Feeling better: certainty at last

I’ve written a few posts about how my approach to dieting is similar to the Abraham-Hicks teachings, and how I can leverage that similarity to my advantage in the pursuit of happiness.

Well it all came together for me recently, and I’d like to try mapping it out here for whoever may be interested.

Confusion and uncertainty

The basic idea is that we can’t really put our best efforts into a path when we are uncertain about it.

But certainty is subjective. You might have all the necessary information at hand, but still be uncertain.

Recently I became extremely frustrated with the Abraham-Hicks teachings, specifically with my continued uncertainty about them.

This might sound bad, but it was actually a wonderful point to reach, because I no longer wanted to “try” anything. I was sick of trying in an atmosphere of doubt and confusion.

The exact same thing happened with dieting. I’d tried various approaches and it wasn’t so much that they hadn’t worked, but that I hadn’t known for sure if they were working or not.

I couldn’t commit to the necessary changes because I wasn’t sure they were necessary. It’s only by finding certainty about the relationship between food intake and weight loss, and then by finding certainty about my subjective motivations for eating, that I was able to commit to the path.

Finding certainty

I found certainty because I was tired of confusion. And because I desired certainty I eventually arrived at principles that supported me.

Recently I found certainty on the subject of feeling better too. In the context of the Abraham-Hicks material, I know that feeling better is an indicator of closer alignment with my inner being/God, and since I want alignment I should focus on things that feel better.

The certainty I found is this: if I’m not intending to feel better in any given moment, I’m wasting my time.

That language is important to me. Yes, it’s an effort to intend to feel better, and no it doesn’t mean I necessarily feel much better in any given moment. But without that intention I’m wasting my time, feeding the status quo, relinquishing my greater control.

And I’ve had more than enough of that.

What next?

There are more details of course.

My intention to feel better doesn’t mean I feel great either. Previously I made the mistake of trying to feel so good that everything would change immediately.

But that isn’t sustainable. By analogy that’s like trying to lose all the weight in one day.

Another important part is to trust that intending to feel better is enough and that spiritually/vibrationally everything is already improving every moment you intend it.

I’m also identifying the times that I lose or forget my intention, and this mindfulness is helping me refine and strengthen my practice.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share this. I’ve been wanting it for a while and now it’s here I’m very satisfied. To have certainty is so valuable, to be free of doubts allows me to give it my all. It’s such a relief to finally be certain! I hope you all find certainty in your own paths too.

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In a transitional period at the moment. Just feeling better still works, but it’s brought me to a point of desiring greater clarity.

Reminds me of my diet. I was sick of confusion and uncertainty so I set out to find an answer.

But I wasn’t fixated on the problem – I genuinely felt tuned into the solution that time, and sure enough it bore fruit.

Right now I’m simply paying attention to my thoughts and my focus, with no intention besides gaining clarity.

I refuse to waste time on uncertain methods any longer.

I know from experience that I can do whatever I set my mind to so long as I’m sure of my path. The parameters now are simply “decide what works” and then I can stick with it.

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Nothing is more important than that I feel good.

It’s easy to say, but takes some work to really internalise this principle. I don’t think I’m there yet, but I’m learning more each day.

I’m learning that “good” isn’t always within reach. In which case aim for “better” or “less bad”.

If you’ve suffered chronic anxiety and depression with underlying complex trauma you’re probably going to need to aim for “less bad” for a while.

Still it’s a useful question: is there anything more important than me feeling good right now?

Well yeah: looking after the kids. Helping out my wife. Doing work. Running errands. All of those are more important than how I feel. They need to get done, and if I fail to do them I’m basically failing as a human being.

See? I told you it was a useful question.

Having beliefs like that explains why you don’t feel good. And that’s another useful measure: if I don’t feel good, I probably (definitely?) don’t actually believe there’s nothing more important than me feeling good.

I can easily say “nothing is more important than that I feel good” but that’s not what I really think.

So how can I close that gap?

