Hold that thought! A vibrational shift

I wanted to share an example of vibrational shift because it’s good practice for me and might help some readers to see how I do it (but you do what works for you).

I’ve noticed a feeling of struggle, daily grind at home. I feel like there’s nothing really exciting for me or the kids to do, but plenty of unwanted tasks that have to get done.

I’m self-aware enough to know that I’ve had this attitude since I was a kid. It’s a great example of creating my reality consistently despite significant changes in my circumstances.

So instead of trying to change my circumstances, let me change how I feel, by changing my vibration.

I like to do this by finding the best-feeling thoughts available to me, and writing them out while I appreciate the feeling:

I love knowing that this is a vibrational game. I love knowing that my inner being adores where I am right now. I love knowing that all my desires are already fulfilled in vibrational reality. I love knowing that I am coming into alignment with that vibrational reality.

That’s all in A-H terms, but you can do the same in religious terms, or simply in basic emotional terms:

I love the feeling of freedom. I love the feeling of appreciation. I love feeling loved and appreciated. I love feeling ease and flow. I love knowing that everything is taken care of. I love knowing that everything is okay. I love knowing that I’m on the right path.

It’s entirely up to you what words or thoughts or ideas are most efficacious.

If I spend ten minutes focusing on these thoughts as I write them out, I feel different and that means I have successfully changed my vibrational focus.

I feel good and I acknowledge that I’m now broadcasting this much better-feeling vibration.

That’s all it takes. If we do that often enough and try to remain in that good-feeling place consistently, then life will be completely different.

The moment you stop the exercise you may find your old vibration reassert itself as you face “reality” again. But it’s actually you switching back to your old vibration that causes the negative feelings to return.

What does it take to stop the old vibration returning? Practice of the new vibration, awareness of when you’ve gone back to the old vibration, and not beating yourself up when that happens.

Just like learning to ride a bike, falling off is an inevitable part of becoming proficient.

Just like learning to play piano or touch-type – mistakes are just part of tuning yourself in to playing or typing perfectly. If you beat yourself up for every mistake you just slow down the learning process. Recognise the mistake and move in the direction you want to go.

Feel better, and when you feel worse just recognise that you’ve let your vibration slide. Write out your really good feeling thoughts and enjoy the feeling of those higher vibrations, with the intent to go deeper and stay longer each time.

For this subject of daily life feeling like a struggle, that tells me what I don’t want, and I can thereby use my exercise to focus in the direction of what I do want. This is called “pivoting”, as you find the opposite of the bad-feeling vibration.

Life is meant to be easy. Life is meant to be effortless. Everything works out for me. There’s no struggle or effort required. Ideas and inspiration spontaneously occur to me. Things just seem to work out. Things just seem to take care of themselves. There’s nothing that needs my urgent attention. There’s nothing that needs me to push or cajole it.

I create my reality. Everything comes together in response to my vibration. Everything is working out according to universal forces. Everything is a match to my vibration.

Life is easy. Life flows without struggle or effort. Life is a downstream ride. I allow things to take care of themselves. I allow things to work themselves out. I allow ease and joy into my experience. I allow love and happiness into my experience. I allow life to surprise and delight me. I allow life to enchant and satisfy me.

It’s a vibrational game!

Practicing happiness 13

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.

Writing your life: handling contrast

I’m learning to handle contrast (unwanted experience) better, and it reminds me of my writing experiences.

In the past I didn’t handle contrast very well. I was like a writer who recoils at his own clumsy self-expression and gives up on it immediately.

I’m becoming more like an experienced writer who knows that not every idea will work, and who doesn’t expect a first draft to be perfect. A writer who doesn’t give up just because the words don’t yet flow effortlessly into their final form.

But where I’m heading is the kind of mature writer who knows that it is never going to be “complete”, because the very act of writing expands my skill, heightens my expectations and refines my judgement.

Isn’t that why early drafts look bad? By the time we’ve finished the draft we are a better writer than before, and we see more room for improvement. Our ideas are more developed and nuanced, so we find better ways to phrase it. And sometimes we’re just done with a story or idea and we want something fresh and new.

Why is there contrast?

This applies to contrast in our lives too. Contrast will always be part of life because we will never stop expanding and growing.

But it’s up to us whether we think of contrast as a catastrophe, a reflection of our failings and a reason to give up like the writer who excoriates himself for a dissatisfying first attempt.

Or if we instead start to view contrast as part of the process, and even a sign of growth, expansion and development.

Contrast is inevitable because we are always moving forward, always deepening our expectations and refining our preferences.

Must contrast be painful?

It’s our thoughts about contrast that make contrast painful. If you think unwanted feelings and experiences mean you’ve failed, you’ve f***ed up, you took a wrong turn, you don’t deserve better, you’re a bad person, then of course you will feel terrible when contrast comes.

