Dennis Dossett

Progress Report©

Last week as I worked on outlining the content for a course to train past-life therapists (please email me if you are interested), I came across the notes I had taken during my own past-life therapist training in 2006. The notes recorded my meditation experience in a “Back to the Cause” regression session. The events I experienced occurred in the early 1700s as a nanny to the royal children in the Russian court. My job was to instill in them only “proper” behaviors (etiquette, language, grammar, etc.) and expose them only to the “proper” people. I did a good job—too good actually. I overdid it and still haven’t let go of it in this lifetime. I didn’t really injure anyone, but I didn’t allow them to live their own lives in their own way and I got “stuck” in this mode of behavior. The spirit of my job was lost in a rigid, letter-of-the-law demeanor where everything was either “right” or “wrong.” This continued into other lifetimes since (for example, as a young widow tutoring English in the 1840s while supporting two small children—with the same results!).

Fast forward to this lifetime in which, as a university professor, I have had hundreds of students to evaluate every term. Grading was a mind-numbing task that took days of work three to four times each semester, year in and year out. I remember muttering and bemoaning the ineptitude and incompetence of some of my Ph.D. students who couldn’t write a complete, grammatically correct sentence, let alone the mindless drivel poured out on many of the undergraduate papers. I grew very weary of this, but now I understand that it all just continues until I eventually learn the lessons. And yet, the Universe periodically offers me new opportunities to learn them, currently in the form of a local television weather forecaster whose delivery I find jarring, unnatural, sometimes just plain incorrect, and overall maddening! I know that I am the problem, but what to do?

Maitreya (channeled by Margaret McElroy), one of my wisest teachers, often advised the use of affirmations to “change the energy” of one’s current situation. It is actually a very effective method to assist in reprogramming the subconscious mind, an important component of changing old habits. Every time this weather person was on the air, I studiously rehearsed positive mental affirmations. Believe me, I went out of my way to watch their presentation as often as possible, even watching the same recorded segment re-broadcast two and three times a day as part of the regular news programming on that channel. It wasn’t working. Then I tried repeating those affirmations aloud over the voice coming out of the television set—which only seemed to make the problem worse! I even tried to follow Maitreya’s advice to “give it no energy,” but the irritation with the person (as well as the exacerbation with myself) only became stronger day by day. This was clearly not working.

In the past, I have written several blogs about habits (see Changing Behaviors and Habits, Habits – Part I , and Habits – Part II, so I am no stranger to the topic. However, I continue to struggle with just how difficult it can be to change one’s habits despite continuing efforts over a long period of time. In the case of the weather person, I had been trying to change for several months, but to no avail. Still, this habit of criticism and judgment just has to stop!

I am reminded of the Latin phrase, “Horror vacui,” attributed to Aristotle (384-322 BCE; Greek critic, philosopher, physicist, & zoologist). Later known in physics as the philosophy of plenism (and now applied frequently to art and architecture), it is simply stated in English as “Nature abhors a vacuum.” In other words, Mother Nature fills all empty space with matter in one form or another. But through the power of free will, human beings often try to take the un-natural route of just trying to stop engaging in the same old habit over and over again (leaving a void). It rarely if ever works, and it certainly didn’t work for me. I even tried sending “good vibes”—positive thoughts and energy—to the weather person, however nothing changed. But I recently developed a new strategy that appears to be bearing some welcome and long-awaited fruit.

Just four months ago my blog was entitled “I Choose to …” in which I wrote about how the powers of Volition, Intention, and Agency (VIA) conspire to assist us in engaging with the elements of Conscious Living. These elements are Aligning our life energies with Higher Self, Balancing all of our life energies, and Allowing those energies to flow freely—moment-to-moment—without resistance. Shortly after publishing that blog, it occurred to me that I should try using a new strategy as an experiment in my struggle to change the very old and very exhausting habits of judgment and criticism. I took my own advice from Habits – Part II regarding replacing an old habit with a new habit by using VIA and practicing (repetition) the new habit. For the first six weeks after that blog I tried practicing the new habits during the weathercast. Zip. Zilch. Nada, as previously described. ARRGHHH!!!

And then it hit me (a proverbial thump on the head from my Spirit Guides). I was headed in the right direction, but had veered off-course in implementing it. Even though I had stopped trying to “stop” and had begun trying to replace the old habits with new ones, my focus was always on the weather person. Even though the words in my affirmation were about me changing, the context of my efforts was not about me but about that person’s annoying speech habits. DUUHHH! This is Law of Attraction 101: What you think about expands in your life and what you take your attention away from begins to diminish. The words were all about me, but my attention was still on that unfortunate soul doing their best to deliver the weather forecast.

