Bonus post: don’t forget relief!

This work is subtle.

Can you tell the difference between contentment versus trying to feel contentment?

Trying is never a good idea because it implies a denial or refusal to accept where you are.

It’s easy to think you’re in control, feel content, then find an old negative thought and lose your contentment.

How do you get back up? You can’t force it. You need relief.

Relief.

Relief can be used whenever you are feeling less than content. Relief is the feeling of resistance letting go, bringing you closer to alignment.

I’m told that after contentment, letting go of resistance feels like fun because the positive now outweighs the negative.

So wherever you are, find a feeling of relief until you eventually arrive at contentment (could be ten minutes, could be ten months, depending on subjects and individuals).

Ups and downs

In my experience on this journey I’ve run into two mistakes. The first is trying to get ahead of where I am instead of just feeling relief.

Relief always works, nothing else works better than relief. Use whatever thoughts bring you relief. Relief is a path that can’t fail unless you stumble into the second mistake of thinking:

“Well if relief is so great, more relief will be even greater!!”

This can trip us up because it sounds like we are still finding relief. But in fact we are rejecting relief for the sake of some unlikely thing called “more relief”. But relief is just relief, and rejecting it for any reason is a mistake.

New territory

I was going to say I’ve made three mistakes, but I’m cutting myself some slack on this one because it was new territory for me.

On arriving at the stage of contentment, relief doesn’t work anymore. I wasn’t expecting that, because I’ve never been to contentment so deliberately till now.

I didn’t know how to proceed, and since I was feeling pretty good I decided to try to feel “more good”.

It turns out that “more good” is like “more relief”, spurious and misleading.

What I will try to do next time is just enjoy the good feeling in the same way that I enjoy the relief feeling, without trying to make it more or bigger.

It’s a game…22!

I had an amazing experience recently where I was completely tuned in and aligned. I felt really good, and I knew exactly the right words to say, and I was funny! Perfect timing, the right words, and an unshakable good feeling.

This experience was so good that I wanted more. I had a taste of how good alignment feels and I wanted to return to it as soon as possible.

But it didn’t quite work out that way. I felt like I was making progress in feeling really good and finding alignment, but then I’d come crashing down and feel terrible.

This up and down cycle hit me a couple of times before I understood what was happening: I was desperate to feel alignment again, and rejecting where I was. I was no longer practicing contentment, relief, or feeling better. In other words, I was getting ahead of myself.

The answer…difficult thought it seemed…was to be content once more with how I was feeling and where I was, even though it wasn’t as amazing as alignment.

It sounds paradoxical, but this is still a vibrational game and you get out of it what you put into it. So if you put in contentment you get contentment, if you put in insufficiency you get insufficiency.

Where we trip ourselves up is that we think God responds to the intentionality of our vibrational states. We fear that if we are feeling contentment, God will say “okay, cool, if you’re happy I’ll just leave things the way they are.” We think the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

But that’s not how God operates. God says that if we believe we have received what we ask for, then it will be added to us.

So what does “insufficiency” do? It stops us receiving what we have asked for, and so it becomes more insufficiency.

That’s why chasing anything – including alignment – doesn’t work. Because it is driven by a sense of insufficiency or lack.

But if we can find contentment, we allow ourselves to receive more of the good feelings, ideas, and manifestations that match genuine contentment.

So embrace the paradox. Find contentment wherever you are and more will be added to you.

It’s a game…21!

Your inner being adores you, because you are the physical manifestation of its desire to experience time-space reality.

When you learn to love yourself in the same way you come into alignment with your inner being.

Your inner being also adores where you are, your physical circumstances. Because although it sees both the wanted and unwanted aspects of those circumstances, it focuses only on the wanted, and how these wanted aspects perfectly reflect your shared desires and preferences.

We can also learn to love our experience in the same way, if we focus more on appreciating the wanted and focus less on anything unwanted.

Just knowing that it is possible to adore where we are, helps us to find aspects of it to appreciate. Every little bit of appreciation helps, and as we practice appreciation we are allowing in more circumstances and experiences of a like nature.

This has always been implicit in the Abraham-Hicks teachings: find the feeling-place of what you desire. Feel good as if your desires were already right in front of you.

But it helps to know that even your present circumstances are overflowing with adorable aspects if you can just tune yourself into appreciating them.