If you are afraid of contrast, afraid of the unwanted in life, then your experience is going to be uncomfortable, like a would-be writer who doesn’t ever want to reread or edit his own work.

This all-or-nothing attitude makes contrast painful. It is itself a form of contrast, reflected in the rigidity and fear and anxiety that governs your world.

And yet it is liberating to know that contrast is not even bad. Unwanted experiences are not truly unwanted, they are part of the dynamic, how the whole of reality works.

Because you could not form new preferences without releasing old ones. You could not refine your desires without your unrefined desire being discarded. You could not expand without your prior existence seeming too small.

But that doesn’t mean you have to hate and bemoan where you are/were. Instead appreciate how it has fed and informed your expansion. And see if you can at least not freak out when contrast happens again!

Life is meant to be fun

My wife told me last night that winning a Nobel Prize extends your lifespan. Assuming the researchers did their homework, that means fame and adulation for one’s life’s work actually helps you live longer.

Good feelings are good. Life is not meant to be grim and miserable, it is meant to be fun and enjoyable. All it takes to let it be fun and enjoyable is to stop focusing on thoughts that feel bad and start focusing on thoughts that feel good.

Gradual improvements

If you persist with this practice, your feelings will gradually change and so will your circumstances. When we focus on thoughts that feel bad, we are drawn to more thoughts and circumstances that match. We unwittingly refuse, resist, and sabotage the good things in life because we’re not willing or practiced at going along with them.

When you focus on thoughts that feel good, thoughts of fun and enjoyment and appreciation, you allow those feelings to gain momentum in your life and open yourself to receive circumstances and conditions that match these good feelings.

Making fun of life

If you can find a feeling of fun in yourself, then you can expect fun to fill your life as well. It just depends on how consistently you can enjoy a feeling of fun without getting thrown off by negative thoughts.

The more frequently you enjoy good feelings, the better your life will feel. You’ll start to see that people who once looked like “victims” of their reality are steadfastly focused on bad-feeling thoughts and circumstances; and the baddest-feeling thought of all is that “I have no control over my circumstances”.

Focusing on fun feelings today is helping me appreciate that I have great potential in this. There’s a lot of fun available to me, and I’m inspired to see how this fun feeling will unfold in my experience, what signs and manifestations will turn up in response to my new point of focus.

Inspiration, emergencies and ease

Yesterday I was feeding someone’s pets while the owners were away, when I heard a cry for help.

I looked over the fence and saw a crumpled figure lying on the ground in a neighbouring yard.

I called out to her, and then ran around the block to get to her house. She was elderly, living with her husband who suffers dementia.

The husband opened the gate for me. I went to the woman. She was lucid, but very cold from lying on the ground for so long.

I got her a blanket and some pillows and called an ambulance, then waiting with her until a relative and the ambulance arrived.

The whole event unfolded automatically from the moment I heard the cry for help until the paramedics told me I could go.

Like a couple of other emergency situations I’ve been in, it’s as if the situation itself calls forth a response and there’s not really any need for effort or struggle or deliberation.

Inspiration

Lately I’ve been thinking about moving to live in the city centre. The idea came to me without any work on my part. I wasn’t looking for it, it just came up.

And since then I’ve felt really excited and inspired by the thought of living there.

Like the emergency, I don’t have to do anything. There’s no struggle. It’s as if inspiration is acting on me in the same way that the emergency situation called a response out of me.

Ease

If emergencies unfold so easily and inspiration is so effortless, why should any part of life feel difficult?

Inspiration feels so good: can we cultivate it and allow it to flow more in life?

Can we stop getting bogged down in the wastelands between inspiration and emergency?

Why does everyday life have to be a grind when the very good and the very bad are both effortless?

I take comfort from the ease that flows in emergencies, and I’m inspired by the effortlessness of inspiration.

Letting go 08: making the emotional connection

Before my diet I only felt bad about being overweight when I caught a glimpse of my reflection.

Then I would feel bad, but the rest of the time it wasn’t really on my mind.

And eating? Eating was one of my great pleasures in life. I never felt bad about that!

Joining the dots

It wasn’t until I embarked on my search for a final answer to losing weight that I realised this didn’t add up.

How could I be happy about the way I ate but unhappy about my physical appearance, which was a direct consequence of the way I ate?

This is what led me to see that my body was merely reflecting something about my behaviour. I just hadn’t joined the dots or made that connection before.

I mean the emotional connection: it’s obvious that people diet to lose weight, and over-eating causes weight gain. What I mean by joining the dots is seeing the connection between feeling so bad about my weight, but feeling so good about eating.

Either I shouldn’t feel so bad about my weight, or I shouldn’t feel so good about eating. Something had to give in this emotional dynamic.

