It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, so I thought I’d share a bit of what’s been going on in my life for those who’ve read my travel stories.
So, what are the “radio frequencies” I allude to in this post’s title? Well, let me first take a bit of a detour.
We’re all walkie-talkies
This is a concept I’ve discussed before, and also one that different spiritual teaches have shared.
You know how walkie-talkies work, right? You and a friend agree on a frequency, set your devices to that frequency, and you are both able to transmit and receive signals from each other in order to communicate. If another team nearby has set their walkie-talkies to a different frequency, you won’t pick up their conversation because of the different wavelengths, and they won’t hear you and your friend talking. If all four of you choose the same frequency, your circle of friends has now doubled in size.
Now, when it comes to life and the world around you, you are the walkie-talkie. Your entire body, mind and spirit are broadcasting a frequency, and you’re picking up everything from those around you sending out the same frequency.
This also means that you are not picking up communications from those on a different frequency. If I’m standing next to you, but my walkie-talkie-self is on a different channel, you might not hear me saying “look at that beautiful flower over there” and you might miss a beautiful display of nature.
Or, on a more personal level, if you’re broadcasting the message of “life is difficult”, you’re going to hear messages from people around you who agree with you, and who find life difficult. No matter how many times I may tell you “look how wonderful life is”, you’re not going to hear me.
How you set the frequency
Our built-in walkie-talkies are super high-tech. They set their frequency automatically. You don’t have a knob that you turn manually to tell it to broadcast and receive at frequency A or B.
Your walkie-talkie, instead, detects your thoughts and actions and sets its frequency based on that. If you think to yourself “I love this city”, you’re going to encounter someone who also broadcasts “Winnipeg is a great city.” You may find yourself having an enjoyable conversation about your city.
If your thought is about yourself, like “I’m not very smart”, you’ll find someone who also thinks “Bob isn’t very smart.” They may not necessarily use those words, but they’ll treat you like you’re not very smart. If this thought is something you repeat to yourself every day, you’ll find someone every day who agrees that you’re a dummy. You’re likely not going to have enjoyable encounters with this kind of thought.
The tricky part in this, is that thoughts like “I’m not very smart”, “I’m ugly”, “I’m not talented” are often background noise in your head. They may be occurring so often that they’ve formed the back drop of your life and you don’t even notice anymore. As an example, if you turn your (old-fashioned) radio tuning dial and let it sit in between actual stations, you hear static. Your thoughts about yourself are like that static; you won’t notice it unless you consciously draw your attention to it. Your walkie-talkie is transmitting a constant stream of hurtful thoughts, and you’re attracting unpleasant experiences into your life and you don’t understand why.
Remember that we are all transmitting walkie-talkie frequencies, which are affecting the circumstances around us.
- If you always find yourself with partners who belittle you or make you feel crappy, it might be because your potential wonderful loving spouse is out there broadcasting on a different channel.
- If you consistently find yourself working jobs you don’t enjoy, it’s probably because the ones you would love are to be found on a different frequency.
- If you’re always receiving poor customer service in shops, restaurants or call centres, it might be because your internal “receiver” can’t pick-up the people with positive energy to help you.
I may even be sitting next to you saying “hey, why are you such an angry / sad / anxious / cynical person?”, and, even though you may hear the words, you’ll likely respond with “I’m not angry / sad / anxious / cynical” because such thoughts are “static” in the background.
Or, if I may permit myself a nerdy analogy: if you’re wandering around the galaxy sending out hails on the Ferengi frequencies, who do you think will respond? The Vulcans? Illogical.
How to adjust your frequency
You may be saying to yourself, “okay, so I may be transmitting a constant stream of hurtful thoughts about myself. What can I do about it?”
I’m glad you asked.
