Weekly wisdom about being human and living habit-free

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Fake News

by Dr. Amy Johnson on February 23, 2017

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There’s a lot of talk about fake news these days. fake news

A good portion of what we hear is untrustworthy. Untested. Not just biased—flat out untrue.

But what about the fake news in our own heads? So much of what we hear from our own thinking is also untrustworthy, untested, biased and untrue.

My friend Craig Bissell recently pointed out this spot-on metaphor.  He says:

“As I woke up this morning I found myself doing the mental equivalent of searching for a ‘fake news’ story – I began searching my memory for something to worry about; a sick loved one? pending responsibilities? etc. Then I had a thought: There’s absolutely nothing to worry about, and those thoughts I was searching for are not even real to begin with. How often do my fears come to fruition? Almost never.”

Sound familiar? Yep, to me too.

Craig goes on to say:

“In this day and age many of us have developed the habit of constantly checking Facebook or Apple news for the latest buzz. I just want to point out the similarity between scanning for drama on our phones and scanning for drama in our heads.”

We scan for drama in our heads. It seems like a safe thing to do or a helpful thing to do. Or maybe it seems like a painful thing to do but we find ourselves habitually doing it anyway.

“Thanks to a recently deepened understanding of thought and the principles behind the creation of my experience, I’m usually able to see these ‘fake news’ stories for what they are – just buzz being generated by my imagination, a mental habit of contaminated thinking, innocently developed from a place of misunderstanding.”

I love that: “buzz being generated by my imagination”. Sounds like fake news to me.

“So instead of letting the fake news consume my mind throughout the day, today I was able to recognize and dismiss these fears, and proceed to enjoy my morning. For that I am grateful.”

The inner news reel isn’t much different than the outer one. We don’t need to hang on every word or take it too seriously. It’s all contaminated to some extent. Knowing that helps enormously, just like it helped Craig.

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Acceptance Can be Very Misleading

by Dr. Amy Johnson on February 16, 2017

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Acceptance is kind of a psychological buzz word.  understanding

People everywhere are convinced they need to “accept their feelings” or “accept reality” in order to be free.

And there may be a nugget of truth in that. Resisting and fighting certainly aren’t going to bring freedom.

But there’s a critical distinction in this acceptance thing we often miss. Our “feelings” and our “reality” are not stable things out in the world that we either accept or reject at face value.

Our feelings and our reality are constantly created by our own moment-to-moment thinking. Feelings and reality are projections of our minds. We’re the ones conjuring up feelings and reality via our own creative power of thought.

Accepting them, as if they are true and stable “things”, leads us toward a fundamental misunderstanding about our human experience.

When five-year-old Miller comes into my room in the middle of the night because he had a nightmare (the unfortunate norm lately), we don’t talk about accepting the nightmare as it is.

We talk about the fact that a nightmare is a safe, temporary, meaningless projection of his mind. It’s an illusion.

We talk about the fact that what happened in his dream was just like a movie in his head that is over now. We teach him that he doesn’t have to replay those old thoughts, and that nightmares are normal and natural, and that his mind will soon move on from those thoughts, bringing him back to peace of mind.

His ability to understand how his mind works, and to see that what he feels in life can only come from the pictures in his own head, will be the ultimate source of his freedom.

Trying to accept “feelings” or “reality” without understanding that they are impermanent projections of our mind doesn’t do us much good. In fact, it kind of perpetuates the misunderstanding, doesn’t it?

No wonder people find acceptance so difficult.

When we see that every single experience we ever have is created within us, through our always-changing, creative power of thought, we can accept what we feel far more easily because we see the safe, illusory nature of it.

We aren’t forcing ourselves to accept something that looks like an unfortunate, steady fate. We’re accepting a momentary projection of our minds.

That sounds a lot easier, doesn’t it?

Acceptance isn’t the opposite of resistance and fighting against What Is. Understanding is the opposite. When we see the truth, acceptance is quite natural.

My friend Kelli Walker and I talked about acceptance on her awesome podcast, Not Another Anxiety Show this week. We both talk to so many people trying so hard to accept their feelings (ironic, huh?) because they’ve been told that acceptance is the way out.

They are pushing and fighting to accept something that looks huge and ominous, and then feeling scared and guilty when they can’t accept it.

It’s far simpler than all of that. Deeply seeing the truth about what we experience takes care of acceptance for us.

Listen to my conversation with Kelli about Acceptance here

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The P.O.D. (Problem of the Day)

February 9, 2017

I had a close friend in graduate school. I’ll call her Karen.   A few years before I met Karen, her mom died after a long illness. Because Karen was the oldest child (Karen’s parents were divorced), she was responsible for making some critical medical decisions on her mother’s behalf. She never knew exactly what […]

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Uncovery

February 2, 2017

I’d like to share a conversation with you. It’s a conversation between Amanda and Jeanne Catherine about seeing–despite decades of struggling and suffering–that you are actually healthy and always have been. Seeing that there is nothing to recover because the you’ve always been recovered. It’s more about uncovering the truth and seeing through the illusions […]

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 What Are You Not Seeing?

January 26, 2017

There’s a common phenomenon among students of this understanding I study and share.  We’ve seen some things about life that have been really helpful. We’ve had insights that have made clear what was previously murky. We’ve found relief from suffering at times, and we’ve probably all had the experience of laughing out loud at how […]

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What it Means When Things Look Complicated

January 19, 2017

When anything in life looks incredibly complicated there is only one thing going on: you’re in your thinking, conceptual mind. You’re “in your head”, as they say. From our heads, we want to know how.  How is the biggy. We also want to know why, when and where. We want steps, plans, strategies and guarantees. That […]

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Why you Might Be About 5 Days Away from Giving Up on Change. And What to Do Instead.

January 12, 2017

I bet you’ve tried change the hard way. Pretty much everyone has.  The hard way is where you fall into one or more of these traps: You consider your habit or unwanted behavior a huge problem; it looks like a personality flaw, a weakness, or maybe even a disease. It hasn’t occurred to you that […]

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You Don’t Actually Have a Habit

January 5, 2017

You don’t actually “have” a habit.  There’s no stability there, so there’s nothing to have. There may be consistency. That’s the definition of a habit—something that habitually, consistently arises. But there is no stability. Your habit is a thought that arises within you. It is not yours. You don’t own it or have it and […]

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The Power of Staying Where You Are

December 22, 2016

There is nothing in the world that can’t be worked out by taking things one…moment…at…a…time.  There are no unanswerable questions and no unsolvable problems. There is no angst or anxiety. All is ridiculously well when you simply Stay Here and do what occurs to you in this very moment. It doesn’t have to be right […]

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You Don’t Have to Fix the Past in Order to Have a New Future

December 15, 2016

The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” ~Pema Chodron My family recently drove from Michigan to North Carolina—twenty hours roundtrip. To entertain themselves, my five-year-old daughter Willow taught my three-year-old son Miller to play rock-paper-scissors in the backseat. Miller learned the hand signals and got the overall concept pretty […]

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