Learning to complain

I’m learning to complain, and it’s wonderful!

Growing up, I was taught that complaining was pointless, immoral, unvirtuous, and ineffective.

So whenever I dealt with government departments, bureaucracy, or businesses my attitude was to follow their advice or their systems and hope that things would work out.

Today I rang a government department to complain, and it only took two months and some clues from the universe to get me to that point.

Beat your breast

It turns out that complain literally means to beat your breast, which in turn is to openly display your sorrow, disappointment or other strong feeling.

It took me two months to really comprehend that I wasn’t at fault, that the system had failed and my family had been unfairly disadvantaged.

I didn’t need to have a solution, and I didn’t have to trust the system. My trust is in God, not in systems.

So I found a way to feel good in my complaint. I rang with the intention of sharing my story, of the incorrect information we had received and the efforts we had gone to on our end.

And the people I spoke to were wonderful. They fixed the problem within minutes and everything is now reinstated, back as it was two months ago.

Except that I’ve grown and changed and learned so much through this process. It’s helped me focus on money and really appreciate all that I have. It’s helped me let go of resistance to having, receiving, and spending money.

It’s helped me trust so much more, and it’s shown me that God hears our complaints as much as our prayers.

Expecting better

For me now a complaint is the opposite of holding in or hiding my disappointment or sorrow. A complaint means openly expressing my dissatisfaction, and it by no means negates trusting, feeling good, or focusing on the positive while I do it.

A complaint is a genuine and authentic expression of something unwanted. I don’t expect to do it often, but I won’t resist it anymore when it feels like the path of least resistance.

You might even say that complaint is part of an entreaty. Like the psalms, it specifies what is wrong and demands, or requests better with an air of expectation.

Complaint is like an empowered and purposeful expression of dissatisfaction. It presumes worthiness, faith, and trust that things are supposed to be better. And it looks forward with expectation to having everything made right, made new, and reinstated.

Believe without seeing

I wish I could say I learned to trust and never once faltered thereafter.

But sometimes we expand and improve and gain new clarity, only to quickly feel overwhelmed by unwanted conditions.

The path back to trust, surrender, and ease from the midst of dissatisfaction seems elusive, yet we will feel better eventually.

Abraham-Hicks teaches that as we feel better it’s like a stream flowing much faster, and in that fast-flowing stream our resistance seems amplified.

The amplification of resistance serves us because we can better release it when it comes to our attention.

We are learning to feel good unconditionally, and sometimes that means making peace with the absence of our desired conditions.

I am learning to trust, and sometimes that means experiencing the momentum of my old, distrustful thoughts.

Making peace

It’s one thing to believe that things are still working out for you in health, finances, or relationships.

It’s another thing to trust, irrespective of how things appear to be working or not working.

Do you feel good because of conditions, or do you feel good because of trust?

I think the latter is more powerful, and that’s why we want to make peace with where we are.

Last resistance

Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m in pain I might feel better about it because I’m noticing improvement.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But what if I could feel good because I know that God has already healed me, and it feels good to trust in Him?

What if I feel good because I know that trusting God is how I allow myself to receive the healing He offers?

Isn’t it good to believe without seeing?

And in that case, the unwanted conditions represent my last resistance, my resistance to trust and therefore my resistance to happiness.

Pain and other unwanted conditions capture my attention because part of me still thinks my happiness depends on circumstances.

Part of me still thinks that trust must be backed up by evidence. Part of me is willing to believe without seeing, so long as the “seeing” part comes along quick enough.

This part of me – the momentum of old thoughts – is actively scanning my world and searching for reasons to feel better or feel worse, actively keeping score, actively objecting to unwanted circumstances, actively distrustful of life.

And that’s what creates unwanted circumstances.

Believe without seeing

Why are we blessed if we believe without seeing?

Because if we believe, we feel good, and feeling good is our real receipt of the joy and happiness promised us.

If you don’t believe, you can’t receive anything.

This doesn’t mean struggling to feel good despite all the evidence and circumstances weighed against you. When you actually believe, you feel an inner knowing and appreciation that no longer activates those contentious circumstances.

It’s only our resistance that keeps us focused on the unwanted, the absent, the painful or the broken. Those conditions alert us to our resistance and help us to let it go, choosing instead the power of believing without seeing.

Right now I feel good, and it’s as if I’ve entered a different reality from when I started this post. The conditions that bothered me before are no longer active in my mind. What is active instead is my freedom and satisfaction at having let go of this resistance.

