Once upon a time there was a small child who got herself into a spot of bother. Through no fault of her own a situation occurred and during that event a small stone got stuck in her shoe. She hobbled around for a while, feeling it press into her as it rubbed her and created pain and discomfort (programming).
Time passed, the event was long gone, and she was still feeling discomfort, but because she was a child she hadn’t figured out that the stone was still in her shoe and that was what was causing her pain. The event was long over but she was still carrying the stone (thought) with her.
Some days she noticed the discomfort more, but she just carried on and got used to living with a low level of discomfort- she thought that was just how life was (conditioning).
Now, as more time passed the low level of discomfort that she had got used to living with had started to create and colour her way of seeing and being in the world. She figured out that in certain situations if she adapted the way that she walked she would feel less pain. To ease the discomfort, she believed that if she found ways and strategies of walking more heavily on the other foot that would ease the pain (adapting). On some days when the discomfort got really bad, it seemed to make sense to her that if she avoided putting any pressure on the foot, that would make her feel better (avoiding). After a while it just became second nature to her to adapt her behaviour in order to find ways of avoiding discomfort but even these strategies were causing her discomfort now, even if it was of a different kind.
Sometimes she would talk to other people and ask them if they had this discomfort in their foot all the time, or, at times when she was reflecting on her own behaviour, if how when they were in certain situations did they have to change the way they walked so that they felt ok.
She had evolved reflex reactions to external circumstances that meant she repeated the same behaviours, and, as even more time passed, she started to notice that due to the strategies she was using (despite being unaware of them most of the time) that she was getting the same outcomes in life and that there were some repeating patterns of pain in her relationships, jobs, pretty much in every area of her life. She thought that was how life was going to be for her. She thought that external circumstances, people and events were causing the pain.
So, she went to see someone who she had been told could help her. She talked about the events and people and circumstances that were happening in her life now that were causing her increasing levels of discomfort. She talked about all the things that had happened in her past when the discomfort had been unbearable. She spoke about her future and, as this was just the way life was, how it was going to be for her going forward.
So, this person that she had been told could help her, encouraged her to look at her behaviours and to see how her strategies were creating her experience and to come up with some new strategies to keep the pain away. She did this for many months and to a point it helped. When she forgot to use the new strategies, she would get cross and disappointed with herself. She found it hard to maintain all the new tools that she was being encouraged to use.
She bumped into a Three Principles Coach. She told the 3P Coach how she had been feeling, and they had a chat about how life works; about how there was life and then there was her experience of of it and how that was created; about how she was experiencing her own thoughts taking on a form in the moment- whether that was a thought she was aware of or not, it was only ever thought (the stone) creating how she was seeing things; about how if she didn’t take the thoughts that popped into her mind seriously and gave them a meaning that there were no strategies or tools that she needed to do. They would come and go of their own accord.
Her mind went quiet and she heard something new.
She heard that she was ok and that she didn’t need to do anything to feel ok.
She heard that events, circumstances and people were not creating how she was experiencing life. She was.
She heard that if she just left her thoughts alone they, in and of themselves, had no power to affect her- until she gave them that power.
And then she had an insight and remembered the stone- the stone that for all these years she had been carrying around, that had distorted her world view, and that for all these years because she had been looking at life that way, and been trying to avoid the discomfort of, had caused her to create unwanted life experiences, and she realised that all of the experiences she had had were being seen through the low level of discomfort she had got used to holding on to.
And all it had been was a stone in her shoe.