Connecting With Your Ideal SelfFeb 14, 2023
Faisal: Our topic for today is connecting practices that help us connect with our ideal self. I'll go into uh, defining a little bit what it Cuz you might or might have not been there in the training last week cuz this kind of connects with that a little bit. But this can also be an independent session as well.
What I'll do is I'll go into Ideal Self and what that looks like. . And one of the worksheets that I give you guys last week related to the ideal self, defining the words that connect your identity words, your interaction words, and your success words related to that is very important. It sets up the intention, but what do we mean by ideal self?
The way I love looking at this is that we all came to this world with a core, with a nature. and essentially that nature and there are a lot of things in there, but we need to be clear as to what that nature is now. Is that nature positive? Is that nature negative? Is that nature a mix of those? How do you perceive that nature?
For me, and I'll give you my assumption here, is that nature is essentially positive. Now, depending on what kind of environment you expose this nature to, a lot of aspects of it could come out. Now, for example, if you take a child and put it through abuse, it's gonna probably come out as a person who doesn't give a crap about other people.
If you take a child and put him or her through a life where there's love, there's support, there's a connection, essentially that child will be a supportive member of a community and that child will bring love, support, connection, and all sorts of contributions. Now obviously there are other gray areas in there.
We can explore that later. My assumption, at least with my philosophy based on what I've learned, is that that is positive and it has to start with that. We all start with an assumption. now knowing that that natural self is essentially positive and it also possibly connects to a bigger universe, an inner universe, I see that natural self, or at least the essence of that inside as the inner self in a sense.
As I said, there's more in there, but just to simplify it here, that would be the inner self. Now we don't actually know what that nature is because we're not fully connected to it. If we were, we wouldn't be having a lot of the challenges that we were having, a lot of times, so, If we took that inner self, the essence within us when we were born into this life as that positive self, that powerful self that we came, the potential that we came into this world with, then that is the self, that is the ocean that we're going towards essentially.
And then what is the ideal self? Now, this is where our psychology comes in, and this is actually, the idea that comes out of psychology. A lot of studies within psychology, but we all have this ideal reference for, oh, this is who I aspire to be like this person or that person, or I aspire to live up to this value within myself.
and those values could be a lot of things. And a lot of times we see that stuff from the reflections of other people around us. So for example, you might watch a leader doing certain things or being a certain way, and you might get inspired by that leader. Now there's a certain quality and a value about that leader that inspires you in your heart, that connects with you to some level and
that's why you, a lot of time role models are so powerful because you can emulate sometimes those qualities. Now in other ways, we can just naturally feel connected to something. It doesn't have to be a person. We could be inspired by nature, we could be inspired by works of art, by all sorts of things. So then that inspiration or aspiration towards that is our ideal self that
at least we can conceive what our ideal self looks like. Maybe I want to be more confident. Maybe I want to be more intelligent. Maybe I wanna be more connected. Maybe I want to be more loving. Whatever that ideal self looks like, maybe I want to be a better leader. That ideal self takes us closer and closer to that inner self. So that's the kind of definition of the ideal self that I have.
Now, at the end of the day, you can have a concept of that, but it might not do anything for you because what ends up happening is that our day-to-day life determines how we connect to our nature, and that's where a lot of these practices will come in.
And I'll give you some other background stuff, is that assuming that your nature is positive, as you come into this world in whatever social situations that you're a part of, you're either gonna be influenced positively or negatively. So you're, it's either gonna amplify the core of who you are, it's gonna help you evolve to even a better version of whatever that is, or it's gonna suppress that aspect of you.
And a lot of the practices I'm gonna share with you help you just connect with that core of you.
First of all, recognize what that core is. What do you aspire to be? What do you aspire to connect with? Why did you come here?
A lot of the times when we hear people's purpose and calling and all that stuff, it usually connects back to that core in my experience and what I've seen with other people.
And we're gonna quickly go through some of these and then we're, we can go into a discussion about these, like how, how do you see this in your life? Because I'd be open to your perspective about this too. So let me start with the first one. And these are the day-to-day practices that I've practiced. But I've actually gotten this, a lot of it from other people who've been on a similar path but observing others who haven't been on this path and what the reaction is.
And they're pretty general and they're not very simple. They're not contradictory. Many of these things, you probably do them already. The first one is time alone. So time alone without distraction is probably one of the most important aspects of connecting with our core self. Why? Because our environment, especially the environments that we have around us, it's filled with distractions, filled with triggers that could trigger us emotionally and physically, and so many other ways.
And every time we feel triggered emotionally or physiologically, we're basically reliving a pattern that we were conditioned to be in a lot of ways. So what ends up happening? For example, you wake up, you turn on the news, and they're talking about a lot of fearful things that are happening in the world.
You have no idea how that triggers you internally. That might take you back to a moment when you were three years old and you watched a very traumatizing experience. and the rest of your day, you're dealing with that emotion instead of doing the things that matter to you and you're not even aware of it because a lot of times you will feel drained or upset or stressed or you're reactionary.
