Getting Real About Your Life: The Secret to Creativity

Creativity

By Cathy Eck

 

Creativity

Creativity occurs in the gap between our vision and our reality.  Ideally, that gap is constantly diminishing.  That’s when we enjoy our journey.

In business, I loved creating an insane challenge and then fulfilling it.  In technology, the value of a computer system was measured in years.  A three-to-five year payback on investment was normal at that time.  I promised a one-year payback.  My normal system, which was more expensive than the competition, paid for itself in three-to-six months.

Bringing down the payback period taught me a valuable lesson.  Much of my success was the vision I set for each project.  What I must share, however, is that no one believed my vision was possible.  Even the companies that hired me would say, “Yea right.  You can’t do that.”  They couldn’t do it, but I knew I could.  Only in hindsight, do I understand why.

 

Fantasy

People tend to fall into two groups.  The first group lives in the fantasy world.  They say their affirmations and focus on the positive.  They daydream of better days while ignoring the reality that they don’t believe they can achieve those days.  The extreme metaphor for these people are lottery players.  Their life is so dismal that they believe that the only way out is to win something that has one chance in a million.  These people usually have right-brain oriented views of life.  They tend to visualize, talk all the time, and philosophize, but don’t get much done.  They use cognitive dissonance to bridge gaps in their belief systems.  When their reasoning breaks down, they usually insert an angel, a miracle, or fate.  They manufacture religions.

 

Realism

The other group is so grounded in reality that their face is stuck in the mud.  They tend to be left brainers.  They get shit done, but often make a mess of things when they do it.  They have good memories, which they use on others to bring up things they did thirty years ago.  If science doesn’t have the answer, there’s no answer.  Nothing exists beyond reality.  Incurable is their death sentence.  They create lots of problems and want rewarded when they fix their own problems.  They get a small reprieve after they fix something — a brief moment of satisfaction.  Then something else breaks.  They argue for political, religious, or any one-sided point of view until they make everyone around them want to vomit.  These are the scientists that waste time and money proving their reality is the truth.

The place of creativity isn’t in either extreme.  Remember the old triangle process (above).  Creativity, and all the other joys of life, are at the top of the triangle.  Fantasy and Harsh Reality live at the bottom.

 

Enjoying The Journey to the Top

Creativity lives at the top of the triangle.  To get there, we must get honest about our current reality.  That’s our starting place.  It isn’t what we deserve, it sure as hell isn’t something we need to accept, and it isn’t something we need to face for very long.  It’s an honest assessment of our current situation.  Fantasy, the other side of the triangle, is where we want to be.  It might look possible or impossible.  That doesn’t matter.  When we bring together the right recipe of these two ingredients, and we let go, we ride the creative wave to the top.

Anyone who appears to have natural talent rides that wave every day, but often only in one aspect of their life.  I could thrive among the best in my field because I knew I could.  I didn’t “know” because I thumped my chest every morning while looking in the mirror and mimicking Tony Robbins.  I didn’t believe I could.  In fact, I actually had no beliefs that I couldn’t.  (Although after watching “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I tried out the chant-chest thump technique; I gotta admit, it was kind of fun. It made me feel like a he-man.)

 

Letting Go

I left the business and technology world because I wanted to learn why that worked for me and why others couldn’t do it.  I also wondered why I couldn’t do that in every aspect of my life.

It was clearly something in people’s minds that veiled their natural gifts.  I only had to find out how to reverse that man-made error.

First, I got painfully real.  Most of the world believes they have no talent.  Most people feel like pawns with no chance of fulfilling their dreams.  Most people have strong religious and family-cultural beliefs that they view as the truth.  Most of the world accepts their reality as God ordered.  There’s more, but you get the idea.  That was my “Get Real.”  Now I was done with getting real — just needed my accurate and honest starting point.

Now what’s my vision?  This was the question I wanted to solve.  How can every person unveil their unique expression, gifts and talents, and true perspective?  But I also had other conditions that clarified an acceptable answer.  I wanted the answer to be something anyone could do — not just MENSA members, not just those belonging to certain religions or clubs, and not just rich people.  It had to be win-win and possible for everyone on the planet.  It had to be simple, able to be done alone, and easy to remember.  Pretty high stakes.

Fifteen years later, I had the technique.  It met all of those conditions.  But I had to let go of a zillion beliefs to get there.  What appears to be a God-given gift or talent is actually a black holes in our mind where we have few or no beliefs.  That’s all.  Letting go, not cognitive dissonance, removes the gap between our vision and our reality.

Our beliefs rest between our get real and our vision like a big block of granite.  We keep chipping away at those beliefs with our little chisel.  One day, there’s nothing left.  We’re free.

