Way of the Screaming Baby

I’ve often wondered why our 15 month old daughter screams so much. Her brother never did, but this one screams at the drop of a hat.

I think I finally understand. If I can experience her screaming and not lose my alignment, then I am on the right path.

I’m learning the way from my toddler’s tantrums. Ear-piercing and soul-numbing shrieks are my training ground for Zen-like calm.

Knowing that manifestations are the effect and thoughts are the cause, her cries are a perfect opportunity to wean myself off reactivity and fixating on conditions.

Every scream is a lesson in alignment. God sees only good in it, so should I. Thank you, tiny, beautiful, pooping master.

Thoughts, Feelings, and Manifestations part 2

The false premise of thinking manifestations are more important than thoughts, leads us to clinging and anxiety and striving for control.

We are in turmoil when we mistake cause and effect. Manifestations are not a cause but an effect. To think our happiness depends on manifestations leaves us confused and chasing our tail.

That’s why struggle and effort feels bad, we are already facing the wrong direction and reading the wrong cues.

So here I am now, learning to feel good about manifestations, or better yet: learning to find alignment in all manifestations.

The multiform manifestations that comprise my reality are a perfect projection of my thoughts in relation to the goodness that God is bestowing on me at all times.

Imagine your reality as a projection of God’s perfect light through you; shaped by your desires and clouded or disturbed by your resistance.

Keep feeling good and finding alignment, and those perturbations will cease and we will find clarity and joy.

Francis de Sales: progress in perfection

“Keep yourself faithfully in the presence of God; avoid hurry and anxiety, for there are no greater obstacles to our progress in perfection,”

Excerpt from Maxims and counsels of St. Francis de Sales for every day in the year. Francis, de Sales, Saint, 1567-1622

I came across an old book with quotations from St Francis de Sales, and they immediately resonated with my focus on providence and what I’m learning from the Abraham-Hicks material. I figured I’d put some up each day for a while. Enjoy!

Going up a level

Last night I was asking for clarity, and I got it.

I’m so reactive! Even though I’ve worked so hard at feeling better, even though I do feel so much better, I’m still taking my cues second-by-second from the manifestations around me.

Our feelings are a sign of how aligned our thoughts are with God’s perspective, our inner being.

When we look at manifestations and feel good it’s not the manifestation making us feel good, it’s our thoughts aligning with God: this is good.

When we look at manifestations and feel bad, it’s our thoughts going out of alignment: this is bad.

In that sense, all good feelings are basically God agreeing with us.

Since God sees only the good in all things, if we want to be in agreement with Him we should do the same.

That doesn’t mean we have to specifically find something good in every single situation and circumstance, but we can stop focusing on what isn’t good about it, focus more on things that are good, and in a general way accept that even the things that don’t seem good are bringing more good to us.

Thoughts, feelings, and manifestations

It seems like a long time but it was only a few months ago that I decided to focus on being happy all the time, using the same logic that I discovered in my approach to weight-loss.

That was my “Happiness Challenge” and after a month I moved onto another theme and then another.

Accepting that there’s no final answer, I can appreciate that so many answers have come my way.

Trust, let go, accept, allow, focus, appreciate, feel good, feel less bad, imagine, meditate, rinse and repeat.

I used to think this meant I was going in circles. But it’s natural for things to evolve in stages.

With that in mind I’m inspired today to allow more clarity about my place in this reality and how it all works.

Taking stock

When we think a thought, our emotions tell us how close that thought is to the perspective of our inner being, God.

For example, God loves us. That’s why self-critical thoughts feel bad, because they are not aligned with God’s thoughts about us.

God loves all of us, that’s why you feel bad when you’re critical of others too.

We can take stock of our lives by looking at how we feel, and the manifestations that follow.

If your thoughts are aligned you will feel good and you will notice good-feeling manifestations. If your thoughts are misaligned you will feel bad and notice bad-feeling manifestations.

Creating a new reality

I’m noticing that I don’t have the home I would like for my family.

That’s a manifestation. And while it seems like the manifestation is what causes me to feel bad, that’s not how it works.

