I do a bit of yoga now and then.
At the first sense of tightness in a muscle, my whole system used to click into ‘this isn’t how it should be’ mode and at once the tightness in my body increased slightly and a corresponding tightness in my mind emerged.
But one time I saw it. I was doing it again.
I was wanting what showed up to be different to how it was. Thinking what showed up – tightness in a muscle – was not okay because it didn’t feel okay, or didn’t match my definition of okay which is ‘easy, happy, light, effortless.’
I noticed it and let it be and the tightness faded in my mind and body.
Not feeling okay, is NOT a problem
I saw once again the persistence of the illusion that is oh so common. The innocently misguided notion that not feeling okay is a problem.
Based as it is, on the mistaken idea that we are only okay if we feel okay. This innocent misunderstanding leads on to a whole heap of other misunderstandings.
So if I don’t feel okay, there’s a problem that needs fixing, so I have to look for a solution. So we start looking….
It must be because I need to be/have/get/do/feel something else. That what I am/have/got/do/feel right now is simply not good enough/wrong/inadequate/bad.
This innocent misunderstanding is the root of a whole series of follow on thoughts, feelings and sometimes actions that generally create suffering of one sort or another.
They create suffering because we are at odds with what is. Resisting it. And paradoxically causing it to persist and often increase in intensity.
Have you ever noticed what you desperately want rid of in your life (feelings, people, circumstances) has a way of hanging around like a bad smell?
Why does the belief that we need to ‘feel’ okay to be okay persist?
Because we think we are what we feel.
We are not.
We are much, much more than that.
How do we see through this illusion?
The way to clear up this misunderstanding is when we realise okay-ness doesn’t come from feelings (at all, ever).
The folly of seeking okay-ness in our feelings, or in other things like our relationships, our work or in any stuff out there, is, that all those things are subject to change.
They are all impermanent
The feeling of okay-ness we seek from those things can only ever be temporary, fleeting, apt to evaporate.
Worse, measuring ourselves by whether or not we feel ‘okay’ means we are forever destined to grade ourselves with an F for failure because we can never keep the feeling of okay-ness that sometimes, at random, passes through us.
Okay-ness is built in
Each of us has the potential to realise that okay-ness doesn’t reside in our feelings, but in fact lies far, far below the surface of our thoughts, feelings and moods.
And in fact okay-ness is not a feeling at all. It is a state of being. It is an awareness.
When we realise this, we can relax, stop obsessing about how we feel and come alive more and more to the wonder of what is.
Then feelings begin to matter far less and we can embrace any feeling (emotional or physical). Tightness in a muscle becomes, not something to worry about but simply something to notice and get curious about.
If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.
‘Doing’ yoga becomes not about trying to feel better in my body but simply about embracing and getting curious about whatever shows up in mind, body or spirit while ‘doing’ yoga.
When you see the truth of the absolute, unchanging, constant, timeless okay-ness of that which allows you to experience your thoughts, feelings and moods, then okay-ness is no longer something you strive for, something you search for, something you try to grab and hold on to.
Okay-ness just is
It’s your natural state and it is present whether or not you are aware of it.
And feeling happy or sad, up or down becomes not a measure of who we are, not something to fix or change, simply a different flavour of being human in that moment.
An experience we get to have because we are here in this human existence. Paradoxically the more we embrace what is, the richer our experience becomes and the more it flows. Opening ourselves to what is, we get to feel, to really feel, in the raw, all of it, the whole gamut of emotions.
From searing loss that takes your breath away to belly laughs that have you bent double, and a flood of compassion that carries in it the sorrows of the world. Opening to these experiences while anchored in the deep knowing of our okay-ness brings a wonder and awe at the fact of aliveness.
The invitation is simply to be and do
And in our being and doing to expand our awareness and surrender to the aliveness, the animation, the soulfulness of everything, in every moment.
And in that surrender to invite more aliveness, more beauty, more wonder, joy and being-ness into our lives and the lives of those we touch.
“What we are talking about is learning to live in the present moment, in the now. When you aren’t distracted by your own negative thinking, when you don’t allow yourself to get lost in moments that are gone or yet to come, you are left with this moment. This moment-now-truly is the only moment you have. It is beautiful and special. Life is simply a series of such moments to be experienced one right after another. If you attend to the moment you are in and stay connected to your soul and remain happy, you will find that your heart is filled with positive feelings.”
