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Shambhala Life Skills: Self-Trust

Originally the word "health" meant "whole" or "undivided." However, today the word "health" has come to mean something quite different. Today, it is more likely to mean free from illness or able to pursue your daily activities.

Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills bring us back to the original meaning of the word "health" by recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, the body and the spirit. Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skills unify and strengthen the bond between the mind and the body, resulting in a powerful spirit that becomes your guiding Life-force.

Shambhala Black Belt Life-Skill Number Eight Self-Trust

Human beings are in the midst of a mental evolution. Your mind has always been automatically responsive to and focused on the voices in your head; voices inherited from ancient ancestors; voices you rely on for guidance. But today, your mental faculties are preparing you for a different kind of mental processing, one grounded in conscious and self-initiated behavior. This new mental processing can shift your attention from an unquestioned automatic response to the voices within your head to a heart-felt, critical listening for a voice seated at a much deeper than head level - - whispers from the Core of your Self.

As your programmed behavior becomes a less suitable survival mechanism due to rapid social and technological change, Nature has provided you with the necessary mental faculties to 1) consciously evaluate your acquired behavior and 2) search out creative alternatives and make choices which will protect your Integrity and enrich your quality of Life.

This evolution of our mental faculties, however, is far from complete, nor will any of us see its completion in our lifetime. We are the transitioners. Hence, you are stuck with both 1) your tendency to over rely on programmed behavior which is often out-of-date and inefficient and 2) your newly awakening abilities to consciously assess for yourself which behavior patterns are still relevant and/or what new creative alternatives will protect your Integrity and enrich your quality of Life. Consciousness, then, is the wedge between automatic programmed behavior and behavior which is self-evaluated, self-initiated and able to meet your individually unique requirements for Integrity and an enriched quality of Life.

Programmed Thinking vs. Consciousness

Just as you have inherited your programmed behavior, you have also inherited programmed thinking. You do much, if not all, of your thinking unknowingly and automatically. Mental processes that you normally think of as conscious are actually unconscious operations, even problem solving and decision making. For example, solve this problem: X-O-X-O-X-O- What comes next? The kind of thinking necessary to solve this problem is not conscious. It is automatic. Another example of programmed thinking is the act of making decisions. Deciding on what is right and wrong or making value judgments, is almost always done automatically instead of consciously.

For your ancient ancestors, the quality of their programmed behavior and programmed thinking determined their quality of Life. But today, and even more so in the future, your quality of Life will be determined by your ability to detach from your programmed thinking long enough to make conscious creative choices that ensure your Integrity.

But what does all this have to do with the Life-Skill of SELF-TRUST? Everything. Your health and the quality of your Life is dependent on your ability to make day-to-day, moment to moment life-choices which ensure your Integrity. You have to be able to trust yourself to make these novel, high Integrity choices.

Trust is typically not associated with yourself. Trust is usually associated with your relationships with others. If you are to replace your reliance on programmed behavior and thinking with your own developing Self-wisdom, then your ability to trust your ability to quiet your programmed voices so you can hear your own Core whispers becomes the single most important skill to promote health, healing and improve the our quality of your life.

How do you transition then, from your tendency to rely on your old, automatic patterns of behavior and thinking, towards your emerging capacities to make conscious, creative, self-initiated, high Integrity choices? How do you begin to trust your life to your Self?

For starters you have no alternative but to distrust yourself if you continually lead yourself into unfulfilling behavior. You need to understand your own mental processes and why they so frequently lead you down such rough and rocky roads and away from Integrity rather than toward it.

Mental Processes

Research has shown that the two hemispheres of your mind are separated and specialized. One is dominant and the other is non-dominant. The dominant hemisphere attends to the apparent, the known, the already experienced. The less dominant hemisphere is regarded as the creative/artistic resource. It is applauded for its visual/spatial/creative thinking. This is the hemisphere which assigns meaning and significance to the events in your life.

Your right and left hemispheres are not well integrated. They are not working together towards the best of all results. This poor integration stems from your inability to allow your right and left hemispheres to access each other. Hence, you cannot meld your mental processes. This lack of melding keeps you dependent upon programmed behavior and programmed thinking. Poor integration interferes with your ability to step back from your programmed behavior and thinking so that you can utilize all your mental faculties to examine all the information available and make conscious, creative choices that strengthen your Integrity.

Shambhala Black Belts learn to suspend their automatic reactions to the voices in their heads. They learn how to quiet themselves to better hear a heart-felt voice that is even older and wiser than their ancestors. And when they hear that sacred whisper from the deepest Core of themselves, they rely on the Life-Skill of SELF-TRUST as they make creative, high Integrity life choices.

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