Feel good all day 13

Would you like to feel deserving of all good things?

It’s hard to suddenly feel worthy after decades or even a lifetime of feeling unworthy.

But it’s just momentum, old habits of thought. And while it takes time and practice to slow the momentum of negative thoughts and build up positive thoughts, you don’t have to wait to feel deserving, worthy, and full of joy.

Imagine how you would feel

Can you imagine how you might feel if you did think you were worthy of all good things, and deserving of the most profound and beautiful happiness?

Can you imagine how you would feel if you right now believed God dwelt within you and you were pure and whole and worthy of all the joy and love you desire?

Can you go to the feeling place, the feeling you will have one day, when you accept to your very core that God loves you, that you are an extension of pure positive energy, of pure being, and you completely deserve a life aligned with all the goodness and joy that is you?

If you can feel how it would feel…that’s the path of least resistance. That’s bootstrapping, time-travelling, paradoxical awesomeness right there.

If you can imagine it (might take some focus) then you can feel it. And if you can feel it, you’re right then and there building momentum of it and draining the momentum of negative thoughts.

The next step is to look at life with that feeling still in you. Look at your life with the feeling of someone who deserves happiness and ease and joy and love and all good things!

Let this wonderful feeling gently seep into your reality. Respond to life from this feeling place of worthiness and desert and life will reflect this change in you.

Kabir: He Himself

He Himself is the tree,
the seed,
and the germ.

He Himself is the flower,
the fruit, 
and the shade.

He Himself is the sun,
the light,
and the lighted.

He Himself is Brahma,
creature,
and Maya.

He Himself is the manifold form,
the infinite space;

He is the breath,
the word,
and the meaning. 

He Himself is the limit
and the limit-less:
and beyond both
the limited 
and the limitless
is He, the Pure Being.

He is the Immanent Mind
in Brahma 
and in the creature. 

The Supreme Soul is seen
within the soul,

The Point is seen
within the Supreme Soul, 

And within the Point,
the reflection is seen again.

Kabir is blest because he has this 
supreme vision.

– Kabir

Kabir is writing about seeing Brahma, God, Pure Being, alive in his own soul. There is no separation, we are one with the Most High, and with this knowledge comes the joy, love, and bliss we seek.

Feel good all day 12

God is present in the depths of your soul. Pure positive energy, the transcendent source of all existence, the creative power behind everything and in everything.

As we pare back and repair our negative thoughts, learning to focus on good-feeling thoughts instead, we come closer and closer to the centre of ourselves.

Feeling good brings us into alignment with God within us. That’s why we need to know that this pure positive energy exists and is there at the centre.

That’s why people need to be “born again”, or have the Father and the Son make their dwelling within us, or realise Buddha-Nature, or any of the many expressions of this single truth: we are one with the Most High.

Faith is an affirmation of our true nature. We need to know that at our core we are nothing short of divine love and joy.

Only this truth can counteract the resistance of old, when we looked at the world and saw things that were unwanted, and concluded it was our fault that made it so.

We’ve done our best to feel good atop this most false of false premises: that we aren’t worthy, don’t deserve happiness, and the unwanted things in life are proof of that.

As you steadily practice feeling better about everything in life, this final falsehood will inevitably rise to the surface and you will finally be able to heal this most basic disharmony between your thoughts about your self and your divine inner being.

Feel good all day 11

Up til now I’ve practiced feeling good about things in my life and it’s improved my baseline mood to the point where I can feel good all day.

Reaching a new stage like “feeling good all day” naturally raises my expectations and desire for more. Contrast helps me focus on what I want, higher levels of feeling good.

Without planning or trying I’ve started to address thoughts and feelings closer to home and my own self and identity.

These are thoughts about my self-worth and how I carry myself in the world; and it’s exciting and gratifying to feel that all my focus on feeling better is now transforming the bedrock of my daily life.

It feels good to feel good. This tautology applies as much to my thoughts about myself as to thoughts about the world.

I don’t worry about world events anymore because it feels good to trust that everything is unfolding according to a higher plan.

