Your State of Being Dictates Your Reality
“If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that’s endlessly interesting and alive. That quality isn’t inherent in the place but in your state of mind.” ~ Pema Chödrön
Ever got in such a bad mood that everyone around you seemed to be there just to piss you off? As if the world was conspiring against you at that very moment, or that whole day, to stand in your way and make your life difficult?
Could it be that the whole world was influenced by some outside force that made them seek you out to make your life miserable? Or, could it be that your mood was making these things happen or just making you feel like all these things were happening to you?
I want you to consider the possibility that it was your state of being, that was not only making you feel like these things were happening, but was also, to a degree, inviting these annoyances into your experience. This article is more about the former than the latter but if you’re interested in hearing about how your own state influences what happens in your life, let me know in the comments below and I’ll get to work on it.
What is a State of Being?
A state of being is a combination of several conditions active at one time within you. A state is not a place or an external situation. Tony Robbins teaches about states as one major component of personal development and learning to change our states to create breakthroughs in our lives. He says in Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within
“A state can be defined as the sum of millions of neurological processes happening within us – the sum total of our experience at any moment in time. Most of our states happen without any conscious direction on our part. We see something, and we respond to it by going into a state. It may be a resourceful and useful state, or an unresourceful and limiting state, but there’s not much that most of us do to control it…. The state you’re in at any given moment determines your perceptions of reality and thus your decisions and behavior. In other words, your behavior is not the result of your ability, but of the state that you’re in at this moment.”
We can look at three areas of our being to get a sense of our states and what controls them – Physiology, Focus & Language.
- Physiology/Body: What condition is your body in right now? (what are you doing with your body, how does it feel, is it tight or light, posture tall and proud or shrunken and slouched, etc.)
- Focus/Mind: What are you focusing your attention on right now? Where’s your mind at and where’s it going? What’s your predominant mindset and attitude? (positive, negative, open, closed, optimistic, cynical. Are you looking for the good or the bad, the wrong, the reasons why you can’t or won’t?
- Language/Subconscious: What kind of language are you using – with others and especially within your own mind? What adjectives are you using to tell your story of this moment, the past moments, the moments to come?
So to sum this all up and add a few more elements you can become more aware of – a State of Being is your present condition at any point in time, consisting of your Physiology, Emotions, Mood, Mindset & Attitude.
A state of being dictates our reality at the time or our experience of reality if there is just one reality. It directs & influences our perceptions – how we see this moment, what we perceive and interpret, how we judge this moment relating to the world within us and the world out there.
How we interpret our perceptions – how we feel about those interpretations and how we are acting or behaving, are all influenced by our state of being.
If our state of being affects our reality, how we think and the quality of our thoughts, how we feel and the richness and tone of our emotions, how we act or behave in the world and with what intention – then, it is evident that we should be very aware of our present state and learn how to shift it to our benefit.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t feel a wide variety of emotions, get in bad moods, feel low sometimes and try to be in one perfect state all the time. That’s not realistic, nor advisable and could be just as life-robbing as being passive about your states. It’s about noticing and accepting our current state, handling our emotions and choosing a more empowered and resourceful way to live.
Just check in with yourself and be as honest as you can be, what state are you in most of the time? At home? At work? Socially? With Family? Do your states change based on where you are and who you’re with? What can you notice and summarize about your states?
REALIZE – YOU CAN CHOOSE AND SHIFT YOUR STATE
You are not a victim or passive recipient of your states, unless you remain unconscious, unawakened, and unempowered – it’s your choice.
When unaware of the influence of your states and your inherent ability to shift your state, on a dime, or within several minutes, you are at the mercy of all your old conditioning, old beliefs and old patterns of being you. You are stuck in a loop and may vacillate between a series of unresourceful states.
When aware of your state and your inherent ability to shift states, you become a creator and the true leader of your life – you are the author, director, and producer of your life. At the very least, you are the major contributor to your own life experience – not anyone else or anything outside of you. No matter what’s going on out there, you can create a more rewarding, enjoyable and fulfilling way to be in the world and in you. You can choose.
