Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Understanding Cause & Effect

Over the last several years, I've been integrating the work of one particular teacher into my daily living. I've found this teacher offers me a broad perspective for my life and presents a world view that has stood every test I've given it. In the beginning, the integration process was dramatic, as I made conscious choices that clashed with my habits and patterns. The last year or so, the change have been more subtle, as the inconsistencies between my adopted world view and my patterns are getting smaller. And yet I'm finding that the effects of setting myself free from old thought forms sometimes has a dramatic emotional and mental effect on me. At times, I feel suddenly that the entire world lays before me, awaiting my discovery of it, things I never truly felt in my youth. Those a grand moments.

The greatest difference I've found recently has to do with cause and effect relationships. I remember in my freshman psychology class learning about correlations, about things that can be observed to happen together that may or may not have a cause and effect relationship between them. That idea, of interrelated events with an ambiguous relationship, was brand new to me, as I had always assumed a cause and effect relationship existed between such things, and that I knew which event caused the other. Now, I discover that I've turned around what used to be the cause of events in my life into the effects in my life.

An example will explain what I mean. Last month, my cat died and I visited a cat breeder to look at some kittens. I decided to take one of them home with me, and I needed to leave the breeder to get money from the cash machine before I could complete my transaction. Driving to the bank, I hit a series of yellow lights, and in my emotional state, I first thought that this was a sign that I should use caution in my decision to purchase this kitten. Talking a deep breath, I realized that I had been playing out an old thought form, the idea that signs appear along the path of life to provide guidance. My new way of approaching the world is to turn that around. I truly believe that the yellow light was caused by my emotional state, my momentary confusion about whether or not it was too soon to be taking home a new kitten. Once I connected to that thought, I was able to suddenly clear my own mind and heart, and my emotions shifted. I completed my transaction and am sharing my home now with a wonderful new kitten.

I find that many of my friends talk about their lives in the reversed cause & effect way. They seem to believe, or have a habit of thinking, that life provides clues about the correct life choices to make that we must read at each step. I have found my life runs more smoothly when I turn the tables, when I assume that life is constantly providing me with a mirror, a reflected image of my own mind and heart, in everything I encounter. The basic premise is that I attract things in my outer world that are a match to my inner world at the moment. It's a sort of homeopathic spiritual principle, rather than my previous approach which I could compare to an allopathic approach.

In allopathic (traditional western) medicine, the idea is that we must use substances (usually drugs) to suppress the symptoms of the illness, and that is what makes us better. In contrast, homeopathic medicine believes that the symptoms of "illness" are actually the body's strategy for re-establishing health. In homeopathic wisdom, you take a histamine (rather than an anti-histamine) to support the body's strategy of flooding the sinus cavities with mucus, and take things that induce a fever to support the fever started by your body to maintain stasis. Again, its a reversing of cause and effect, and what we assume about the relationship about correlated events in our experience.

Another example. When I started playing an instrument, I learned that most people naturally breathe backwards, pushing out the chest on the exhale instead of the inhale. (Check yourself and see which way you breathe.)

When I set out to reverse things in my life, I have found that there is a period of confusion where I don't trust my instincts. After all, my instincts had not told me that my natural behavior or assumptions were backwards. It takes some effort to build opposite habits, but eventually the process is completed and life takes on a new freshness. There is natural support for the change once it is completed.

While I am right-handed in most activities, I do bat left-handed. I wonder what I might discover if I turned that relationship around?

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