Last Sunday I quit drinking coffee and wine. I tried to write this post several times throughout this past week, but I couldn’t. My brain was mush, I was exhausted mentally and physically. Why did I make this dramatic change in my life you ask? That is an excellent question! The more I learn about this Principle Based Psychology and the power of free flow thinking (tapping into the universal mind as opposed to our analytical, processing mind), I am learning to trust my own wisdom and insights even to the extent of what I should and shouldn’t be eating.
My body is very sensitive and responds quickly to food, caffeine, alcohol, and the like. Just one cup of coffee sends me through the roof. I shake, my thinking gets ramped up, I talk really fast, I get anxious and hyper. On top of that this year my body went through some major changes and what used to work for me isn’t working anymore. The self-discipline I had for most of my life to keep me in shape was largely fueled by all the mean things and ideas that I harbored in my thoughts which caused me to very critical, judgmental, and condemning of myself and others, but after meeting with George and raising my understanding I have no room in my mind for those crazy thoughts or tactics. I have gladly ditched that old mind-set and upgraded to something much better. As a matter of fact, I’ve given up a lot of old thinking. These days I am much nicer to me. When I woke up to my thinking, I realized all those thoughts weren’t serving me anymore and I could unlearn them and I enthusiastically and happily did.
I realized that I had to work very hard at being disappointed and unhappy because it isn’t natural for us to be unhappy. I mean look at babies and small children. They are born happy, they don’t have to be taught kindness, love, joy, laughter, self-esteem, or compassion it is what they are. It takes more energy to be unhappy and miserable than to be happy and serene, we have to learn negativity. George Pransky shares in his book The Renaissance of Psychology:
J. Michael Crowley, a researcher at Southern Utah University, conducted a comparative study on six-year-olds and college students over a three-year period. He asked them to raise their hands if they could draw, then if they could paint, then if they could dance and then if they could sing. Dr. Crowley reported that 100 percent of the six-year-olds raised their hands for each of those categories; on average, however, only 25 percent of the college students raised their hands for each of the categories. Why is that? We would say it is because the healthy thought process of a young child generates self-esteem, a natural by-product of healthy psychological functioning, which precludes self-consciousness. A child does not have to learn healthy thinking. On the other hand, children do have to learn unhealthy thinking. They also have to learn how to do process thinking. In the ten years, the children would have learned to consider some tasks difficult, to doubt their abilities, to become self-conscious. So Principle Based Psychology suggests that innate mental health is not only possible and natural, but actually inborn and inherent to the pristine human mind.
It is our birthright to be happy. Our happiness, peace of mind is only one thought away.
After a few months of digging around in the dark, reaching back into my memory of past techniques that used to work, out of pure frustration, I sat down, got quite and started asking myself questions: What do you need that I am not giving you? What am I giving you that you just don’t need? What do you need to run at optimum levels? How much exercise do you need? and more. Within a week answers started flooding my mind, and just like that I had the insight to quit coffee … and I did … just like that. I lost all desire for it and in one fall sweep I quit and while I was at it I decided to stop drinking wine too. Now mind you I don’t have the same conviction to quit wine as I do the coffee. The shift in my thinking to quit coffee was more powerful than the wine.
The hardest part for me was turning to and trusting in my own innate wisdom about what is right for me. We are innocently taught to rely on our past, what worked in the past, experience, our intellect, instead of the possibility that there is something totally new out there for us. This became apparent to me when I discovered that what once worked for me no longer worked and I could either run around like a chicken with my head cut off looking everywhere else for the answers or settle down and listen to the still small voice with in where all the answers I am seeking are. This eliminates an enormous pressure and burden off of me to “know” everything. I am learning to trust in something much bigger than myself to guide me.
On top of that, I couldn’t stop thinking about something George said to me when I was visiting. I asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee and he replied in a very humble manner, “I don’t drink coffee or alcohol.” I don’t remember the exact reason why, but I think it was that he didn’t like a fuzzy or cloudy head and he is all or nothing, there is no in-between. It has stayed with me since I left. Every time I would get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, I would think of that conversation. Do I really need this? Then I was reading The Serenity Principle  by Joseph Bailey and he said something in there that struck me:
The search for serenity is the common denominator of addictions. We all search knowingly or unknowingly, for the positive feeling that lies deep within. Some call it happiness, others peace of mind; still others call it the search for love. When we experience this sensation, it is like coming home after a long journey. We are safe, secure, and at peace with the world.
Becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, or any other substance or circumstance represents an innocent, often desperate search outside ourselves for a positive feeling. If we don’t experience happiness in our lives, we feel unbalanced, empty—as if something were missing. We hunger for something to fill the gap, and we tend to look for it outside ourselves. This negative desire provokes many negative emotions that may be summed up as “insecurity”. Insecurity is characterized by feeling out of control and dis-eased. It is an unnatural state that makes us susceptible to addictive habits. Insecurity takes form as shyness, competitiveness, hostility, arrogance, defiance, intellectualizing, showing off, and more.
We can become addicted to virtually any habit we associate with a feeling of well-being—alcohol, drugs, eating, relationships, sexual behaviors, gambling, working, running, shopping, cleaning house, physical abuse, and so many more.
For a negative habit to become an addiction we must live consistently in a lower state of understanding. We must be dissatisfied with life to be susceptible. This state of mind is called insecurity. When we are insecure we lack serenity and mental health. We don’t know to look within, so we search outside ourselves for a positive feeling to fill the void.
A person in a a low mood is looking for a way to raise his or her mood. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and crack alter moods. These drugs may also confer social acceptance and an artificial sense of self-esteem.
It is so hard for many people to admit that they are insecure. It is a direct blow to the ego and the inflated image that it has created for us. It is the biggest obstacle to humility, peace, true security, compassion and happiness.
The more I thought about what George said and the more I read The Serenity Principle, I realized that I was simply trying to make myself feel better. What I find though is as my understanding of the principles behind life deepens, the more secure I am with myself and the less I want or desire to look outside myself for happiness. I am okay. I am secure. It is only when I feel insecure or let my thoughts get the best of me, when my mind is ramped up, when I am stuck in my analytical, processing mode that I want to reach out for something to comfort me, to distance me from my thinking, to raise my mood and to feel better. What I am realizing though is that I don’t need to drink, all I have to do is not to think! Or at a deeper level of understanding to recognize that my experience or reality is directly tied into my thoughts. My feelings, my moods, my emotions are all tied into the thoughts I am thinking: If not for my thinking I wouldn’t be feeling this way.
By Wednesday I had massive headaches, my body ached from head to toe. I felt like I had cement in my shoes and my muscles were so tight I felt like a rubber band that was tightly wound up with all the pressure culminating in my lower back around my kidneys. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t so much as bend over and touch my toes that is how tight I was. This came as a huge shock to me because I am so flexible. Everyone was like drink a small cup so you can slow down the symptoms and I just couldn’t do it. I had no desire to pick up another cup of coffee and resolved to get through the symptoms … and I did.
I don’t know if it was the coffee, the caffeine, or the chemicals they use to produce the coffee, but I was uncomfortable for a few days. I slept through most of it. I couldn’t help but think if my body was responding this adversely to quitting coffee and wine then I’m glad that I listened to my wisdom. It was so impressive to me to see these principles at work within myself and learning to trust my own innate wisdom. It does have all the answers I seek about me and my life.
Change your state of mind and the right behaviors will follow.