Will Power is Scarce

Will power is scarce. It really is.
Please, read this article careful as it might be the most important fact you  learn at this time of year when most of us set New Year Resolutions.

According to a fascinating experiment published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”, one act of self-control depletes your ability to have self-control in another unrelated area. For example, when someone was told not to eat chocolates sitting right in front of them, their
persistence in puzzle solving went down considerably. Allow this to soak in; just staying away from chocolate hurts your performance in all other tasks!

A similar experiment simply asked people to suppress an emotional reaction to a movie. These people had problems solving a solvable anagram while the group who watched the movie without restrictions solved it without problems.

Both studies show that when we are asked to consciously use our “will power” we struggle in all other areas. Actually, we are really only able to use our will power (conscious self regulation) on one thing at a time. So if you are multi-tasking don’t be surprised if not all tasks are finished with the same excellence. If you focus your attention on some other act of self control… You can kiss whatever you were doing goodbye.

This is the overwhelming reason why willpower only works in the short term. You only have the conscious resources to exhibit willpower on ONE (or at the most two) fronts at one time.
This is why it is so hard to stay disciplined with healthy eating habits and exercise for instance.

Source 1: RE Baumeister, E Bratslavsky, M Muraven, and DM Tice. “Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited
Resource” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 74, 1998.
Source 2: Moraven, M., Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). “Self-control as a limited resource

Source 3: Zimmerman, M. (1989). “The nervous system in the context of information theory.” In R. F. Schmidt & G. Thews (eds.), Human Physiology, pp. 166-173. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

Your conscious mind is only able to process approximately 50 bits of information a second, while your unconscious mind processes approximately 1,2 million bits per second.

That means your unconscious mind processes information THOUSANDS OF TIMES FASTER than your conscious mind.
Much of the time, your conscious mind is actually the bottleneck towards effecting true change, as its main role is getting you through the day in the here and now AND setting long term goals. Researchers call this “Executive Control.”

So the trick is to train your subconscious mind to think better, more positive and supportive thoughts. Wouldn’t it be nice if you naturally were propelled forward, towards living your dreams without having to use willpower?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you automatically had the behaviors you have always wanted to have; the behaviors that you need to actually get you where you want to go?

Well, strange as it seems, all you need to do is learn to use even a small part of your subconscious by starting to allow only supportive thoughts into your consciousness. As in all else the choice is yours. I share several techniques with you in my book “To be or not to be – the choice is YOURS!”

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An Experience in ONEness

Today I want to share something very special. I want to share the experience of a friend of mine, a scientist who has been researching global consciousness for over 20 years. This was the experience that started it all:

“When I was thirty two, after a year living in Western Australia, I moved to Hobart, Tasmania. I was then at the same latitude South as my birthplace was North. The presence of Antarctica taught me there can be radiant cold.

Its icy presence pierced my bones, until it seemed like they could snap. I took a plane North up the coast to Cairns, North Queensland and found a free ashram in Mount Molloy – up in the table lands – run by an English couple. They gave me a garden shed to live in on the edge of their property where I could meditate without being disturbed.

I felt an overpowering need to do absolutely nothing other than be awake and aware. When taking walks out into the bush, I’d sit for long stretches. The more still I became inside, the more Nature came alive.

A couple of months passed and I settled down. One night I was reading a passage from Jiddu Krishnamurti – wherein he suggested to make “no effort”. I felt compelled to experience effortlessness.

By the next morning, having laid awake all night, without need of sleep, a turgid cloud of psychic matter gathered in front of my face – a few inches away. It seemed to contain all that I had withdrawn my attention from, all of what I had not been conscious of until then. It was awesome to be hallucinating my “dis-owned” self. I’d never experienced anything like it before. There was a mental/emotional, as well as physical desire, to turn away from “it”. By sustaining effortless awareness – within the space of a minute or two – the cloud dissolved into the awareness I was witnessing it with. Free from what I had hidden from – who and what I knew my self to be became infused with the radical presence of impersonal awakeness.

