Why People Suffer
The Impact of the Imagination
"Most people suffer. I witness this suffering regularly in my work as a psychotherapist. What may surprise you is the source of their suffering. Most people think the source of their suffering is someone or something out there in the world - the behaviour of family or colleagues, or the unfortunate events of life. Yet the cause of suffering is from within. Suffering is a result of the stories people tell themselves.
Research reveals that the average person thinks nine times as many negative thoughts as positive thoughts; tells themselves nine times as many negative stories as positive stories. Research also tells us the human body does not distinguish between a real event and an imagined event. Therefore, when we tell ourselves a negative story or think a negative thought, our bodies respond as if these imaginings are real. Medical researchers have discovered that many of us think ourselves sick.
"I've had a very difficult life. Fortunately, most of it didn't happen."Mark Twain
What does this mean for us? It means we need to be careful with the kind of stories we tell ourselves. We need to be vigilant in monitoring the kind of thoughts we imagine and the images we expose ourselves to. Television, radio, and newspapers have a profound impact on us. We should treat them with the same degree of caution we would any powerful or toxic substance.
When confronted with life's challenges, it is important to consider the various possibilities in order to develop appropriate responses. However, if one becomes immersed in their negative imaginings, they will suffer greatly because of these imaginings. I've learned we can manage life. What we can't manage is our imagination about what might happen because our imaginations don't actually exist.
To experience peace and joy at home and at work it is important to understand the impact of our imagination on our day-to-day experience. If we want to be happy and healthy we need to take responsibility for the stories we tell ourselves and allow to be told to us.
Use your imagination constructively and creatively. Imagine the kind of outcomes you would like to occur. See in your mind's eye what success looks and feels like. One of the core messages contained in 'The Secret' was the tremendous power of the imagination. Einstein understood the importance of imagination. He declared, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". We can move from fear and anger to peace and joy simply by using our imagination positively. Our imagination is a powerful tool. Use it with care."
- Ted Kuntz