When explaining that nothing outside of us makes us feel or think anything specific, I often like to point out examples from my clients’ own experiences.
One recent day I encountered two great examples based on the same act: Saving people from a fire.
First I had a fireman in my office. I was able to help point out that while most people see a burning building and assume it makes them fearful, he sees a burning building and confidently says, “I’ve got this.” Thank goodness there are people like him who understand that the situation does not control their thoughts and feelings.
Often when I use an example like this with someone else, they will say, “Well yeah, but he is trained to think that way.” This may be true, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that his feelings are coming from his thoughts about the burning building and not the burning building itself. Actually, it emphasizes this fact. It also does not mean that all trained people react to situations with the same thoughts and feelings, or that every person responds with the same thoughts and feelings every time a certain situation is encountered. Our past and our tendencies don’t dictate a specific response either.
Another client the same day illustrated that training isn’t necessary to understand that outside circumstances don’t control our thoughts and feelings. This gentlemen had no training in fire fighting, but he once ran to a burning car and pulled out the teenagers inside while other onlookers gasped in horror or honked their horns, frustrated that he left his car blocking the middle of the road in order to save lives (it is very interesting to me that annoyance was their response to the situation). He said he did so with confidence and without a care for his personal safety. If the burning car could make us think or feel any certain way, all human reactions to the burning car would have been the same. However, my client was able to feel confident that he could save lives (and he did it without any training), others were scared, and yet others were annoyed.
Training or not, when we understand that we have a level of mental and emotional freedom from the events of the world, we gain possibility. What you do with that possibility is based on your understanding of what you can do, but at the very least, please understand that you are not controlled by outside events even if it seems that way. I don’t suggest running into a fire, but it’s a great example of an extreme situation that does not control our response.
My question to you today is this: If I met two guys in one day who run into fires to save lives (one guy trained, the other not), what’s possible for you today? What situation can rise above?