I remember many years ago entering a judo competition to get my third grade. It was along day of waiting around in front of very big crowds.
Eventually late in the afternoon my name was called and I found myself standing in front of my opponent a tall thin guy.
Now Judo was far from my strongest event but I liked it and I had been training with some top judo guys, plus I had previously done a lot of grappling, so I was reasonably confident.
In theory the first few grades at judo should have been passable.
However as I fought for my grip with my opponent I felt very weak, I had no strength and the guy beat me surprisingly easily.
As I walked of the Matt I saw my friend Glenn Smith who was a brilliant boxer, he was also doing a judo grading that day (Geoff Thompson who was our instructor encouraged us to do judo).
Glenn had a look of shock on his face and said to me, “what happened? I’ve never seen you like that before”.
I honestly didn’t know why I performed so badly. Was it that my food intake was wrong and that’s why I had no energy? Was I just very poor at Judo? (maybe).
It wasn’t until many years later and after doing a tremendous amount of research into fear and stress that I realised why my performance was so bad on that day.
Imagine a sprinter on the starting blocks of a big race, the starter says, “on your marks”.
The sprinters adrenalin flows to every muscle and fibre of his body, he is pumped up and ready to go but the gun never fires.
If the sprinter stays in the starting position for a long time, Eventually he will cramp up and feel exhausted even though he hasn’t even had to run.
His body is under tremendous stress his adrenalin is in full flow preparing him to run, but the stress hormones have no where to go.
If the starter then fired the gun (after a very long delay) it would be hard for the sprinter to do anything and he would certainly under perform.
This is what happened to me at the judo competition because I was nervous/scared my bodies stress response was in hyper drive and by the time I came to face my opponent I was physically and mentally exhausted.
I didn’t know how to control my fear which meant I was highly stressed.
I have seen trained people in scary situations get scared, get stressed and then panic and become totally useless, stress closes down the cognitive side of the brain.
Constant stress causes depression, it continuously triggers the bodies fight or fight response which is exhausting.
This fear-stress scenario plays out in all areas of our lives including; work, relationships, goal setting and even health and when fear and stress take hold they make the situation so many times worse.
Fear is our greatest enemy in this life. Control your fear and you control your stress.
Doctors now disagree about whether stress causes 80% of all illnesses or up to 95% of all illnesses but, either way it’s an undoubtedly incredibly high factor in our quality of life.
There are ways to control stress and I’m not talking about medication.
I realised that if I didn’t get a grip of my fear that losing a judo competition would be the least of my worries.
I was meditating this morning and a thought came into my head, as it often does when I meditate, what I call a light bulb moment occurred.
For some strange reason I thought about the beginning of the Bible and how God created the world out of nothing, it actually says, “the earth was formless and desolate”
I wondered why this thought had come into my head and what did it mean to me?
Recently I’ve been searching for the answers to some blocks that I’ve been having in my own life.
I’ve always looked at the old biblical stories as metaphors, for example did Moses really get lost in the desert for forty years?
Or is that story a metaphor for how our thoughts can mess us up and make us go round and round in circles and how do we master those thoughts?
When Moses led the people out of Egypt and away from slavery.
He had to take them through the desert but in this hostile environment some of the people started to turn on him and question if they would not have been better staying in Egypt as slaves.
This always reminds me of the times that I have made big decisions only to have self doubts and want to turn back when times get hard.
Did Jacob really fight with an angel all night and refuse to let him go as the sun rose? Or was that a metaphor for wrestling with our fears and not letting them go until we have learnt the lessons that they have to teach us.
I believe that when we sit in silence we can dip into our unconscious mind, the part of our mind that stores billions of pieces of information. Everything that you have ever experienced or learnt is stored in the subconscious. I also believe that this is where we tap into the spiritual parts of ourselves, the God part.
So what was my subconscious or God part trying to tell me?
What if the story of creation is a metaphor? I’m not trying to upset anyone here; I’m just sharing my thoughts.
What if God creating the world is a metaphor for how we create our minds? We are born with around 40 million neurones which we shape into neurological pathways.
The theory is that most of us only ever use a small percentage of these neurones.
So we form our beliefs out of this desolate and formless mass that we call our brains. The lesson I took from this meditation was that I have created these blocks or limiting self beliefs out of nothing.
By continuously talking about my blocks and continuously thinking about them and reflecting on them, I’m actually creating them and turning them into a very powerful reality.
If my reality is full of self limiting beliefs then this changes the way that I see the world and act in the world.
I don’t try new things, I set my goals and dreams to a low level, I expect to fail.
However if I have created my own thoughts then I can change them, delete them or make new ones that empower me.
So it’s time to write a new script, to write a new version of the world or at least a new version of my world.
Our perception of the world becomes our reality. We don’t see the world as it really is, we see it as we really are.
We don’t see the world through our eyes we see it through our brains and we have created and shaped our brains, all be it with allot of help from other people.
There comes a point when it’s time to take responsibility and start reshaping our own reality. Neuro science has proven that the brain is malleable, it can be shaped. So why not start shaping a new reality but this time from your inner God, the person you were meant to be and the person that you truly are?
In the beginning when you created your perception you didn’t know what you know now. But now you do know, so what are you going to do with this new knowledge and power?
Are you going to wander in the desert for forty years or are you going to start living the life that you really want to live?