How do you go about explaining a massive life-changing insight?
Massive and life-changing but at the same time, really very gentle
A few weeks ago, the question came up for me, “why do we have a tendency to focus on the negative thinking?” – and I don’t think there’s really an answer to that other than that because the negative feelings are unpleasant to live in, we have a tendency to focus on them in the hope that they will go away, whereas the positive feelings are pleasant and I think because they bring us closer to our natural state of peace and happiness, they are more in line with our natural state, we don’t feel the need to focus on them quite so much.
Now, we could say that all of that’s due to upbringing, conditioning, etc – but that wouldn’t be true, there are people who are brought up in very “positive” environments but who still have a tendency to focus on the negative thoughts and feelings and the opposite is true also.
But I had an answer come to me last night, a personal answer that is true for me and I hope this speaks to you too.
Yesterday evening, my son did his second ever dance show and when I got home I made a post on my personal profile on facebook about how proud I felt and as I was writing it I was thinking to myself “gosh, people are going to think I’m full of it” (I know! I know!) and I felt, somehow, that I should play down that nice feeling.
Now, in the same way that when I’m feeling crap about something, I “remind myself” that I’m just living in the feeling of my thinking and that it will pass, I have also been doing the same with the good feelings – playing them down in a sense and “reminding myself” – “this is just illusory thinking and it will pass”
But while I have, over the last two years, learned to embrace the negative feelings, and live through them fully until they pass on their own, somehow, I’ve been prescriptive with the good feelings and instead of living in them fully, I’ve been diminishing them with “this is just my ego and the ego doesn’t exist except in thought; these feelings will pas and I’m making it all up”
Another example is having brought to finition my book project that was dear to my heart and I completely taught myself to not go with those really good feelings of pride of having reached a target that I’d fixed, of having completed something that I’d set out to do; for the very first time in my life I went right to the end of a project and I didn’t let it go, I didn’t let it drop… but I didn’t allow myself to feel really good about it – “too much ego and it’s just an illusion.”
The sudden realization last night was when I was hesitant about writing of my pride seeing my son dance and, without wanting to come across as if I’m justifying my position, the thought crossed my mind “why shouldn’t I be fully proud of him and swell up in that nice feeling?! He was dancing with a group who have been dancing for two years. He’s only been dancing for two months and he danced just as well as any of the others and he even took away the audience and was complimented by the other experienced dancers, two of whom are professional dancers! Dammit! I’m frickin’ proud!”
What I realized is that I’ve moved another step away, a rather big one, from the “prescriptive” element that the Principles can hold. As a prescription “I am living in the feeling of my thinking” – it is very easy to diminish what we’re feeling; as a description “I am living in the feeling of my thinking” is allowing us to fully live in whatever emotion we happen to be experiencing in the moment.
Be graceful with the lows but why not rock and roll with the highs? After all, we only get one shot at this! Live it to the full!
And this realization, for me, is a key to success (whatever that happens to mean) because if we can welcome the highs as much as we welcome the lows, whatever we undertake to do in our lives, the outcome loses its importance but we have more chance of success because we accept to allow ourselves to feel those unpleasant feelings or those nice feelings to the full, knowing that it’s all just thought.
Be aware of the illusion of our thinking, be aware that it is our thinking that creates our reality but, heck! live to the full in the whole panoply of human emotions that are available to us – the bad… the good… and the insights!