Those thoughts still have momentum, but I’m draining it fast, and adding momentum instead to the joyful thoughts of appreciation and trust.

Trust is enough

I’ve been grappling with how to make more of the newfound trust in God I’m experiencing.

Yet my habits of thought haven’t yet caught up. I’m used to trying to work it all out by myself.

Trust doesn’t feel like an answer to a question so much as being uplifted and supported by a power vastly greater than my own.

It’s as if I’ve spent years working out how to fly, and only now let myself be picked up by the wind.

And that old “working out” habit still wants to dig into the trust I feel. It will work, I’m sure of it, but from a position of further surrender, further trust, not a detached and lonely analysis.

With that in mind I offer this:

Let trust be enough.

It’s not something you can add to the mix, take on board, or bear in mind as you return to business as usual.

Let trust be enough, because trust is now the avenue of everything else you’re wanting.

And don’t forget you only want all of that because it feels so much like trust.

So just let trust be enough. You needn’t add to it, augment it, or transform it.

Trust, and you’re already there. Trust, and you’re exactly where you’re meant to be. Trust, and there’s nothing else you need do, or can do.

Look nowhere else but at the trust growing inside you and outside you. And let that trust be enough.

Letting go: going downstream

The words “letting go of the oars” trigger a profound sense of relief and trust and letting go.

Abraham-Hicks use the metaphor of “going downstream” to depict the ideal attitude for us in daily life.

Imagine you are in a boat on a river. All your life you’ve been told to paddle upstream: no pain no gain!

But in fact there’s nothing you want upstream. Everything you desire is downstream of you, and if you’d just let go of the oars the stream will turn you around and carry you effortlessly and pleasantly on your way.

This metaphor is all about trust and ease and letting go. And by checking how we feel we can immediately tell if we are fighting the current or allowing ourselves to be carried downstream.

Upstream thoughts or downstream thoughts? Those are the only options available to you, and all you need do is choose downstream.

The sage does nothing, yet nothing is left undone.

I love this idea of doing nothing, because I used to spend all day driving myself upstream with worrisome and anxious thoughts.

That image of being effortlessly carried downstream is so perfect for me.

I think that’s why “letting go of the oars” feels so good. What would happen if I trusted and did nothing?

I’ve caught a few glimpses of that state, and ironically that’s when true inspiration tends to strike, drawing me suddenly into excited, joyful, and happy activity.

So trust the stream, trust the current, let yourself be carried effortlessly towards the happiness that awaits you.

Love yourself

One of the hardest experiences as a child is to realise there’s no love, help, or comfort coming, and that you must somehow get by without it.

We build resilient methods of getting by, but the stronger they are, the longer we will endure without relief.

As adults we have the opportunity to learn how to love, soothe, and comfort ourselves. We can learn to reignite the flames that were extinguished long ago. And then we can finally put down the massive burden of having to live life on empty.

Learning to love yourself heals wounds where survival strategies just numb the pain.

And loving yourself can be so much easier when you know it’s not just you, but also a loving God, inner being, universe, or whatever word helps you find it.

Loving yourself feels good. Loving yourself restores you. Loving yourself answers the questions you been turning over ad infinitum on your own.

Loving yourself lets God in.

And then there is no difference between loving yourself and being loved by God. The love is God’s, but it is up to you to allow it, accept it, let it in where it might upset decades of careful strategies and contingency plans.

There’s an obvious connection between loving ourselves and trusting God. We need to believe it’s safe to let our guard down; we need to trust that God will never hurt us; we need to trust that love is everything we are wanting before we can truly allow it in.

We need to know that our fears and doubts do not come from God. We need to trust that as we finally let love in, everything will be transformed.

In the Abraham-Hicks teachings loving ourselves is not emphasised, because for most of us there’s just too much resistance. Instead we’re advised to just feel better, less bad, in every possible way, and trust that everything is working out.

But there will come a time when you can feel good not just about the things in your life but about your own self too. So don’t hurry or rush. There’s no time limit. It’s counter-intuitive, but by feeling good about anything you’re already letting more love in than if you stare grimly at the subject of “self love” and try to conquer it right now.

Feel good all over

Alright friends! Thoughts have evolved, feelings refined, and new ideas received.

Trust, allowing, letting go are the next logical step.

Feeling good all day has served us well, but there’s a bit too much effort and action in it, and as I’m now learning, the way forward is all downstream.

Time to let go of the oars and accept that God is doing all the work here. Let the current carry me, trusting completely and enjoying the relief of no more struggle.

