Life Changes Begin Within

By Monika Nygaard, 
The Nanaimo City Star, March 7/00

We are interconnected both consciously with our outer world and unconsciously with our inner world. Just as perfection is achieved when an orchestra plays beautifully together, so when we are truly in tune with ourselves can we play out our lives beautifully.

Steven Covey said, Everything is created twice, first in the mind, then in the world." So things go from inner to outer, from spiritual to material. Toynbee said, "we are human beings having a spiritual experience." More progressive thinking suggests we are spiritual beings having a human experience. How can we make our experience more positive and learn the most from ourselves and others?

It is perhaps like breathing in and breathing out. When we change ourselves, then we can change our world. Happiness is an inside job. We can't change other people, we can only change ourselves. However, by changing ourselves we then relate to people differently, which in turn can cause them to change. 

The human species is an organic whole. It can be likened to a kaleidoscope, where you cannot change one piece without changing the whole pattern. No man is an island entire unto himself. "We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will improve. Man is organic with the world. His inner life molds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and ever abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions." - Shoghi Effendi

Joseph O'Connor and John Seymour in "Introducing NLP" said, "What does a musical note mean? Very little on it's own; it depends how it relates to the notes around it, how high or low it is, and how long it lasts. The same note can sound quite different if the notes around it change."

We do not live in isolation. Likewise, internally, our thoughts, beliefs, values and how we internalize things are inter-related. If we make a change at this very basic level in any aspect of one of these areas, it can have a profound effect on our entire being. The trick is knowing where to make the change to be most effective.

The results of our actions come back to us in a loop. Communication is a relationship, a process - not a one way street. You cannot be a teacher without a student, a seller without a buyer, a giver without a receiver. How we relate to ourselves internally will reflect in how we relate to others externally. If you hate yourself, it is not easy to love others. If you don't trust yourself, how can you really trust others?

On a larger scale, if there is a problem in a family, where do you make the change in the system (which person, the nature of which relationship) to effect the most change in the pattern and have a healthier family system? This is the art of effective therapy. It looks at internal and external relationships and systems. Likewise, where can you make the most effective change in your community and in the world?

How can we shift our way of thinking to get outside of our own blind spots? Developing the skills of seeing things from other people's points of view and from an interested observer's point of view help a great deal. A fourth position, that of "the space in between" yourself and others, allows you to actually feel the interconnectedness and find more holistic solutions. We do not change in bits and pieces, we change organically.

Monika Nygaard is a Certified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer, Time Line Therapy® Master Trainer and Hypnotherapy Trainer. She can be reached at nlp4change@shaw.ca

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