The Art of Self-Creation and the Power of an “Ideal”

In order to “create” something in a deliberate and intentional manner, we have to start by formulating an idea of what it is we’re creating and reason we’re creating it. As with any creative process, we have to start with an idea as an “ideal” of what we’re aspiring towards that moves us from a current condition or character, to a more desired one, that requires us to “transform” it. We have to create a firm idea of what we’re “acting on ourselves” to create. So in recognizing an undesirable trait or tendency, one that we don’t like and want to change, we have to simultaneously formulate in our mind the trait we want to replace it with. We have to form a clear idea of where, how, and who we are now, in our present state, and also where, who, and how we’ll be in our desired state. In this way, we take a common idea of ourselves and we evolve it into a higher state as a perfected and fully developed idea.

Many people have been taught to take a negative attitude towards the idea of “perfection”, usually interpreting it to mean someone else’s idea for us, or some kind of standard set by others or society in an attempt to make us “feel as if we’re never good enough” and keeping us always trying to become what others (people, organizations, society) want us to be in order to fit in and conform, while of course, never really “measuring up”. But perfection in its positive use is a standard we create and set for ourselves, and use to hold ourselves to as a means of developing ourselves in very direct ways. In order to become the person we aspire to be, we have to become self-determined and discipline ourselves to refrain from old behaviors while employing new ones in their place. In order to grow and develop ourselves into a higher and more mature state, we have to form an idea of what that state is, and what current beliefs, attitudes, traits, tendencies, habits, behaviors, etc., contradict it and therefore act to prevent it.

We then have to form an idea of how those traits need to be transformed by employing complementary and opposite traits in their stay. All transformation, which is really a process of equilibrating forces that are active in our life, is undertaken through an understanding of sympathy and antipathy. By realizing and deciding which characteristics we’re currently employing that prevent us from becoming who we desire to be and know, because of this innate desire, we can employ the lawful process for changing it in a conscious and deliberate way. So knowing this, we have to learn how to undergo a creative process of any kind by first designing a detailed idea of what we’re actually creating, as well as what aspects we’ll transform as a means of creating it. Then we can use each end of the equation as a form of feedback to evaluate our progress from one idea to another.

An ideal is where we take a basic idea and we develop it to be the best it can be in all aspects that are involved in composing it, so that it requires activation and use of our highest potential in order to achieve. It can also come as a process of removing all activity from a quality currently being expressed, and place our attention instead on latent potential, activating it, and bring it into expression by embodying it and using it in our life to create experiences that are of a new and different nature. But either way, what we’re talking about as a form of basic growth and development is a process of transformation from what is to what will be, as an evolutionary process that we initiate and undertake by way of will, imagination, and action. Anything that’s created in an intentional manner has to first be imagined. We’re only truly capable of doing what we can first imagine and see ourselves doing. By imagining it as a reality and an experience of it, we produce a kind of template for the subconscious that’s necessary for acting it out by “becoming it”.

All self-creation in the normal sense is a form of transformation because we’re always starting with or working out of our “self” as we’re already created, and simply continue the creative process of intentionally becoming. How we are created initially takes place as a natural, predominately unconscious process of formative conditioning, that’s sets the basis for what’s referred to as our “second birth” or “spiritual awakening”, where we pick up the unconscious process of self-creation, and produce  or undertake it with a sense of full self-awareness. This process requires us to become fully aware and use our will to become creative in situations where we were normally being created in an unconscious manner. Through this process of transformation from an unconscious state to one of self-awareness, where we realize how we’ve been shaped through various processes up to this point, we can work by way of the same processes while maintaining full awareness and exercising various forms of discipline to control what was previously operating in us as unconscious tendencies and employ conscious ones in their place.

Any idea that’s not turned into an “ideal”, requiring you to aspire towards it, kills the life-force within you as your creative will. In this same light, every idea that’s made into an ideal as the highest possibility for that idea, requires conscious use of your life-force and willpower in order to create it. In order to grow and develop ourselves in new ways, we have to awaken and make active what was up to this point latent within us as unused potential. If we choose not to, and simply keep living out of our “conditioned self”, created in a haphazard way by others through a form of default due to our upbringing, then these forces as latent potential remain dormant and eventually become inaccessible because our identity becomes so habituated and fixed, that we can’t imagine ourselves being any other way. We become so identified with our stories about things as a way of being, that we can’t (don’t want to) let go of them, because we won’t “know who we are” without them. At this point in our life, usually mid-life, change at the most fundamental level becomes an identity crisis that can throw us into a tail-spin that we never fully recover from.

