Many years ago, Swiss psychologist Carl Jung said, "What you resist not only persists but will grow in size." This declaration profoundly illustrates the human tendency to create situations that help us, though, in-the-moment, we perceive our circumstances laden with challenges and obstacles. As Buddhist philosophy promotes, much of the discomfort we experience is due to our attachment to things, both positive and negative. When we focus on the issues, the predicament seems more significant. When we linger on our concerns, we often get stuck.
One helpful approach is to shift our energy and attention away from what we don't want and focus on what we do. This approach takes creativity and trust. For some, the use of a journal or storytelling is helpful, they will create images and stories to see the desired experience. For a visual person, a vision-board is helpful. Vision-boards display our desired outcomes regularly at home or in our workspace, offering a regular reminder of what we want.
Sometimes when we're stuck, we blame others. This can help people feel better in the short-term, but in the long run, it can lead to delaying the growth the "universe" is bringing to us. Blaming others can also create social distancing (not the kind that protects you from nefarious viruses). Sometimes we push the very people here to assist us further away when they were in our life to help us along our healing journey.
Varying our attitudes can also help refine our perceptions. Most people think in binaries such as, I am either cursed or blessed. While it can be challenging at first, our struggles have a significant effect on us in both helpful and non-helpful ways. Allowing variability into our perceptions about our experiences creates a softness making it easier to move or shift our awareness into a positive space.
While some experiences are not of our making, it's helpful to concentrate on the things we want instead of the things we do not. This is easier said than done. Mindfulness strategies such as meditation or prayer (no matter its form), have been shown to promote change.
For me, I find without a watchful strategy, I get riveted into fear states. When I "fix it," I feel accomplished. Perhaps I manifest problems because I can address them, or find satisfaction in problem-solving. Instead, I can think more about what is going well and focus on the things I desire and spend more time bringing these elements into my life rather than repairing things I do not want to experience.
Jeffrey Lungren, CMHC
Jeff is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor specializing in men’s issues, relationships and couples, anxiety, depression, faith transitions, interfaith relationships, anger, and spirituality. Jeff works with people of all ages, including families and older children and teens.