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  • Michaela Patel


the shape of you

Everything shapes us. Either we consciously acknowledge it, or not. It is what we don’t acknowledge that grips our destiny firmly around its neck…

Are you trapped by the current circumstances, being pulled about by life with your moods unpredictably fluctuating?

There are many fibs we unknowingly tell ourselves daily as a result of what our experiences have 'taught' us. We then go about our life thinking we have a very good grip on understanding who we are, only to be shook awake in the midst of a living nightmare.

I, too, assumed that I know who I am because I was always drawn to biology, psychology, sociology, astrology, anything which could help me define my nature. Since my early teenage years, I was fascinated with human behaviour, inspired and enthused by the latest scientific discoveries of the mind and body, intrigued by the occult, spiritual realm. For my whole life I was ceaselessly searching for the answers to my ever curious questions. What I wasn’t aware of was that my newly gained knowledge was critically evaluated by what I call my inner network: a sturdy net of pointers which unknowingly directed me ever since I was a little girl, and the validity of which I have not thought to critically evaluate once.

Are you aware that everything you learn is ‘read’ through a warped program, a faulty template for finding the truth?

The mind gets moulded by observation long before it is capable of an independent, fair evaluation. A young mind is shaped particularly well because it is 'empty', unburdened, free to absorb every moment. It downloads an insane amount of information which is then assessed in terms of being pleasant or unpleasant. The mind learns about itself, primarily from the reaction of the minds around. Yes, there are the traits we are born with. They determine how we perceive certain realities which in turn shape how we respond to them. Sadly, the state of our carers' minds and how they perceived us made for the sharpest carving knife...

When an immature mind receives attention it stores it as 'I am wanted'. If those we love react with pleasure to how we are being, it makes us feel good, fulfilled, loved. All would be well if our templates for truth were two self-loving and self-aware individuals who are present and emotionally comfortable with themselves.

From what I observed at home, I came to believe that I must be a mixed bag of somehow conflicting characteristics: the accommodating, agreeable, subservient woman, the smart, strong headed, sexy lady, the organised, decisive, well educated professional, and the hard working domestic goddess in order to retain my value in the society. The overwhelming message was that should I not master this by my mid 20s, I would be worthless. No man would be interested in me so I could forget having a family. Something I never truly had as a child and which left an expansive hollow in my being I was determined to fill. Adamant of establishing a happy life for myself, I acted on what I thought are reasonable suggestions of my own. I excitedly boarded the acceptance wheel, wanting to become someone for others...

Where did it take me? Round and round, up and down, until I became sick of facing another day. I became depressed, anxious and confused, uncertain and distrustful, alone. Trapped inside my head, drowning in an overwhelming sadness I just couldn’t understand. I only did what I thought was right and the crash I endured was exemplary. My personal story on how I became a mess, and where I adjust the pointers to the truth for you, is available free on Amazon.

unconscious beliefs

Contrary to what we believe, keenly blaming others for our world crashing down, how deep we fall depends only on the magnitude of our own Ego. Behind our thinking that we know everything there is to know about ourselves is the unconscious part of our mind, a skilled illusionist which has been reliably fooling us since we took our first steps towards those we looked up to - our template for love.

Exposed to our inner circle’s cultural habits and convictions, our mind evolved from what we didn’t know towards what we believed was nothing but the truth. Because when you trust someone, the information miraculously bypasses the ’Is this really true?’ circuit. Not to mention that our brains need to reach a certain level of maturation for us to become sceptical. From very early on, all our experiences (however we perceived them) co-created the landscape of our psyche by laying down neurological wiring of the mind’s belief system. Some of our fundamental beliefs are the most frequently visited points on the map of our inner landscape. Connected to the relating points of a frequent neural traffic, they form a huge web of multiple ‘thinking circuits’. The more repetitive they become in order to conserve energy, the less one is aware of them, having no control over their future change (neuroplaticity). Because we are too invested in certain life experiences, having bought into the idea that everything is running as it should be (that all our beliefs are true) we cease to see clearly. It takes a healthy dose of doubt to question our own thinking habits. Our doubt gets most frequently triggered by the pain we feel as a result of our unconscious choices. A wake up call of our psyche in the form of an extremely unpleasant affair with life. Be it the breakdown of our relationships, emotional or physical problems as a result of unsuitable working environment, or a total burnout from juggling too much - our whole Being in a twist choking on life’s far too large servings...

Our mind is by a default dealing with life in a certain way. Like a wall laid down brick by brick. Many of them, particularly at its base, are damaged by those who didn’t think to inspect them. One can only spot these by moving away from the wall, carefully observing them. I mean, what is there to lose?

It wasn’t easy to begin doubting that which I have trusted and relied on my whole life. But I found that I could observe it, rather curiously, when I was alone, undistracted. It is when I noticed certain patterns of the way I thought about other people and myself. I started questioning if there are other ways of looking at situations, which had given me more freedom in navigating through them. I realised that I had options, hence choices to make. It is not to say that I could suddenly see all the fibs my mind was trying to entice me into. Old habits die hard and the vast majority of my thinking was habitual after all those years of my 'tunnel thinking'. By not giving into what my mind typically wanted me to do, I was in much better position for the lies to reveal themselves. I was then able to substitute these with either further questions, or the truth. The kinks of my Being have straightened out and so did my journey. From the many, to myself, harmful circles and U-turns, I started to feel like I am moving forward in a somewhat predictable direction. I realised I am the one who can choose to let go of certain intrusive and unconstructive thought offerings of my unhinged head. I have simply learned to retrieve into the calmness of my body when I have had enough and practiced just being. I have stopped rushing into the next best thing and moved away from my wall. My future goal was to focus on quality instead of quantity in terms of experiences. I started to focus on what made me feel peaceful, balanced, grounded, instead of high (something my mind otherwise habitually craved). Retraining my mind to actively seek daily appreciation has drastically transformed my inner scenery. Changing the way I perceived the unpleasant has helped me to transcend my old Self. Living my life from a space behind my thoughts enabled me to broaden my horizons without the head spinning heights. It required me to be bold in confronting my true needs which has, in turn, armed me with an unshakable confidence. The kind of confidence one cannot buy or gain, no matter how high their wall is.

Confronting one’s shape, mentally and spiritually speaking, is by far the hardest job we are given for being alive. Unlike fixing the defects of our physical body, our determination and sticking to our plan is only partly responsible for successfully smoothing our inner operator. Becoming parents we are faced with our clearest of mirror(s) and the greatest opportunity to get to know ourselves, our integrity. We mustn’t be afraid to discover the truth, irrespective of the perceived costs. Shedding baggage leads to less burdening of the mind, to clarity. Letting go of our limiting beliefs leads to freedom of (and from!) thought - an authentic life of abundance and inner contentment.

Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.

Copyright © 2021 Michaela Patel


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