And in the same way I can feel proud of myself for all I have accomplished. The feeling of pride and appreciation is accessible right now, and no action is required (or able) to justify or earn it.

The old patterns of thought I created were to protect me from painful emotions. I don’t need them anymore because the answer to painful emotions is not defensiveness or protection but a deliberate practice of finding better-feeling thoughts instead.

Inspired Feeling for INFP-Melancholics

When an INFP’s introverted Feeling function (Fi) is working well it integrates the auxiliary Ne, tertiary Si and inferior Te perfectly.

When Fi isn’t working the other functions come into play without balance or support and we end up grasping for genius ideas (Ne), trying to remember what worked before (Si), or looking for some kind of irrefutable logic to apply (Te).

How to use Fi (and why we don’t)

Fi at its most powerful is like an actor becoming a role he loves and knows inside and out.

Fi is knowing how things are supposed to feel and it draws on the other three functions to inform it.

Using Fi in this way is powerful but can feel a little fake. Being able to slip in and out of different roles or characters with ease seems too easy or strange, and we can feel insecure about our authentic self.

For example, when I learned to sing in a choir I simply imitated the kind of voice I was “supposed” to have. It took some confidence, and giving myself permission to do it. From my point of view I wasn’t singing with my voice, just imitating the inspired ideal of voices.

But for me that’s what singing is.

Singing in a small church choir was a pretty low-stakes game, and that’s why I could give myself permission to “pretend” to be a singer.

In other areas of life when it seems like the stakes are higher INFPs risk doubting and distrusting their Fi ability.

For example, in martial arts we’re warned against being someone who looks the part but has no true skill or power.

An INFP can take this to heart and reject the Fi approach, searching instead for a more authentic or objective basis of skill.

Building trust in Fi

I think without practice our Fi abilities fall into two categories. There are low-stakes contexts where we use Fi easily, and for that reason don’t prize it.

Then there are higher-stakes contexts where we distrust Fi because it feels unreal. And because we distrust it, we don’t practice it or explore it. It remains dormant or dislocated.

I think the answer is to learn to engage Fi and remain inspired by it even while practicing and improving our skills.

Imagine you’re learning to play the violin. You already have a Fi image of what it looks like, the feel of a highly skilled violinist.

But you don’t have the basic skills yet, and the gap between your skill level and the Fi image of playing like a concertmaster or world-renowned soloist is….embarrassing.

So instead of drawing on that feeling, you think “I’ll practice until I’m good enough and then I’ll start acting like it”.

But it won’t work that way because you’re rejecting your most powerful function out of embarrassment and fear. The fear of “who do you think you are?”

Practice with Feeling

The solution is to do both. Stand inside your Fi image of the highest skill and accomplishment, and bring that to your practice, no matter how basic or beginner-level it is.

Use the Fi to keep you inspired and engaged, facing toward your goal. And instead of looking like a fool or coming across as pretentious, you will bring to your practice the focus and sincerity of the very mastery you desire.

When a master of one instrument comes to learn another they don’t blush and cringe at their mistakes. They don’t cower and slouch like they have no idea what they are doing.

They bring the full bearing of their existing mastery into the practice, with the openness and patience of one who knows they have much to learn.

Anything less is self-sabotage.

“Shouldn’t you be doing something?”

Insights are coming in a flurry now.

Sitting at the computer I notice what’s always been there, the feeling of someone looking over my shoulder, a reflection of my own inner sense of shirking my duties.

“Have to” means you owe something. Do I owe anyone anything? I prefer to look at my life in terms of the things I would like, love, and enjoy doing.

The same action can be performed with love or with obligation. Which would you prefer?

The mystics tell us that every particle of creation is vibrating with divine joy and love, not with obligation, burden, and IOU.

What should I be doing, if not enjoying life? What could be more pressing than love, joy, and appreciation?

I have this old pattern of resistance, this thought that someone has demands of me and they aren’t going to be happy with me unless I fulfil them, and even then they won’t be truly satisfied, just temporarily appeased.

But if I’m honest (and there is no such person) I can see that I found some direction, some certainty, and some consolation in letting others tell me what to do.