As we develop ourselves through our spiritual consciousness of true self-awareness, we act to return our “fixed mindset” to a more fluid and creative state where we’re always in the process of becoming by systematically employing new perspectives and new behaviors that cultivate new aspects within us. Employing new ways of being makes us fluent, lean, and flexible, and able to readily adapt to new situations by employing the behaviors most appropriate for creating within that situation as a primary means of personal growth that increases our capacity for expression and maximizes our full potential.

So when becoming conscious and self-aware of your own life, and commanding your creative abilities to self-create, you must start by creating an ideal of yourself as perfected or as your “highest possibility” for utilizing your full potential. This ideal becomes a vision for your life as an image of yourself in terms of how you sense yourself and the identity you form by way of it. To create standards as a form of “moral code” that you hold yourself to without compromising, is the key to higher, intentional development that prevents you from cowering, giving in to weaknesses, or changing your mind mid-stream when maintaining the new standard becomes difficult or inconvenient.

Once this ideal of yourself is firmly formed in your mind it provides a template for designing a strategy for implementing and creating it. This strategy needs to be broken down into a step-by-step process of logical progression that’s implemented gradually and consistently in stages and by working with single aspects at a time that make up the whole, and setting a reasonable time-frame for accomplishing one before moving onto another. The accomplishment of one transformed trait lays the foundation necessary for the next as a synchronistic flow of growth that lays the foundation of an accumulative, building process.

Change that takes place gradually, is readily integrated and synthesized into your mental paradigm, and can be attained without an arduous struggle or heavy sense of suffering, which always accompanies change of our fundamental habits or ways of being. Because we become aware of what we previously engaged in without awareness, it acts to amplify or intensify the feelings involved. We can also gain an awareness of the forces at work that served to motivate and maintain the behavior, giving us a new form of self-awareness that can simultaneously produce a heightened sense of struggling to exercise direct control over them by abstaining or refraining, while simultaneously replacing them with new behaviors that take a while to grow accustomed to and fail in the most basic sense to satisfy the reasons we had for producing and maintaining the old behavior.  A new behavior has to be implemented willfully for a period of time, roughly forty days or six weeks, before it becomes natural, build into the muscle, and we begin doing it in an automatic fashion.

Anytime we look to transform a habitual attitude and behavior of some kind, we have to become aware of the reason we had for maintaining that behavior. What need or desire does it serve to satisfy? What kind of stimulation triggers it in us automatically? What attitudes in others appeal to it and bring it out in us? What is the behavior or attitude a natural response to? What is the reason we have for maintaining it? As we become clear on why we developed the tendency as a behavior, we can either transform the desire and need motivating it through the awareness itself, or we can find a different, more productive and beneficial behavior to satisfy the same need. As we choose a new quality and behavior to employ in its place, we can form a clear idea around the reason we’re choosing to employ it, what it will do for us, and how it will change the nature of our experiences as a result. We always have to become clear on the reasons we have for doing whatever it is we’re doing, and at the same time use this reason to gauge and evaluate the accuracy of the results it produces, making any necessary adjustments until we get it to where it produces consistent results.  We have to transform the “reason” for the change as well as the actual change itself.

Once the new idea, perspective, and behaviors become natural and easy to maintain, we’re ready to implement another step. We should not do more than one at a time, because concentrated thought is the key to manifesting physical realities as the expression of an idea, and we want to avoid creating a feeling of suffering, or missing and longing for what we’re giving up. One of the most notorious ways we sabotage ourselves right from the beginning, is by attempting to much change all at once, which makes it overwhelming and creates a feeling of constant struggle and suffering that makes the change seem ungratifying or somehow worse than the previous state.

Change undertaken gradually allows for constant modifications to our paradigm, which then acts to naturally produce and maintain the change as a part of our normal consciousness. Trying to change too much to fast doesn’t properly establish the paradigm necessary to naturally produce and maintain a new way of being as a natural and automatic function. Once a paradigm shift takes place through the integration of the small change, it’s modified and able to support continued change as a natural growth process. The change itself can now be described, explained and defined by the paradigm creating it as being of the same nature and thereby naturally producing a consistent experience of reality as the actualization and outer perception of the change.

