Saturday, November 26, 2011

What Is A Safe Haven?

Whether or not your fully committed to the life you're living, you're living it. 

Whether or not you are consciously thinking thoughts, thoughts are being thought of and waves of energy are cascading out into the infinite universe returning to you the spoils of their intention.

Our dreams have a way of confirming this.  As last night's dream did so vividly.

My dreams have always been an extension of my waking thoughts.  Sometimes, they're quite prophetic about the future and sometimes they are grounded in the here and now, as last night's dream was.

The content of the dream is not so important as the thoughts that I've been grinding out of mind on a constant basis.  I'm very well aware of my thoughts and their inconsistencies.  I am also aware of the repetitiveness.  The ones that repeat are the ones I struggle with the most.  The repetitive nature of these specific thoughts are the ones I have to war the hardest against.  They seem to be the ones with the most hold on the magnetic tape in my mind.  They've carved a groove out for themselves and are quite content to play, repeat, play, repeat, if for no other reason than to exist, or is there a more sinister reason for their existence.

I often wonder where rogue thoughts come from.

I know the bible talks about the 'enemy shooting arrows' ---->

Here's the beginning of this Chapter... Ephesians 6

 1Children, obey your parents as the Lord wants you to. This is the right thing to do.
 2`Respect your father and mother.' This is the first law of God with a promise: `So that all will be well with you, and that you may live long on earth.'
 3Fathers, do not make your children angry. But teach them the things children need to know, and tell them what they must not do. Teach them what Christ would teach them.
 4Servants, obey your boss. Respect him with all your heart and try to please him as you would Christ.
 5Obey not only when he is looking at you, as if you were pleasing a man. But obey as the servants of Christ, and do with all your heart what God wants you to do.
 6Work gladly as if you were working for the Lord and not for men.
 7You know that the Lord will pay every man for the good things he does. It does not matter if he is a servant or a free man.
 8And you who are bosses, be good to your servants also. Do not talk loud, hard words to them. Remember that both their Lord and yours is in heaven. He does not love one person more than another.
 9Last of all, I say this. Be strong in the Lord and use the strength he gives.
 10Use everything that God has given you so that you can fight against the tricks of the devil.
 11We are not fighting against people of flesh and blood. But we are fighting against rulers and powers whom we cannot see. We are fighting against those who control the darkness of this world, and against bad spirits who have power in the air.
 12So use everything that God has given you, that you can fight when the bad time comes. You will need to do everything you can do to stand!
 13So then, stand and hold on tight to the truth like you put on a belt. Do what is right. Wear it as a cover for your body.
 14You have the good news of peace. Wear that like shoes on your feet.
 15You believe in God. Take that and cover all of yourself with it. With that you can stop all the poison arrows of the devil.
 16You have been saved. Wear your salvation like you wear something on your head to protect yourself. And take with you the big knife or sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
 17Always talk to God in the Spirit. Talk to him about everything and ask him for what you need. Put your mind on what you are saying, asking God to help all his people.
 18And also, ask God to help me to talk without fear and tell people God's plan about the good news.

Thinking thoughts are not just random, as it may seem.  They are a powerful tool against the snares of the enemy and against free radicals in our own bodies.

The truth is a cover for our bodies, a layer of protection, a grounding or a foundation which you build your life upon. 

A cover or protection against what you ask? 

Perhaps lies from others, perhaps lies from ourselves. 

If we're not honest about situations in our lives, our own thoughts can act as a poison against our own bodies.  If we're repeating negative thoughts about our bodies, or our abilities, it will have a negative effect perhaps in the form of headaches, anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, irritability, etc. A repetitive, negative thought is just like a continuous dose of poison.  You don't even realize your consuming it, until your body needs it to exist and it demands the sickly thoughts just to cope.  The drugs your thoughts produce in your brain:  dopamine, cortisol, and beta-endorphins.

All of this just from not thinking consciously?  Absolutely.

Read what Dr. Ali Binazir states in a recent article I found on HuffPost:

"Here's a rubric I made for making sense of seemingly bizarre human behavior.  If I saw it pop up over and over again -- say, millions of people doing it over the course of decades and centuries -- chances are that those people weren't totally nuts or stupid. There must be some deep biological phenomenon at work here.

You probably know folks who are stuck in terrible relationships, or who keep on having the same bad relationship with differently-named people. Heck, you may even be that person who engages in the serial self-flagellation. You also know people who systematically sabotage their own happiness: by being habitually late; by engaging in self-pity; by putting themselves down.

Turns out there's a dark reason to all of this. Many people unconsciously want to be treated poorly, taken advantage of, or even outright abused. They are seeking to experience self-pity, pain and denigration.

In this case, the biological phenomenon is simple: pain and negative emotions activate the reward centers of the brain, causing unconscious addiction to those negative emotions.

Let me say that again, because it was really, really important:

Pain and negative emotions activate the reward centers of the brain, causing unconscious addiction to those negative emotions.