Because if I really think that, I’m much more likely to act in accordance with it. And before I even act in accordance with it I’m going to feel tuned into it. That thought is going to orient my whole approach to life and help me create a reality that feels good to me.

And obviously that’s going to include things I want, like my kids being happy and healthy and a good relationship with my wife and enjoyable fulfilling work and everything in life unfolding in satisfying ways.

But in the meantime how do I close the gap?

I think the general direction is to act according to the thought, even if I haven’t fully accepted it or still hold contradictory thoughts.

If I start acting as though I really believe nothing is more important than that I feel good, I will add momentum to that thought.

At the same time I might start to notice I have false premises or resistance on some issues. For example: why do I think some important activities (like looking after my kids) are not compatible with feeling good?

Surely there are ways of doing that (housework, study, work, family duties) that are compatible with feeling good?

I’ve accomplished this before on the subject of cleaning my kitchen: I went from feeling resentful that I am forever cleaning my kitchen, to feeling really good about having a beautiful, tidy, clean kitchen – while allowing that it doesn’t have to always be in that state.

That proves it’s possible to change perspective, to find a way to feel good, and that means I really can believe that nothing is more important than that I feel good.

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Yesterday I had some very satisfying evidence of how I create my reality.

In the morning I learned that by finding things I like or prefer about my present moment I tune myself into what is already working for me – what I’ve already created.

These things don’t feel wonderful or amazing…they are things I accept as normal and even take for granted.

But that’s the point. I allowed these things, and I continue to allow them, and therefore they feel normal.

Things that don’t feel normal are therefore beyond what I’m currently allowing.

My current home feels normal. A bigger and more beautiful home feels beyond normal. In other words it feels out of reach.

So how do I allow something that currently feels out of reach?

If I start to appreciate the things that I’ve already allowed, then I get better at allowing. If I think about things I desire in an “allowing” way – focusing on the aspects that I like – then I will allow more of those likeable aspects in.

As I was reflecting on this while taking a walk I started to think of a close friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I found myself missing my friend, but since I was learning to focus on what I like and what I’m already allowing, I started to think that way: “I like that my friend is there, feeling good about me.” “I like that my friend is on their own journey along with me.” “I like that my friend cares about me.”

I can’t remember the exact thoughts but they were really simple, easy, and not even very strong. It’s as if someone had said “do you like your coffee black or white?” And I just replied “I prefer white”. That simple.

Then my thoughts turned to my wife and I started thinking of how much I like her and how she loves me and how good it is spending time together. Still in a slightly detached “I prefer this…” way.

So I was walking along, feeling fairly normal, when for some reason I turned around to see a car pull up, and out jumped my dear friend.

You can probably imagine how I felt. I was inwardly laughing at how perfect this “coincidence” was, laughing at how I had allowed it to happen. Laughing at this beautiful moment of the universe winking at me.

My friend high-fived me, we shared a happy moment and went our separate ways, not so much reassured that all is well and we are both on track, because seeing each other in those perfect circumstances was already completely “normal” in that moment. I already knew everything is perfect, and the moment was more like a beautiful celebration of that. Reflection , not reassurance. Celebration, not confirmation.

And immediately after we parted I felt…totally normal.

So I’m learning how this all works, and I’m calibrating and tuning in my practice so that I can be more in a state of allowing things I like rather than resisting them.

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Because of my unique experiences, temperament, and response to my environment, I ended up with a preference for strategies that internalise conflicts.

I didn’t feel that I had much control in my early life. But by turning within, I found I could control myself, or at least how much of myself I expressed to others.

This strategy is called emotional inhibition. When I discovered mysticism I saw an immediate parallel: it seemed that the mystics found within themselves a transcendent power. They too looked within and thereby overcame both internal and external limitations.

So instead of seeking control over my external world, I sought greater control over my internal world, convinced that I could thereby master both. But how?

Inhibiting negative emotions was relatively straightforward, at least in the short term, but the mystics also somehow mastered positive emotions, finding a mysterious “something” via meditation, absorption, prayer, knowledge, or sheer focus.

