Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Breakfast of Champions: Feedback

Although you may have grown up with the description of a popular cereal, I'm using this phrase in another way. Here, I'm talking about a requirement for all physical experience, a key to effective learning, and an essential ingredient for making the changes you desire in your life.

This core nutrient is feedback.

In the dictionary, feedback refers to a response that is "intended to provide useful information for future decisions and development."

As you encounter the world, the ongoing information you receive from other people and the environment gives you feedback on the impact of your presence, words, and actions. Sometimes you are aware of this feedback, while most often you are not.

In any case, you tend to perceive and interpret feedback with respect to your own history and memories, which frequently leads to the maintenance of your comfort zone, and the persistence of your ego or "little mind" consciousness. As a result, the interpreted feedback will support you to react in habitual ways.

Imagine this common scenario.

You have a difficult relationship with your sister. Whenever you speak with her, the conversation eventually becomes tense, someone might yell, and you exchange unpleasant words. Both of you end the interaction feeling frustrated and sad. The result seems inevitable and you can't figure out any way to change what happens.

In this example, the nature of feedback has been transformed from "useful information" to a rigid perception of your sister (and she of you) that limits the possibility of ever having a different outcome. Both of you have become attached to expect a "problem" when you experience the other.

How can feedback be used to produce a non-habitual, healthy response in this kind of situation?

To explore some possibilities, consider these suggestions:
  • Remember that you can only change yourself. The other person might not want to do anything and may assume a disinterested, indignant position with respect to you.
  • Begin to see your living as experiments in which you're simply collecting experiences without judgment. There's no positive or negative feedback--it's all just a set of responses.
  • Stay open and receptive. Since life means constant change in you, others, and conditions, you really don't know what will happen with your experiments from one time or place to another.
  • Let go of memories. Learn from your experiences, and release the past, which doesn't exist anyway.
  • Be in the present moment. Feel your body sensations, and use feedback to guide you to make healthy, loving (yourself and others) choices.
As you practice with experimentation and non-judgmental feedback, your habitual reactions will diminish, and you will create powerful, life-changing results even with difficult situations and relationships.

By viewing your life experience as ever-expanding experiments, all feedback will help you move in directions that reveal your true nature. In this skillful way, feedback is essential for you to see yourself as you are, and becomes a constant source for freedom.

Engage feedback for inspired living!

Love and Peace,
Dave


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