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"All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." Chris Griscom, Spiritual Leader, Author

"Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion." Robert Schwartz, Author: Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born

"The Tao of Spiritual Partnership is a unique blend of wit and wisdom; Dr. Kortsch encourages us to take responsibility for our relationships, while recognizing and seizing the opportunities for our own personal spiritual growth." William Buhlman, Author of Adventures Beyond the Body

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gratitude, Choice, and the “Why Did This Happen to Me?” Syndrome



An Olympic contender slips just before the finish line and loses the single most important race of his life. A youngster who has made it through countless spelling bees, makes a careless mistake in the second last competition, and so doesn't have a chance at winning the state championship.

A woman who has spent the past six years hoping against hope that the man she is seeing will finally decide to commit to her, is painfully dumped by him in full view of their mutual friends and acquaintances.

A man’s wife cheats on him…not once, but four times! Your business partner walks off leaving half a million euros in debt. You are diagnosed with heart problems just when you thought your life was pulling together and you would be able to enjoy the retirement years in peace and joy. Cancer strikes, death strikes, tragedy strikes, and it makes most of us ask this:

Why me?

The Unfairness of Life

Somehow it seems so unfair, so unjust, destiny could have spared me this one, you mourn. Why did this have to happen to me. If only…and on and on. My life was going so well, it seemed – you say to yourself - until this happened. Because of this, everything else is no longer working, or is put on a back burner, until this is solved…if it ever gets solved.

Maybe other people don’t look after themselves, they eat junk food, and smoke and drink, so they deserve to get sick, but not me…I eat healthy food…maybe other people don’t train for a competition, so they don’t deserve to win, but I work out every day…maybe other people don’t make a budget and watch expenditures, so if they have a financial disaster, it’s their own fault, but not me…I control all of that very well…maybe other people don’t treat their spouse well, and so they deserve to be betrayed, but not me, I’m a good person…and on it goes.

In this fashion we justify to ourselves how unfair it is that calamity or tragedy stuck us, and that we absolutely do not deserve it. We rail against the event and the unforeseeable changes it has necessarily wrought in our lives. We concentrate on all the negative aspects of it…and certainly, if you have received a diagnosis of cancer, or lost your spouse, or fortune, or job, it would be hard to find something positive to say about it.

And yet… isn't it true that we always have a choice? (Also see my February 2006 Newsletter: Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives).

It Doesn't Have to be This Way

My practice brings me in touch with many people telling me about something terrible in their lives. Their stories are legitimately filled with pain, sorrow, desperation, anger, guilt, resentment, jealousy, loss, disillusion, and fear. My heart goes out to them…not so much because of the content of their stories, but because they don’t have to feel this way, and learning and understanding the truth of that statement is frequently one of the hardest things I ask my clients to do. But once they grasp it, life becomes infinitely easier.

So what is the alternative to feeling this way, to having this wrenching pain in your life?

How To Go About Having a Choice

When you are filled with pain or any of those other dreadful emotions referred to in the last paragraph, you are obviously feeling miserable, wishing things were different, bemoaning your fate, or trying desperately to figure the way out of the situation.

Now imagine just for an instant that you could fill your mind with other thoughts. Not because you “pretend” to yourself that the hard thoughts are no longer there, and not because you “control” the hard thoughts or difficult feelings, and not because you “suppress” the hard thoughts, or anything along those lines. Quite the contrary. You would fill your mind with other thoughts not because you would have been able to eradicate these hard thoughts, but because you choose to think other thoughts.

Choose To Think Other Thoughts

What, you say? Choose to think other thoughts? How can I choose? I have to think these thoughts if I have any of these problems, because I have to try to resolve them, or get over them. I have no choice in the matter until the problem is gone.

In order to think other thoughts, you need to make room in your mind to do so. Therefore, there is less room or no room to think the hard thoughts. If you can get your mind around that concept, you will have taken the first step.

Next, consider the fact that if you want to resolve the problem, you probably have already done all that you can to do so…at least for today. Therefore, continuing to think about it serves no purpose. It might, as a matter of fact, be considered a waste of time. A waste of valuable time that you could be using to choose to make your day good, joyous, and filled with satisfaction.

