One of the most valuable things we can learn psychologically is to really tune into the nature of patterns. All of life operates by way of a dynamic interconnected system of patterns. Patterns are not only formed out of memory as habits or routines, but also out of how we think and reason as creative processes that form our fundamental perception of things, and as the filtering system produced by our mental paradigm which is a dynamic model comprised of correlated, congruent patterns that are constantly being developed and evolved based on our experiences and what we integrate to produce our memories. As we go through life, we’re steadily forming our mental paradigm through our conditioning and what type of dynamics we’re a part of and play a role in, that shape the way we think and perceive, while simultaneously developing and “bringing out” our own style of perceiving through the type of story we begin telling ourselves as a way of making sense of things and making them mean something.
The most basic pattern we form that births and gives rise to all other patterns, is the “life theme” we develop as “our story” about things. This story emerges naturally through our conditioning out of a series of beliefs we form due to our experiences, what we start telling ourselves about them as an interpretation and thought process, and based on what we’re taught and accept as being true and real. All stories emerge naturally out of meaning, which, as children, comes from feelings. As our mind begins developing, and we begin actively creating how we experience things based on how we begin using our mind to reason, we begin constantly asking ourselves in any situation that has significant emotional impact . . . what does this mean?
Meaning, which forms the basis for reality, like the mind and soul producing it, is three-fold in nature, and creates on three levels simultaneously. The meaning we give something that forms the basis of our story as our way experiencing, means something about others, the way the world is in general, and about us in relation to it. All of our “experiences”, which are self-created, don’t come from the actual events of our life, but from how we interpret those events. Interpretation forms perception, and perception “is” reality. Our reality as our experience of the outer world is formed 100% from our perception, which is a by-product or natural expression of our paradigm as our “model of the world”. A model is comprised of an infinite series of memory that are all of a complementary nature and work together faithfully to produce a congruent and consistent version of reality. The structure of our mind as a paradigm is what we can call the core or fundamental pattern that orchestrates and acts as a choreographer for systematically producing all of our perceptions and experiences. It’s what we could think of as our “parental pattern” that produces a series of smaller fractal patterns of the same nature and theme as its offspring. We never have independent or singular patterns, beliefs, or areas of our life, but rather a holistic and unified “system” of patterns, memories, and beliefs. If we try to work with a specific pattern or area of our life that we don’t like and want to change, without ever identifying the “core belief”, conditioned tendency, or habit of perceiving and thinking that’s naturally producing it, we fail to be able to change it, and even when we seem to have changed it in terms of outward appearance, it collapses back into the same pattern and tendency we thought we had changed. This is because it can’t be sustained as independent from the system that’s producing it as a natural and automatic way of thinking and perceiving.
We can however use specific areas of our life and relationships as the means for identifying and becoming aware of our core beliefs and fears, where our feelings counteract our intellect and rational thinking, or where we’re aware that we’re not producing what we want to through various forms of sabotage and deep seated tendencies that are purely emotional in nature and act to magnetically pull us back into habitual patterns. Once we realize that we’re playing out the same fundamental pattern in a variety of ways in every area of our life, we can pick one to work on consciously as a way of influencing and affecting the primary, parental pattern. In doing this, and implementing the proper type of change, one that acts to modify and upgrade the entire system, we not only bring change into that one area of our life, but in the same manner in all areas of our life. It’s only by modifying our mental paradigm as our primary pattern and model, that we ‘break patterns” in selected areas, while replacing them with new patterns that are more beneficial and produce the outcome and type of experience we desire. We’re never “stopping one pattern” or quitting something, but rather changing an old pattern into a new one, or replacing something with something else. This means that it’s not enough to decide what you don’t like or want to change, but also what you “do want instead”, and what new behaviors or idea you’re going to employ in their place. When we decide to change our self and life in some way, we’re moving out of a form of unconscious and natural way of producing habitual experiences and into a role of actively creating with full awareness of what we’re doing and why. This means it requires a strong desire, steady focus, and constant effort (at first). All intentional change only comes through active use of our will and our ability to choose new options and ways of being.
In the most general sense of the word, being always produces doing. All action results from our inward sense of our self. To produce an outward change, we have to work by changing the inward state of being that’s acting through a fundamental form of self-expression to systematically produce it in a habitual fashion. We don’t change the world or other people by trying to work “on them” directly, but by changing ourselves inwardly, which automatically produces how we exist in relationship to the outer world, how we perceive others (in our own image), and how we act naturally to influence them in new ways that change how they respond to us. It’s only by changing ourselves that others and the world in general appears different to us. As long as we remain the same internally, everything remains the same externally. The entire world operates according to the Law of Cause and Effect. All action produces and equal reaction of the same nature and type. To change how someone else is acting, we have to change how we’re acting to stimulate them, and how we sense and perceive ourselves in relationship with them. As long as we’re employing the same attitude, way of looking at something and behaviors, we consistently produce the same thing over and over.