Ladies and gentlemen -- this is a whopper. People think of the reward centers of the brain as the "pleasure centers," so it makes sense to them when someone gets addicted to cocaine, or crack, or sex. Because cocaine makes your brain light up, makes you high, and then you want more. Duh.

That's the addiction that people know. But you don't need cocaine or meth or crack to create a self-reinforcing addictive circuit in the brain. Anything that activates the beta-endorphin or dopamine pathways will do.

It turns out that pain and negative emotions (e.g. self-pity, anger, guilt) also activate the beta-endorphin and dopamine pathways. Chronic jaw pain or painful thoughts light up those pathways just like the infamous addictive drugs do.

As a result, we can get addicted to those emotions. Now there aren't any thuggish-looking dealers, pieces of foil covered in white dust, or telltale tracks on the arm, so people can say, "Look, I'm okay! Really!"
My friends, the deadliest drug pusher of them all is the one that lives inside your head that no one can see, not even yourself.

The dopamine pathway activates in drive states. Drive states are necessary for survival: getting away from a threat, moving towards food, mating. Cortisol, the chief stress hormone, also mediates dopamine release.

So it makes sense that when you're stressed or in a flight-or-fight situation, your brain releases dopamine.

But why would it release beta-endorphins? Aren't those the feelgood chemicals you get when, say, you have a runner's high?

Turns out that beta-endorphins are also powerful analgesics. If you've ever had that runner's high, kept running for another five miles and came back home sore as hell, you know what I'm talking about.
So let's say you're in a flight-or-fight situation on the Savannah, oh, a million years ago, and you get injured. Then there is real survival value to postpone the distraction from the pain of the injury so you can win the fight or flee to safety. Now it makes a lot of sense that an analgesic would be released during a flight-or-fight stress response.

What's happening with negative emotions is that they tap into these same ancient survival circuits to get us a little bit of that reward drug. Make sense?

This is why the battered wife goes back to the abusive husband. This is why you pick the same abusive girlfriend over and over again. This is why cutters cut themselves.  This is why people pay to go to BDSM dungeons. In sum:

People engage in physically or emotionally self-destructive behaviors to get an unconscious drug payoff.

So that's part of how we are complicit in our own suffering. We're actually engineering it.
To snap out of it, here's the three-step protocol I've proposed before. It's not easy, but it is simple:

1.  Get help. You can't do it alone -- lord knows you've tried. That's why the 12-step programs say you need to appeal to a higher power. As the Course in Miracles says, "Your best thinking got you here." So get help -- friends, family, professionals. Reach out -- physically, literally. Say, "I need help. Will you please help me?" Sure, it's humbling. But would you rather be dead? Because your addiction can and will kill you.

2.  Get away. You need a detox period for your neurology to return to normal. There are receptors, neurotransmitters, vesicles, and reuptake mechanisms involved -- actual physical things that need to be rearranged in your brain. This rearrangement takes 7-21 days. In the meantime, you must get yourself away completely from the noxious behavior and its triggers. Two weeks of detox is a good rule of thumb.

3.  Continue healing. The goal of this exercise is to get your mind back to a homeostatic state. Meditation and yoga are good for this. So is associating with friends who bring out and celebrate the best in you. So is hypnosis that unravels some of the self-destructive circuitry. So is hanging out with a partner who values and nurtures you.

Now, back to my dream.  I dreamt that I was standing along side of my house.  The foundation of the house was massive.  It was marble in my dream or a seemingly impenetrable stone.  It was very much unlike the house I am living in.  In any event, I was leaning on the foundation of the house in a way that was unhealthy.  I was clinging to the foundation.  I was clinging to my home.

In my waking life, this is very much an area of concern for me.  Since my husband and I have decided to separate, where I ultimately live is kind of up in the air.  I'm not sure if we'll sell the house or not.  I'm not sure where I will wind up.  It's an unknown for me. 

This is the first and only house I've ever 'owned'.  I am not very interested in letting it go and embracing the unknown.  I am very content to stay in this home, even if my family isn't in it anymore.  At least I have a place to call my own.

And then the reality of those thoughts comes flooding in, as my dream would make me ponder.  Even while I was dreaming, I was thinking of Luke 21:6.  It was as if Spirit was correcting my 'stinking thinking' about the where's and how's of my life:

“As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

We build up these 'states of mind'.  We create these blankets of security in our thoughts.  If only I had this or that, then!!! oh only then will things be okay.  Silly humans, things are okay all the time.

Perception is everything.

Create a safe haven in your mind and your doomed.

Allow your mind to challenge every concept!  Allow your mind to challenge every secure notion.  Take your senses out of the equation, is it still safe?  Can you even feel your way through your existence?

You know, the things we take for granted are the very things that we use to navigate through this realm of existence.

Your mind, your body, your soul, your spirit...these are the only tools you have to navigate and they are all conflicting as it pertains to messages received.  Your body tells you one thing, your spirit another and your mind, yet another.

Which one do you rely on emphatically?

For me, and my house, I live by the Spirit.  The one that loves, guides, corrects, protects, enriches, and blesses, inspires, comforts, loves, gives, heals, teaches, despite what is seen, or unseen.