I can’t possibly plan, control or think my way to where I want to be. Time to accept the help I’ve always needed (and always been receiving despite my resistance).

I still want the focal point of daily posting, but this time it will be firmly relaxedly(?) focused on trust, allowing, and letting go.

See you soon! Isn’t this exciting? Happiness Challenge -> Feel good all day -> and now…I’ll just see what happens 😊

Feel good all day 15

Today I’ve been learning to trust, and the first lesson is that I can’t trust while grasping for inner certitude.

I’ve often wondered about the line “the son of man has nowhere to lay his head” but right now I think it relates to trust.

For years I sought to understand, but my understanding was about remaining in control. If you know the rules you can avoid mistakes!

But now the rule is to trust without knowing exactly what is going to happen, yet knowing that it will all be for my happiness.

I’d heard before the proverb: “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding”, but back then I still needed to understand how to do that.

Not any more. I don’t even know if I’m doing it right, so I have to trust even there. The whole thing feels very wobbly right now, so I have to trust that I’m on the right track.

That’s the best I can put it for now: how do I know I’m on the right track? Because I have to trust that I am!

You don’t have to do it on your own

My early efforts with prayer and asking for God’s help felt like failure. And as I read more about it, I decided the failure must be mine.

Every book I consulted insisted that God was always responding to us, we were the ones unable or unwilling to see.

My answer was to try to work it out on my own, read everything I could find about mysticism, faith, meditation and prayer, and then hopefully reach a conclusion about what worked.

A closed system

Unfortunately because I felt God hadn’t answered me, and because I knew theologically that God is perfect and unchanging, I pretty much wrote God out of the picture while I went about trying to “fix” myself.

I’ve had a kind of iron-clad focus on finding my own answers, and even things like faith and trust were translated into belief-states or attitudes rather than relational states of being.

In effect, I was so convinced that I was the problem I stopped expecting or looking for help from outside.

Learning how to trust

Sometimes it’s empowering to look for answers on your own, but to always be alone in the search is actually bleak and miserable.

It makes a lot of sense: feeling betrayed and let down by God and other people, I resolved to work it all out by myself without help. If you can’t rely on help, take pride in your independence.

But as Esther Hicks likes to ask “And how’s that working out for you?”

Allowing help

I was so convinced I needed to find all the answers before moving forward that I ignored the bigger picture of God’s help.

It’s true that the resistance is all on our side of our relationship with God, but that doesn’t mean we have to do all the work, or that we have to fix everything ourselves before receiving assistance.

It reminds me of my son wanting to do things by himself, even when I can see the task is more complex than he realises. Sometimes I have to just let him try until he realises for himself that he needs my help. And then we can work together as I show him how to do it.

Ready to trust

I’ve reached a point with the Abraham-Hicks teachings where I know how to feel good all day, by focusing on thoughts that feel good to me and letting go of thoughts that don’t.

But whether it be Abraham-Hicks, Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Sufism or Christianity, everyone has said I need to trust more, and my response up to now has been “I’ll try that, and see if it works”.

Which simply means I wasn’t ready to actually trust. I wasn’t ready -until now- to open up this closed system of my own thoughts and perceptions and depend on something greater.

Trust that all is well. Trust that it is being done. Trust that everything is ordered for our happiness and my happiness in particular. Trust that God’s love is active, not inert. Trust that He wants me to be happy and is moving Heaven and Earth to make it happen. Trust that I don’t have to do it on my own.

Serving two masters

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Having a smaller, less stable income these days has left me newly appreciative of certain biblical passages:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Money too is more than food and clothing, and as such I think it gives us a sense of security and sufficiency that inhibits our sensitivity to providence.  Why should we ‘trust in God’ when we have permanent employment and a guaranteed income?

This balance between material security and spiritual dependence is complex, as demonstrated by the contending interpretations of the beatitude of the ‘poor in spirit’, and the story of the rich young man who went away sad.

It’s not wealth per se that is the problem, but our devotion to it over and above higher things; allowing it to dominate our lives and our minds.  At times it can be hard to tell whether we are the masters of wealth or the slaves, driven by financial imperatives with nothing higher to intervene or change our minds.

I think this is the significance of my decision not to follow the financial imperative back into mediocre employment for the sake of a reliable income and the sense of security and sufficiency it affords.  The decision to cease compromising my integrity for the sake of money means acknowledging something higher than my income in a society where a high income is more often than not the summum bonum.