Learning how to Change Your Story
The first thing we have to do when deciding we have to change somehow, is learn how to actively “give up” our story about stuff and form instead a desire to tell a new kind of story that changes how we experience the events of our life and causes us to feel different and “become” a different type of person as a result. Most don’t want to give up their story about things, but instead want to be validated in it, and have everyone and everything else change through a form of agreeing and acting to counteract or go against instead what they’re actually the one creating. Someone who never feels “wanted”, for example, wants to keep telling that story and feeling that way, while having someone demonstrate or prove to them that they “want them”, yet their perceptual filters will always act to interpret any behavior to mean they’re not wanted. Usually of course without realizing that that’s what they’re doing, because we often don’t fully realize that we create our story perfectly through our feelings and perceptions, and only see and “experience” what matches them, and what can be skewed or recomposed in a way that lends itself to telling our story. The “feeling” that at once produces our story, creating an experience that gives us more of that same feeling, being the key component.
Our story is difficult to change because we’ve built our identity out of it as how we perceive and sense ourselves, and as a result don’t know how to tell a different type of story. When we try, we can often feel awkward, unfamiliar and uncertain, in new territory without a means to navigate, and don’t know how to “be” or what to do. All behavior is learned, and with learning comes the unknown. We have to practice something before we get good at it and it starts becoming natural. Change at first feels like we’re not being ourselves, or we’re someone phony or inauthentic (to use a buzz word), and this feeling and thought is what often sabotages our attempts at change and causes us to revert back to old and familiar ways of being that are more comfortable.
We don’t have to work through all of our “issues” and complexes through years of therapy and self-reflection on the events of our life, what happened to us, and why we’re the way we are, which usually only validates and strengthens them, but by learning instead how to use our creative power of choice and free will. We can produce any change we want by making the “clear and actual decision” to change, then disciplining ourselves to consistently produce and act out that decision until it becomes natural and automatic. Ways of feeling, thinking, perceiving, and acting are merely habits we’ve established as the means of producing the experience of ourselves and our life. Like all habits, they can be changed by simply replacing them with new habits. You have to want the change bad enough to do what it takes to produce and then maintain it, by deciding in a fully aware manner who and how you’re going to be and what type of story you’re going to tell by how you live your life.
Changing our story doesn’t mean we form an illusion over what we imagine to be fact, or deny the events of our life that formed our memories, but rather by learning the art of transforming them by interpreting them and telling our story about them from a new and different perspective that changes the experience of them. For example, when I was a kid, one of the stories I kept telling myself was that nobody really knew me for who I am, but rather by judging me to be like my family. I had a fairly traumatic childhood, and was a compulsive runaway, living much of my life on the streets, and was used to those who tried to help me looking at me and saying things like “you poor thing”, which was just about the most god-awful feeling I ever had because it made me out to be weak and pitiful, when my life circumstances actually served to make me very strong and capable. When I became an adult, and moved to a different city where nobody knew my past or family, a voice inside me one day casually said, “ok, now you’re in a situation where nobody knows to judge you based on your family and past . . . so who are you going to be?” And at that moment, the entire course of my life changed, and I was truly in a position of creating myself, which I found exciting.
I started off by vowing to never talk about my past or how I grew up with any new people, living fully in the present and giving them only an impression of what I was like at that time. I did this for years, and it became a natural way of living for me, and I quit thinking about my past altogether in the normal daily sense. I learned how to stay present and to realize in every moment I was deciding who I was going to be by how I acted and what I talked about. Later, when I was in another new environment, I decided to talk about my past as my childhood experiences while only picking the ones I could tell from a humorous and adventurous perspective. I made what was actually drastic and traumatic at the time, seem funny and exciting. I decided to tell stories of running away and hoping freight trains to unknown destinations from a perspective of “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn”, as an exciting adventure met with constant surprises and quirky opportunities. I learned how to pick different memories to tell stories around rather than the ones I had previously focused on. I became so good at this, that my staff found them very entertaining, and on slow afternoons would ask me to tell them more stories about growing up.
The point to this is that the “way” I told the stories made me feel entirely different and turned me into a different type of person. Because I imagined them vividly from a different perspective, and played them out repeatedly from that perspective, it literally changed my memories by evolving and transforming them. From that point on, every time I thought about those events, I remembered them from a new perspective, and after a while I not only couldn’t remember how I experienced them originally as a little girl, but got to where I no longer felt like that little girl. She became more like somebody I knew really well and loved very much. She was no longer an essential part of me, and wasn’t the one who created the story I was still living out of as an adult. I began realizing that what tends to become our story as our “life theme” that we continue creating out of as adults, originates from a child’s perspective who is simply trying to make sense of things as best they can with the limited resources they have. As an adult I was much more equipped to tell a far more accurate story of my life based on an adult, mature perspective and mindset.