Even things we take for granted are answers to our inner being’s desire to be here and experience this life: gravity that keeps everything on the ground, the air we breath, the light that illuminates our whole world, the earth beneath us and the sky above us.

There’s an abundance of things to appreciate and adore in every moment. And as we learn to see things this way, we come into alignment with our inner being and we release our resistance to the many other desired things and experiences flowing into our lives.

Freedom from desires

I’m beginning to understand why some spiritual teachings talk about having no desires.

It’s not that they have no desires or preferences, but that they have learned to find happiness independent of external conditions.

This is not an outright denial of desire, but an acknowledgement that we do not need to wait for the fulfilment of desire in order to feel good.

Just thinking about the things we desire brings us the good feeling, so long as we don’t counteract it with thoughts of obstacles and unwanted conditions.

But “freedom from desire” is not as advertised. More like freedom from conditionality. Freedom from requiring desires to be physically manifested before we can feel good.

You don’t need to eliminate desires. You can’t. Just recognise that you can feel good right now without needing to see it first. Blessed are those who believe without seeing.

It’s a game…20!

The good news about boredom.

I get bored easily. I have friends who get bored a lot, and it can feel like the bane of our existence.

Not to mention the nagging feeling that it’s our fault. If only we were out living more adventurous and fulfilling lives full of people and activities.

“I don’t have time to be bored, too busy having fun!” taunts the inner voice of imagined instagramable extroverts. “Just get out there and live life!”

So the first bit of good news is that they’re wrong. Taking action to overcome boredom doesn’t work, as you well know. When you are bored everything you touch gets infected by the dissatisfying ennui.

If you’re frequently and strongly bored, then you’re obviously not in a place to embrace sudden inspiration. Ignore those people who make it sound like boredom would no longer be a problem if only you’d love more like them.

So what can you do to relieve boredom?

Well the second bit of good news is that this is the wrong question to be asking. Trying to get rid of boredom doesn’t work because you can’t push things out of your experience by giving them attention.

The right question is this:

How can I feel better about being bored?

Finding relief

The third and biggest bit of good news about boredom is that it’s actually a very high emotional state! It’s the highest you can get while still being negative.

I used to think boredom proved that life was bad, because it was often the best I felt. When nothing bad was going on I just felt bored.

If only I had known how close boredom is to contentment! Boredom is one step away from contentment on the emotional guidance scale. Having lots of boredom, being frequently bored; this is excellent news because it means you are frequently so close to contentment!!!

All it takes to go from boredom to contentment is a little relief. Just knowing that boredom is so close will help. Next time you feel bored, look for relief not in the direction of excitement or inspiration or enthusiasm because that is too big a jump. Instead look for relief in the direction of being content.

All those times I felt bored I was focused on the lack of excitement and enthusiasm and interest and novelty. But if I had instead started appreciating what I already had: lying on the couch with the window streaming sunlight over me, nothing needing my attention, no one hassling me. No effort required, no jobs to be done. Appreciating the stability and security of my home. Appreciating being in my body and relaxing.

Just look for relief that feels like contentment, and when you feel content let that be enough for you.

Turning lead into gold

I think it was Jung who popularised the idea that alchemy was about inner transformation. Turning “base metals” into gold was really about turning boredom and other negative emotions into contentment and other positive ones.

Isn’t it wonderful then to know that all your boredom can become gold? Instead of complaining about how often you feel bored, isn’t it exciting to realise that you are that often on the verge of contentment?

The lead of boredom can become the gold o contentment. All it takes is the practice of finding relief in that direction.

After all, if you are feeling bored it means first and foremost that you have everything you need. And since you create your reality that means you have allowed yourself to receive so much already.

You are right on the tipping point, and now that supposed bane of your experience is the threshold to your happiness.

It’s a game…19!

If I were helping a friend navigate the “create your reality” game, how would I go about it?

Be honest…where are you emotionally?

The first thing would be an honest assessment of where you are emotionally on a daily basis.

For many people this is straightforward: a mix of positive and negative emotion.

For others it is predominantly negative emotion.

And for a minority it is both negative and also obscured by defence mechanisms like emotional inhibition.

That’s not to say this third group is lacking positive emotions, just that it isn’t immediately clear to them how they are feeling.

Some people can’t tell the difference between how they feel, and how they think they should feel.

Feeling good…or just a little less bad?

Where you are emotionally will determine the next step.

If you are in a mix of positive and negative emotion, your aim would be to focus on the positives and stop activating the negatives.

