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.

Practicing happiness 23

Feeling good vs feeling normal.

I want to flesh out a subtle point in the Abraham-Hicks teachings. I think it’s an implicit point and I haven’t seen it described quite this way before.

When our thoughts are aligned with our desires (and hence our inner being) we feel positive emotion.

When our thoughts contradict or resist our desires (and our inner being) we feel negative emotion.

Throughout each day we experience a range of alignment and misalignment, positive and negative emotion. Some of us spend more time in the negative and others spend more time in the positive.

The average of this range is our “point of attraction” or “set point”. But I think of this as an area rather than a point, having a range albeit a small one.

Everything in this range feels “normal” to us, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. We don’t like the negatives and we do like the positives, but they still feel normal or expected to us.

Shifting “normal”

I think the real point of the A-H teachings is to shift the range of what we consider normal, so that there is more positive and less negative.

But most of us approach these teachings with a desire to obtain things that are quite far outside our normal range. We fixate on “big” desires that we think would feel amazing if we achieved them.

But amazing is a long way from normal. “Amazing” is like saying “far away”. And if we set our attention on things that are far away we will inevitably experience distance.

This distance translates into a believability issue. It would be “amazing” to wake up tomorrow and find you’ve won the lottery. But if it feels amazing in that distant sense, you probably don’t believe it will happen.

Ironically, if it feels “amazing” that probably means you have a lot of resistance to it. If you really believed you were going to win the lottery tomorrow it wouldn’t feel amazing after all. It would feel normal to you. Positive, but in a normal way.

Thats why the A-H teachings emphasise ease and satisfaction and appreciation.

Recalibrating normalcy

It’s counter-intuitive, but if we focus on good things that feel “normal” we tune ourselves into allowing our preferences and desires. Whereas if we focus on distant things that feel “amazing” we implicitly reinforce our resistance to them.

Focusing on amazing distant things we don’t have is like saying “I’d feel better if I had that”. But if you had it, you would soon adjust to it as it became part of your new normal.

So the real question is what constitutes your “normal” set point? Is it a normal of allowing and appreciating good things? Or is it a normal of resisting and yearning for distant things?

The point of the A-H teachings is to change your normal…not by greatly changing the contents of your life right now, but by changing your own relationship to the flow of wanted and unwanted in your right now experience.

Because even in an experience with lots of resistance there is still some allowing of good things. Do you appreciate these things? Or do you deride them as insignificant?

Are you focusing on the fulfilment of your preferences or the denial of them? Because your “normal” contains both, and where you focus determines which one will grow in your future.

Am I looking at my normal experience through the lens of getting rid of unwanted things? Or through the lens of appreciating wanted things?

Appreciation doesn’t mean I have to feel ecstatic about every little thing in my life. I don’t have to feel wonderful that so many of my preferences are being met. But to at least acknowledge that they are being met is an excellent shift to make.

What do you prefer?

Do I prefer having a couch to sit on, or having nowhere to sit? Obviously I prefer having it. How does it feel to have it? Of course it feels normal. Does it feel good? Yes of course it feels good to have my preference met.

I could at this point say that it doesn’t meet all my preferences in a couch, or a couch isn’t a very significant preference, etc. But that’s just resistance.

Go back to the preference. Couch or no couch? Couch. Feels good? Yes.

Now I could also object that it doesn’t feel good enough, this good feeling isn’t really changing my life. But that’s resistance too.

Try preferencing again: good feeling about couch or no good feeling about couch? Well when you put it that way, I prefer having a good feeling about my couch.

By extension: do I prefer feeling good about all my many preferences that are being met right this minute? Or do I prefer not feeling good about them? Of course I prefer feeling good about them.

And here’s a glimpse of the whole milieu of preferences that I have allowed into my experience. It’s a snapshot of my “normal” degree of allowing vs resistance. It’s an insight into how good I’m letting my life be, objectively how many preferences I’m letting be met.

Ultimately even something as cliche as winning the lottery is just a preference. It’s not a game-changing deus ex machina that changes everything about your life. It’s not an emotional atom bomb of joy and amazement that will keep you glowing for years to come.