The hidden connection

When I feel bad about my circumstances in life, there must be something prior – something I enjoy or feel good about – that sets me up for that suffering.

The painful part of these circumstances is their unwantedness. It’s painful to notice conditions that are not the way I want them to be.

What is it that sets me up for this fall? What is it that feels good at the time, but leads me into situations that feel bad? What is it that feels enjoyable but shouldn’t if I could see the bigger picture?

Assertion

I’m going to call it “assertion” for now. It’s an inner assertion of control, wanting, grasping, or conditionality within me.

It’s as though I’ve put forward a claim or a demand on reality to be a certain way, and this leaves me sensitive to every contrary circumstance and change.

This is the part that doesn’t feel bad, yet sets me up to feel bad.

It’s not about desire or inspiration. Desire is implicit in our very experience of life. Desire is preference. Desire informs our personality and shapes our existence and our whole sense of wanted and unwanted.

Assertion is different. Assertion feels important in the same way that having a stake in something feels important. Assertion is like getting involved because you don’t trust others to do it right.

But like anything we do, it stems from a thought. Here the thought is negative and resistant. It’s the thought that I need to speak up or I’ll be overlooked. It’s the thought that things don’t work out for me so I need to get involved. It’s the thought that I can’t trust or rely on life to go well.

It’s the thought that by sticking my oar in I can steer this whole thing in a better direction.

False premise

These thoughts hinge on a false premise that uninspired effort and action will improve my life and make me feel better.

It’s a change in mode from inspiration, enjoyment and ease, to worry, control, and struggle.

That’s why unwanted circumstances feel like failure or loss. They push against this invisible force I’ve set up within myself, this effort of trying to assert my will on the world.

The big picture

We would all prefer life to unfold with ease. Inner assertion is, like over-eating was, an attempt to feel better that only succeeds in temporary escape by kicking the can down the road a little.

The attitude of taking things into my own hands feels temporarily empowering. But it comes at a cost of trust and faith in the goodness of God and the universe.

If I could trust instead, I wouldn’t need this assertion and control; and since assertion and control don’t work anyway, all I’m giving up is an illusion.

After all, if everything is working toward my good, then what sense does it make to say that some circumstances are wanted and some are unwanted?

That’s why the Abraham-Hicks teachings say that everything has both a wanted and unwanted aspect, depending on where we focus.

Refusing this dynamic

I think the way forward for me is to become aware of whatever lack of trust or faith moves me to assertion and control in the first place; just as I learned to become aware of the negative feelings that used to motivate my escape into over-eating.

All it takes is to decline the false promise of escape, and the whole dynamic will start to lose momentum and wind down.

Let go of the urge to control, and the frustration of unwanted conditions will go too. Stop endorsing the underlying thought of negativity and dissatisfaction, and trust and faith will return.

Letting go 07: inspiration only?

The Abraham-Hicks teaching is simply to feel better by focusing on things that feel better.

Sounds a bit too simple, but it makes sense and with practice you’ll wonder why you used to give so much attention to things that feel bad.

The teachings go a lot deeper, but keeping it simple benefits us.

Speaking of going deeper: I’m excited at the thought of mastering this practice, and I’m proud of the breakthroughs I had on the subject of dieting before I even got into the A-H teachings.

I want to have as much clarity around everyday life and focus as I did on that subject.

Focus

Yesterday’s post made real progress. Today I want to observe more closely how my focus changes moment by moment, and the feeling-result of those changes.

Recently I’ve been inspired by the thought of living in the city. I’ve been looking at beautiful apartments and townhouses and just appreciating how enjoyable it would be to live in one of them with my family.

This is clearly inspiration. It feels amazing, and I naturally relish all the little details that pop into my head. Images and feelings and ideas keep occurring to me, and they all feel like relief, eagerness, appreciation, but stronger than that: they feel gratifying.

I’m looking at pictures of luxury penthouses and feeling gratified that such places exist.

Inspiration

So that’s inspiration. It wells up within me, doesn’t take effort, feels intrinsically rewarding, and simply excites me.

That inspiration should be my standard and my aim. Not living in a penthouse, but allowing inspiration to flow all the time and never cut it off or quash it. If inspiration flows toward thoughts of luxury penthouses, go with it. Don’t judge, don’t criticise, don’t overthink it.

Learning to let inspiration in is the skill here. It’s not about taking action to make the inspired goal a reality. It’s not about critiquing the goal to find a more “realistic” version of it. It’s about the inspiration itself.

Inspiration is the experience of alignment. Like being in love, appreciation, joy; these positive emotions are a sign of alignment with God/inner being.

Misalignment

Knowing what inspiration feels like, we know how it feels when we quash inspiration. It feels bleak, heavy, slow, stressful, effortful, and frustrating.

