This article discusses the symbolic death of the self or the ego. This kind of death is symbolic of a radical change in thinking. It is an internal change. It has nothing to do with our external circumstances. Manipulating our outer reality will only result in a temporary and unsatisfactory change in our circumstances. Making changes to our physical environment does not result in a personal transformation.
Every experience is unique. You can never experience an event the same way twice. Your experience will be slightly different even in an identical situation. The things we perceive outside of us are interpreted by our minds. So our experiences literally take place in our minds.
I look at it this way. The thought precedes the action. You have to make a decision to die to your old way of thinking in order to create a new life for yourself. That's like the criminal offenders I dealt with for so many years in my career life. Many offenders would tell me that they didn't like their lives and that they wanted to change. However, as soon as they got out of prison, they would return to their old neighborhoods, frequent their old haunts, and engage in counter-productive activities. Before long they had committed a crime that put them right back into the prison system. That's called recidivism.
It’s true that you may need to remove yourself from your old environment or a bad situation in order to make positive and lasting change. That act in of itself will not lead to rehabilitating your character. You cannot run away from your problems. Also, do not make the mistake of playing the blame game. It’s of no use to blame others for your misfortune. Take responsibility for your circumstances and the life you have created. This is only way you can begin to heal yourself and manifest positive outcomes.
Keep in mind that the reason people re-enter the criminal justice system as offenders, has nothing to do with their returning to their old neighborhoods. They do that through their own action. In fact, many people find the support needed to change from their friends and family. Saying that their friends and family lead them to returning to prison is an excuse and a false belief. The real issue lies in the fact that they lacked the commitment and determination to change. It is either that a person doesn’t really want to change, or the individual doesn’t have the knowledge needed to make it happen. Changing your residence, getting a new job, or divorcing your spouse will not change your life. If you do not die to your old ways of thinking, you will continue to along the same path, seeing similar results to what you have already been getting. Creating a new life involves eliminating old patterns and belief systems.
I have a friend who received three long prison sentences, which added up to almost twenty years. He was doing life on the installment plan. He once told me that while he was in prison, he experienced feelings of self-hatred. He truly wanted something different for his life, but he did not know how to change his circumstances. One day his sister sent him a book called “Radical Forgiveness”. After reading it, he understood that there were painful emotions and conflicts inside of him that needed to be dealt with. He began to work on himself according to the principles in the book I mentioned. He dedicated his time to doing the internal work necessary to install new programming. After a significant amount of time and effort in doing his inner healing, he was able to manifest the desired changes. He has now altered his personality to the point that he is a different person. He shed his old skin for a new one. He has been a productive member of society for many years now.
Here is another example of how we can die a symbolic death and be reborn. I have a friend who is an alcoholic. He considers himself a biker and enjoys that lifestyle. He has had his share of negative experiences due to his alcohol addiction. The “last straw” for him came when he landed in jail for a week on a domestic violence charge. After that he made a commitment to stop drinking. He attends Alcoholic Anonymous regularly for support. He has been sober for over eight years now. He still hangs out with his biker friends. He stills goes to the bars and parties where people are drinking. However, he will not pick up a drink. He has refused to drink because he does not want to return to the old way of life that landed him jail. Again, he died to his old destructive routines and patterns. He made positive adjustments to his source code. He changed his thinking and ultimately his behavior. He made a decision that he no longer wants to be a “drinker”.
That is how true change takes place in our lives. It’s not done by trying to make changes to the outside world. It has nothing to do with our circumstances. The work takes place in our minds first. It is thought preceded by action. We put energy into our thoughts to make them manifest. This results in action. The action we take results in the experiences we have. In other words, our thoughts and feelings are reflected back to us in our experiences. We have to make the decision to have a good life experience or we will have a negative one. People have a tendency to default to allowing themselves to having negative experiences. Take charge of your thinking and be determined to have the good life that you deserve.
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