 

 

 

Slavery and Freeing Our Minds

Statue in Cuenca, Ecuador

By Cathy Eck

 

Traveling in the Feminine Role

I’m back home reflecting on my nearly three months in Ecuador.  When most people travel, they either go as tourists, which means they see the sites and stay in places that are sanitized from reality; or, they go in a service, ministry, or business capacity.  Tourist and service are both masculine roles.  In masculine roles, we have choices and power (even influence) over others and our situation.  In traditional feminine roles, we have little or no influence.  We must observe and let go of whatever comes at us.  Traveling in the feminine role is useful for freeing the darkest parts of our mind — especially our inner slavery.  It’s an inner, rather than outer, adventure.

In a country like Ecuador, everyone shares the same point of view.  They practice the same religion, and their culture has been molded into one common perspective.  They have no reason to question their perspective.  You’re either an insider or an outsider.

I accepted my feminine role as an outsider.  No one there even knew what I did.  I wasn’t trying to change minds; I was simply trying to free my own mind.   We tend to blindly accept beliefs when we’re in the feminine role because of our training as young children.  By willingly taking on a feminine role, we can see, discriminate, and let go of the automatic mental programs that accepted the beliefs of others without discriminating first.

 

Slavery

When I got home, this quote by Ezra Pound was on my Facebook wall.  “A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”  Powerful quote!  

Physically everyone in Ecuador was free; yet mentally, no one was free.  We can’t see mental chains; most people train themselves to no longer feel them.  They don’t notice the smallness of their prison cell because others have the same cell.   They label their chains a fact of life — the truth.  

When acceptance lacks the desire for change, it’s not acceptance; it’s apathy.  Apathy keeps us stuck in slavery; apathy places hope in a savior.  

I grew up in a town with conformity of beliefs, much like Ecuador.  It was filled with apathy masking as acceptance.  Things usually came easier to me because my desires didn’t have to travel through a huge labyrinth of beliefs.  Then I married one of the insiders; over time, his cultural and religious beliefs infected my mind.  Everything became more difficult for me as his beliefs took root in my mind.  I kept weeding — attempting to remove his beliefs.  I just couldn’t find the causal root.  There was something in my mind that caused me to blindly believe him over and over again.  I looked everywhere for someone that could erase his beliefs — kissed a lot of frogs that weren’t princes during that time in my life.  I was stuck in slavery, looking for someone to rescue me.  No one did because they were slaves too.  Their techniques could provide relief from the effects; but they couldn’t eliminate the beliefs — the cause.

When I discovered letting go of beliefs, I was overjoyed.  I could now free my husband from his mental slavery too.  But he was looking for a physical savior.  My truth sounded crazy; he thought his beliefs were the truth.  “What, my problems aren’t real?  You think I created my problems?  You think my beliefs aren’t true?” he said again and again.  Over time, problems tend to have payoffs.  People bond around problems.  To expose their illusion feels unloving.  His family believed they were given a burden by God to carry together; and I was unwilling to share that burden so I was bad and unloving.

I hated their judgment of me.  I wasn’t bad or unloving; I was trying to free them.  I constantly tried to defend myself.  But proving their beliefs wrong meant holding on to their beliefs.  My freedom required letting go of their beliefs, not proving them wrong.  Right-wrong, win-lose, good-evil all keep us stuck in mental slavery.  Only by realizing that a belief is powerless and false, and letting it go, do we achieve real freedom.  We don’t have to correct beliefs; we only have to stop fueling them.  Let them go.  Without fuel, they die a natural death.

Ecuador tested me to stay free of beliefs that were very familiar.  Even with beliefs as thick as mud, I usually managed to let go.  Whenever I fell for a belief, I could feel my emotions closing in on me; I’d immediately go to work on my own mind.  I didn’t try to defend myself.  I didn’t try to prove them wrong.  I simply  took responsibility for my error and dug myself back out of the mental quicksand.  This time, I didn’t become a slave in their illusion.  I passed my own initiation test.

I observed the causal patterns within my mind that caused me to believe others in the past.  In almost every case, I didn’t want to be judged, I tried to defend myself, or I didn’t want to follow their rules.  In order to prove them wrong, I needed to accept their belief as real.  Now I was at war — the inner battle of good and evil that never ends.  The more I tried to fight their belief in my mind, the more real it became.  I was keeping myself enslaved in their world.  Only I could free myself.

Freedom is about knowing your OWN mind so well that others can’t tarnish it.  Freedom is about discriminating with such mastery that no one can trap us in their illusion.  Freedom is being our True Self anywhere and anytime.  Escaping the illusion requires thinking from true and false and micromanaging our own mind while allowing others to think whatever they want.  The other’s perspective was real for me only because I believed them.  They didn’t enslave me: I enslaved myself.  Therefore, I could also FREE myself and so can everyone else.