It’s just a preference some people have. And for many it’s a stick to beat themselves and their normal experience with….a symptom, not salvation.

In reality there are so many preferences met that I take for granted in my daily life, it’s shameful that I ignore them and wish for “more”.

I’m literally uplifted and sustained by a whole web of preferences I’m allowing on a daily basis. I go from one good thing to another, albeit taking them for granted most of the time.

As a teenager I would have been overawed at all the stuff I have now. But today I’m just expecting it to be there. I shouldn’t feel overawed anymore, that’s not the point, but if I want more of my preferences met I should take stock of where, how, and why my life is so full of things I desire, value, like, and prefer.

Inspiration, expectation, validation

The feeling I’ve been writing about and calling inspiration is everything I’ve ever wanted to feel, and therefore the reason for every manifestation I’ve ever desired, every preference I’ve ever formed in response to life’s circumstances.

Feeling inspired is so nice. And to make it complete, it’s time to start expecting life to reflect this inspired feeling in me.

Expectation means knowing and believing that manifest reality must respond to my alignment with God, my inner being.

And it has. Last night things just unfolded so smoothly and easily. My timing was perfect, small things happened that I really enjoyed and appreciated.

These changes match my expectation that by feeling good I’m allowing God’s blessings and graces to flow into my experience more than before. Or better yet: feeling inspired is the sign that I’m allowing these blessings to flow, and everything else must follow.

Best of all, these manifestations validate the good feeling inside me. They complete my expectation that my alignment – indicated by how I feel – is everything in my reality. They demonstrate to my own satisfaction that this is indeed how it works, I do create my reality and my feelings are guidance as to my alignment with Source, and with everything I desire.

At the same time, this beautiful unfolding of inspiration into expectation, and the validation of life’s response is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m inspired because I’ve finally realised that’s how I want to feel and I’ve let go of obstacles to feeling it.

I expect life to change to reflect my inspiration, and having the expectation is what allows me to receive those changes.

And looking forward to validation is what allows me to recognise the validation pouring in. None of this can happen to a hostile observer. None of this can come into to “prove” against our convictions to the contrary.

Allowing inspiration, allowing expectation, and allowing validation; it’s a virtuous circle.

From anxiety to eagerness

I had an interesting experience just now as I went for a nice midday walk with my wife:

It was the most relaxed and happy I’ve ever felt on a leisurely stroll, but after half an hour I started to feel unwell, a little like being car sick.

I didn’t know why, but asked for an easy explanation and immediately I knew what was going on.

Dampening the senses

In the past my anxiety levels were much higher, and walking without a purpose or destination would trigger lots of vigilant behaviour that made me tense and uncomfortable.

In an effort to combat the anxiety I would do various things to dampen my sensory acuity and block out or filter the stimulation flowing in.

But anxiety itself would also filter and channel my awareness in strange ways, heightening my attention to movement, sounds, and possible “threats” in a fight-or-flight way.

I won’t bother trying to detail all the little things that contributed to this tunnel vision or active filtering of my sensory experience. Suffice it to say that being more relaxed and appreciative as I walked had an impact on those processes and left me feeling disoriented and then sick.

Rediscovering eagerness

As usual the answer was to “feel better”. And what felt better in those circumstances was to allow myself to once more feel an eagerness, excitement, and active engagement with my environment.

My previous attitude was like putting on blinkers to relieve the stress and anxiety of too much going on. But now that I feel better I actually want to see what is going on, appreciate it, take it all in, and revel in the environment around me.

This change in attitude is the difference between fearfulness and anticipation, a shift from wanting to hide and be invisible to looking out with a sense of eagerness for what my universe has in store for me.

I think the nausea was a direct physiological response to subtle things I was doing to avoid looking at the world clearly. But since I create my reality, I know that looking for things to relish and look forward to will eclipse and outshine anything I would once have sought to avoid.

From relief to appreciation

Everything is changing, evolving, and expanding.

The last few days of meditation have been like a flood of relief. Today it no longer feels like relief, and once upon a time I’d have lost faith and given up because “it’s not working anymore”.

