Using Habits Instead Of Habits Using You

We have the ability to step back from our situation and literally preside over our body,  creating choices not influenced by anyone except the Wisdom of our Body. We have been trained to follow the directives of the experts our entire life. When we are in a health challenge, we have to listen to that inner wisdom in partnership with the experts. This article focuses on breaking the old habits, listening to inner wisdom and participating in life with inner wisdom as a partner with the experts.

 

One blessing my chronic illness gave me was a short-term memory loss.  That was very frustrating, until I discovered the amazing tool of consciously creating habits.  A habit causes your body to perform a specific way, without having to think about what has to happen.  When you create a habit, the state of mind you were at during creating the habit, manifests as you perform that action.  This is really a beautiful thing, if you are conscious when creating new habits. The habit that emerges has you perfectly conscious in the moment using your inner resources.

 

When we find ourselves in a health crisis, we basically have two choices; we can either fall back on our past conditioned habits or deal with that crisis from connecting to the habits of the Wisdom of our Body.  For most people, falling back on past conditioning is not a conscious choice—it happens automatically.  If you choose the conscious alternative, you will be forced to develop new-conscious habits that harmonize with your inner wisdom. This is where you preside over your body and use habits instead of habits using you.

 

I often use the following example in describing my work to others.  There was a study in which a scientist taught a rat to climb some stairs and jump past a gap into one of two doors in order to eat.  For months, the food was behind the left door.  Then the scientist changed the doors, but the rat would only jump to the left. Next, the scientist opened the right door to make the food completely visible.  Still, the rat would jump only left.  The scientist then locked the left door while the food was visible on the opened right door.  The rat now jumped into a closed door and fell to the bottom of the cage.

While this may not constitute the most humane treatment of a rat, I see myself and others doing the same thing in a more symbolic sense.  The door can be open and the food right there, but we continue to choose our own ego and habits, which have been conditioned in the past, regardless of whether they serve us or not.

 

When your life is on the line, I suggest you get in tune with your inner wisdom and then partner with the experts. That scientist was the expert to the rat and the rat did what it was trained to do. Inner wisdom would realize the food was in the open door, even if the rat was trained to go left. We have to use experts with our inner wisdom.

 

In a human example, we may be used to eating foods that are not harmonious with the healing process, such as a newly-diagnosed diabetic eating sugary foods. The habits may tell you one thing, but when you listen to the Wisdom of your Body, it tells you that is not right for you. We often are true to our past conditioning, but when we live our life through conscious habits, we naturally live at a higher standard of quality.

The books of mine that I recommend to develop the skills needed in this article are: A Healthy Way to be Sick and The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life (Amazon/Kindle). I recommend them often because they create the skills needed to deal with any struggle by connecting you to the wisdom of the body and your higher self.

© 2015 Marc Lerner

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Learning How to Let Go of Your Life

This title might sound suicidal, but this is not my intention. When you look at your life as the consciousness that keeps you alive and allows you to be more active, letting go of your life is freeing your consciousness. You are freeing it from your thoughts and conditioning. This allows you to be conscious of powerful inner resources and develop a deep spiritual connection. This goes against the way most people live their life.

We have been conditioned to be very conscious of the way we think. Our conditioning is so strong that our consciousness is trapped in our thinking mind. Basically, this is another way of defining attachments. When your consciousness is connected to a thought, you are unable to connect to your deeper inner wisdom. On almost every spiritual path, you are encouraged to let go of your attachments, which allows consciousness to enter a spiritual realm.

I want to propose to you that this can naturally happen in every breath. When we learn how to breathe beyond our thinking mind, our in-breath is a way of letting go of the thoughts that define our life. This in-breath can create a habit that frees us from our thinking mind every time we breathe. Then, on our out-breath, our consciousness returns to our thinking mind with a clear perspective.

To the ego that naturally fears death and is what we identify with, this traps us in our thinking mind. For most people, their thinking mind serves them and makes them more efficient in this world. But, when a person aspires to an important goal, that beyond-thought reality is the home of powerful inner resources that they need. For instance, if you struggle with a health crisis, breathing into this depth is how you can become an active participant as a partner with your doctor. Not only do you activate your healing powers, you remove anxious thinking that limits your ability to heal.

If you want to express love to someone who is important to you, the ability to breathe beyond thoughts allows your heart’s expression to be pure. We limit our love by the way we think and were conditioned. If you had the power to transport consciousness to the silence beyond your thoughts, your love would be free from any limitations. Of course, this happens by a habit which can happen to most people naturally. But, for those whose love is limited by their thoughts and conditioning, they may need to put conscious effort into making this happen.