Before we get into how to expand and cultivate your awareness and then how to shift your state, let’s look at an example of someone who came to realize the importance and benefit of state-shifting. Can you relate in any way?
A Semi-True Story
The name and details of this person’s life and experiences are actually an amalgamation of several common patterns I’ve noticed in many people. The patterns are very real but the person isn’t and I would never share anyone’s ‘story’ without their consent and approval.
Stephanie is a 60-year-old woman from London, England. She is divorced, twice, mother of 4 grown children (3 from one husband and 1 from another) – both husbands left her. She has a dog and two cats, and is unhappy in her career as a business development manager in a large corporation. She understands she’s nearing retirement but feels she’s not financially secure enough to consider retirement in several years. She could retire and be very ok but believes she wouldn’t have the lifestyle she’s grown accustomed to with her 6 figure salary.
She had a difficult childhood to say the least, the middle of 5 children, an absent father and a stressed out and tyrannical mother. Though she was the middle child, somehow she assumed the role of caregiver to her younger siblings, the two older ones being independent and caring only for themselves.
If we looked at her situation on paper, she seems to now have almost all of what people could ask for – a high paying job, children to love and who love her, grandchildren she adores, her own home, pets, respect of her peers/colleagues, travel, hobbies, etc. But she lives constantly in the fear of being old, alone and broke.
Stephanie has actually done a lot of work on herself over the past decade or so and really has shifted and replaced many beliefs about herself, others, and the world but she has yet to learn how to be happy, at peace, at ease, and able to enjoy and fully appreciate what she has created in her life. She works almost incessantly, at her full-time job and takes on part-time work as well. She’s aware of a poverty mindset, as opposed to an abundance mindset, but she feels right about it. She believes that she’ll never have enough and so that’s the way she feels most of the time instead of appreciating the abundance already in her life. She just doesn’t see it.
She’s generally aware of her moods and attitudes and tries to shift herself back to neutral or positive when she gets off the mark but she has a few triggers that turn her into a raving bitch, and she feels right about being that way. For instance, when something goes wrong at work, with her team or she fears blame will be cast on her, she takes it personally and gets extremely defensive, so much so that she goes on the attack. Her demeanor changes, her body changes, she tightens up and gets mean. She becomes a bully and a tyrant (perhaps like her mom used to). She gets impatient, abrasive, negative, critical, short fused, and angry about everything and nothing. She gets upset at anyone for seemingly no reason at all, and she feels right about it. Or, she can just argue with anyone about anything – even if someone takes her position, and agrees with her, she’ll find a way to argue with them anyway. Other times she may get sarcastic, roll her eyes, seem apathetic, non-sympathetic, non-empathetic, non-compassionate – basically, she checks out.
It seems that some triggers, make her completely forget all the work and learning and growth she’s done over the past decade and she just loses her connection to her best self or higher self.
Then, after a cool down period, she realizes she’s back from being the tyrant and feels incredibly shameful, low, depressed, deflated, and basically hates herself. She realizes that no one’s calling her to check in on her, she’s pushed everyone away, she feels abandoned and even more upset and she can either get irate or burst into tears.
The story playing out in her head and body is that the world is a shitty place, people are unkind, uncaring, unsympathetic, that she’ll never win, that she’ll always have to fight for survival, that life’s a struggle, and that nothing good ever happens to her. She becomes stuck in this story and keeps behaving in ways that she ultimately feels very shameful about.
When this wears off – perhaps because she has the awareness that she can do something about it – she goes into the fix-it state. She apologizes, people pleases, over extends herself, buys people things, goes out of her way to help others, etc.
Then, she gets upset at this as well. She reaches out for help and says that 10 years of work helped a lot but some things are still buried deep within her and she’s courageous enough to pursue further growth, healing, and ultimately freedom.