This continued throughout the day and into the night. And then suddenly, as if by magic, I lost all limitations, becoming a boundaryless Void, seemingly the source of all possibilities and potentialities, without beginning or end. Everything was made of this one consciousness. Sounds outside my body also seemed to come from inside of me. There was not one place within that did not contain everything without – and nothing. The most serene bliss came over every cell in my body and heart. My mind was utterly silent. I was indistinguishable from all I was perceiving. I was not any one thing, yet I was this universe, unfolding as a spaceless timeless awakeness.

Stepping outside into the night, I decided it was as good a time as any to go look at a used car I’d seen in the paper.

The owners lived over an hour a way and I had no phone to call them. I decided to do something I’d not done since I arrived. I walked to the one and only road, to hitch a ride to a phone. At eight or nine at night, standing on the side of an empty road, there were no cars. The moon and stars were high overhead, yet they felt every bit as much inside me too.

Throughout all this, there were no thoughts, only direct perceptions. I felt and saw the moon was as much in my knee as it was in my heart and hands. There was a distinct sense that the whole universe was within every part of my being – this vast formless featureless awakeness and awareness.

It was then I saw a car’s headlights in the distance and I had one of my first and only thoughts. I wondered, innocently, “Wouldn”t it be nice if this person stopped their car, picked me up and took me to Atherton – an hour away. The car approached and its brakes engaged, bringing it – skidding on the dirt – to a sudden halt next to me. A small Japanese woman rolled down her window, seemingly disoriented. “Where are You going?” she asked. When I told her, she added that she lived just up the road, but she’d take me (two hours out of her way). It was uncanny, though it felt right somehow.

Once in the car, I could feel her sensing the effect of our presence.

As she started to drive, she asked: “What are you doing?” I answered, saying: “I”m just noticing, I am everything I’m conscious of.” Energetically, I could feel her recognize our combined consciousness. All she said was, “oh.” Then there was only one of us. We both clearly sensed the sound of each others’ words actually arising from within our common body.

She told me how frightened she had been of everyone, as her husband had brought her here from Japan to live and she knew no one. That her neighbor from time to time would take care of her newborn baby. She explained how she suffered terribly from thoughts of her neighbor intending harm to her child. Asking, did I think it was true or not ? I said I did not sense it was, and we entered into a deeper peace together.

We maintained a unified consciousness all the way to Atherton. Before dropping me off, we stopped and shared something to eat, while we waited for the car owner to come get me. She and I agreed to meet again in few days time, and said good night,

The people selling the car invited me to spend the night. It was a forty mile round-trip for them to come and get me.

Back at their home, they sat me down and started sharing their deepest conflicts. He kicked their cows and what did I suggest they do about it. Both of them were on the edge of their seats hanging on my every word and movement. I had certainly never experienced anything like this, yet it flowed so effortlessly. I was acceptance itself. Reflecting their dilemma seemed to bring clarity and they felt remarkably resolved.

It was after 11 when they showed me to a room with a bed. When I closed my eyes, I did not sleep. It was like being the night sky – light years in every direction – but instead there was only the sparkling beauty of pure objectless consciousness. The night passed without dreams, as if time did not exist. When I opened my eyes again, the manifest universe re-appeared around me.

This quality of experience lasted for several days. I found I could move in and out of “it” by noticing I was everything and everyone I was witnessing – or not.

A week later, I was no longer in this consciousness. I was back to being just a separate self again.

The Japanese woman was coming over to take me out to lunch. She was so tense, she felt like she was electrified with fear. To make a long story shorter, we were not able to communicate the way we had, and eventually she became so scared she could not stand to be around me. I had to hitch a ride “home”. The insecurity of being “unconscious together” seemed almost unbearable for her. It saddened me.

The difference between that one night and this day a week later was astounding. I was so profoundly moved by how she had picked up a total stranger – a 6’2” man nonetheless – on a lonely road, and drove him two hours out of her way.

The only difference was the quality of “my” consciousness. If I’d been more awake, she’d have been able to relax.

I unmistakably realized – from this experience – I was 100% responsible for ending fear in relationship. That how awake I am is more important than anything else I might do or say.”

-experienced by Sperry Andrews

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