Next time the thought occurs to you to stretch your body, do some breathing exercises, move into a yoga pose, what if you simply do it? Do it and embrace all that arises in that doing, and wonder at the aliveness that allows you to do it and moves you (inside and out).
I’d love if it you’d share what this post brings up for you.
I am blessed to get to share an understanding of how the mind works with folk at a local mental health Welcome Centre in a town near my home. Each time I show up I see something new.
In one session, the first of a four week run, I was moved to hear people who’d been to previous groups, falling over themselves to share what they’ve seen with those joining the programme for the first time.
The examples they gave varied: finding stillness, setting aside something that bothered them, losing sight of well-being but knowing it was there somewhere.
What they were wanting to convey was the feeling. The feeling of hope, ease and connection.
And it struck me how there is an instinct in us all of us to reach out and connect with others. We see this in action in so many little ways, all over the world, day in, day out:-
- A person moves out of the way to let another pass by on a narrow pavement or sidewalk
- A car driver stops to let out another driver
- A person gives directions to someone who is lost
- A parent reaches for the hand of a child as they cross the road
We see this even more when people reach out to help those in distress or peril:-
- Strangers help the old and sick to evacuate when a hurricane is forecast
- Taxi drivers pick up those fleeing a terrorist attack
- Passers by rush to help the injured after a bomb attack
Reaching out is a natural instinct when our common humanity and compassion is touched. It happens every day, all over the world. When you start to notice this, it is moving beyond words.
In that group, I saw people reach out to help those who are suffering and I felt an overwhelming surge of gratitude to be able to witness this gathering of people filled with such goodwill and warmth.
It is a natural consequence of being human. It is what happens when we are fully present.
I’d love to know what you see or hear in this that’s new for you. Please add your comments below.
Juliet Fay based in West Wales, UK, is a Marketing Geek and Three Principles Facilitator. Facilitating conversations in person and online with individuals, groups and teams to point people towards more ease in life and work. She also writes poems, articles, essays, prose and short stories. Find out about events and contact Juliet via the Solcare website. To get email updates about new writing, events, programmes and meets ups, sign up to the e-mailing list here.
To learn more about the Three Principles ask to join Love Your Life Again, a Facebook group hosted by Juliet Fay of Solcare, for individuals social care workers and social entrepreneurs experiencing mental stress (or serving those that do). A place to look towards a deeper understanding of who we are and how our experience gets created. In this group you can connect with others and share insights into a new understanding of how the mind works known as The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks.This is an extension of the work Juliet does at a local mental health charity facilitating conversations with members, staff and volunteers. Please ask to join. Once you are a member you can invite others into the group.
When a storm hits, and the wind is whistling, windows rattling and the rain beating hard on the roof, the world can feel like a scary and intimidating place. There’s not much you can do when a storm is raging other than batten down the hatches and wait for it to pass.
In the same way, when our mood dips, our experience of the world can change dramatically and problems can seem to run hither and thither through our minds. Yet rather than allowing the storm of problem thinking to pass we often feel compelled to act on the feelings we experience in a low mood.
I found myself caught in a hilarious little thought routine this morning. I went from feeling a little irked about something minor to deciding that several things in my life were utterly pointless in the space of about 15 minutes.
And then I noticed what just happened and saw the comedy in it.
What I am seeing more and more clearly is that it isn’t the world out there that has changed but simply my mood (or level of consciousness).
I realised that the only thing that needed to happen for all to seem well in my world again, was my mood or level of consciousness to rise.
And that means there is nothing to do in a low mood but simply ALLOW my mood to change…. and it will.
What a relief!
I don’t expect this is really news to anyone.
In low moods life seems a struggle, overwhelming and it feels like everyone wants a piece of us. When a more relaxed mood occurs, all those feelings melt away and the world once again seems friendly and benign.
Have you ever noticed, when you feel good, you glide through tasks and whatever comes up feels manageable?
On the other hand, in a low mood, when life seems full of problems, it can look like those feelings of discomfort are telling us something important about ourselves, our situation, our work or our relationships. If so it may look as if we should set about trying to fix or change things about ourselves or our circumstances.
This can lead to actions that at best are unnecessary and at worst actually work against our best interests.
When in reality, our world changes depending on our mood or level of consciousness. Not just our view of our world, but actually our experience of our world.