It just shows up in different ways. So not only that, everything else in our environment nowadays is designed to distract, to stake our attention from ads to news to other people. Anything around you. So for us to even begin to go towards that, we need to spend time alone without any distraction, which I literally mean no distraction at all.
Just sitting there, just with your thoughts, with your emotions, and with your body, even if it's just for 10 minutes, 15 minutes a day, or five minutes a day. and not get distracted by your phone, other people, your environment, or not even listening to books at that moment. Cause that's a different area because a lot of times we think downloading information in our head is the best strategy, but a lot of times it's actually being with ourselves that helps us connect with who we are.
Actually, I realized this when there was this kid who was kicked out of school and he has a TED talk, I forgot about this. He was pretty gifted, but he was kicked out of school and he spent the next, I don't know, three years in some special program. And basically, they didn't know what to do with him.
So they just told him to do whatever you want because they didn't know how to deal with his mind. And when he came out of it, he actually created an incredible theory in physics. And he did a TED talk around it. He said, you know what the most important thing for me was, that I left everything, learning, other people, everything else, and I just spent time alone.
And it just hit me. Those were the moments that I grew the most as well, and I've watched people when they have, and think about it, you hear these stories. People go on a train ride across Siberia or they travel and they're not with anybody. They're just chilling and watching and enjoying and observing other people.
Those are the moments where we connect with a deeper aspect of ourselves, or they're just sitting by a lake or doing nothing at all, particularly. They help us connect, they help us go through the chatter of the mind and help us connect. But when I say being alone with yourself, that means connecting with our emotions, connecting with our body, and observing our thoughts, not being in our thoughts, lost in our head, but actually feeling what's happening here.
And maybe even connecting with a deeper aspect of if you have a spiritual practice that could be part of that too. So that's where actually the second part comes in, spending time alone and feeling your body in emotions. And the reason, and I'll give you a very simple technical reason, so most of the thoughts that are in our head in the conscious part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, generally are a product of our environment.
Whatever condition we've had here, they repeat over and over and over. As we learn new material, it gets downloaded into the subconscious part of our mind. But when are those moments where we react? So for example, you are talking to somebody and they say something that bothers you in a deep way or in any way.
We think that at that moment we're responding to this situation, but well over 99% of the time, it's something to do with something that had happened that we hadn't resolved from the past. And what happens is in those moments, different parts of our brain get engaged. And if you were to divide it into a couple of regions, there's a reptilian part of our brain and there's the limbic system where one side deals with the emotion.
The other ones deal with sensations. And if you go far back to three years old, or two years old, we don't have recall memory. We don't remember memories in the sense that we can't remember the event or the experience, but our body and our senses remember it. So if we've gone through a traumatic experience, we have a memory of it, we just can't recall it, we get affected by something and we don't even know why all of a sudden we're taken back there.
Now, a lot of times when these things happen, we distract ourselves or lash out at another person, or get involved in our phone and we don't even know what's happening. Our body's actually processing the same thing from the past again. It's trying to, but it doesn't know what to do because as a child you didn't know how to assign a meaning to that.
From a child's perspective, a traumatic experience, like looking at the parents fighting looks like there's something off with the child, not the parents. Like, what did I do wrong in this environment? Because their survival is affected. But it's not just traumatic experiences. It could be anything. It could be, are we aware of how we were impacted and are we dealing with it consciously or actively based on our past?
And this doesn't necessarily have to be negative. We could be affected in that same way positively too. But then how do we make the choice? How do we consciously decide what we value now versus what we did in the past? So it could be even positive things that look like positive to you in the past, but they might not be positive now.
But there has to be an awareness about it. So unless you're aware of how you feel in those moments and what's happening with your body, nothing changes. And there are two essential states that were in, on the extreme end but they give you a good gauge. Usually, when you feel tense when your heart rate is going up or you feel sweating or your breathing is shallow, or you feel anxious or you feel fearful, they go towards the traumatic side.
If you feel excited, connected, supported loved all that stuff, they go towards more the positive. Now based on those two, you can gauge pretty well what experiences bring you joy. What doesn't bring you joy? And the more aware you are of the negative ones, especially those that are not related to the present, the easier you can interrupt them.
Because a lot of times we want to think through our thoughts. And fix things. While we can do that, override some of those emotions. But the problem is unless you process those emotions or physiological changes, then they don't go anywhere. They just stay there. They need some kind of expression as in they need your attention.
So what that could look like is, let's say you were triggered by somebody. Let's say you talked to somebody and they said something that you did not like. Our normal mode of dealing with that is that you shouldn't say that to me. You're wrong about that. Well, that you could set up your boundaries, that's great, but you still didn't deal with it.
What's happening here? What's going on in our system? All that could look like it’s going away, so spending five minutes, and just checking. Just check in, notice the emotions, notice the physiological changes, and start taking charge of your breathing. This is why breathing is such an important concept in meditation.
Start taking conscious breaths to allow your body to process some of that stuff. Not kind of thinking through it. After you stay with it for two to five minutes, you'll notice that you can actually, you'll feel better naturally. Now, you can go to the level of thought and say, okay, what kind of meaning do I wanna assign to this?