Another aspect of our life that this breath can serve is our work. When we hold onto our thoughts, we block creativity and our openness to new ideas. Creativity is an important part of work and can subconsciously be limited by the habits we create. Developing the habit of conscious breathing, where we let go of our thinking mind, has the ability to makes us more conscious on our job.

Focusing on breathing may sound insignificant, but it can add quality to every aspect of your life if done consciously.  I suggest that you take time and develop the habit of letting go of your thoughts. This can happen by practicing breathing into silence every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. This will allow you an instant escape from anxious thinking and, possibly, develop this habit in every breath.

In a health crisis, you need to learn how to let go, so that powerful inner resources can assist you. In my book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, you learn to apply this in a health crisis. In my book, The End: A Creative Approach to Death, you apply this same perspective to your final days, as you approach death.


© 2015 Marc Lerner

Is it Easier to Change the Cause of Your Stress or Your Interpretation?

When you face a challenge you cannot control (like a chronic illness, losing your job or the decision of another person), you can always control the way you interpret your perception of what happens.  Victims are people who accept what happens as the only reality they deal with. The empowered person realizes what happens is something they have to deal with; how they interpret what happens determines the quality of their life, their response and how their response is received by others.

Imagine the power you have in the simple act of how you interpret your reality. The person with an externally directed focus only looks outside for the solutions to his problems. The person with an internally focused awareness tends to look within for the solutions of his problems. Both inner and outer focuses have qualities for solutions, but with a conscious breath, the inner and outer harmoniously work together. We need experts’ advice in the area they specialize and we need our inner resources to consciously respond to their advice.

Think of our in-breath as the way we take in input and connect to inner wisdom. Then, in a split second, our body processes that input, which activates our powerful inner resources to respond.   It is not a matter of choice; our mind and body are previously programmed to respond in a specific way.  

Here is our biggest question: Can the conscious and subconscious mind and body be reconditioned? The answer is complex with many variables, but the main point is, if you really want it to. Most people do not even consider that question unless their life or what they value is threatened. People with chronic illness, facing the threat of death desperately strive to change, but some are successful and some are not.

The way we interpret our situation plays a significant part in how we deal with our struggles; that is the easiest thing to change. You can change a negative interpretation simply by changing the habit of what part of you interprets it. You can consciously condition habits that are connected you to your inner wisdom instead of the you that was locked into negative past conditioning. That does not change the problems you face; it just changes how you perceive and interpret your situation. Of course, you could be a victim to your past conditioning and simply respond as usual…but why?

By consciously conditioning a new self-image, the part of you that interprets thoughts and perception…you see the world differently. Now this new self-image is not purely fantasy; it can be made from your past so that you can identify with it.  Even though the self-image you want to change was strongly conditioned and may resist change, you can create new habits that make it feel like a special part of you. When that special part of you deals with your problem, you respond more consciously with a stronger quality of life.

If this can be done with a significant life skill like your self-image, why can’t it be done with skills like self-trust, confidence and how we utilize our inner resources? We do not have to rely on how we have been conditioned; we have the power to recondition our mind. Victims feel their past conditioning is their reality. Empowered people are free to recondition their mind. If this is an easy thing to do, you have no excuse not to do it.

You can develop a positive self-image in my book, The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life. Then, you can learn how to apply it to your health in A Healthy Way to be Sick. Find them on Amazon/Kindle.com.

 

© 2015 Marc Lerner

Using the Positive Self to Work with Clients

I was asked how I work with difficult clients. I use the Positive Self to work with clients so I am not affected by their energy was my answer. Below is a more in depth answer.

I worked with veterans with PTSD for 25 years at the VA and found myself dealing with intense clients regularly. I understand what it means to be affected by the clients you work with. I found that it was more important to change where they were coming from to avoid negative energy than it was to change myself. My main technique was to get them in touch with what I called their Positive self. We think to our self image, so if they have a negative self image, their thoughts will have a negative expression. If they have a positive self-image they got positive expressions. My technique changed self-images to a positive self-image.

Since their positive self-image was created from their own past experience, they could identify with it. I found if I focused on their Positive self from my positive self, communications happened with ease. That doesn’t say they didn’t have problems to deal with; it just meant they dealt with their problems from a more conscious part of them. My goal was to have them create a habit where they thought to their positive self regularly.