It’s now been another six weeks with my new strategy, and I’m finally seeing some positive results. I took Maitreya’s advice and didn’t give the weather person any energy. I just listened and acknowledged each time I reacted in old, familiar ways to their now old, familiar behavior. I just acknowledged my reactions and kept listening, not worrying that I hadn’t changed my reactions. I just gave everything as little energy as possible. BUT. I also started rehearsing affirmations focused on me while in the hypnagogic (alpha) state—quiet moments during the day (meditating, daydreaming, etc.), just as I drifted off to sleep, and again on waking but before rousing myself to get out of bed. Research clearly shows that human beings are more suggestible in the hypnagogic state than in normal beta consciousness. That is why hypnosis (and past-life regression, a specific application of hypnosis) “works” so well for so many people. And my affirmations clearly followed the “I Choose to …” formula, but focused solely on me. For example, one of my affirmations is:
•   “I choose to replace criticism with kindness in every thought, word, and deed.”

If Nature abhors a vacuum, then something has to take its place. It’s the same thing trying to swim upstream against a current because you are not likely to successfully win the battle. That is why replacing something is far more effective than just trying to stop it. Thus, I repeat that affirmation—with feeling and with sincerity—five to seven times in succession before moving on to the next affirmation regarding judgment:
•   “I choose to replace judgment with compassion, understanding, and non-attachment in every situation.”

Again, I repeat that affirmation—with feeling and with sincerity—five to seven times in succession. There is no mention of the weather person (the perceivedproblem”), the forecast, or even the news program. I just focus on improving me because that is the only solution to the real problem. I don’t give the situation any energy at all, just my VIA regarding what I want to manifest. I don’t judge anyone (including me). I do accept (without judgment) the situation as well as the experience I created. I allow myself to be “human” (a work in progress), and I have faith that the process works given time, my attention, and my non-resistance.

But criticism and judgment are just the tip of the negativity iceberg. What about all of the other “negative” thoughts and feelings? Aren’t there just too many to count and, especially, to deal with? Perhaps, but I’m not looking for “perfection”—at least just yet. I am content to be a work in progress (I believe it is called “life”). I have said for many years (decades, actually) that “Progress is our most important product” (shamelessly borrowed from General Electric Company’s marketing slogan in the late 1950s – early 1960s). I truly believe that. But back to the point, what about all of the other “negative” thoughts and emotions? Well, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” as they (whoever they are) say. If it works at all, it should eventually work for all. So here is my affirmation for the rest of those negative emotions:
•   “I choose to replace all fear in my life with love—unconditional love.”

Why do I say fear? Think about it: all negative emotions are ultimately related to (or descendants of) fear, the opposite of love. Replace fear of anything and/or anyone and you are automatically on the road to manifesting love and, eventually, unconditional love for all concerned. Again, I repeat that affirmation—with feeling and with sincerity—five to seven times in succession. If I am still feeling any negativity, anything other than peace, harmony, calm stillness, etc., I repeat the entire three-affirmation sequence again until I am satisfied with the results—for the moment. (Remember that “work in progress” conviction?)

So, what about the “Progress Report”? A number of research studies have concluded that successfully changing habits requires about 70-90 days on average of continuous effort, and the more entrenched the habit, the more time it takes. Things didn’t go very well for the first six weeks, but I think there were good reasons for that as explained above.

I think the new strategy over the last six weeks has resulted in much greater progress. For example: last night I was preparing to freeze fresh green beans from my garden when the evening newscast came on television, including the obligatory weather segment—complete with my “favorite” weather person. It was a very interesting experience. Twice I caught myself noticing the “choppy” speech pattern, but my attention fell away as quickly as it had arisen. I observed that I was paying far more attention to the content of the forecast than to the delivery, and the delivery itself was really nothing (well, at least very little) to get involved in. In short, I was “giving it no less energy.” How refreshing!

So, progress: Criticism? I think I’m making some inroads. Judgment? Feels promising but too soon to tell for sure. Fear in general? Well, let’s not get too carried away; how many lifetimes have I been working on this? As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Have I cured the “Old habits die hard” problem? Probably not yet, but I am encouraged enough to continue working on reprogramming my subconscious mind over the next six-to-twelve weeks. I am, after all, a work in progress and my most important product requires attention, intention, persistence, and time—in short, VIA! But then, so does transformation, soul evolution. I think I’m going to start mentally thanking that weather person for their assistance and continued efforts on my behalf. I’m going to Be Appreciative, Not Just Grateful in my reprogramming affirmations. Who knows? This may turn out to be one of the most important accomplishments of my life! At least, that’s the plan.

Got any old habits you’d like to change? I know a guy …

Have a great month!