This transformative process operates according to law and is the case whether we’re talking about a person, relationship, situation, or business. Change that’s gradual is easily incorporated and goes unnoticed. It’s readily adapted and adjusted to as a form of equalization that reinstates harmony within the system, setting the foundation necessary for the next step of a larger process to be implemented. Small changes incorporated consistently produce slight modification as a synchronized movement that acts naturally to adjust the whole system to support it. If change is introduced without allowing time for adjustment and modification as a new function requiring the whole system, then as soon as it hits a point where it’s not supported, the system “acts on it” (the change) to transform it according to the system, and back into its original behavior.

All natural processes are produced by our paradigm and our capacity to create in a way that’s consistent and thoroughly maintained, which only comes by way of our paradigm. All “permanent change” requires modification and reformation of our mental paradigm. Without it, at some point, we relapse and fall back into the old behavior and way of doing things. All change should be designed by us, because it’s only us that have the true ability to act on ourselves to create ourselves. All change needs to work in harmony with existing natural tendencies already inherent in us in a congruent and harmonious manner of cooperation, by simply employing those same tendencies in a new manner and by way of new means. Change that goes against our nature and contradicts our values and beliefs, can’t actually be produced by us in a natural fashion, nor maintained for any extended period of time. So the “ideal” created as a “model” for self-creating, should always comply and be harmonious with our values and beliefs. We should approach all desired change by first addressing our values and beliefs regarding it by examining them thoroughly, identifying where the contradiction takes place, then adjust all aspects until they are congruent with one another and interact in a harmonious fashion to produce a consistent experience of reality.

We also have to notice what emotions play out in any situation and act to control not only our thought process, but also our automatic behaviors. If we have strong emotions that contradict and undermine what we’re attempting to implement, then the emotions tend to win out by sabotaging all conscious efforts through automatic behaviors. We have to instead identify our own emotional reactions to certain ideas, gaining awareness around them, and then forming new associations to our desired change, removing triggers around them that activate negative emotions in response to them, while intentionally associating positive emotions to our desired change. Making the idea compelling by infusing it with positive emotions and associations is crucial for producing change out of a strong desire for it while associating very positive and gratifying ideas or experiences with it. This also acts to create how we experience the change, which is the same feeling we infuse the reality of the change with, and its accomplishment or attainment will simply act to give us more of that same feeling.

The change desired should always be undertaken with a sense of enthusiasm and form of excitement that gives us a sense of joy and contentment around it. In this way, once the change is established as our reality, it serves to give us more of that same feeling. If we pursue something from an experience of stress, suffering, loss, or feeling overwhelmed, attaining it simply creates the experience that promotes that feeling and keeps it going through the attempt to maintain it. We have to not only serve to “create it”, but also act naturally and without thought or effort to “maintain it”. It has to become a natural part of our make-up that’s all done in a natural fashion.

The feeling we form around an idea, shapes how we experience that idea as a personal reality. So it’s important to gain awareness around the reason for the change. Form clarity as to what the change will give us, how we’ll benefit from it, and what will it allow us to do that we currently can’t, and so on. So if we decide, for example, to transform fear of some kind into courage, we have to identify how we’ll benefit from that and what it will produce in our life as a result. We have to cultivate the idea of courage in a way that makes us fall in love with ourselves for being that way. We have to focus all of our attention away from what made us feel afraid and onto how we’ll benefit by creating the experience of courage and what it’ll bring into our life as a result. We have to actively and intentionally choose courage in place of fear, and act it out in order to change our experience of ourselves and the nature of our reality.

Dr. Linda Gadbois

Spiritual Mentor, Personal Transformation Coach, and Integrative Mind-Body Consultant

 

The Importance of Working with an Ideal – Creating a Vision for Your Ultimate Development

creating Cameran Grey

        While many of us have been trained to the idea of creating a vision for our life in terms of lifestyle, professional career, relationships, health, etc., few of us embrace the importance of forming an “ideal” of ourselves in terms of self-development or spiritual realization. Yet, the interesting fact that many fail to realize is that all other goals as activities or accomplishments of our life, depend on our personal development for achieving in a natural and automatic fashion. Our “life” is created out of our “self”. We are the creators of our life as a fundamental form of self-expression. By changing ourselves and acquiring new abilities, all other areas of our life change accordingly. If we try to change “areas of our life” without changing the part of ourselves that are naturally producing it, we struggle, become frustrated, and usually fail in the ultimate sense, often, without ever knowing why.