If that sounds suspiciously vague for a “how to”, well therein lies the endless search for answers.

On a day-to-day basis I’ve been perpetually trying to find positive emotional states that permanently overcome negative ones.

While I pursued it under the guise of mysticism, it hasn’t really changed from the early strategy of emotional inhibition – the belief that I could overcome or avoid conflict by internalising it.

That’s a tremendous expectation for self-control, but imagine if it worked! Imagine being able to completely transcend and free yourself from the suffering and struggle around you. Imagine being able to feel pure joy and love and appreciation within you at all times. And imagine knowing that this feeling is the very presence of the divine metaphysical being within you.

That’s the complete fulfilment of all spiritual and worldly desires, consummated in your own daily experience. Isn’t that something worth striving for?

So I believed. So all the books told me. But I made a mistake.

I thought that in order to overcome very strong negative emotions I had to find very strong positive ones. And to find strong positive emotions I had to make an effort.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that I could start by appreciating weak positive emotions. I didn’t think that focusing on weak positives would get me anywhere.

Besides, mystics are so all-or-nothing. God is all and everything else is worthless! No wonder I kept searching for the ultimate answer.

Well now I’m learning that it’s enough to appreciate the very small, ordinary things I take for granted. It’s a nice day. I have good internet. The air is fresh. I had a nice walk. My baby girl is cute. I don’t have much work to do.

None of these things is earth-shattering but that’s the point. As a starting point they’re perfect because they already happen. They’re already reliable, so whatever else is going on I know that these things are working for me. Appreciating what works and these weak better feelings is a really good direction to take.

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I’ve been learning about attachment theory, schema therapy, and developmental trauma.

It’s all good stuff, and much of it aligns with the Abraham-Hicks teachings.

As I practice feeling better I not only get more skilled, I also uproot old habits of resistance.

There’s more to tell, but I’m feeling less need to explain it. Feeling better is a bit of a moving target, and as we surrender resistance it gets easier.

It’s very calming and grounded, after a long time of feeling intense and driven.

Nothing exciting to report, but that’s good in itself 😄

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Are you practicing feeling better/less bad?

It’s very powerful. I continue to have profound insights as I practice feeling better – I even have to remind myself “feel better” rather than digging into these wonderful insights; that’s how enticing they are!

For example, I just had the insight that even my efforts to feel better are coloured by my belief that I am not good enough in myself.

Feeling better is still the answer, but I had an expectation of “and then…” as if feeling better was leading to something transformative.

I call this my “escape” mode, or my “search for answers” mode. It’s a maladaptive attempt to regulate painful emotions by putting all my hopes in a transformative enterprise.

Just feeling better is instead about learning to self-regulate emotions constructively. That’s what feeling good is all about – being able to stay in positive emotions and sustain them.

I rejected that kind of goal in the past because life just seemed too miserable for emotional-regulation to be of value. To my mind that amounted to wilful blindness or self-sedation. It was better to be unhappy and searching.

But now I can see how that conclusion was itself the product of my environment. There were reasons why I felt that awful to begin with. Unfortunately my forays into religion and spirituality convinced me that life was supposed to feel awful, that there was something fundamentally wrong with the human condition.

So as I feel better these beliefs and ideas crop up occasionally, and I just keep on feeling better, appreciating them as they’re let go. As feeling better becomes more reliable and stable, I don’t need these maladaptive thoughts and strategies anymore.

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Hello readers! I hope you’re all having a beautiful day!

Today I’ve been learning about schema therapy, and how we form patterns of beliefs in childhood that tend to dominate our adult lives.

It’s very similar to the Abraham-Hicks teachings, and another point on the map as I explore feeling better and finding better-feeling thoughts.

Lately my practice of feeling better has blossomed into full-fledged feeling good. I’ve found reliable avenues of practicing good feelings, and with that consistent practice I’m allowing more and more good feeling to flow into the rest of my day.

We make it complicated, but it really is so simple. Just feel better no matter what.