Whatever is going well for you, draw on that more. When negatives arise you can start finding better-feeling thoughts on those subjects.

If you’re feeling really good you can even start visualising and imagining things you’d enjoy having in your life!

But if you’re more on the negative end of the scale these efforts would backfire. Trying to feel really good when you’re in a persistently negative place is like trying to go jogging when you’re meant to be in rehab.

Vibrational rehab

People who feel persistently bad have usually spent many years practicing patterns of thoughts and attitudes that cause negative emotion.

One of these patterns is called “all-or-nothing” thinking in cognitive behavioural therapy. That’s the kind of thinking that says “learning to walk again is too slow, I’m going to start running!” Or “getting out of debt won’t solve my problems, I need to get rich right now!”

Or more directly if these analogies don’t grab you: “feeling less bad isn’t enough. I want to feel amazing!”

At the heart of this all-or-nothing attitude is resistance that leads to impatience and self-sabotage. You may not think you are sabotaging yourself but the bottom line is feeling so bad about where you are that you’ll only make a move if you’re guaranteed a radical and immediate transformation.

The challenge here is that accepting a small improvement means acknowledging how bad you feel already. We want to think we are close to our goal of feeling wonderful, and the more modest goal of feeling “slightly less awful” is like a slap in the face.

Learning to focus

But like any skill, deliberately feeling good cannot be faked. Whatever your learning process looks like (and biting off more than you can chew is also a learning process) the end result must include the ability to soothe negative emotions and allow positive ones to gain momentum.

I’ve spent three years working on this material, after more than 30 years of developing habits of thought that didn’t serve me – as well as many that did serve me.

The best way is to practice feeling slight relief. Deliberately finding a feeling of relief repeatedly throughout your day.

Finding relief is the mechanism of alignment. It is the way of opening up to the pure positive energy of your inner being.

Don’t think that slight relief is “not enough”. Just like the rehab example: relief is to feeling good as learning to bear weight on your legs is to running.

There’s not a single skill you’ve ever learned that didn’t start with the most modest attempt. Children must learn to sit up before they can stand, stand before they can walk, and walk before they can run. At not a single point do they beat themselves up for not running straight away.

Feeling good is something you’ve never deliberately practiced before. Cut yourself all the slack in the world and practice feeling relief, and applaud yourself every time you do!

It’s a game…18!

If you practice feeling good/better/less bad/relief you will gradually encounter and then release all resistance within you.

You don’t have to go looking for it. It’s just like water flowing into a river and gradually eroding all obstacles and blockages.

And spontaneously issues will arise, discomfort, negative emotion and resistance. All you need to do is find relief and the answers will come.

Today my path of feeling good has brought me relief from some more resistance.

I learned as a child that I was wrong to feel good when those around me felt bad. I was told – and eventually accepted – that it was unfair and selfish for me to be happy when those around me were unhappy.

From this I understood that before I could legitimately be happy I had to share in the burdens and problems that were responsible for other people’s unhappiness.

As a simple example: it was put to me that I was happy because I wasn’t responsible for the upkeep of the family home. My compassionate response was to help, to lessen the burden on those who were suffering.

It took me many years to learn that this kind of “suffering” was not caused by burdensome tasks. Rather, people’s attitude and vibration of burden and suffering caused them to find corresponding tasks and use them as excuses to stay out of alignment with their own inner being.

There was nothing I could do to help a misaligned person find their alignment. The best thing I could have done at that time or at any time is to find my own alignment and not add momentum to others’ stories of trouble and woe.

The best and most compassionate thing I can do for anyone is to begin with compassion and love for myself, which means allowing myself to feel relief and practicing feeling good regardless of conditions and circumstances.

I don’t need others’ permission for me to feel good. I don’t need others to be happy as a prerequisite for my own happiness. I can be happy right now, and let those good feelings be enough for me.

It’s a game…17!

When we focus on unwanted conditions we feel bad.

When we focus on wanted conditions we feel good.

But what actually feels good or bad is our alignment or misalignment of thought/vibration relative to our inner being.

Alignment feels good, so why don’t we practice it all the time? Why do we focus on things that feel bad?

It’s because we think that having the conditions we desire right now will make it easier for us to find good-feeling thoughts about them, appreciate them in more depth and detail, and thereby find even greater alignment more easily.