Remember the analogy of these hurtful thoughts being like static on a radio: you could only hear the static if you turned the dial in between the regular stations that broadcast organized sounds. This is where the power of mindfulness comes in. You take time to stop the flow of thoughts in your head and pay attention to what’s in the background. At first, it may seem like another jumble of sounds and images, but once you take the time to explore the background, a clear picture comes in.
Another way to help heal yourself is to find the source of the transmission and cut it off.
Where did those “I’m not smart”, “I’m ugly”, “I’m boring” thoughts come from? Were these thoughts that just popped into your head one day and you couldn’t stop thinking them?
This is another question that mindfulness can help answer, but sometimes you’ll need the help of a coach or therapist. Once you’ve tuned to a non-station and paused your thoughts, the remaining static might form a picture from an event in your past. Things that happened to you as a child may have formed a belief in your mind, an opinion of the world or of yourself, and you’ve ended up carrying this belief with you throughout your life. And so, to help illustrate, I’ll share…
… An example of my own negative walkie-talkie setting (i.e. what I’ve been doing these past few months)
Which brings me now to share a bit about what I’ve been doing these past few months.
You’ll recall that I started down a path more than a year ago by quitting my job and travelling. Part of the reason I’d left my job was that I was becoming aware of my walkie-talkie transmissions. I had started to observe within myself some anger that was consistently bubbling below the surface. It was starting to affect my enjoyment of my work, and of my interactions with friends and family. I knew I needed to take a step back (or, in my case, a step across the ocean) to examine what was going on.
During my time in Europe and the year since then, I’ve continued my mindful way of life, so that I can examine the “static”. I’ve even started working with a spirit-life coach to really dig deep. I think I found one source of my walkie-talkie’s transmissions:
During one of my sessions with my coach, I mentioned an incident that occurred to me while I was in the fourth grade. I told her that I’ve never given it a second thought, and that I felt neither positive nor negative about it. She asked me to close my eyes, meditate, and describe the incident to her. I explained that I was in the school library and wanted to sit next to some classmates. One classmate (we’ll call him André) didn’t want to let me join the table. When the teacher asked him what was going on, André replied that I wasn’t cool and that I didn’t even know about the latest pop star.
Well, so much for not feeling positive or negative about it. As I described the incident to my coach, I became extremely angry at André, started shouting at him “how dare you belittle me” and yelled the kind of obscenities that my nine-year-old self wouldn’t have even known. I was still fuming after my session and was very angry for the next two weeks.
I believe that on this day in the fourth grade, I made two unconscious decisions: First, that my peers were mean and stupid, and second, that I was not worthy of having friends to hang out with because I wasn’t cool. From that day forward, I was interacting with the world as a walkie-talkie transmitting these belittling thoughts about myself and others, and was missing out on everything on more positive frequencies.
The reason I shared this story is to show that we all form ideas in our minds during our childhoods regarding the incidents we go through. One event could taint your worldview for many years, unless you take the time to change your frequency. In my example above, I needed to take time to get that anger out of my system, shout at André (even though he wasn’t present) and generally allow myself to express emotions that had been repressed for 30 years.
We’re actually multi-layered, multi-dimensional walkie-talkies
Of course, my walkie-talkie analogy is a bit simplified. We’re more than just a walkie-talkie. Our bodies, minds and souls are like a thousand walkie-talkies transmitting at the same time, and picking up a thousand messages from the world around us. You have many thoughts projecting outward from yourself simultaneously, like “I have an ugly nose”, “I never have enough money”, “men are scumbags”, and you’re going to attract the many obvious results to yourself, all at once.
Or, if you’re not keen on the walkie-talkie analogy, you can imagine each of us wearing a pair of those 3D red-and-blue glasses you find in kid magazines. We’re all wearing a dozen or more of these glasses, each successive one hiding a portion of the world from our field of view.
I know that with each successive “frequency adjustment” I go through, like the recent one with my childhood memory, I feel lighter, and I see more hope and great things in the world. It takes time and courage to look at these inner demons, but it’s completely worth the effort.
Are you ready to reset your frequency?