I came to rely on others for my direction and purpose. That way I didn’t have to work out my own preferences and desires. I could hide behind other people: parents, siblings, friends, and follow their lead.

I could be a non-person who just fitted in with others and received praise for adapting and not resisting.

I didn’t really know how to do my own thing, and I didn’t understand how others were so sure of their preferences. It made sense to give way and it felt good just to follow.

But that’s a shitty way to live your life, and as people grow and variegate and specialise you realise you can’t follow them all.

However daunting it might be to work out what you want, it only takes intention, focus and practice.

And the fear of being criticised, of owning things that might make you stand out and attract unhelpful advice…well isn’t it better to focus instead on the pleasure and enjoyment of following your genuine desires?

Not knowing what you want is not a virtue or a skill. Being insensitive to your own preferences is not the same as being adaptable. Others won’t thank you for fitting in with their plans, they’ll just assume you’re where you want to be anyway.

So why not be there? Work out where you want to be and stop hiding behind other people’s plans and momentum as if they define the limits of your world.

Kabir: The Thirsty Fish

It makes me laugh to think
That a fish in the water
Thirsts for a drink.

From forest to forest he sadly roams
In search of a jewel
Lying at home.

It makes me laugh to think
A musk-deer is seeking
The very fragrance
Which emanates from him.

Without knowledge of the Self
What use O pilgrim,
At Mathura or Kasi
To go looking for him?

It makes me laugh to think
That a fish in the water
Can thirst for a drink.

Kabir

This poem is about finding the Self or indwelling presence of God. But for me today it holds the special resonance of learning to find joy at home, joy in the things of everyday life, transforming “burdens” into treasures.

Feel good all day 10

If you can’t feel good right now, feel less bad. Relief is the key. Find the feeling of relief and enjoy it, trusting that relief will take you in the direction of better and better feelings.

Sometimes the way forward feels like going backwards. But in time it’s easy to see how much good came from releasing resistance. And releasing resistance feels like relief.

Whatever shook you out of your natural joy and inspiration as a child must have seemed pretty scary back then. And if you’ve kept those scary thoughts alive for years, then cut yourself some slack.

Expecting yourself to be beyond this kind of resistance and contrast is itself a form of resistance. Go easy on yourself, because ease is your aim after all; start by feeling ease right now.

Feeling joy where there was resistance before, no doubt it will be a bit uncomfortable and raw. But it will be okay. Soothe everything. Reach for relief, comfort, and ease.

Notice how these episodes of contrast resolve quicker and quicker, easier and easier each time. Your practice is paying off. Even in the midst of contrast you now know it is good.

Whatever convinced you to abandon your naive happiness as a child must have seemed very compelling. But now it is only your thoughts that keep the compulsion alive.

It doesn’t help to compel yourself in the opposite direction. The true opposite of compulsion isn’t more compulsion but ease, relief, and letting go.

So find ease. You don’t need answers; ease is the answer. Feel relief. The only reason you want solutions is for the relief they promise. So just skip the solution and practice relief right now.

Find a relieved way to live your life. Find an easy approach to the things that trouble you. The spirit that makes all things new is already within us. It’s just up to us to embrace the ease and relief it brings.

Can everyday life be joyful?

I was taught as a child that I could only relax when all my work was done for the day.

I was taught by example that everyday life is full of unwanted chores that you put off as long as possible until you can no longer ignore them.

I learned that it was impossible to feel good so long as these chores awaited you; and yet they were endless.

On my own I concluded that there was no joy in this kind of life. But at the same time I accepted this “daily grind” as reality, something that had to be escaped or overcome.

This is my resistance to everyday joy

In order to find joy in everyday life I must let go of these beliefs. Yet when I do, I face the underlying thought that these chores must get done, and by refusing to shoulder the burden I am being lazy, selfish, and inflicting harm on others.

If joy comes, I can’t accept it unless all my “work” is done. And my work will never be done – it restarts each day and some of it carries over.

So joy is simply not compatible with everyday life, unless my circumstances change somehow.

First change your thoughts

I’ve been working for two years at learning to feel better, so I know already that changing my thoughts is more powerful than trying to change my circumstances.