Another “fluffy comment” that’s popular these days is the idea that you’re “perfect just the way you are”. This idea is usually addressing various forms of judgment from other people, or self-esteem issues around “not being good enough”. Yet self-perfection, as a personal “ideal”, which is the ultimate and only real spiritual goal, is something we not only decide for ourselves, but are also fully responsible for executing. Nobody can develop us for us (intentionally), just as no one can heal us. All healing and self-growth is something only we can do for ourselves by how we use our mind to control our body, our behaviors, and activities that we naturally engage in. In much the same way we create a vision as an ultimate outcome, achieved through systematic steps and stages as goals necessary for achieving the outcome, we create an “ideal” of ourselves as “being the best we can be”, then aspire towards it by intentionally developing latent potential, healing emotional and psychological issues that prevent it, or being the way we want to be in terms of character and quality of consciousness.

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Perfection can be thought of as taking an idea, and turning it into the ultimate form of that idea as an “ideal”. Perfection is whatever perfect means to us. No one else can tell us what perfection means, or what qualities we need to develop in order to be perfect. Perfection is a standard or quality of being. Our concept of self-perfection as our “ideal self”, is something that we must soul search in order to realize, then want it bad enough to devote ourselves to doing what it takes to become it. Our personal ideal has nothing to do with material possessions, wealth, status, or creating a self image that we portray to the world as a false image of how we’d like to be seen by others, but rather as an essential part of our true nature that’s developed internally, that becomes a natural part of our being. It comes by developing qualities that evolve our character to a higher level of awareness and self-control, which forms the foundation necessary for a whole series of positive changes to take place automatically as the natural offspring of new qualities of consciousness. The most natural way to create in all areas of our life, is to start by consciously creating our “self”. Out of our self, comes everything else in an effortless and spontaneous way.

In many of the spiritual traditions, which are all focused on self-development from a moral perspective, they provide a system of understanding qualities of consciousness as possessing opposite yet complementary aspects of each other as vices and virtues. Vices are poor character traits that form weakness that lead to various forms of addictions and moral degradation, and are predominantly destructive in nature. Virtues are positive, opposite qualities of vices, which provide the means for transforming them. Virtues are qualities of higher levels of consciousness that are strengths, lead to growth and nourishment, and naturally produce very positive and constructive results in all areas of your life. Virtues are loving and unselfish in nature, and act naturally to produce a sense of harmony, pervading contentment, and happiness not only for ourselves, but for everyone involved. Virtues expand our awareness and increase our ability to both give and receive higher forms of knowledge and unconditional love.

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Anytime we’re creating, we have to start with a vision of the desired outcome as an experience, so we know what the process for creating it will be. Though your ultimate vision for your ideal self may take many steps to accomplish, it’s important that you work on only one step at a time, and don’t start the next step until that one is well established and a part of your natural way of being (built into your subconscious). One of the ways we set ourselves up for failure, is by trying to take on too many things at one time creating a feeling of being overwhelmed and therefore struggling, or by scattering our energy in too many directions by trying to do too much all at once. Every acquisition of a new quality requires complete concentration and devoted practice over an extended period of time in order to “build it into the muscle”, where it becomes a natural way of being that no longer requires conscious effort.

Even with concentrated effort and a strong sense of discipline to stay with a task over a long period of time, you’ll relapse many times throughout the day by falling into habitual patterns that are well established and forgetting what you’re doing. This is natural, and when you realize you’re off task, simply re-center (remind) yourself in your desired intention, refocus your mind and adjust your mood, and continuing practicing. Repeatedly bring yourself back anytime you forget, and continue practicing without getting discouraged, and the new quality and behavior associated with it will begin taking hold, and you’ll be able to stay focused for longer and longer periods of time. All forms of intentional creation come from your ability to concentrate your efforts and stay focused on what it is you’re creating.

The approximate time for breaking one habit by replacing it with another, is forty days, or six weeks. The approximate time for simply establishing a new habit that doesn’t involve breaking an old one, is three weeks (half the time), or twenty one days, and it’s fully established (permanent) in six weeks. This gives you an idea of the amount of time you should plan on dedicating to each step of your development. You’ll also develop the ability to concentrate and stay with something for long periods of time, commit to devotional practice, and develop the patience it takes to accomplish a major feat (which a behavioral change is). You can consider your goal accomplished when you become that way automatically, and no longer have to think about it, or put conscious effort into it. All behaviors are “learned and conditioned” (trained), and likewise, can be unlearned and reconditioned. Our initial development was a predominately unconscious process, and all we’re doing here is making it a fully conscious process undertaken with a deliberate and determined attitude.