How it works is that my thoughts create both my bad feeling and a corresponding manifestation.

There are lots of aspects to homes that complicate this subject, so let’s keep it general and say “I want the perfect home”.

If I focus on the general idea of “my perfect home” I feel good. If I can stop myself focusing on any thoughts that don’t feel good on this subject, just keep it general, then I will continue to feel good, and soon enough I will receive another thought that feels good too.

Keep it clear

This is the only dynamic I need to focus on. My perfect home is a thought that feels good. Keep it general unless more good feeling thoughts become specific.

My perfect home. That feels really good.

There’s no effort needed. Just enjoy how good this thought feels, and the clarity of knowing that this is how creation works.

My perfect home.

Practice enjoying this thought, because it feels so much better than misaligned thoughts. Appreciate the clarity you have in this process, and trust that everything is already unfolding perfectly.

The suburbs don’t depress me…

…I depress the suburbs.

Walking with my daughter this morning I was overcome with a feeling of nausea at the suburbs around us.

It’s an old feeling so that means thoughts with momentum. And there are plenty of ways to justify my thoughts.

But the fact remains that I create my reality, and at the very least one might ask “if you don’t like the suburbs, why are you living there?”

Isn’t that kinda dumb?

Well yeah it is.

I heard a woman on an Abraham-Hicks video explaining that she lives in Boston but wants to live in California. That was the defining problem in her life.

The advice was to appreciate Boston first and then decide whether to move or not.

It’s good advice because you take your fault-finding mentality with you most places, and if she couldn’t be happy in Boston then there’s a good chance she wouldn’t be happy in California either.

I thought she was stupid, but I guess I’m stupid too 😅

Finding the positive

The suburbs are convenient because the population density draws in more shops, better roads, more attractions.

Then again, by that logic I’d be happier in the city centre, so why not move there?

Living in the hills is appealing because there’s more space, more nature, more freedom, more beauty.

The suburbs are like a middle-ground that gives people space without losing proximity to others, freedom without losing convenience.

Okay, so why do I really hate it?

I didn’t want to go too negative but sometimes describing how we feel gives clarity.

So for the sake of clarity: when I look at the suburbs I feel like life is small and meaningless. I see each little plot divvied up and built upon in varying degrees of same-old.

I feel the individuality of people circumscribed by standardisation. It’s like each block is a little box, and though they all look different, the differences are superficial.

Not to mention the architecture is frequently hideous.

When I walk by on a cold day I can only assume people spend all their time indoors or away from home, and I struggle to feel uplifted at the thought of their lives contained and defined by these ugly – and audaciously expensive – little allotments.

Bringing it home

Everything I just wrote says far more about me than it does about the suburbs. I mean, you could totally agree with me but just not care, right?

That’s because it’s not about other people and their houses, it’s about me and my thoughts.

These houses are like the one I grew up in. I’m a stone’s throw away from the suburb where I lived most of my life.

To me these suburbs represent a way of life bereft of idealism and joy; they represent acceptance of ugly convention at great personal cost and burden.

I don’t feel this way when I visit friends or relatives in their homes – it’s deeply personal. When I imagine strangers’ lives in these suburbs I project onto them my own thoughts and feelings.

So I am the one who feels as though my life is constrained and confined by the expectations and conventions of others. Yet no one ever told me where to live or what to do. I just inferred what was “normal” and made it into my own constraint.

I looked at what “everyone” was doing and railed against it. In Abraham-Hicks terms that’s a perfect way to get more of what I don’t like.

Holding pattern

In the end I think I live in the suburbs because it’s what I’m used to. I think we chose to live here because it was familiar, and I felt that I could only break with the familiar if I was really sure of what I wanted.

Living in the suburbs is like a holding pattern in lieu of knowing where I really want to live.

But that itself is a form of resistance, raising the bar on how sure I needed to be of a decision that breaks from the norm.

Back then less bad wasn’t good enough for me. I was intensely all or nothing and with that attitude I was pretty much guaranteed to wind up with nothing.