But relief is the feeling of releasing resistance, and it doesn’t make sense to think that there must be never-ending resistance to let go.

Think of relief as preparing a space for appreciation. When the same practice of meditation – letting go of your thoughts and your stories – is no longer bringing relief, that’s actually a sign of progress.

Appreciation is a more stable, powerful, aligned energy than relief. Relief only comes when we let go of resistance, but appreciation can be forever.

Sometimes it’s easier to focus on relief without finding the appreciation implicit in it. It’s a relief to get what you want after a long period of feeling deprived. But often we get what we want and then immediately forget about it, moving on to the next thing.

It’s how you play the game

I’m gradually getting my head around this idea, from the Abraham-Hicks teaching, that life will always contain contrast and always call us to expand. The question is how we welcome (or don’t) this call.

From a negative point of view nothing in life will ever be “enough”, we will always want more and never find contentment. No sooner are our desires fulfilled than we want something new.

But from a positive perspective this inherent incompleteness is the source of growth and expansion. If we can just learn to appreciate what is, and find a way to feel eager about what is coming next, then instead of an unending struggle or Sisyphean frustration, the exact same life is revealed to be an infinite journey of discovery and ease.

The flip side of “something always goes wrong” is that things are always getting better.

Floating downstream

When we look at life in ways that feel bad, we are fighting the current that carries us.

But as we learn to let go of the oars, we feel relief at giving up the struggle followed by enjoyment of the easy journey before us.

It’s the ease of this journey, and the sheer genius of the blessings along the way, that offer us endless opportunities for appreciation and savour.

Relief comes when you rest your tired muscles. But when they are no longer tired, then relief is replaced by enjoyment, satisfaction, and appreciation.

Take it for granted?

It might seem unfair, but good things in life happen to the most positive, happiest, easy-going people.

We might prefer that good things happen to us because of how hard life has been, or how much we’ve struggled, but it doesn’t work that way.

It makes sense, because the positive, easy-going people are appreciative of everything. They’re so appreciative that they take good things for granted.

Isn’t that bad?

Were told that it’s bad to take things for granted. We think it means the opposite of appreciation and gratitude.

But to grant means to give, bestow, or allow. Taking for granted doesn’t mean being ungrateful, it means:

“to regard (something) as not requiring proof”

In other words, taking for granted is believing without seeing.

Getting it wrong

Sometimes we resent positive, easy-going people for the good things they enjoy. We tell ourselves that we would appreciate good things much more, because we don’t expect them.

Aren’t we therefore more deserving?

But that’s not how it works. God is bestowing good things on all of us, but it’s up to us to accept or allow them.

God makes the rain fall on the fields of the good and the bad alike. Like the parable of the workers in the field, He undeservedly pays the same wage to the late-comers as to those who had worked all day.

When we look askance at those who seem to have good things just fall in their lap, aren’t we like the all-day workers griping at the unfairness of it all, and thereby missing the point about the One who grants us everything?

Taking as given

The good news is that we can change our attitude from one of negativity, struggle, and griping, to one of positivity, expectation, and trust.

After all, each of us has aspects of life where we take good things for granted – take them as given – however small they might seem.

It takes practice to change, but as I meditate I feel the relief of letting go of old stories where I’m struggling and hard-done-by. I begin to feel the tremendous ease of life. I feel that nothing could really be a problem or an obstacle unless I tell a story about it being a problem or an obstacle.

And if I let go of that story, I feel the immense reserves of pure energy quietly beside and within me. Nothing ostentatious or grand, but an ever-fluid ocean of potential, of power.

My only mistake is trying to put up walls in and around that moving presence. The walls of story and belief can’t capture or contain or limit this ocean; all they can do is make me sea-sick and distraught at the effort of holding them together.

As easy as that ocean feels, let me feel that same ease in life. Let me trust that I will float on its currents, and not be dashed to pieces on the rocks. Let me inhabit the breadth and magnitude of it, as I know that it uplifts and sustains us all.

In the receptive mode

God wants us to be happy.

