by Gregg Sanderson

“IF you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison.”—G. I. Gurdjeif

The Prison

What’s your prison? Are you stuck in a bad job? Is it your relationship or lack of one? Lost control of your life? Not enough security?” No matter how you answer that question, I’ll bet it boils down to circumstances.

Here’s the good news. You’ll never get free as long as you try to control circumstances. “Waddya mean, ‘GOOD news?’’ you may ask.”

This is good news because once it sinks in you’ll quit trying and look for another way to be happy.

May I suggest you look a little closer—like right between your ears. That’s the only place that can keep you locked up in the prison of stress, sadness and stuff.

The Jailhouse

You jailhouse is the world of Stimulus (S) > Response (R). You see something (S) and you feel bad (R). Something happens (S) and you get angry or scared (R). You ponder the past (S) you feel guilt, or shame (R). You don’t get your way (S) and you throw a tantrum (R).

There’s no way out. You can’t control the stimulus, and it creates your response. If that ain’t a prison, I don’t know what is. Like all prisons, you don’t have many options.

The Lock

Suppose the jail isn’t Stimulus > Response. Suppose that’s just what people told you to make you behave. What if it’s really Stimulus > NEED > Response. Whose NEED would it be? Why yours, of course.

Rejoice! You live in Stimulus > NEED > Response. You don’t have to change the stimulus… which you never could do, anyhow. The only thing you can or need to change is your programmed NEED that triggers the stress. The catch is that much of that is unconscious.

When you were but a wee one, parents, playmates and pastors let you know in no uncertain terms how things must be. They told you how the world should be, how your life should be, and how you should be. You got “should” on from all sides, and it developed into your “underground” belief system (BS). It becomes a NEED, runs your life, and keeps happiness, peace and achievement at an unreachable distance.

You can do better.

The Key

Change the NEED that causes all the stress—the unconscious pictures of the way things must be. You might ask, “If they’re unconscious, how do I know what they are?”

That’s easy. You know they’re operating when you feel bad. The moment doesn’t fit your pictures. You feel anger, fear, frustration, jealousy, guilt, worry…anything but love and peace.

Buddha called those pictures “attachments.” He said, “Attachments are the only cause of suffering.” (Of course he said it in Magadhi Prakrit, not English. Bear with me.)

Ken Keyes called them “Addictions”—demands and expectations that your world be different from the way it is. He said, “Addictions are the only cause of suffering.”

I call them “Needs”—anything you MUST have to be happy, and I say, “Need is the only cause of stress.”

No wise person ever said, “Your spouse, your job or your butt is the only cause of misery.” You can split, quit, or diet but you won’t find happiness. You’ll just keep searching for replacements.

As long as you’re involved in the “J”s—judgment, justification and junk—nothing will change. You need to change the NEED to assure happiness, but what could you change it to?

The key is Unconditional Love, one NOW at a time.

There are many ways to do this when you change your unconscious NEEDS, and this issue of Transformation offers a plethora. The big question is, “What do you change them to?”

It’s easier than you think… It’s easier WHEN you think. For guidance, I refer you to next month’s column. If you can’t wait, contact me any time at gregg@newthoughtglobal.org and I’ll give you a hint.

In the meantime, remember to “Live, Love and Laugh.” Or, as we say it in the post-jailbreak world, “Love, Love and LOVE!”

Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at www.newthoughtglobal.org.

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