Your Thought System Affects Everything

by | Mar 6, 2024 | Inner Work | 0 comments

Did you know you have a thought system that deeply affects your emotional work, results and overall happiness?

What do I mean by “thought system,” and how could it be so important?

Well, imagine I asked you: “What is your goal in doing this work on yourself? What are your current practices and how do they help? WHY do they work?”

Your answer, even if you cannot articulate it (which many cannot), is comprised of many beliefs which color everything you do.

Here’s an example:

“I believe my life is about having experiences and growing. I believe my thoughts and emotions create my reality, so my practice involves focusing my mind and cultivating positive emotions.”

That’s a pretty solid, internally consistent foundation (note: this is often not the case!)

Let’s take on that foundational world-view, focusing my mind and cultivating positive emotions because that creates my reality, as a thought experiment.

Since we all face challenges in life, deal with recurring patterns and more that can seem to hijack our thoughts or emotions… what do we do about those?

This is when you get to go a layer deeper into the thought system. You may find answers like

  • “Those reactions and patterns come from trauma, and in order to have consistently good emotions, I need to heal all my trauma.”
  • “The best practice is to focus on the positive, so it’s a matter of training my mind to do that”
  • “If I relax, release and surrender, the emotions can release and that is my primary practice.”
  • “Life is all just unfolding, I am not really a separate person and it’s all an illusion so I need to just witness it as the Self.”

Obviously, different ideas here could lead to different behaviors.

Let’s take the  example – “my patterns come from trauma and I need to heal it all”: 

What CAN and often does happen here, is life becomes all about searching for trauma to heal. Depending on your personality type, your sense of self can turn into a repair project. An enormous amount of time and energy goes into finding things to fix, sometimes at the expense of being able to just enjoy life unfolding.

The thought system around self-healing has not looked at more fully, examined and questioned to make sure it is supporting the overall goal.

Questions like: Do you need to heal ALL trauma? How do you heal it? Do you need to remember all the past events? Do you clear enough trauma and suddenly one day you wake up and just feel like a different person? What does the process actually look like?

Looking at these questions often reveal many beliefs or gaps. People often find they have been in a paradigm that doesn’t support their actual goal.

This questioning can open the mind to new, usually simpler and clearer possibilities. An example might be: “I feel that there are some traumas in my past that could be beneficial to deal with. Perhaps whatever needs to come up around them will do so naturally with my [meditation / tapping/ releasing etc,] I don’t need to hunt for it. When something really big comes up, that could be the time to work with someone to help it process.”

Note that I’m not saying this is the correct thought system anyone should have. This WOULD be more useful for someone who is stuck in ‘trauma hunting’ in a way that is not supporting them, not realizing it was rooted in a paradigm that could be shifted.

Teachers, Books and Experience

Sometimes key elements of our thought system are based on what a teacher says versus our own personal experience.

Because the teacher has a lot of charm, shakti energy, a lot of followers, clearly has some aspects of spiritual insight, etc. it is easy to assume all of their concepts must be true. Their way must be THE way.

What makes this more complex is that there is usually SOME truth in what is being said, and SOME experience we have with the teacher. We then extrapolate to believing the entire system, where in reality, there might be a few useful concepts mixed in with some non-useful, or even dangerous ones. Unfortunately, I see this very often, and it can be rather subtle.

Often times the well intending student keeps doing the practices, following the teacher and hoping for something to happen ‘someday,’ without closely examining thoughts and beliefs that have been taken on.


Oversimplified, but…

The examples above, ‘it’s all unfolding,’ ‘focus on the good,’ etc. are of course oversimplifications of layers of belief, and interestingly, all of them can exist in the same person.

Each one can be valuable and serve you, or distract you, depending on the details.

Some people take “focus on the positive” to a place of staying in their head and avoiding life challenges that need to be dealt with. Of course that’s not the useful interpretation, and you only have to look a layer or two deep to find the specific gaps someone has.

Other people have been able to take the ‘focus on the positive’ approach as a very useful, very simple and practical way of following their emotional guidance that can be utilized in day-to-day life.

Some of the spiritual ideas, well, let’s just say I’ve seen it destroy people’s lives. Be careful what ideas from teachers you take on.

My role of course is not to say what anyone thought system should be. It is to help you uncover and let go of anything that might not be serving your goal. That goal is of course something you get to choose.

I highly recommend taking a look at your own belief structures about how this whole miraculous ability to direct your attention and intention works.

My humble suggestion is to be looking for something that feels increasingly simple, clear, light, and can actually be practiced and implemented in your real world interactions. This is something we can explore with guidance in working together.

Hope this helps!



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