By Shannon Crane
Life begins to transform when we are able to catch ourselves the moment our thoughts become feelings. For most of us, we get bad news and our day is ruined. Someone makes a statement in such a way we hear only criticism or judgment, and our sense of serenity is shattered. We’re cut off in traffic and our blood boils.
Life feels out of our control, and we are unaware these shifts were actually created by how we assigned meaning to an external event. However, merely attempting to think a better feeling thought sets us up to create what may be termed spiritual bypass. Learning to balance feelings and thoughts and eliminating the contingency of our happiness coming from external sources is a lifelong process.
Paradox: Ours to Discern
Initially, for many of us, we get caught up in the mental story line, which has created our feeling. We are unaware it is our thoughts, interpretation and attention responsible for our experience. Thus, what led to our initial mood change may go unnoticed. We remain ignorant that we have taken an external event or perhaps an internal thought and latched onto it – assigning meaning and interpretation that took us away from our sense of well-being.
As we develop spiritual awareness and an understanding of how life works, we begin to pay attention to and identify when this happens. Sometimes, we can catch it, and sometimes we do not. However, we can easily get caught into wanting a sense of well-being to always be present. That is why so many of us seek spiritual or personal development guidance in the first place – we want to be happy.
Many of us are so busy reminiscing (good or bad), worrying or tripping along without any idea of how what we are saying, thinking and feeling are all combining to make up the next now. We get lost in the stories we tell. We get lost in the illusion of the past being real or the illusion of the future looking a certain way, so we miss taking control of the moment to choose.
When we can learn to listen to our thoughts, observe our feelings and make more choices, then we get off auto-pilot. Remembering we have a choice in each moment is something we have to come back to over and over again because our thoughts have tremendous power to carry us into their story. Then, we forget we are telling a story, and by that forgetting, we relinquish our control to the story.
Every nuance of the story in our lives involves interpretation. What meaning are we giving to this? When we feel awakened and aware, we remember we are writing the script, and we control the story. But then, when our story is hijacked by reality or through our forgetfulness, we can feel lost or totally forget our power.
You see, our scripts and stories will get hijacked. We will forget we are the author. We will be presented with external circumstances that are not in our screenplay. We may get discouraged or totally lost. In that moment of returning to awareness, we can shift our perspective, assign a meaning that serves us and return our focus and attention to the original creation we want.
We just need to be careful that our original creation – the story board of our life – isn’t dependent on things looking a certain way or being a certain way for us to be happy. Making the choice to be happy right now requires letting go of our attachments. It is the knowing that “yes, we write the scripts,” but no matter what the story line is, we are okay now.
We are indeed creating what comes into our story line by our thoughts and focus, but there is also much that comes in unexpected. We are, after all, surrounded by other people and their story line.
Mentally, we may understand that when we have an attachment to what happy looks like, we set ourselves up for potential disappointment. We psychologically know the happiness of getting what we want will be fleeting when our wants are external. Yet, subconsciously, we often continue our search, especially as we delve deeper into spiritual awareness or awakening.
We think there is such a thing as lasting happiness or lasting awareness – that is this ideal for which many of us strive and are still searching. It seems reasonable, and we rationalize that we should be able to hold on to this knowing and the moments of insight when we see things so clearly.
However, the minute we try to maintain it, we are holding on to something. Then, we have attachment. Here is another paradox of living: We cannot be aware in the moment and simultaneously desire to be aware in the moment. If we are judging whether or not we are aware, we’ve just stopped being.
Shannon Crane is a writer, speaker and coach who is passionate about sharing how one’s focus, feelings and perspective influence the quality of life. She is currently developing A New Life Perspective course and retreat program to help individuals break free from disappointment, discover their power to create and see things from a soul perspective. www.yourlifeperspective.com.