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The Positive Approach - Lesson 17


The Why & the Lie

By Peter Shepherd

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Most fixed ideas that we cling to - even though they don't really hold up under rational inspection - were originally made for what seemed to be sensible reasons.

These are some general questions that can be used to weed out fixed ideas:

  1. "What things do you say to put others in their place?"
  2. "Do you have ways of dominating others?"
  3. "Are there any ideas that make you feel safer?"
  4. "Are there things about which you are sure you are right?"
  5. "How do you prevent anybody else from getting the upper hand?"
  6. "What ideas and beliefs do you firmly consider to be true?"
  7. "What ideas are constantly with you in your life?"
  8. "What things in your life would you not be willing to change?"
  9. "What principles do you use in dealing with other people?"
  10. "What are your principles for evaluating things?"
  11. "What don't you want to get involved in? Why?"
  12. "What don't you like? Why?"
  13. "What is an acceptable level of activity? Why?"
  14. "What bothers you about others? Why?"
  15. "What routines do you follow in day to day life? Why?"
  16. "Is there anything you do to prove you are better?"
  17. "What do you use to make people feel sorry for you?"
  18. "What weaknesses have you shown to get people to do things for you?"
  19. "What must people think of you for you to feel alright about yourself?"
  20. "What ways do you get people to pay attention to you?"

Some of the possible "Whys" follow:

To solve a problem?
To solve a conflict?
To fill a scarcity?
To fulfill a need?
To getting rid of something?
To suppress?
To cover up?
To falsify?
To bypass?
To avoid?
To make fail?
To inhibit?
To invalidate?
To destroy?
To escape?
To enforce?
To influence?
To gain admiration?
To gain recognition?
To gain an acknowledgment?
To gain sympathy?
To obtain agreement?
To increase communication?
To be able to understand?
To please someone?
To resolve confusing thoughts?
To resolve a painful feeling?
Because you couldn't grasp something?
Based on an earlier assumption?
Based on a misunderstanding?
Based on an uncertainty?
Because of an injustice?
Something that can't be faced up to?
Somebody else's evaluation?
Because of an invalidation?
A failed effort to help?
A failed attempt to control?
An effort to resist change?
As a withdrawal?
Trying to give something up?
Because of a something judged to be wrong?
Because of something held back or kept secret?
Because a justification was felt necessary?
As a game?
As a challenge?
To get revenge?
As punishment?
Because it seemed a good idea?
Because you went along with something?
Because you noticed something?
Because you accepted something?
Something Else?

If you can clearly see a truth, then it no longer sticks in the mind. A fixed idea is based on some sort of untruth, something that's not being seen clearly, some resistance. That which is resisted tends to persists, as attention sticks on it, even if subconsciously. So the next step in clearing fixed ideas is to locate the "Lie" - what was untrue that resulted in the above Why being perceived? Was it based on one of the following factors?

Wrong evaluation? A changed sequence of events? Cross orders?
Wrong sequence? Copying another? Incorrectly included data?
Wrong time? Admiration for the originator? An assumption?
Omitted time? Sympathy with something? A presumption?
An over-generalization? Thinking "always" or "never"? Something inaccurate?
A wrong source of information? A misperception? A self-invalidation?
A threat? Omitted facts? An altered importance?
A wrong target? An added falsehood? Contrary facts?
The wrong place identified? Something Else?

The basic idea is that if one feels confused, then one will try to find an idea that helps to clarify things, so one can then move out of the confused state. But if one chooses a wrong explanation, because one hasn't realized it has faulty logic, then the idea does not resolve the confusion. One holds on to it anyway as some sort of solution and continue to see the world through this distorted filter.

Try working through the Why and Lie lists above. Provide several examples - from your own experience or imagination - of each item in the lists. Then do this in combination, i.e. the why and then the lie. Also note that a further why and lie may undercut the first pair, i.e. these may go in chains.

Nobody said the mind wasn't complicated. That's why it sticks there - unraveling that labyrinth of lies helps you to see the underlying truth, which on the contrary is always simple and aligned with love, the nature of your being. Bon voyage!

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Next Lesson: 18. Turning Problems Into Challenges

What's next?

If you enjoy working through these Positive Approach lessons, you might appreciate reading an expanded version that is included in my Kindle ebook Daring to Be Yourself. For those who are interested in the psychology and philosophy of this approach, my first book Transforming the Mind is freely available online.

In addition we offer the home-study New Life Course, available in PDF format, designed to help you smoothly and gradiently develop mental resources that open up new ways of understanding. You will learn how to make difficult decisions, think more objectively without negative feelings from the past, have a clear mind open to all your intuitive resources, manage stress and upsets in your life, improve your personal relationships, dramatically boost self-esteem - and live much more consciously.

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