle qualifies his words with "The greater part of most people's thinking." Tolle acknowledges that volition happens in times of heightened awareness. Again, consider how certain habits in your life linger over many months and years. Now realize how much your thinking, doing, and feeling occurs automatically.

How can you possibly think fresh new thoughts using your stale old mindset? This is the Self-Defeating Trap called Einstein's Mind Bind: "You Can't Change your Mind, using a Mind that needs Changing. You Can't Fix a Situation, using a Mind that needs Fixing!" (CYS, p. 175).

Breaking out of this self-perpetuating & self-defeating bind requires that you become a new creature from your core. Changing Your Stripes offers a crucial insight that is ignored by a secular psychology that is head-heavy. The insight is expressed by legendary trumpet player Louis Armstrong:

"If ya ain't got it in ya, . . . ya can't blow it out!"

Free will choices are NOT as free as most imagine: Truth is, you cannot really choose to think certain thoughts or do certain deeds, unless You "got it in ya" to "blow it out." In other words, all choices to think, say, do, and feel ... flow from your Abundance of Heart.

This means, if a Heart of Positive Peace is not IN YOU, then peaceful and positive thoughts, words, and deeds will not come out — no matter how hard your Head tries to convince and contrive otherwise. In order to become a new kind of creature — like a tiger changing her stripes — that change must originate from your core, it must be a genuine change from the Heart. This is the only change that matters. C. Terry Warner writes:

* * * * *
"The only change that matters is a change of heart,
every other change alters us cosmetically but not fundamentally,
modifies how we appear, what we do or what we say,
but does not change who we are."
 * * * * *
(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 267)

According to Eckhart Tolle, involuntary, automatic, repetitive "thinking" is bound to, and limited by, Ego-Centered Living. In contrast, Freedom of Choice opens up for people who awaken to a higher state of consciousness called "awareness" — escaping Self-Centered Stories about Past & Future and surrendering to the Source in the Now.

Surrendering to the Source, who is our God and Creator, is the only way to experience a Change of Heart. Then, from the good treasures of the Heart, equally good words and deeds, good motives and non-stressful emotions, flow there from (Luke 6:45).

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