I am retired now, writing what I learned in the past. You can learn how to connect to your Positive Self on my website for free. Go to marclerner.com and look for the sample technique. This would be something for you and your clients. It only takes 10 minutes to use when you lead them through it and about a week to create a habit. I wrote a book called “The Positive Self, Change your Self Image and You Change Your Life.” I also wrote a book using techniques like that for people in a health challenge called “A Healthy Way to Be Sick” and one for those facing a death threat called “The End, A Creative Way to Approach Death.” All my books are on Amazon/Kindle.

I am personally going through those stages and find it helpful to aspire to a deeper consciousness when dealing with difficult times. Those times have a very strong benefit; they motivate you to transcend your everyday consciousness to accomplish higher goals. If you are in a difficult time, I recommend that you put your focus into using it to evolve. If you are not in a difficult time, reading these books can plant seeds in your mind, so when hard times happen, you can fall back on this understanding instead of your past conditioning. Remember you always choreograph your life; so always lean toward consciousness for a beautiful life.

The End: A Creative Way To Approach Death

 

To help me prepare for this final journey, I wrote a book called The End: A Creative Approach to Death. The first part of this book helped me be clear about what is involved in approaching death. The second part consists of 40 poems that helped me to prepare from a creative perspective.
Many of us have lived a life where we have become proficient in accomplishing goals; we live our lives in that state of mind. When we are close to the end of life, what is our goal? In our lives, we have been “the Doer,” where we do things by focusing on our thoughts. Preparing for death requires us to also be “the Receiver.”
Of course, there are things to do to prepare for this ultimate journey, but we also have to receive to get valuable input from our deepest inner wisdom. The majority of our character was created by habits developed as children, but most children never learned how to prepare for death.
Consciously approaching death involves utilizing powerful inner resources in a selfless way. This inner journey does not serve your ego, but it definitely brings you closer to life. If preparation can give you a better connection to life, why wait until the end of your life to prepare? It would serve everyone to prepare for death, even when it was not yet a threat. My best preparation happens when I transcend my ego and surrender in consciousness. As Lao Tzu said: “It is best to prepare for death while you are still alive.”
This book also suggests how you can write a book that creatively helps you
to approach death. When you create your thoughts in a book, you create
habits that help you during your toughest struggle, the end of life.

The Positive Self

You are basically described by the way you think and by the way you
act. This book is designed to have you consciously come from the best part
of you. In this book, “The Positive Self,” you develop habits that always
have you come from a conscious place. We think to our self- image, so if you
think to a negative self-image, you get negative thoughts and actions. You
interpret your trauma negatively, which only adds to the problem. If you
think to a positive self-image, you get positive responses, interpretations
and actions. Your positive self is open to external help because it
naturally falls back on consciousness, while the negative falls back on your
conditioned habits.
There is nothing that you identify with that can represent you as
accurately as your self-image. The greatest tool for a person that deals
with anxiety is to be able to control the self-image they identify with and
the ability to switch it whenever they need to. Your self-image was formed
by the way people related to you, for that taught you how to relate to
yourself. Your self-image is at the center of every memory, every idea and
every interpretation you make of your entire life. Simply changing your
self-image from a negative to a positive will not take away anxiety or any
trauma you may have experienced, but it will change the way you interpret
what is going on.
When a person has anxiety, they often have a difficult time
concentrating. Over time, it is often the case that an anxious person
develops a negative self-image. A positive self-image gives positive
interpretations and perceives exactly what is. A negative self-image
interprets based on past conditioning. A negative self-image is created by
past conditioned habits. It is difficult for a negative self-image to be in
the moment, for it associates every input to the past.

Your entire character is a relationship between your positive and
negative self-image. You can create valuable life skills through the
interaction between your positive and negative self. For instance, the
quality of confidence is the expression of your positive self being kind and
loving to your negative self. This is where you find ways to deal with your
anxiety by using inner strengths. A habit can be triggered by a word or
phrase, so that when a person faces an anxious state of mind, they can say
their trigger and at least interpret their situation from a conscious state
of mind.
Doctors and therapists directing their input to the positive self
find their input received consciously. If they direct their input to the
negative self, the input is received based on old habits the patient
identifies with. The habits can be negative or positive, but they block you
from being conscious in the moment. A patient connected to their positive
self is more receptive and connected to powerful inner resources: a patient
connected to their negative self is not open to new ideas and justifies
their life from the way they were conditioned.
The way you receive help is affected by what part of you, you think
to. This book is also helpful for people that help other people. It could be
doctors and therapists, teachers, parents those in a relationship, or anyone
who consciously deals with others’ personal development. Actually, the
greatest use of the “Positive Self” is personal development. The real
quality of life is when you look through the eyes of a conscious part of
you. This book gives you the tools to develop conscious life skills, a
positive perspective and the ability to better learn and correct yourself.