And that’s not a pressure to apply, it’s a skill to practice for your own direct benefit. If anything it’s about relieving the pressure.

We like to think we’d feel good if circumstances were different…but mostly our circumstances are what they are because we don’t know how to feel good.

But once you identify that you can choose thoughts that feel better (or thoughts that feel worse) you then have your hand on the remote. You have the control over how you feel, it just takes practice and consistency to reach a place of generally feeling better.

I can’t speak to your habits of thought, but mine were pretty bad. And I felt pretty bad too. My answer to feeling bad was to throw myself harder into escape attempts. I kept trying to understand the whole dynamic of my inner and outer worlds, convinced that I could then “overcome” suffering and “escape” unwanted experiences.

Feel bad, try harder, fail, feel worse, rinse and repeat.

Yet all it’s taken to feel better is…to feel better. Well actually I started with “feel less bad”. Bit by bit, with modest advances I practiced feeling less bad about things.

Nearly three years on its funny to look back and see the slow stop-and-start progress, punctuated by dramatic efforts that grew less and less frantic, until finally I couldn’t deny that “feel better” was what actually worked.

My aim is no longer to escape or overcome or transform myself…just to feel good. Because feeling good feels really good, and that’s all I really wanted all this time.

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My goal is to feel better all the time, to master the art of finding alignment, that soothing, gentle, and satisfying place within myself.

This art stands alone. It’s independent of external circumstances – though obviously it’s easier to practice when conditions are good.

It’s a bit like learning to have good posture. Harder to do it when you’re tired or stressed or busy with work, but eventually it’s something you can practice even in the most difficult circumstances. And there comes a time when it’s easy under any circumstances.

I’m feeling so much better. I’m learning to feel better more consistently, and the process has brought up (and let go) many points of resistance.

Resistance is where I implicitly or explicitly say that something is more important than feeling better. It never is.

And as I let go of my resistance I become easier in myself. I create less friction and less turmoil in my life. I soften conflict rather than exacerbate it. I tend towards relief rather than struggle.

It’s definitely a skill, and even an art. It’s changing my life from the inside out, and I’m extremely grateful for it.

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How to…

Change of pace: I want to share something that is working really well for me.

Is there one thing in your life you reliably and consistently turn to and feel good about? Would you like to extend that good feeling to other aspects of life?

That’s what I’m working on now.

1. Identify something in your life that feels reliably good. Watching series, playing music, drinking a glass of wine after a long day at work, playing sport, whatever works for you.

2. Recognise that when you feel good it’s not the thing making you feel good, it’s how you’re managing your thoughts/vibration.

3. Examine how you’re doing that. When I have a glass of wine in the evening I have an expectation that it will be a relaxing and enjoyable way to unwind. I also have a strong intention that I will enjoy it and not let anything interrupt my enjoyment. Finally, I unconsciously choose thoughts and points of focus that match my intention.

I don’t pour the wine and then get distracted. I don’t pour the wine and think about the worst things that come to mind. I don’t pour the wine and let people interrupt me. I dont pour the wine and start criticising the wine quality.

No, I’ve learned how to enjoy wine-time and it has very clear albeit unconscious parameters.

4. Understand that it’s not the wine that creates this experience, it’s you.

5. Consider your expectations, intentions and choices at other times when you don’t feel so good. Household chores, study or work, certain social interactions…what are your expectations, intentions and choices in those situations?

The fact is that you have the same ability to use your expectations and intentions to steer all your experiences, and the same ability to choose your thoughts and words with care, opting for better feeling ones all the way.

Imagine if you could have that wonderful relaxed and easy feeling all the time…not by drinking wine all the time obviously, but by learning from your good experiences and the powerful skills you unwittingly deploy.

This isn’t about trying to put a “happy face sticker” over your bad feelings. It may not work for you, it may require other elements I’m not fully conscious of. But for me it is a very clear “aha!” moment of knowing full-well that I am already creating my experience in one set of circumstances, and why not extend that creation into others?