I’m sorry, suburbs. You didn’t deserve so much hate. You never asked me to be here in the first place and it’s not your fault I stayed. We don’t need to like each other, and we really don’t need to live together anymore.

The beauty of knowing what you don’t want is, in A-H terms, that you know implicitly what you do want. You just need to stop focusing on the unwanted long enough to let the wanted in.

One final answer

For years I longed to find the one final answer.

But no such answer exists, because there is no one final question.

I thought a final answer would bring me peace and happiness and set me on the right path.

But that’s not how I’m supposed to live. Every answer I find is because of a question I’ve asked. And I’ll never stop asking questions.

What is the path then?

It’s too big to complete in a single step, so even though I know my path, I know it in the kind of generality that will never impose upon or limit the unfolding of the details.

Relief, ease, letting go of the oars; accepting, allowing, and appreciation.

MCU Temperament Battle: Tony Stark vs Thanos

Tony Stark and Thanos are great examples of two different kinds of choleric.

Stark is choleric-sanguine, which means his primary temperament is choleric and his secondary is sanguine.

The choleric aspect is clear in his self-confidence, pride and arrogance, and his air of being the smartest guy in the room (even if he is). He has an indefatigable belief that he can fix anything through his own genius and will.

The sanguine aspect comes through in his vanity, his love of acclaim (though he takes it lightly), his “playboy” love of nice things, and even the aesthetic value of his Ironman tech.

MBTI

Choleric-sanguine translates into either an INTJ or ENTJ. The top two functions are introverted intuition (Ni) and extroverted thinking (Te).

Stark’s Ni is expressed through his technology, which he creates and wields with the same intuitive, creative flair. Contrast this with Hank Pym and his inventions, which are depicted as difficult to control, rough around the edges, and Pym himself as testy and very particular.

While Stark’s Ni and technology are flawless and constantly evolving, his Te is prone to create problems – as shown in Age of Ultron and Civil War. If Stark stuck to developing his ever-advancing technology half the plot points of Avengers would never arise. It’s his judgement (Te) that backfires in spectacular ways.

For this reason I would argue Stark is INTJ, Ni his dominant and Te his auxiliary.

Thanos

Thanos is choleric-phlegmatic.

Like Stark, Thanos has an unrelenting self-belief and inner certitude. He is ambitious, though his ambitions are channeled into his own personal crusade to “save” the universe. He is convinced of his own importance as saviour of all life, yet approaches his goal in completely pragmatic and ruthlessly direct ways.

But Thanos isn’t interested in nice things or having fun. His secondary temperament is not sanguine but phlegmatic. His vision of retirement is an austere farmer’s hut. And far from Stark’s impassioned efforts to protect Earth, Thanos slowly and steadily moves his chess pieces into position.

MBTI

Choleric-phlegmatic is either ENTP or INTP. For NTPs the two main functions are extroverted intuition (Ne) and introverted thinking (Ti).

Thanos’ Ne is demonstrated in his eclectic collection of “children” who serve him in a “this kid might be useful one day” way.

It’s also evident in the very unconventional idea of randomly killing half a population to save it.

It’s also evident in his acuity: how quickly he seizes on a single word or reaction from an enemy and infers the bigger picture.

His Ti is evident in his pursuit of his ambition through what is revealed to be a long-term plan of obtaining the Infinity Stones over the course of about a decade.

Thanos is an excellent example of an NTP using external resources as their strength, relying on their own Ti and Ne to wage a strategic war and a tactical battle.

It’s not always easy to pick the difference between introverted and extroverted versions of the same type. It’s ultimately a question of which of the two main functions appears stronger.

In this case I would argue that Thanos is ENTP, because of the comparative weakness of his Ti and his singular focus on his ambition of saving the universe from itself.

Head-to-head

Both Stark and Thanos show poor judgement in their use of auxiliary thinking functions. Stark’s weaker Te leads him to make rash decisions without considering possible consequences or alternatives. He’s so used to being the smartest guy in the room, but doesn’t realise his Ni can be blinkered.

Thanos’ weaker Ti keeps him fixated on his deeply skewed “solution” despite all the self-evident flaws. He is so adamant that his way is the right way, and that the universe ought to thank him if only it could share his vision.