Which is partly true – it’s easier to appreciate a bright sunny day when it is actually bright and sunny, as opposed to when it is raining and dark.

It’s easier, but often we take these good things for granted; the habit of thinking “I’d feel better if…” is pernicious.

After all, that’s what you are doing right now: you’re thinking “I’d feel better if…” and ignoring all the things that are already manifested and going well for you.

So the “I’d feel better if…” attitude is theoretically true but actually false. You won’t feel better if you have the physical manifestation of what you desire, because you’re practiced in the attitude of “I’d feel better if…” and so you will soon turn your attention to something else that is lacking or unwanted in your experience.

That’s why it is more powerful to practice appreciating things that are already going well for you, however small and taken for granted they may be.

The ideal is to accept that feeling good, feeling better is the real essence of our desire, and (don’t panic) find a way to feel good/better right now and let that be enough, even though your physical conditions aren’t how you want them to be.

It’s a game…16!

Feeling good right now.

There’s a bit of a paradox in the create your reality game: by feeling good you allow yourself to receive the physical manifestations of your desires and preferences. But the catch is that you have to feel good right now in the absence of your desires.

We don’t want to. We’re afraid that if we feel good without our desires being fulfilled, our desires will never come. We are afraid that if we’re happy right now God or the universe or our inner being will say “well if you’re happy with how things are, there’s no need to change”.

It takes a bit of nudging to go from thinking “how can i be happy in the absence of my precious desires” to something more like “I might as well feel really good while I wait!”

And that’s how it works. If you can feel good right now without needing to look at physical manifestations that please you, then you are on the right track. But so long as you’re thinking “…and then I’ll get what I want and be truly happy” it won’t come.

What are desires?

Bonus post!

In the Abraham-Hicks teachings preferences and desires are central.

The basic framework is “ask and it is given”:

1. Experience of contrast causes us to launch “rockets” of desire, consciously or not.

2. Source/inner being immediately expands to become a vibrational match to our desires.

3. We allow ourselves to keep up with the expansion of our inner being, and thereby become a match to our desires too.

Step 1 and 2 happen automatically and immediately. We can’t help but launch these rockets of desire and preference all the time, and our inner being becomes a match in that same moment.

From a vibrational standpoint our desire is already granted. But step 3 depends on us, our free will and control of our attention and focus.

If we focus in alignment with our inner being then we are a vibrational match and our physical reality will change to reflect our vibrational reality.

But if we focus out of alignment, this misalignment is reflected in our physical reality instead.

What A-H calls “the art of allowing” is learning to focus on things that feel good, stay in alignment, and therefore easily go with the expansion of our inner being.

What is desire?

Not that we need to know this, but it’s so cool I wanted to share it.

Recently I heard A-H describe in passing how brief most of our moments of alignment are before we throw ourselves into misalignment once more.

So brief in fact that they describe our desires as “rockets”; because desires are in fact moments of pure alignment.

Desire is a brief instance of alignment called forth and allowed by us in response to contrasting experience.

Desire is not yearning or need or hunger – it’s a moment of calling on our inner being with clarity and purpose in response to contrast. It could be so brief we don’t notice it, or it could be big enough that we begin calling on it more and more.

So it makes sense why step 1 and step 2 are so effortless and close together: the moment of asking is the moment of answering.

We wordlessly ask and the asking is itself an invocation of our inner being’s power – grace.

That is why desires feel so good! They are the crack in our resistance through which the light streams in.

But most of us turn away from that light and focus on the darkness. “How is this desire going to be fulfilled? How can I make it happen? It doesn’t seem very realistic! I’ve never heard of this kind of thing happening easily. I really wish it would happen! I need it to happen!”

We end up focused negatively on the subject rather than positively on the desire.

And yet the desire is already its own answer. Vibrationally the desire already feels good if we don’t squelch it wig resistant thoughts.

That is the art of allowing – to not squelch and stifle our good feeling thoughts and desires with bad feeling ones.

Doesn’t matter how “true” or “justified” those bad feeling thoughts feel. If you feel bad you are focused out of alignment and you cannot share in the joy and freedom and expansion of your inner being.

So if you can feel good about your desires, then do that. If you can’t, then find anything else to feel good about, or better, or less bad, or just relief.

You don’t ever need to focus on your desires because your inner being has already become them. You just need to find your way into alignment, and that’s the path of caring a out how you feel and finding a way to feel better.