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In order to realize what your ideal is, simply allow yourself to realize that an idea of who you really are, and how you’d like to be already exists inside of you as the qualities, talents, natural gifts, and interests that you naturally possess. No matter what stage of your life you’re at, you’ve only brought a small portion of your “self” into expression, while the greater part of yourself as “potential” remains dormant inside of you. Parts of you may have been developed in a negative way through your initial conditioning, which you can transform into its positive opposite quality. For example, fear and cowardice (often displayed through anger or defensiveness), can be transformed by embodying courage and bravery in its place. Hatred and a sense of animosity, can be transformed with love and compassion. Whatever is the opposite quality is what’s used to transform an existing “bad quality” or “destructive tendency”. Every “quality”, which has a behavior inherent in it, exists in a dual state of complementary opposites (sympathy and antipathy) as a positive or negative expression of the same quality of consciousness. Just as “hot and cold” are degrees of the same thing, and light and dark are degrees of the same thing, love and hate, fear and courage, humility and confidence, are all degrees of the same thing, and its opposite can be used to transform it by degrees. In order to begin practicing, start with smaller things or ideas that don’t produce a strong emotional charge or aren’t intense in nature, and are therefore easier to manage, and gradually work your way up to ideas that trigger you emotionally causing reactive behaviors.

Our state-of-mind (quality of consciousness) is created by 3 aspects that are always in-sync with each other. These three aspects are what we focus on, what we tell ourselves about what we’re focused on that makes it mean something, and what we’re doing with our body. Our physiology is a direct reflection of our state-of-mind as our quality of consciousness that we’re employing at any given moment. If you can’t control your attention and thoughts, you can learn to control your body and how you’re behaving instead. We can employ a quality by modeling the behavior associated with it. Just like when we were kids, we play acted and pretended to be “like” our favorite characters and role models, we utilize the same techniques as adults. Pretend like you’re an actor acting out a certain character within a specific role.

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If you want to develop confidence, for example, find someone that you consider confident and watch and study them. What is it that they’re doing that makes them “confident”? What’s their posture like, their attitude, body language, and how do they hold themselves? How do they speak, the tone, speed or rate, and emphasis? What are their facial expressions, demeanor, and idiosyncrasies? How do they dress? Study them, elicit their strategy, and then imitate the same way of being. Practice until you feel comfortable with it and incorporate your own style into it. Then practice being that way in general. Practice it as a normal way of being in all areas of your life. Notice that when you change how you’re acting, that you experience yourself in new ways. You feel different and sense yourself in a different way. Step into the feeling and embrace it with a new level of awareness. Allow yourself to kind of fall in love with how your feeling and being. Get off on it. Allow yourself to feel empowered by it, not in an arrogant or conceited way, but in an expressive, uninhibited and expansive way. Notice the freedom it allows and new levels of self-expression that are very powerful in terms of not only the freedom you feel, but the response you get from others who are forming an impression of you and admiring you. Be an actor in your own life, and take it all in. After a while, it’ll become natural and normal.

In order to acquire a quality by practicing and becoming it in mind and body, we have to have a good enough idea of what that quality is like in terms of attitude, emotions, demeanor and behaviors so that we can practice being that way by imitating it. Don’t worry that you’ll be “copying somebody”, because the process of imitating is what allows your own style to come forth, you simply need a starting point as a kind of template for producing it. Once you begin practicing, you’ll come into yourself in terms of being that way, and you’ll produce your own unique version of it. We need a channel of expression in order to “find” our own style for doing things. Your style for “being” exists within you like your fingerprint or signature, and simply needs to be awakened and given a channel for outward expression, until you start feeling comfortable and natural being that way. Keep in mind, you always feel a bit (or a lot) awkward and out of place, or “not yourself” at first, because it’s new and you’re not used to it. But just keep practicing as if you’re an actor in the “play of your life”, and after awhile it’ll start feeling completely natural to you, and you’ll begin automatically “feeling” that way, and perceiving life from that perspective. All it takes is dedicated practice and a spirit of renewal and self-realization by bringing forth parts of yourself that up to this point in your life, you’ve never really experienced before!

 

Dr. Linda Gadbois

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Dr. Linda GadboisAbout the author:
Dr. Linda is an expert in Spiritual Sciences and scholar of Hermetic Sciences and Ancient Wisdom traditions. She’s a professional educator and trainer for all areas of personal transformation, self-creation, mind development, and soul/spiritual evolution. She practices Integrative Medicine with a special emphasis on Psychology and Creative therapies. She conducts ongoing classes, Playshops, and Adventure Seminars, and is available for private or group training, mentoring, and speaking engagements.
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