At one point Thanos tells Stark that they are both cursed by knowledge. But Stark’s knowledge was an intuitive vision of an alien threat, whereas Thanos’ knowledge was the subjective theorising of his own Ti.

Ni vs Ne

In their strengths the differences between these two cholerics is instructive.

While Thanos is a great warrior, his true strength comes from the powerful warriors, weapons, and Infinity Stones he has collected and made use of. Even the Infinity Gauntlet he wields is something he himself couldn’t create, but had to use the skills of others to obtain. It’s Thanos’ Ne that allows him to identify and exploit these external powers.

By contrast Stark is the kind of choleric who would do everything himself if he could (and sometimes does, using empty suits as extensions of himself). His power comes from his own Ni, which gives him an intuitive knowing that amounts to genius.

In real life choleric-phlegmatics will have skills of their own and choleric-sanguines will draw on the aid of others, but extreme characters like Stark and Thanos help us understand the core of these temperaments and how they are likely to behave.

Remember to let go

It’s funny how, when life is going well because we’ve let go, it can be suddenly enticing to pick up the oars and hurry things along.

Letting go points us in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean we can rush off in that direction and get there sooner.

Impatience, the desire to be in control, these impulses suggest some resistance to the journey, a refusal to find satisfaction in the moment.

Letting go, allowing, can’t be rushed because it’s all about learning to rely on a greater power than ourselves. What we need is practice: steady, consistent practice that will one day become permanent.

Temperament Project 05: Why Does Temperament Matter?

Everyone is unique, but at the same time we are all the same.

Between those not-very-useful extremes, personality theories can help us group people together according to various traits.

Temperament is one way of grouping people. It’s useful because it reflects salient features of personality that we can observe in everyday life.

Without a system like the four temperaments we have to treat each individual as “same but different” to an unknown degree.

Once you’ve mastered the basics of temperament you can quickly and easily identify what drives a person and hence how they are likely to act and interact.

Threat analysis

We can tell that some people are “pushy” because they push us. It’s self-evident.

But have you ever been caught by surprise when someone who never pushed before, someone you thought you knew well, suddenly turns around and starts pushing hard?

If you don’t understand the temperaments you might take friendliness and shared interests at face value and think “this person is like me, we’re on the same page” and then be totally flummoxed when they do or say something that you would never do or say.

The fact is that people of different temperaments can have aligned interests or values in one aspect of life, but be completely different and at odds in every other way.

Melancholic vs Choleric

I’ve had my own share of experiences where I mistook friendship and shared values and interests to mean a shared understanding and similar personality.

But as a melancholic my interests and values always tended towards idealism while my choleric friends were always interested in ambition and standing.

As a melancholic my ideal of friendship is a deep personal connection with another individual. But for some cholerics friendship is more about having an entourage of useful and affirming people behind them.

As a melancholic my ideal of leadership is taking responsibility and making decisions in the best interests of the group. But for some cholerics that ideal is tempered by the perks and power of leadership for its own sake.

A choleric who seeks leadership does so because it’s a desirable position for him to hold. A melancholic who reluctantly takes leadership does it because no one else is willing, able, or competent enough.

Mindful interactions

These days I can pick people’s temperaments almost immediately. The more extreme they are, the easier to pick. And conversely the harder they are to pick, the more balanced and easy to get along with they are.

When I pick someone as choleric it means I know not to take offence if they say or do something that seems rude or arrogant from my point of view.

It means I don’t expect them to make idealistic decisions, so I’m not surprised when they do things that I would regard as impossibly cynical or pragmatic.

I’m aware that with some cholerics I’m being quickly and quietly assessed for my usefulness to them, and I make a point of not being useful 😅

But I also respect cholerics who have genuine skill, knowledge and expertise, and I have even greater respect for those who work against their ingrained pride and temper themselves.

I still have several choleric friends, and knowing them has deepened my appreciation for the variations within that temperament, while keeping in mind the basic nature of cholerics generally has helped me understand these individuals and avoid the conflicts that arise when I assume other people think like me.