“All things work for the good of those who love God”.

God is always shining love and light and blessings upon us. He is always turning circumstances and conditions to our advantage. He is constantly bringing us satisfying and fulfilling experiences.

All we need do is appreciate, allow, and receive these benefits. There are no preconditions or requirements unless we call “receiving” a requirement or “appreciating” a precondition.

Allowing, trusting, accepting, these attitudes let us see the good things coming to us and feel the alignment with God’s love and joy within us.

It’s easy; it only seems difficult or elusive because we have practiced looking for difficulties and treating happiness as hard to find.

As we practice feeling better we begin to appreciate this lightness and ease. We appreciate and enjoy the feelings of relief that well up inside as we let go of any struggle or effort.

Allowing life to be easy is all it takes for life to actually be easy. Allowing good things to come is all it takes for good things to actually come.

It is only our resistance that disallows, and resistance lies in thoughts like “life is hard” instead of “life is easy”.

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.

I want vitality

I’ve changed the title from wanting to be free of pain, because it’s much more effective to focus on the wanted than the unwanted.

When pain or other unwanted physical symptoms arise they tend to grab our attention.

But that’s largely because we haven’t practiced directing and focusing our thoughts and attention.

My pain used to arise whenever I was stressed. But I’m much better at letting go of stress now.

So now I’m noticing pain arise differently: it arises after I’ve been feeling really good.

A faster stream

Abraham-Hicks uses the metaphor of a stream to make the point that when we feel good our stream is flowing faster. While feeling good is obviously what we desire, a faster flowing stream means that resistance is amplified.

A great example is when you work on improving your posture and find you can no longer bear slumped or slouching positons that used to feel normal.

Or when you take up exercise and find you can no longer bear sitting in front of the TV like you once did.

After feeling good?

Notice I said the pain now starts after I’ve been feeling good, and that means I’ve stopped focusing on thoughts that feel good, I’ve let my mind wander, and some old resistance has cropped up.

The best bet would be to not lose focus in the first place but that’s okay. It’s all part of the journey.

Instead we can take the opportunity to clean up our thoughts and attitude around whatever subject has triggered the resistance, or around the subject of our physical body itself.

A body that feels good

If you are prone to physical aches and pains like I have been, it means we’ve been telling an old story about our bodies that isn’t up to speed with the fullness of health and happiness.

I used to have many negative thoughts about my body, and I’m excited now about applying all that I’ve learned to my physical well-being.

The way forward is to start appreciating every aspect of your body that works well and feels good.

If your back hurts, I’ll bet nearly every other bit of you feels good in comparison. Appreciate the hell out of every inch of you that works well and feels good.

Appreciate instead of noticing or focusing on unwanted symptoms.

If you devoted as much time to appreciating what works, what feels good, as you have to what hurts…imagine the transformation to your quality of life and happiness!

We create pain…and appreciation

The truth is I used to ignore the parts of me that don’t hurt. So my physical self-image is of a body I only really noticed when it went wrong.

I’ve been training myself to look for unwanted aspects of my physical embodiment. And so all I have in my memory is selective evidence of a body that is always going wrong!

What I want now is a total inversion on that score: set an intention to feel physically good all the time, appreciate my wellness, and let aches and pains become the most minor exceptions to this new rule.

Feel good all day 1

Aaaaand I’m back!

Phew! It’s a relief to have a focal point once more, a coherent goal to guide my thoughts and feelings, an aspiration, and an inspiring ideal!

I can feel good all day. If I don’t, I can feel okay about it. Every time I feel less than good, it will help me focus and improve. Because that’s how we learn!

Plan of attack

First, focus on subjects that feel good and ignore subjects that don’t feel good.

If you can’t ignore a subject, start softening it so it doesn’t feel as bad, and then ignore it.

Appreciate: Weather, possessions, activities, interactions, ideas. Everything has an appreciable aspect to it, and if it doesn’t then soften and soothe your thoughts and then ignore it.

And above all keep reminding yourself that you want to feel good all day.

It’s easy. You know how to do it, you want to do it, and now you’re doing it!