She is in what Tony Robbins calls a Crazy-Eight – an endless loop (imagine the infinity symbol or a figure 8 on its side) – vacillating between anger and the actions that come with it, and shame, sadness & guilt and the actions that come with that.
She is helped through coaching, mindfulness practice, body & breath-work, self-reflection and more – to notice and recognize these states, this endless pattern and its effect on her whole experience of life. She chooses to make a positive change on a day-by-day basis and becomes a dedicated learner.
Over time and with practice, she slowly learns how to catch herself in the act – element by element (physiology, focus, language, mindset, attitude, emotion, mood) and direct her mind to a more aware, resourceful, open, non-reactive way of thinking – to a positive mindset e.g. What’s Right with the world?, What’s Good or Strong in me?, What I Love about life is? and so on.
She gently nudges her attitude to a more positive, compassionate, accepting one.
She’s learning to shift her mood by focusing on positive thoughts and emotions. She goes to her body – she breathes deeply and relaxes herself – she centers and grounds regularly and acts with more kindness, gentleness, compassion to her self and others and then sets an intention for the state she’d like to be in the rest of the day – curious, adventurous, playful, productive, whatever she wants to experiment with (certainty, acceptance, joy, wonder, love, strength, flexibility, etc.)
She’s guided by examples – prototypes or archetypes she’s become familiar with and is inspired by and merely asks – What would so and so do? How would an authentic leader handle this? How can I be more calm and patient with myself today?
And she makes a commitment to herself to be as aware as she can, to pause, to breathe, to honor her intentions and to check in with herself throughout the day to see how she’s doing, to acknowledge what’s going well, to appreciate the lessons she’s learning, even the contrasting experiences she comes across. For example, a rude person – she’s aware of her triggers and notices her impulses and internal reactions – and she resets her opinion of what just happened to a more resourceful and empowered one, such as, what is this person teaching me or reminding me?
As she practices new states – they become more hardwired within her and she can access them at will.
She’s becoming more than her old self – she’s changing her story of her – her life – this world – the people in it – the possibilities are limitless.
She knows to take care of herself – mind body emotions spirit – so she doesn’t slide down the slippery slope into those 3 patterned states that used to define her life – she reaches out for support, knows she’s loved and can be loving without overextending herself or being a doormat. Her family and friends are noticing the changes and gaining more trust in her and it becomes a progressive, upward-building spiral. It took awareness, a decision, dedication, commitment, and practice… lots of practice. This, is the journey of lifelong self-mastery.
In a Nutshell
This is not something you can learn in a day, though you can learn to get into one state in a day – for example at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within Seminar, you can learn how to get into a fired-up, resolved, committed, action-taking state and even walk on fire. But to really become proficient, it takes dedication and commitment – each day, for life.
The first step is to cultivate awareness – be present – whole – fully in the here and now. Learn to do this – practice this every day – centering, grounding, meditating, relaxing, practicing loving self-care. How? Good question – something you might want to look into. I have a few articles and tips in the blog – look them up.
Learn to know your current state or the state you were just in that you realize is unresourceful and hampering your experience of life. Realize you are at choice and have the ability and the power to shift your state and thus get the best out of yourself that day (not necessarily the best ever but the best that day).
Notice your patterns, triggers, defensive reflexive reactions and the source of them (deep fears and past learning/conditioning).
Learn new mindsets, attitudes, moods, body emotions, behaviors by experimenting and setting intentions.
Practice – set intentions and then be you and then reflect on your experience – capture the learning – acknowledge yourself – what was different? Better? More helpful? What wasn’t? What’s still hard or awkward? What could you improve? What will you do differently?
What ways of thinking, feeling, and being do you thoroughly enjoy and find leads to fulfilling results?
To tell you that doing this is simple or easy would not only be a lie, it would set you up for major disappointment. It takes great will, great effort, dedication – even devotion. It is possible and it’s worth every effort.
Please share your questions and comments below or sign up for a consultation and let’s talk about how we can work together to cultivate more empowered and resourceful states of being.