Three Principles teachers and coaches often talk about ‘what is built into our design’ as human beings.
They point to what is universal among us, things like:
- how thought comes to life within us, moment to moment and then moves on
- how we live in the feeling of our thinking, not in the feeling of our experience
- how we are designed to return to a place of peace and calm and that we don’t need to do anything to make that happen
- how the more we interfere with the natural flow of the formless (thought) coming to life within us, the more we suffer
- how wisdom and insight show up for all of us
- how we are all, without exception, whole and well at our essence
- how every one of us has access to the peace and well-being at that essence, no matter what we’ve experienced
The old paradigms of psychology looks at each of our experiences as unique and focuses on how those experiences can make us feel broken.
But when we focus on what’s universal within all of us it helps us to struggle less with our experience. When we know that thoughts are going to come to life within us and then move on, we can grip less tightly to those thoughts.
For me, there is a sense of deep calm that comes with knowing that what I’m experiencing at any given moment is simply part of the human experience. It doesn’t mean I’m broken or damaged in any way.
I keep coming back to the metaphor about the weather because it’s so easy to see the parallels there and illustrate what I’m trying to share. We all know that when the sun is obscured by clouds that doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.
We know that when there’s a thunderstorm it might be loud and ferocious in the moment, but that it will pass. This understanding of how weather works – for everyone, all over the planet, no exceptions – means that we don’t freak out every time it rains.
An understanding of your human design does the same thing. When you get into a thought storm, like the one we talked about recently, you can hold that storm more lightly and not let it derail your life.
When we make our experiences personal, as though we are different than everyone else and our problems are unique, then we get caught up in our thoughts and worries and fears about that situation. We innocently add extra layers of thought and worry to what we’re experiencing.
When we’re focused on the specific colour and flavour of our particular ‘problems’ we miss seeing that our design as human beings is always self-correcting and that we are wired for peace and well-being.
For example, I took Nicola Bird’s 12-week course on anxiety. The majority of the people in the class seemed to have experiences of panic attacks and not being able to drive on highways and things like that.
My ‘brand’ of anxiety is nothing like that. For me it’s like a low-level hum in my body all the time. I’ve never had a panic attack in my life, but I have lived with a constant feeling of unease and fear.
If I had been caught up in and focused on how my anxiety was different than most of what was being described, I’d have missed learning that anxiety is caused by sped up thinking and an innocent misunderstanding about where my experience comes from.
I’m not a unique snowflake. My design is the same as everyone’s. By looking at what’s universal I was able to see that if I leave my thinking alone, it will settle down all by itself. And by beginning to see that I live in the experience of whatever I’m thinking, I’m able to hold my thoughts more lightly.
Here’s another example. If you fall and skin your knee that wound will heal. Your body will immediately and automatically do what it needs to do to begin the healing process for that cut or scrape. If you didn’t know that you might freak out.
And by comparing your cut to someone else’s you’re simply layering heaps of unnecessary thinking onto a natural, self-correcting process. “How will my cut get fixed? Your cut is on your arm, but mine is on my knee. That’s different! My knee is different than your arm so it might not heal in the same way. Eeek!”
But when you know that all cuts heal in the same way, you relax and let your body do its job. It doesn’t matter if the cut is on your head or your arm or your knee, the healing will take place in the same way.
It’s the same with your experience of thought. Once you know where that’s coming from, it doesn’t matter if it’s anxious thinking that’s in the form of a panic attack or in the form of a consistent low-grade hum.
It can be challenging at times to turn our attention away from ourselves and our personal experience and look toward what is universal. But what I’m seeing these days is that seeing the universal is one of the keys to connecting with peace of mind.Are you able to see how looking toward what is universal among all humans can help you on an individual level? Please leave your thoughts below and join the conversation.
[Poppies image courtesy Corina Ardeleanu and Unsplash. Sun and clouds image courtesy chuttersnap and Unsplash. Highway image courtesy _M_V_ and Unsplash. Snowflake image courtesy Darius Cotoi and Unsplash.]