Inspiration is quashed when we focus on thoughts that contradict it. Or perhaps a better way of saying it is that inspiration has its own path and flow, and we lose it when we step outside it and focus on uninspiring things.

I started writing this morning, and my son was a bit grumpy and reluctant to go to school. I didn’t want to yell or push or coerce him to hurry up, so we took our time and got to school quite late.

The whole time, I was conscious that there was no inspiration in the dynamic or the drama of getting him ready. In other words this activity wasn’t worthy of much attention from me. Inspiration was not flowing there.

I don’t have an answer to that situation right this minute, but I have an intention to let more inspiration into my life around this subject of morning routine; and I’m already appreciating that the situation didn’t go badly.

A new rule?

For my diet I devised a rule of only eating when I was genuinely hungry, which for me meant only when I felt I couldn’t keep going without some immediate sustenance.

Perhaps there’s a new rule brewing here, to only follow my inspiration?

Letting go day 02: detachment

Detachment is so strongly recommended and praised in most spiritual teachings that I took it to heart and practiced it at a young age.

Looking back, I was often successful. But after finding detachment I would run into inner turmoil and end up feeling depressed and confused.

In hindsight this is because I had some mistaken impressions of how detachment worked, but also because successful detachment brought me into contact with pockets of resistance.

Real detachment

Real detachment means no longer clinging to manifested reality. It goes hand in hand with feeling better from within, and requires us to be stable enough that we can easily find alignment with God/inner being.

It’s simply a light, buoyant sense of being not so focused on immediate experience. It’s the sense of having inner love and ease surround us and uplift us rather than looking for manifestations to make us feel better (they can’t).

When you stop looking for manifestations to make you feel better, you’re then letting go, allowing reality to follow its own changes while you remain comfortable and secure in your alignment with God.

It’s not a cold and aloof detachment, more like being a kid again. Kids don’t “get” the serious side of life that we fixate on as adults. They don’t share our morbid thoughts or grim outlook until we force it on them.

They take things lightly, because their own inner guidance is still mostly intact. That’s what we can aspire to in letting go: an easy, comfortable detachment from somber thoughts and clinging to reality.

And as a good omen, while writing this a bird crapped on my shoe…I see the humour in it, so long as I stop fretting about having to hurry home and clean it off!

Letting go of ‘impossible’

Some situations in life seem beyond our ability to fix or repair or bring to fruition.

They feel impossible because they are impossible, at least for us.

That’s why letting go is so important. Even the effort to find an answer is a form of resistance. Wanting to know how it can possibly work out is reiterating how impossible it seems again and again.

Might as well say “I don’t believe”.

But we don’t need to understand how manifestations come about. And if we are troubled by this lack of understanding, then we are resisting the flow of ease, joy, and freedom within us.

The antidote to an “impossible” situation may be trust and faith, or it may be clarity in the form of realising that we don’t need answers, we just need to allow.

These situations are just manifestations. And manifestations are just the product of our thoughts, filtering the grace and blessings God pours out to us constantly and without end.

And in between thoughts and manifestations, our feelings tell us immediately how much we are allowing or resisting God’s blessings.

So being troubled about a subject and struggling to find answers is a sign of resistance, and that resistance is reflected in the manifestations that follow!

Let go. Let go of the oars. No amount of effort will make the things you desire come quicker or be more likely. Because it’s not a matter of speed or proximity or probability. Those desires are already granted in an unending stream; it’s just our resistance that keeps the manifestation at bay.

Letting go day 01

A series on “letting go” seemed wrong a couple of weeks ago, but now I feel the need for it.

Clarity is good, but I don’t just want clarity. I also want ease and trust and letting go.

In the martial art I learn, it’s just not possible to focus on every aspect each time we train. As much as I wanted there to be a single correct way of training, there are many different aspects that need to be kept up turn by turn if you want to progress.

It reminds me of a story from the Zhuangzi:

‘I have heard my master say that they who skilfully nourish their life are like shepherds, who whip up the sheep that they see lagging behind.’

‘What did he mean?’ asked the duke.

The reply was, ‘In Lû there was a Shan Pâo, who lived among the rocks, and drank only water. He would not share with the people in their toils and the benefits springing from them; and though he was now in his seventieth year, he had still the complexion of a child. Unfortunately he encountered a hungry tiger, which killed and ate him.

There was also a Kang Î, who hung up a screen at his lofty door, and to whom all the people hurried (to pay their respects). In his fortieth year, he fell ill of a fever and died.

(Of these two men), Pâo nourished his inner man, and a tiger ate his outer; while Î nourished his outer man, and disease attacked his inner. Both of them neglected whipping up their lagging sheep.’

I’m hoping this series will remind me each day to let go and trust, and enjoy the ease that comes from it. I’m hoping it will take me deeper and deeper into letting go and allowing my life to unfold without resistance.