So what thoughts can I change to feel better and let go of my resistance?

I’ve already shown myself twice before that supposed burdens can be transformed if I look instead for what I want, what I appreciate.

For example, instead of thinking that the dishes have to get done and no one else is going to do them, I started to think about how much I love a clean and tidy kitchen. If I then choose to clean, it’s for the sake of something I love and appreciate, rather than a burden I must bear or else be labelled lazy, selfish and somehow morally deficient.

Another recent example was getting my 1yo daughter to sleep. For a year I could only think of it as something necessary, regardless of how difficult or burdensome it might be. I was the only one who could rock her to sleep, so it was up to me to shoulder that burden or else be totally irresponsible, selfish, and a bad parent.

What changed was that I found a thought that felt good: I’d love for her to learn to soothe herself to sleep. I was able to set aside my resistance for the sake of this positive goal, and help her learn to soothe herself.

Extrapolating to everyday life

The stuff of everyday life can be transformed if I allow myself to find positive thoughts instead of old patterns that feel burdensome and self-accusatory.

Starting at the beginning of the day, my morning routine can be because I love getting up early, feeling clean and refreshed, and enjoying my coffee, rather than the burden of being up early enough to get everything done.

I can enjoy my kids’ company early in the morning, and get my son ready for school because I want him to feel secure and safe and cared for, and to learn by example how to care for himself.

I can enjoy the walk to school because it’s lovely to be outside for some exercise with my kids, stretch our legs and get some fresh morning air.

I can enjoy taking my son to school because I want him to enjoy learning and interacting with others and working out his own preferences in life.

I can come home and enjoy relaxing in my home with my wife and daughter. I can write blog posts that inspire me and work on articles that feel good. I can do research into things that interest me and work out my own preferences and where I’d like to go next.

I can tidy the house – if I want to – because I love having a clean and tidy home. It’s not a burden that must be shouldered, it’s not something for which I am judged and criticised. I love the feeling of a clean and tidy home, but it’s okay for it to not be clean and tidy. And it’s okay to let my wife tidy if she wants to.

I can plan dinner because I love our evening meal together. I love cooking for my wife and kids. I love their enjoyment of my food. But it’s also okay to let my wife cook if she feels like it. And its okay to get take-out occasionally too.

I can pick up my son after school because I love being there for him, to hear about his day and how he feels, to say hello to some friends and bring him back home. But I can also let my wife do it sometimes if she wants to.

And the evening together can be a time when we enjoy watching things together, playing games together, reading stories together. It can be a time for fun and enjoyment rather than the last hours of burden and work.

Finally, we can put the kids to bed and get some sleep ourselves, not because we are worried about tomorrow’s burdens, but because sleep is so good for body, mind, and spirit. Sleep is true rest and it’s something we can love and enjoy for itself.

Letting go of old resistance

I can retell the story of my day and like a miracle transform endless burdens into continual joy.

I can gently remind myself as often as necessary that these daily activities are only as burdensome or routine as I make them out to be in my thoughts.

I live and work and think and play and sleep at home. I’m home so much, it’s time to let home be the place of joy and love and happiness I’ve always wanted it to be.

I want my everyday life to be joyful, and I think I know now how it can be.

Feel good all day 9

Feeling good is a skill, and like any skill you need to practice it until it becomes permanent.

And like any skill there’s a progression to it. You can look forward at people who surpass your current level and feel inspired. You can look back at how far you’ve come and feel appreciation.

The beauty of it is that we always expand and grow and develop, and if you appreciate that fact, then you can reach the ideal point of “satisfied with what is, and eager for more”.

This morning I felt dissatisfied with where I am. I felt like it was “not enough”. Dissatisfaction prompted me to focus more on what I do want, but thank goodness I’ve learned and practiced enough to know that the answer is not some grand effort or intense push for “more”. The answer is simply to focus again on satisfaction, appreciation, and eagerness for what is coming.

If you can find satisfaction now you can find it anywhere. If you can feel appreciation now you can feel it any time. And that is the basis for eager anticipation of what joys our future holds.