Friday, March 4, 2016

You are not your dragon

No matter what you call your dragon, be it “Depression,” “Diabetes,” “Binge-eating,” “Cancer,” “Alcoholism,” or “Drug-addiction,” it is important to remember that the dragon is only your human experience. It doesn’t define your true self.

The danger of identifying yourself too closely to your dragon is that you will take on that dragon’s apparent limitations as your own, and it shrinks what you believe is possible for you. This is not the truth of your being, even if it might appear to be so.

The real you is that consciousness behind the thoughts and judgements who is observing a human experience in a human body. It is connected closely to your heart, and only knows what simply feels good deep down in the core of your body and what doesn’t.  It is very separate from the chatter and judgements of the mind.

Take a moment and be still with yourself.  Remember that you are that observer behind your thoughts.  That consciousness within you that simply exists (without the mind’s chatter or thoughts of judgement). It is the part of you that is connected to your heart and just knows what feels good and what doesn’t (and it’s very separate from the mind!)

When you remember who you are, it gives you the freedom to choose what you will do with your thoughts. You can shrink that dragon’s bloated existence simply by redirecting the attention you give to it. You can make a brave, bold, and conscious choice to focus your attention away from that dragon, and thereby put it on a very deliberate diet!

Think of it this way: every thought you have in support of the dragon’s existence is like dragon kibble. The more you think: “this diabetes will always be in my life,” or “I am my depression,” or “this disease is ruining my life” it’s like a piece of dragon kibble that makes your dragon a bit bigger and more difficult to manage. When the dragon gets big enough, it begins to block out all of the joy and clarity in your life. Soon all can seem hopelessly dark with no hope of being able to be out of the dragon’s shadow ever again. Well, that’s what the dragon would like you to think, anyway!

In truth, as long as you can form thoughts, all is not lost! Opposing thoughts like: “I am getting a little better at ____ every day,” or “I am getting a little healthier every day,” or “I am actually free,” or “I am not my dragon,” …..will starve that dragon!

If you practice redirecting your thoughts each time a “dragon kibble” thought comes up, and replace it with the opposite thought, eventually you and your dragon will reach an equilibrium. If you keep at it, then over time, the practice becomes easier. Eventually, you will harness more and more control, and make those dragon-opposing thoughts a habit. Soon your efforts will be juiced by the knowledge that you have taken action in your mind and created a small but profound shift within yourself!

To redirect your thoughts, first just take notice when you are having a “dragon kibble” thought. Gently bring your attention to that thought, and then imagine putting a bubble around it, and then imagine that you let it drift away. Release it!

Replace it with the opposite thought by making an opposing statement in your mind. So, instead of “I am going to be depressed forever,” you might state, “I am not this depression. The real me is free, joyful and expansive.”

Also, please don’t beat yourself up for having those dragon kibble moments! Those thoughts became a habit at some point, and like any habit, it takes deliberate, persistent, repetitive practice to change it. For a time you might even feel like the cliché cartoon character with the (constantly bickering) devil on one shoulder and angel on the other! You may carry on for a while in this state, but if you just keep at it, without beating yourself up, while being gentle with yourself, and maybe having a giggle about it, it will pass as the new habit is formed.

Remember that even the most enlightened folks among us have dragon kibble moments now and then.  It’s human after all, and it’s really all a matter of remembering that you really do have the ability to redirect your thought patterns!

As a disclaimer, I’m not saying that everyone will always be able to starve a dragon until it completely disappears, (although sometimes it happens) but you can certainly put that dragon on a diet until it stops being so huge that it blocks out all the sunshine in your life. Even if you have been told that you have terminal cancer, a shift in attitude (whatever thoughts shrink that dragon for you) will substantially change your perception of those blessed final days.

Let me put it this way:  if you can get your dragon to get down to a size where you get little glimmers of happiness now and then, it’s certainly better than existing completely in a huge dragon’s shadow.
When you combine this change of thought patterns with deliberate positive actions in your life (such as eating better, or exercise) you can create real and powerful change for yourself.

Even if it feels like you are moving at a snail’s pace and every step is a feat of strength and endurance, simply having awareness that your efforts are gradually shrinking your dragon will aid you in stepping further into your true unlimited, creative, powerful self. This process is all about causing a shift in attitude that generates new energetic patterns in your brain, heart, and whole body. 

The journey to health starts in the mind.

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