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.

Do others need to change?

I’ve been so convinced of my need for spiritual transformation, yet early on I believed we all have this need.

Some spiritual teachings are elitist. They look down on the “great unwashed”, the masses of people who live their lives mired in delusion and governed by sin and passion.

I tried not to think I was special but I struggled to reconcile my strong desire for spiritual change with the disinterest of those around me.

Does everyone need to change? Am I special for realising it? Or are we called to different things in life?

As I grew older I began to see myself as especially needful of spiritual change, as if I was worse off than everyone else and hence more desperate to fix myself.

Judge not lest ye be judged

Anxious to not offend, I concluded that others could live without the spiritual change I needed. But for those closest to me, my expectations remained high.

I’m beginning to see that the inverse of “judge not” is also true: in judging myself as needful of change, I believed others – those closest to me and most receptive – needed to change too.

I’ve ended up seeing some people in my life as works in progress, and wishing they would try harder to improve themselves, just as I am doing.

I’ve taken for granted that they need to heed the same call, listen to the same teachings, commit to the same processes.

But I’ve been wrong about me, so I’m wrong about them too. If I’m perfect as I am then they’re perfect as they are. If I’m in my element (and just need to remember) then they are in their element too.

If all I need is my own love and acceptance then that is all they require to be perfect in my eyes.

And just like that, reality changes. I am able now to see something beautiful that was always there. I am able to appreciate the perfection I was already living in.

To appreciate the people closest to you, you must appreciate yourself first. Stop judging yourself and you can stop judging others too.

Letting go 06: open to inspiration

My diet started to work when I realised I was eating to escape from negative feelings already in me, and that eating to escape just kicked the can down the road a little. I would end up with more negative feelings plus feeling unwell and being overweight.

I see the same dynamic at play when I cling to manifestations. I cling to manifestations to escape from negative feelings already in me.

The diet analogy

For my diet to work I focused on my body’s signs of genuine hunger, and treated everything else as “fake hunger”.

When I felt the desire to eat but without genuine hunger, I paid attention to the feelings that were motivating me. Just by feeling those feelings my desire to escape into food diminished.

But I also began looking for more healthy sources of enjoyment. I started to ask “what would I like to do?”, rather than just indulging in food.

I began to appreciate how clear and light I felt when I wasn’t escaping into food. Although it was daunting to live without the comfort of extra eating, it was also new and different for me, and this brought me hope of a better way of living and relating to food.

Everything is like this

When I cling to manifestations, that means I focus on manifest reality with an expectation that it make me feel better (escape) followed by disappointment and frustration when it fails.

Just like my old eating habits: eating to escape didn’t bring lasting escape at all. It was a failing strategy, and when I became aware of it I gradually grew unwilling to persevere with the same flawed approach.

If I approached all of reality with the same insight, I would have to see the whole dynamic: chasing manifestations to escape feeling bad, feeling bad anyway because manifestations refused to do what I wanted, feeling disenchanted and cynical until a new escapist idea emerged.

Chasing manifestations

Every mystic, including the Abraham-Hicks teachings, says that we need to find a place of happiness and satisfaction in God, our inner being, rather than chasing conditions and circumstances.

For us that might sound like giving up on our dreams and desires and worldly conditions. But the whole point is that we can’t really use these things to make us happy anyway.

Using food as an escape from feeling bad is no different from using manifestations as an escape. Later, when we’re feeling frustrated and disappointed and sad, that’s the manifestation equivalent of feeling bad about your weight or your eating habits.

But what about genuine hunger?

What is the manifestation equivalent of genuine hunger? I think it is inspiration. When an idea inspires you, you just enjoy that inspired feeling. You don’t need to do anything or make anything happen.

Inspiration arises spontaneously, and it may be prompted by manifestations but it is independent.

The more aligned with God we are, the more we feel inspiration calling us and uplifting us. We also become less and less willing to take uninspired actions.

Open to inspiration

The best we can do therefore is to be open to inspiration in our daily lives, while resisting the urge to use action and manifestation to escape negative feelings.

Learn to recognise the negative feelings that come before our escape attempts. Understand with compassion that we have been running from these feelings, but can now look for a better response.

The better response is to look for inspiration instead, knowing that the more we look for and tune into it, the more we will find.

Seeking solace and fulfilment

When I used to practice detachment I would run into a problem of feeling bored and yearning for something more, yet I couldn’t think of anything in the world to satisfy that desire.

This is perhaps where my melancholic temperament shapes my experience, because melancholics are excited by ideals and ideals are hard to locate in physical reality.

…aren’t they?

Rethinking idealism

There’s no question that I am more excited by things like spiritual teachings and principles than material possessions and experiences.

Yet this dichotomy is informed by my own past belief that reality was dull and miserable. If what I’m longing for is the fulfilment of my exciting ideals, then naturally it’s frustrating and disappointing to believe reality can never rise to meet those ideals.

But the whole point is that manifestations are only a reflection of thought, and feeling guides us as to the alignment of our thoughts with God/inner being.

Hence quashing my ideals because I couldn’t see or even imagine them manifesting in my reality is, in A-H terms, like digging up the seedlings you just planted because they haven’t borne fruit yet.

Don’t go looking outside

My old frustration was guidance telling me my thoughts were off. And boy were they off! I was using my reality as the measure of my ideals, my excitement, my good feelings. I was shutting down my own enthusiasm because I didn’t know what to do with it!

What I can do instead is accept that my manifestation is a reflection of my alignment, and the profoundly good feelings I have right now are telling me I am aligned with God/inner being.

It feels good to know this now. It feels good to know and to see that manifested reality is a perfect match to what I’m feeling right now. It is wonderful to know at last that I don’t have to go searching for something to justify, anchor, or explain this inner peace and satisfaction and ease.

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.

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

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.

What is allowing?

Last night I had the inspiration to start a series focusing on allowing.

My sense was that I’ve been very successful with my focus on feeling good all day and my previous Happiness Challenge, but these still encourage me to be very active and intense.

Abraham-Hicks sometimes refer to their teaching as the Art of Allowing. But what is allowing? And can I actively focus on allowing without it becoming too much about effort and doing?

Step three: allow

In the Abraham teachings we create our reality via a three step process.

Step one, we ask for something. This happens automatically as we form new desires in response to our present reality.

Step two, Source, God, our inner being becomes a match to that desire. This also happens without us doing anything.

Step three, we receive what we have asked for, by coming into alignment with step two. In other words we now believe we have received it. In Abraham terms our thoughts are a vibrational match to our desire and our inner being, as evidenced by how we now feel about it.

Just feel good…?

Just by feeling good we put ourselves in the vicinity of our desires. But that’s what I’ve been doing, so how does allowing enter the picture?

It’s subtle, but there’s a difference between feeling good with the hope of being a match for your desires, and feeling good so as to allow them to come about.

Does the difference matter? Maybe not to everyone, but some of us are used to being intense and in control, and we can turn even “feeling good” into an intense effort to control our experience.

Allowing let’s us off the hook. It encourages us to take things lightly and easily. And it puts the emphasis back on the spiritual side of this reality, knowing that we are not here to push and strive and make things happen.

It also opens us to surprises, to ease, to answers coming out of every mysterious corner of our experience.

And it primes us to be more flexible, to go with the flow, and not be so dead-set on how we think things should unfold.