The third area, expanding perspective.
I know you guys are already doing that just by being in a space like this, but from reading, being around people who know a little bit more, who can engage you with dialogues that are deeper and specifically expanding your perspective in three areas, understanding yourself a little bit more.
Whether that's your own psychology, understanding others a little bit more, how, why, why do people behave a certain way? We have a lot of assumptions about why people behave a certain way. A lot of those assumptions you probably heard, oh, people are lazy people are selfish, people are this, that, and the other.
But no, we haven't actually looked into why people behave like that. There are reasons behind them, and usually when we don't understand the reasons we react to those behaviors. Now, none of that means people are justified. For example, if somebody hurts somebody physically, they're not justified to do that.
But if we have an understanding or a curiosity to understand, we would actually try to study that so we don't repeat it in future equations, or at least we can get an understanding so we can react to it in a much better way. And then the third one is understanding the world a little bit better. And this is where we open up a little bit to knowledge.
Now, none of this means you need to become an expert at psychology, an expert at understanding others, or an expert at understanding the world or any of that. But being open and curious about it can transform a lot of things. And I know you guys are.
The third one is being open to understanding the world better from different perspectives. Because sometimes we hold onto one way of viewing the world and we're like, oh, this is how the world operates. But guess what? That's a very small puzzle. We need to understand and look at the world from different ways, a historical perspective, a philosophical perspective, a psychological perspective, a scientific perspective, and a social perspective.
So many perspectives come into it, and every time we assume that we know exactly what's happening in the world, it breaks down. And that's why a lot of the systems break down because they're based on an assumption that's not tested. or it's tested in a very small area. That's why a lot of the systems in the west might not work in the East.
And I'll give you a very good example of that. So when a lot of the humanitarian or people who wanna kind of give back to the places in third world country they will go there and, I don't know, build a well in a, in a small village. And what they'll find out pretty soon is that people are very resistant to that.
Or they'll build a bridge or build a school. And the problem is that they haven't actually understood how their life works. And they've assumed that if I put this there, this, it will improve their life. But a lot of times it doesn't. They haven't understood their worldview yet. They haven't understood what will actually give them a better quality of life.
And what give you that doesn't mean it'll give them that too. And then what makes it worse is when we force it onto others. Such as let's force democracy, let's force something else onto others. And one of my favorite quotes from Alan Watts when he talks about is like, I mean, if you look at the history of the West, we want people to accept democracy, but we do it by pointing a gun at them.
So it kind of beats the purpose of the whole, like a lot of time we're forcing it towards the youth. Now, I love democracy. I live in this system, but I also have come from a world where that might not work in a lot of parts. It might break down so fast cuz they have different systems and we haven't actually tried to understand that.
The fourth one is social support.
This one is incredibly important. This is why you hear things like you are the average of five people around you. Without the right social support, you can do a lot of changes internally, but you are still influenced by the people around you with their thinking.
Now, these people could be some of the closest people to you. Does that mean you completely cut 'em off? Well, all I can say is that if they're completely abusive, I would at least minimize my time around emotionally or physically. If not, not be around them at all. But more than likely, that's more complex than we think.
So minimizing your exposure to the people that don't align with your values and your way of living, but maximizing this is a part that's more important. Maximizing your exposure to the people who align with your future values, your ideal self. that can completely transform things, and this is why you hear masterminds.
This is why we're in these groups because it helps us amplify those positive thoughts and positive and powerful perspectives.
Last one, but not least, routines.
So when I say routines, routines could be anything. The reason why routines are important is that the way our mind works, our conscious mind learns by experience.
You're exposed to something and you look at it once, but you have to do it a couple of other times, a few other times for you to make it a permanent part of who you are. but if you're just exposed to something once, it might or might not affect your life. Now, the deeper part of our mind, the subconscious mind, as Dr.
Bruce Lipton would say, is a repetitive mind. There are two ways that we learn. We either learn in the first seven years of our life by just mimicking our environment, by copying our parents, or by just taking in information. And he even says that we are actually in a hypnotic state. Our brain waves are more theta aligned, which means that anything, whether, and this is why if you wanna know what the root of racism and all that stuff is and why people were racist in certain regions or why we people were a certain way. Because they were taught to be because the children looked up to their parents, they were a certain way, or it could be any other thing. And they just followed along.
They didn't have a way to decipher what was right or what was wrong, and they just copied what their parents or what society did, and they did it over. And then up until seven, a lot of that programming was set up. Now, what happens after that is we need to actually do it quite a bit of time for us to get it into our subconscious.
There's repetition, but with repetition, there needs to be an emotional connection to it. There needs to be a deeper why connected to it too. So it's not just about repeating, but there's an interest in that specific thing. If you force a child to ride a bike, that child might roughly ride the bike, but what if the child hates riding that bike and he or she never develops that interest?
You'll ride it and learn a little bit, but then quit it pretty soon. But what if that child has a deep interest and is so excited about riding a bike? They'll fall a few times, but they'll learn and will be sustained. Similar goes with a lot of other things, but aside from that, just even the thoughts that we're thinking, repeating those thoughts that are positive,
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