We are always under the influence of something, whether it’s our inner being or something else and we can tell by the way we feel.
That’s one of Abraham-Hicks’ current themes in workshops. Under the influence.
What’s moving you?
In my diet book I argued that our desire to eat is either motivated by a genuine need for food or by something else.
The something else could be a positive thing like social interaction, but often it is a negative motivation like the desire to avoid focusing on negative emotions.
When we eat to escape from negative emotions not only are we likely overeating, but we also end up prolonging and giving further momentum to those negative emotions.
If I eat to avoid feeling bad about myself and my life, I typically end up feeling unwell because of the overeating, and I give power to unpleasant thoughts about weight gain and self-control.
Why my diet worked
Every now and then I see strong parallels between my diet process and the A-H materials. I think my diet was essentially a less refined version of those teachings.
This has always excited me because it means I’ve already successfully applied the principles in one area of my life, proving to myself how easy it can be to allow positive change.
Under the influence
So Abe’s metaphor of “under the influence” strikes me as an exact parallel to my “what moves you to eat?” question.
And that means when we are not under the influence of Source or inner being, we are doing the same thing as eating to distract ourselves from negative emotion – only to perpetuate it unwittingly.
Let’s take a common example: blaming others for life not being how we want it to be.
When we blame others it may feel good or not so good, but it always feels engaging. We are drawn into blame in the same way that we are drawn into compulsive eating, even though such eating habits rarely feel good.
What feels good is the temporary relief from negative emotion. If I blame someone I make it sound (to myself and others) like they are the cause of my problems. I’m perfect, it’s not my fault, they just need to move. At the same time it provides a sense of hopefulness that things may change for the better.
It’s complex, way more complex than this post has time for, but the key is that we use these unpleasant stories of blame to avoid facing the negative emotion in our immediate reality.
Blame relieves us of the burden of change, making it someone else’s problem and responsibility.
But disowning our own responsibility and attendant power never feels good. Blaming others doesn’t provide true satisfaction or true change, especially when it is a chronic pattern of avoiding our own negative emotions.
Facing how we feel
When I look back at my diet and wonder how it worked, obviously I could say it was a simple matter of eating much less.
But the inner battle belied that simple equation. In the inner battle it was choosing to sit with my negative emotions and not escape into compulsive eating that won the day.
It was confronting, and it felt bad. But just as compulsive eating doesn’t truly feel “good” despite the promise of sensory pleasures, so facing my negative emotions without escape didn’t feel completely bad. There was something truthful and honest and powerful in that moment, perhaps because I knew those feelings were always there whether I distracted myself or not.
Beyond negative emotion
And finally, I think what really worked for me is that I was tuning into how I felt; it wasn’t about feeling bad but feeling whatever was there.
I think that’s what is going on in the Abraham-Hicks teachings as well. Feel what you feel and don’t run off into distractions and escapes like blaming others or reiterating negative conclusions about life.
Just be with your feeling – pleasant or unpleasant – and let go of those resistant thoughts, those influences that just kick the can down the road but don’t truly serve you.
And in that release of resistant thought you make space to hear the call of your own inner being, an influence that serves you, knows your desires, and is ready to take you there.