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Find the Gift
By Art Ramsay

 Emotional responses to events in our lives depend on our belief system. So when someone seemingly challenges our beliefs we seek to defend them in any way we can. We become like the staunch patriot, who strongly defends his Country or sports team no matter what. We may not even be aware of the belief threatened, but somewhere within our minds we feel the belief to be true.

 Depending on the event, we either react or respond to what we may consider a barb, or there may be a two-step way of replying – first, we react, and then respond. The usual outcome of these actions would be considered negative, causing an emotional and stressful response. Anytime we are provoked by someone or some event that does not meet our expectations, we fall back to unconscious beliefs.

 But what if we could respond in a different way? What if instead of depending on past subconscious beliefs to drive our responses, we responded in a totally new way? What if, no matter how terrible we thought the situation to be, we could respond by looking at it as a gift? What???!!! A gift? You out of your mind Art?

 Could I look at stubbing my toe, breaking a glass, or falling down a hill and injuring my wrist as a gift? Could you look at getting fired, coming down with some serious illness, or getting a divorce as a gift? Well, at first, no. But if we look deeper, if we move past our usual anger or pain, we may discover something else.

 People I know and others I have heard about, who have experienced a serious, life-threatening disease have, after it was over, recognized that it helped them see something about themselves they would not have seen otherwise. Granted, during the event it may not have looked that way, and these situations happened over a somewhat long period of time.

 It may be that the people mentioned above had longer to consider what was happening in their lives than a sudden event like breaking a glass and cutting your hand. But, even so, most people would view getting a disease like cancer with much trepidation. Would beliefs surface here? Most assuredly, but they would surface quickly at first, and then perhaps creep in over time as well.

 How then could we view events we experience that we term ‘bad’, negative, terrible, or just not wanted, in a different way? We could stop during or after the event, and look for a message it may be giving us. Obviously, after stubbing my toe, the message is to be more aware of my surroundings. But what about experiences that are not so obvious?

 Let’s look at a few examples. You walk across the kitchen floor, slip on something wet, and almost fall, catching yourself on the counter, but knocking a glass on the floor that breaks. First reaction – either laugh or get angry with yourself. Your second response, while picking up glass pieces, is to be upset that you are so clumsy, or blame whoever left the wet object that caused it all. What could you learn from the event?

 How did you slip on the wet object? Were you watching where you stepped, or were you looking across the room at something? Being aware of each step wherever you are could be something to learn. Martial artists learn early to open their awareness to everything around them.

 Example 2. You are driving along a four-lane road in the left hand lane in traffic, when a vehicle that had just entered the highway from an entry ramp passes you, and puts on its left turn signal. It then swerves into your lane in front of you. You touch the breaks, give the person the finger, and get upset with the jerk. But then, the vehicle's turn signal comes on again, and the car makes a left-lane turnoff.

 What could you learn from this? What caused you to get upset when the car pulled in front of you and seemingly cut you off? Obviously, you did not know the reason the driver did what he did, and responded from a belief. And that is the point here – you never know why someone else does something. Therefore, the lesson could be tolerance, but there is also a belief about being 'cut off' or someone 'butting in'.

 Example 3. Your partner or spouse has just walked out forever. You are angry, depressed, and frustrated about the situation. You immediately blame him/her for causing the relationship to come to this point. While moving through your emotions later, you remember events over the years of the relationship. You begin to see your part and how events unfolded.

 Once we get clear minded about a situation, we can reflect and then respond differently. We need to delay our reaction until we have a moment to let the belief that would have caused it to pass without an effect. If the unconscious mind gets into the act, we are doomed, at least immediately. Afterward, when the reaction has passed, we can recover and look for the gift.

 Is finding the gift or message easy? No it is not, but it can be accomplished with practice and determination. It will probably be one of the most rewarding pursuits you can engage in; even better than to stop complaining. I suggest you start with something simple. Make it easy on yourself. Then proceed to what seems more difficult.

 When you find the gifts in the everyday events that have pledged you years, your life will get easier, and you unlock a door to happiness that has been shut for a long time. Working on the effects caused by unconscious beliefs is a path to freedom that I cannot describe in words. You will have to experience it for yourself.

 

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