 

Honesty, Reality, and the True Self

Honesty and looking in the mirror

By Cathy Eck

 

Honesty Used Ineffectively

One of the biggest problems that arises in people who want to be themselves and free their mind is they’re usually really honest people.  Often their honesty gets them in trouble when trying to let go.  This was a mind trick that nailed my ass to the wall for a long time.

Let’s say you want to lose weight.  When you look in the mirror, you see reality.  You don’t like what you see, and your false mind honestly comments on what it sees.  Positive thinkers would say to look in the mirror and say, “I’m a skinny person,” 5000 times.  But you’re an honest person; that just doesn’t work for you.  It feels like lying.  In fact, it just makes things worse.  Since you can’t lie, and your reality is in your face, you feel hopelessly screwed by your own honesty.

The problem is that your beliefs have already created too much weight.  So how do you get behind the reality to let go of the beliefs?  What you must realize is that the beliefs you currently hold in mind in this very moment are the beliefs that got you to this point.  The good news is that as you look in the mirror, you’re probably feeling emotion.  That means that the beliefs are close to the surface of your mind.  The emotion will take you to the causal belief if you follow it.

The key is to change your mental focus from what you see to what you are thinking and feeling.  In that way, you can find the cause and let it go.

Our goal is to let go of any belief about weight that isn’t true.  If we can let go of all of the beliefs that we have about food, exercise, genetics, body type, or weight in general, then we won’t be able to create too much weight anymore.

Now I realize that I’ve picked a loaded topic.  Most of us can let go of food and exercise beliefs for a long time without running out of them.  We’ve accepted a hell of a lot of them; and if we’re honest, they all feel bad.  They can also be tricky to let go because we got most of them from experts.  But if we want freedom, we have to strip the power from the experts.  Our True Self is much wiser.

 

The Process

As we look in the mirror and see too much weight, we can feel the emotion arising.  Our honesty is dying to express itself.  If we’ve hung out in the new thought movement, we’ll want to put whipped cream on our honesty.  But don’t do it.  Whatever our mind is saying is just a belief; we don’t have to hide it or fear it because we can let it go.  This is really facing our fears.  Instead of decorating them, stuffing ourselves with some cake, turning on the television, or whining to a friend, we feel the emotion, witness the causal thoughts as they arise, and let them all go.

Let’s say that when you looked in the mirror you said, “I’m so fat.”  That comment clearly doesn’t feel good.  But you say, “That isn’t a belief.  It’s true.  I am fat.”  And therein lies the problem. Focusing on reality or labeling it solidifies the belief even more.  It makes it even harder to create change.

 

Honesty is Your Ally

Most people say, “You must deny what you see.  Cancel, cancel.”  That’s just fixing the illusion, and the illusion will come back later on.  We must remove the illusion to eliminate the problem completely.

We succeed if we turn our honesty on our mind.  This is what allows the situation to change.  Our biggest mental downfall, that perpetuates all problems, is that we’re all far too focused on reality.  We talk about reality; we warn people about reality.  But reality is caused by our beliefs.  Reality isn’t the truth.  Remember reality is our True Self, plus our beliefs.

We must stop commenting on what we SEE in the mirror; instead, we turn our ally of honesty on our mind.  Our mind says, “You look terrible.”  That comment clearly doesn’t feel good; so it isn’t true (meaning it isn’t who we really are).  Go into mind clean up mode.  Stay focused on the job at hand.  Our mind can continue to comment all it wants; but as it comments, we let go of every thought that doesn’t feel good.  In this way, we’ve begun the process of clearing our mind of all the beliefs that caused the excess weight.

As the beliefs go, we might spontaneously choose different food, find ourself taking up a sport, or just losing the weight without any action at all.  Our True Self will inspire us if any action is necessary for us.

 

The Goal of Life

The goal of life is not to prove reality right.  Anyone can do that.  The goal of life is to return to our True Self.  To do that, we must let reality know that we know it’s false.

This is the hardest switch for people to make in freeing their minds.  Almost no one does it.  It’s especially difficult when it comes to our body, our finances, or world events.  It drives us insane in relationships where we let go, and the other person keeps reminding us of reality.  But that’s why initiation isn’t for wimps.

Our false self thinks that we have to fix reality.  But reality is an illusion.  It makes no sense to fix a false illusion.  Eventually, one incredibly wonderful day, we no longer hold any beliefs in our mind.  Then reality and the truth are the same thing.

So be honest about what you are thinking, not what you see.  Be hard core in forcing your mind to drop whatever thoughts contain emotion.  Then you can turn anything around.

photo credit: jesuscm [2 weeks off] via photopin cc