A Healthy Way To Be Sick

 

Have you ever seen a full moon in the sky at noon? That same moon at midnight is a very different picture. In physics, it says a light shines brighter in darkness and I feel that is a beautiful picture for the benefits of dealing with an illness.
I have multiple sclerosis, a struggle I have dealt with since 1981. I am legally blind with several other handicaps and in that picture the dark sky best represents illness or disability. That same situation has the power to force us into a wonderful self-acceptance. I feel my thoughts can be so depressing that my natural reaction is to avoid focusing on them; by doing so my awareness travels beyond thinking and I rest in a silence that comforts me. In that picture, that comfort shines like a full moon at midnight.
. What limits us from living in that state of mind? It is our thoughts. Positive and negative thoughts have the same effect; they create a man-made reality that covers the experience of life. Most people love their thoughts and feel that is their reality. My illness stripped me of my mind-made reality and forced me to really accept my life directly. In my e-book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, I share practical techniques that give you a direct connection to that inner wisdom.
For the past 20 years, I have worked with people who are in a life-threatening situation. I find those people are the easiest to share this inner wisdom with. A person with cancer or AIDS will release whatever they are focused on to do something that may help save their life. People who are happy with their thoughts and ideas may not be so open to let go of their thoughts to search for inner wisdom.
I don’t feel you have to be in a life-threatening situation to accept inner wisdom; it is there for everyone. I do feel if we were to take the darkest hours of our life to search for that depth, our struggles would turn into incredible opportunities to grow. I feel when we get good at this type of learning, we can turn any challenge into an opportunity to grow and better the quality of our life.
I need to tap that inner wisdom to just deal with my struggle on a day-to-day basis. When you deal with a health crisis, you are forced to participate in life with inner resources instead of anxious thinking. Basically, your expressions can come from a deeper wisdom than your thinking mind and that depth can help you heal and become an active partner with the medical profession. Now, living from that depth may not sound so significant, but look at a simple breath. Most people’s breathing is influenced by the way they think. In Latin the root of “worry” is “to choke.” The act of worrying has the ability to cut our breath off, making us choke with shallow breathing.
Have you ever been breathed by the Wisdom of the Body? That simple breath seems to float through you and gives you a beautiful, spiritual experience. It takes a lot of trust to breathe that way, but that is where your body heals the best and you perform with excellence. That is called the “Zone of simply being” and it is A Healthy Way to Be Sick.
Inner wisdom is found in the silence beyond our thoughts. At that depth, you are free from disturbing thoughts and fears, giving you a shelter where you are free from the struggle you are in. It is at that depth the Wisdom of your Body responds to your medication without the limitations from your thinking mind. Even when you are dealing with a chronic illness, there is an inner peace at that depth and this e-book develops that quality within you.
Doctors and medical professionals have gone to school for years to learn their profession, but the Wisdom of your Body has been developed over millions of years. Now it is time for you to learn how to use inner and outer resources together.The greatest resources available to man are found within every person. The greatest problem in our world today is the fact that we don’t know how to use them.

 

The Beauty of Approaching Death Consciously

Why wait till the end of your life to consciously accept you are going to die? We all will die. Most people have a hard time even thinking about their death, but that is their ego’s resistance. In your most conscious moments, you embrace life instead of your mind-made reality. I have had MS for over 33 years; I am in a wheelchair, legally blind with several handicaps that destroy the quality of my life. I suffer from intense pain. For these reasons, I do not resist death; in fact, at times I would welcome it. You could say this is a terrible situation, but it has given me the opportunity to really study death and the way I approach it

I find that life attachments keep me from going deep inside. They are like a life preserver I subconsciously hold onto. Letting go of them allows me to go deep — to a depth that is beyond thinking — where I connect to the wisdom of my body. Imagine the things we are attached to, such as the clothes we wear. This covering makes us feel secure (if we were naked in the middle of a public event, we would not feel so secure). Think of attachments as the clothes you wear and also the heartfelt joy you feel when getting in bed with your lover naked. Approaching death consciously is removing your attachments as you get closer to death. When you let go of these attachments, you naturally embrace life, like embracing your lover.

