Monday, October 10, 2011

Feelings: Invention vs Factualism

Do not give in too much to feelings. 
A overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth.  

Feelings...they must be the most misunderstood human phenomenon to date.  We, as a society, have built up tremendous truths about feelings, and we have created practices that represent and protect these truths.  Take our legal system, for example.  It has terminology especially dedicated to how feelings may impact the law...crime of passion, temporary insanity, competency, hostile witness, no-fault divorce, etc.  

We don't understand feelings, exactly, so we make up a lot of excuses for ourselves...excuses that are widely accepted.  When I get mad, I cannot control myself...He/she made me feel this way...I can't help/change the way I feel...When I feel depressed, I've just gotta go through it.  Sound familiar?

But, the more important question is, does it really sound true?  A simple look at human experience points to a logical sequence.  It goes like this: 
1. A person has a thought.  This happens all the time, but to this thought, he/she gives attention.  
2. Very soon many thoughts in support of this original idea have been created in a moments time.  
3. Before we are even aware of this process, we find ourselves in a feeling.  We are further convinced that this feeling is a reality, because we've built up a lot of thinking about it already. 
4. Our five senses begin to re-confirm what we created, and we are now only aware of what will confirm our current personal thinking.  
5. From this some behaviors are likely to follow, and we are likely left feeling that we are at the mercy of our feelings.

I am here to tell you say that this old logic regarding feelings is not good enough, or even valid!  Feelings are the proof of what we are doing with our thinking.  They are a barometer for your quality of thinking from moment to moment.  This is why even during times of grief, we may have moments of contentment or a burst of laughter.  We can create what we want.  This is the actual opposite of being at the mercy of our feelings.  In fact we are the creator of our feelings.  What good news!..."Spread the news, the wicked old which at last is dead!"    d

All it takes is a new way of understanding your feelings...the curiosity to experiment next time feelings start to seem too big.  When you remind yourself that your feelings indicate that you've stepped out of your natural state and have given life to personal thoughts, a funny thing happens.  Those thoughts just die.  You've expose them as what they are...your creation...the man behind the wizard's curtain, and from this vantage point it's the most natural thing to see that you have so many other options.

I'll leave you with the wise, Darlene Stewart (1993, pg 167):
"Mental health doesn't mean you never have negative feelings or bad moods.  Mental health is knowing what negative feelings are so you don't use them as an excuse to hurt yourself or someone else.  Emotional maturity doesn't mean you never feel scared or despondent; it means you have the wisdom to recognize uncomfortable feelings as outgrowths of the way you are thinking right now."

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Art of Distraction

The art of distraction is often overlooked...minimized...misunderstood.  This may be because lots of us believe that our reality is a real thing...a factual thing that happens outside of us.  We think it is viewable from where we stand, but we fail to recognize that it is created right where we stand. 

Darlene L. Stewart said it best when she said, "Whatever we believe becomes real for us, even if it isn't real to anyone else.  If I believe in shortage of time, I'll never have enough time.  If I believe learning is hard, I'll struggle with it...If I believe people don't like me, I'll behave in ways that eventually pushes them away.  Then I'll say, 'I knew it. People just don't like me.' " (1993, p. 85). 

And so here we are with our beliefs that become real...a reality, and with a perception that allows us to see exactly what we believe.  This is where most of us live, and most of us long for some understanding or way to effect our reality.  Such a simple thing, but only when you've gained some understanding regarding the tremendous power you possess through your use of thought.

Thought is that factor that is responsible for your reality, and it is absolutley something that you get to steer and choose.  What we think about something equates how we experience it through our senses and our feelings.  If you experiment with this truth, you will see it for yourself.

Most of us on any given day find ourselves in compulsive thinking, that is not conducive to well being in any way.  This puts us in a mood, and this often leads to behavior choices.  Now, if you know anything about thinking, you also know that thoughts come fast...we can't possible make ourselves not think something.  BUT, what we can do is recognize that a thought is just mental material that we make up.  We get to decide if we believe it...if we want to give power to it, or render it powerless.

This is where the underappreciated art of distracion comes in!  Any time you are in a thought pattern that you are not enjoying, the way to a more enjoyable experience is to drop that thinking and make room for a new insight.  Dropping your thinking can simply not be done by willpower or thinking it away.  You must distract yourself momentarily...that's it.

You see, this is true, because your wisdom and well-being are buoyant.  They will rise to the surface on their own if you get out of the way for a moment.  Now, you may be skeptical about this, and I respect that, but just experiment if you feel so inclined!  The next time you are in a feeling that you dislike, give yourself permission to have a mini-distraction.  Allow your senses to be wrapped up in something else for a moment and see where this takes you.  Be aware that this experiment is an experiment in thought dropping.  Once you realize that you do this all the time, you'll be able to do it intentionally with the purpose of creating the reality that you want to see, feel, and live in.  Have fun!