It’s Not About Heading for a Good Feeling….
Lately I’ve been seeing the implications of the 3 Principles in a much simpler way, thanks to Keith Blevens and Valda Monroe along with the work I’ve been doing with Chantal Burns. There’s only one thing people need to understand in order to reap the benefits of the understanding that Syd Banks shared with the world so many years ago. It’s this: All experience is always coming from your thinking in the moment. Period.
When you realize this, those thoughts fail to have the impact they used to have. They don’t have any staying power. It doesn’t make sense to entertain thinking that’s outside-in. When you don’t pay attention to outside-in thoughts, your mind automatically clears and you’re connected to your wisdom and common sense – the source of new thought, thus a new experience in the moment.
Notice what is missing here. There is absolutely nothing to do – especially anything that has to do with judging thought or the resultant feeling state as good or bad. It took me a while to understand that this is what Keith and Valda mean when they say you can’t split thought. Just like you can’t split the principle of gravity. There’s not good gravity and bad gravity, it’s all gravity.
So here’s what this means in terms of the coaching and sharing I do in business.
- Taking the notion of good thought and bad thought, good feeling and bad feeling off the table is huge for me. It gets rid of all the doing that clutters up my clients’ minds. They don’t have to be their own personal thought police, constantly on the lookout for bad feelings to do something about.
- When I’m not implicitly or explicitly labeling thinking as good or bad, I don’t have to debate with my clients about whether the feeling of stress is good or bad. I have many clients who love to be under a tight deadline or working on a technical problem on the critical path of a project. One person’s stress is another person’s exhilaration. And trust me, you don’t want to be debating that fact with scientists and engineers!
- You don’t have to look for a good feeling or any other feeling for that matter. You don’t have to choose to love your neighbor or get curious about the perceptions of your co-workers. Those feelings are the result of a clear and present mind – and when you don’t entertain illogical outside-in perceptions, you will automatically return to your innate clear and present state. You’ll see that we are all doing what makes sense to us in the moment, that we all have human frailties.
- It’s true that when we’re not doing a lot of thinking about our thinking, our minds settle down and we may get flooded with a beautiful feeling of love and gratitude and connection in the moment. But it’s not about working to be in that blissful state more often as though that’s the place to be. The wisdom of the system will give you what you need in the moment without your interference.
Recently I’ve been talking with a number of people who have been to lovely seaside retreats or incredibly inspiring conference events that, in their minds, generated beautiful feelings of peace and love and gratitude. I’ve heard people say that it’s too bad they have to go back to the outside world of ringing phones and meetings and other interruptions. Sometimes, innocently we don’t see that this very statement implies that the outside world/reality is responsible for ruining our state of bliss. Sometimes people hear that if you have a very deep understanding of the principles or if you really “get it,” you will be in this blissful state all the time, most of the time, or at the very least, more than the people who don’t get it. I don’t agree, and I also think it takes people down a path of doing, of being on a quest to find and sustain a feeling of bliss and contentment — A state that already exists behind our thinking.
Here’s what occurred to me today when I was walking in the woods with my dogs. I’m very well acquainted with that beautiful feeling, and it moves me to tears whether I’m sitting in a retreat center or driving in my car on the highway on a beautiful day. But the wisdom of the human operating system serves up thought that is just what I need in the moment. For example, sometimes as I’m walking along the path with my dogs, I’m completely zoned out. I’m not thinking about anything. I feel fabulous. I often have insights about a work project or a client or just how damn lucky I am to have the life I have. However, when I hear the engine of a 4-wheeler coming in our direction, I am immediately super focused on what I might have to do to get myself and my dogs to safety. It’s a different feeling – but it’s not good or bad. Did the 4-wheeler ruin my walk?
A few years ago on a walk, one of my dogs was exploring around a stone wall and wound up with a snout covered with porcupine quills. We were about 30 minutes away from my car so it was a bit of a scramble to get back there and then to the vet. Once there, 20 minutes and $200 later, my pup was fine. So fine in fact that a few weeks later, he did it again. For a few months after that I was hypervigilant whenever we walked by a stone wall – which in the woods in New England is just about all the time! Was that wrong? Should I have been trying to get back to my blissful state? Was the fact that in New Hampshire we have little creatures called porcupines that are covered with nasty quills the reason for my lack of bliss? NO. The mind gives us what we need when we need it. In other words, my common sense dictated that I needed, at times, to keep a closer eye on my dogs.
In my mind, saying that the commitments and facts of working life take me away from my blissful retreat-mode feeling or the reoccurring state of gratitude and love, would be like believing the porcupines ruined my dog walk. Then I could decide to work on that thinking and cultivate compassion for the porcupines. Or be grateful that my dog wasn’t hurt badly. But that doesn’t make sense. What makes sense is that no matter what I’m feeling in the moment, my experience is always coming from thought – and only thought. There’s nothing to work on or strive for – it just is. Like porcupines and stone walls in New Hampshire.