The Comfort of Wallowing in the Familiarity of Our Pain

Oh no, you say. That is impossible. I have this huge problem. I have this terrible emotional pain. I can’t be joyous…do you see how your thoughts are already diverging into the territory of I must cling to my pain? Clinging to the pain sometimes, even when 20 years have passed since the painful thing took place, define the individual, and because of that, the individual feels the need to hang on to that definition. Who would they be without this pain? Eckhard Tolle (The Power of Now) refers to this as the pain body, a place where we like to wallow, because we feel so comfortable there, because we have been there so often before. Leaving there, choosing to go elsewhere, is actually harder, at least at the beginning, because it implies stepping out of our comfort zone (see my article on the subject of the comfort zone), out of that place where we feel secure, in order to cross a threshold into new areas of living where we totally change our current status quo. (See also my January 2006 Newsletter – Living in the Now: Use it to Enrich Your Life).

That’s crazy, you say. I would never wallow in my pain, rather than go where I can be free of it. I’m not a masochist. I don’t like pain and worry.

Chris Griscom (The Healing of Emotions) calls this the emotional body, a part of us that is so stuck in the place in which it has experienced the most difficult and painful feelings, that we have an extraordinarily difficult time cleaning it up, in other words, getting out of it. (see also my article Entering the Now Moment by Leaving Unawareness Behind).

Clearly, this pain also causes much stress. Dr. David Servan-Schreiber (Healing Without Freud or Prozac) states that “in terms of mortality, stress poses a more serious risk factor than tobacco”.

Out of the Comfort Zone and into New Territory

OK. So here you have your thoughts of pain and worry on the one hand, and the choice of going elsewhere in your thoughts on the other hand. By taking this choice, you walk into new territory. You walk into a place you have never been before, because if your reactions have sometimes been the ones I have described thus far in this article, then you have possibly never deliberately chosen to go towards more joyous thoughts. So give it a try. What do you have to lose?

Now here comes the tricky part. The new thoughts that you choose must mean something to you. Just thinking about a new car you might like to have, or a movie that you saw last night, will probably not do it. A very useful thing to turn your thoughts towards is something that has meaning in your life, or something that gives your life meaning, which is independent of other people or external circumstances for its fulfillment, i.e., essentially it depends on you. Let’s say, for example, that you are working on changing careers, and that you can imagine that your new career (that’s why you chose it) will give you enormous satisfaction. (See also my article: Finding a Meaning For Your Life). So think about that. Think about how it will feel when you have accomplished that. Imagine it in all its facets. Fill your mind with the joy and satisfaction you will feel when that is a reality. Imagine it as if it already existed. (See also my March 2006 Newsletter – Intentional Focus: Your Happiness, Your Success, and the Law of Attraction).

Another new direction you might take with your thoughts, is to make a short list of everything you are grateful for…the by now famous “Gratitude Journal”, the one element, that according to multiple ivy-league happiness research (see also my October 2006 Newsletter about Happiness), most contributes to long-lasting and higher indices of happiness in individuals. What do you have to be grateful for when you are in a “bad place” in your life? Much. You may have your health. If not, you may have your family. If not, you may have wonderful friends. Your intelligence, your inner beauty, your sense of humor, your fearlessness, your dog, your home, your sparkling eyes, etc. Choosing to think about these things is a sure-fire way of making yourself feel better.

You might also think about the fact that by learning to do this, by learning to choose your thoughts, not just now, but consistently, all throughout your day, every day, your life will begin to have a chance to be filled with joy at will, and not as a consequence of circumstances; that your life will have a chance to be structured in ways that give you meaning and fulfillment because you are working on dealing with those parts of yourself that keep you miserable by choosing thoughts that take you in other directions. Would that not be worth gold? Would that not give you a major degree of freedom from your pain? Would it not be worth your while to just give it a try? And think about this: your happiness, or your state of being content and satisfied would no longer depend on external circumstances, but on your inner decision to choose your thoughts, in order to maintain that inner balance.

Image: Santorini, Greece


For much more about understanding your part in your relationships and the emotions you experience in them, and how awareness about this can help you find love, and move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my new book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here


From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 


Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency



REWIRING THE SOUL


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre


Note: If you are wondering why this blog only appears on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul, so named for my earlier book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.


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