One of the first things you want to notice when forming a new story about yourself and your life, is that you have many memories of your past, but you consistently pick a small handful, usually the ones with the greatest emotional impact, to use consistently to “tell your story” about what happened to you and what your life was like. You could just as easily let go of those and pick a whole new set that you use to tell stories out of (to yourself and others) that would completely change the way you feel and who you become. You can also take the same major events of your life, realize how you interpreted them at the time you were going through them to create how you experienced them, and decide from a perspective of hindsight and what they served to teach you through the realizations you obtained because of them, and (re)perceive them from a new, more mature perspective, and retell your story about them in a way that makes you feel different, and become different by way of them as a result. As you form a new perspective, you imagine it as a reality that created a different type of experience, the type you want as the means of developing yourself in that way. As you create a new experience of it, and you get it just the way you like it, you play it over and over in your mind from within the experience of it. By playing it repeatedly, in vivid sensory terms of being in the experience of it, you establish it as a new memory and pattern that forms the basis for telling a new type of story. Instead of being scared or freaked out, you can be courageous, brave, confident, or surprised and filled with anticipation as a form of excitement. Instead of hurt and feeling betrayed, you can see it clearly, read all the signs of what was going on, and realize that as it happened it had nothing to do with you, and so you remain unaffected by it.
Because we’re the ones that are always creating our experiences of the events of our life, we form our memories also. Our memories become the established patterns as fully interpreted realities that provide us with instant patterns in the present to create more of the same type of experiences through similar events. As we create our experiences that become our memories, we simultaneously create ourselves by way of those experiences. All of our perception and resulting behaviors are produced in a natural and automatic way from memory. Our memories are shaped by the primary patterns of our life as our “theme” or “life’s story” that we’re always acting out and creating in some manner in every area of our life. To change a pattern as a memory, is to either transform an existing memory into a new experience, or create a new memory that you’ll use in place of the old memory that provides a pattern for the subconscious mind to act out naturally and use to produce more realities and experiences of the same nature.
To create a new (virtual) memory, start by selecting a scenario or behavior in your current life that you’d like to change. Form a very clear idea of what you’d like to change it to. How would you like to experience it or behave instead? As you go over the course of events, reflecting on how it went, what your interaction was, how you felt, and what you did, form a clear idea on how you would have liked it to have gone instead, and how you would respond or interact through hindsight. Reform it in your mind accordingly, until it plays out the way you want it to. If changing a behavior and not the overall pattern as a dynamic, leave everything the same (the emotion, meaning, trigger, etc.), and simply “choose” how you would have liked to have behaved, and play that out instead as a new response to the same stimulus. Once you have it the way you want as a general flow, replay it in your mind until it’s consistent. Once it’s consistent as a pattern that can be replayed in the imagination, begin enhancing it with sensory attributes and qualities. Make it vivid, in full color, and up close (immediate). Then shape it further by asking:
- What are you seeing (picture in detail)
- What are you hearing?
- What are you touching or feeling? (objects or textures)
- Smelling and tasting?
- How are you feeling? (internally)
- What are you telling yourself about it (internal dialogue)?
- Feel it as an emotional experience – as if it’s actually happening.
Play it over several times as an actual experience that’s just the way you want it, until you can recall it automatically. What references a memory in the present is whatever feeling and emotion is connected to it. In order to use it to replace another memory, associate the same feeling and emotions to it. So that anytime you’re in a situation feeling that way, it triggers that memory and you see it as a pattern for creating the same type of experience and reality in the present one.
If you’re creating a brand new type of experience that you want to create, focus heavily on the feeling it gives you, and realize that brand new experiences may not come in the same way you imagine as a specific situation or set of circumstances, but it’ll produce the same type of feeling. You won’t be able to recognize it by what it looks like, but rather by how you feel when in it, having it. The appearance it takes on will be based on what’s available in your immediate, everyday environment that’s of the same nature and will naturally lend itself to co-creating the same type of experience. The reality it comes by way of will however be of the same theme, dynamic, and over-all pattern.
The other thing you have to keep in mind is that you can’t inflict your will on others. If you’re not of the same will, nature, and destiny, the reality you produce that includes them will never manifest. You can’t require specific people to be a part of your memory/reality, and it can’t be an attempt to change someone else, it can only require you to change by directing your own perception and behavior. If other people are involved, they have to be archetypes only, or a representation of a “type of person” who would act naturally to create that type of experience. So “who” actually participates in co-creating the experience, and the set of circumstances it takes place in, might be quite different than you imagined, yet it’ll be the same “type” of experience.
Dr. Linda Gadbois
Integrative Mind-Body Health Consultant and Spiritual Mentor