To help me prepare for this final journey, I wrote a book called The End: A Creative Approach to Death. The first part of this book helped me be clear about what is involved in approaching death. The second part consists of 40 poems that helped me to prepare from a creative perspective. Here are a few excerpts:

Many of us have lived a life where we have become proficient in accomplishing goals; we live our lives in that state of mind. When we are close to the end of life, what is our goal? In our lives, we have been “the Doer,” where we do things by focusing on our thoughts. Preparing for death requires us to also be “the Receiver.”

Of course, there are things to do to prepare for this ultimate journey, but we also have to receive to get valuable input from our deepest inner wisdom. The majority of our character was created by habits developed as children, but most children never learned how to prepare for death.

Consciously approaching death involves utilizing powerful inner resources in a selfless way. This inner journey does not serve your ego, but it definitely brings you closer to life. If preparation can give you a better connection to life, why wait until the end of your life to prepare? It would serve everyone to prepare for death, even when it was not yet a threat. My best preparation happens when I transcend my ego and surrender in consciousness. As Lao Tzu said: “It is best to prepare for death while you are still alive.”

Basically, we think to our self-image. If you think to your Positive Self, you will get positive responses. If you think to your Negative Self, you will get negative responses. As you read this book, the importance of the Positive Self will become clear, especially in dying, for you want to have positive interpretations at this time.

You will learn how to develop self-trust, which allows you to use inner resources to be in the moment consciously, ready for that passing. You will learn how your breath is a vehicle that can transport consciousness into Silence, which activates the Wisdom of Your Body and creativity as you pass.

Too many people view death as tragic. Their focus is in the rearview mirror as they mourn what they are leaving behind. Of course, mourning is healthy as long as you are aware and conscious of where you are going. This is a natural process. Sometimes when I say I want to die, it leads to mourning and I cry. I welcome emotional release, because I do not want my approach to death to be an intellectual exercise.

Unfortunately, most people resist freedom, as they hold onto what their ego identifies with; there is no freedom in holding on like that. “Confidence” comes from the Latin, “con fide,” or with faith, and it takes confidence to face death without holding onto your mind-made reality. Actually, it takes the same confidence to face death as it does to face life, where you are totally free, connected to life in the moment. It is difficult for the ego to comprehend real freedom, because we are attached to our ego and freedom comes when you are free from all attachments.

In Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle said: “In the last few moments before physical death, and as you die, you then experience yourself as consciousness free of form. Suddenly, there is no more fear, just peace and a knowing that ‘all is well’ and that death is only a form dissolving.” You need to learn how to separate your consciousness from your mind-made reality. From this state of being, you will find passing to be easy and without fear, attachments, or resistance. I think it is good to work toward that as you master approaching death.

I have a formula that I will develop in this book that gives you control over the quality of life as you approach death: Anxiety = approaching death x your resistance. As you approach death, your anxiety increases as your resistance increases. If you learn the art of surrender, your resistance will decrease until you approach death without anxiety.

The Eckhart Tolle quote allows this to happen naturally. As you develop strong habits, you can allow this to happen without creating resistance. The quality of life does not depend on the health of your body; it depends on your focus. In your approach to death, develop the focus that serves you in creating the quality Eckhart Tolle talked about in passing.

When you do this work ahead of time, it also makes it easier for those who love you and care for you. It allows them to relate to you consciously in the moment and say goodbye. There is always mourning when you deal with death, but there can also be a celebration when it is done consciously. Join me in creating the conscious moment, where you pass into a new dimension and celebrate.

Forever

Time seems to be changing for me,

Minutes seem to be so long

And even 10 seconds seem to last forever.

Maybe that is it,

I must be getting closer to forever.

***

Marc Lerner, age 62, has had multiple sclerosis since 1981. A Michigan State graduate in psychology, he worked for 25 years with cancer and AIDS patients, veterans with PTSD  and the mentally ill homeless. In 1982, he founded Life Skills Institute and began writing and giving seminars. His books include A Healthy Way to Be Sick, The Positive Selfand  The End: A Creative Way to Approach Death. All are available on AmazonHis website is lifeskillsinc.com. Marc can be contacted at (734) 913-0868.

Posted on August 28, 2014 and tagged issue 58 marc lerner