Just knowing this is often enough for the thoughts and feelings to get less compelling. We realise all we need to do is batten down the hatches and wait until the storm passes. Our mood or level of consciousness will naturally rise and open all by itself.
And know too there will be more storms of problem thinking, some bigger, some smaller, some lasting a few minutes, some a few days or weeks; because we are human. There’s nothing to worry about and definitely nothing to do.
What is your experience of letting low moods pass through?
© Juliet Fay 2017
Juliet Fay writes poems, articles, essays prose and short stories, also one time Marketing Geek and Three Principles Facilitator based in West Wales, UK sharing The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks. Contact Juliet via the Solcare website. For articles, occasional poems, book reviews and programme news from Solcare, sign up to the e-mailing list here. To learn more about the Three Principles ask to join Love Your Life Again, a Facebook group hosted by Juliet Fay of Solcare, for individuals, social care workers and social entrepreneurs looking for more ease and flow.
A place to look towards a deeper understanding of who we are and how our experience gets created. In this group you can connect with others and share insights into a new understanding of how the mind works known as The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks.This is an extension of the work Juliet does at a local mental health charity facilitating conversations with members, staff and volunteers.Please ask to join. Once you are a member you can invite others into the group.
Walking through the main street of a small English market town today I saw a little boutique shop was closing down and all stock was 50% off. Aha! I’ll go in I thought. My eye was drawn to some very fine hats (I love hats). I tried on several and couldn’t make up my mind between a navy one and a chocolate-brown one, so I solicited the advice of the owner. She made some helpful suggestions and then pointed out I could get two hats for the original price of one. She saw my dilemma and offered me a third option which removed the difficulty completely. I smiled and appreciated her selling skills. She understood and connected with my enjoyment of both hats and offered me a new possibility in that moment. I didn’t buy both hats because her comment also made me realise that to own either would be lovely. I chose the chocolate-brown one.
In the same way, when we begin to understand that our experience is an inside job, coming from thinking in the moment that looks real to us, we may start to notice other people innocently causing themselves upset and mental stress by believing unhelpful thinking in the moment and we may want to rush in with ‘helpful advice’ especially if that person is complaining to us.
It is so tempting to point out where their experience is coming from. In the case of the shop owner, she could have given her support to one hat or the other, told me which looked better. And we can rush in and give our ‘helpful’ advice to loved ones (all innocently well-intentioned of course).
However there is another option between saying nothing and pointing out the ‘missing link’ as Sydney Banks called the innocent misunderstanding that we are experiencing the world out there rather than our thinking. And that is to sidestep the whole ‘it’s only your thinking’ line and come up with something different, something infinitely more ‘helpful’ as the shop owner did. Read on.
Confession: I have caught myself ‘observing’ others caught up in their thinking and believing it to be real and wished I could ‘make them see’ it’s all made up.
It tends to happen with my nearest and dearest.
When I first came across the Three Principles and found such huge mental relief, I briefly turned my very well-developed Thought Police skills onto others.
But noticing when people are caught in their thinking can be a gift for you and for them.
For when we see someone metaphorically hitting themselves over the head with the hammer of their own thoughts several things can occur from this observation.
Yes we may want to step in and forcibly wrest the hammer from their hands, not usually very successful in my experience. You might find the hammer gets turned on you! Maybe try to resist that urge.
I realised when I found myself getting irritated by one dear family member apparently insisting on doing the same hitting with the same hammer over and over again, that actually she is okay.
Yes she might be causing herself a bit of a mental headache but actually, fundamentally she is okay exactly as she is.
It is not my job to fix, sort, educate or anything else.
In fact to go all holier than thou is simply me getting lost in a completely different train of thought which has me as the Fixer (an old favourite of mine) and others in need of repair.
No. My job is to extend love and understanding to myself and the person in front of me. That’s all.
When I look at that, I can ‘allow’ compassion and wonder to arise. Wonder at the innocence of how we all get caught up believing thinking that isn’t helpful. Wonder at how in the end, the human spirit prevails and eventually the hammer gets put down even if only for a while. Wonder at the compassion that arises as we realise how we all pick up the hammer from time to time whether we have heard about something called The Three Principles or not.
As we allow our consciousness to expand, the specific story behind the hammer hitting melts away and becomes unimportant as our love for the person in front of us grows. Being present with ourselves and others in that space, is probably the most helpful thing we can do. Far more helpful than saying,
“It’s just your thinking, you know”
It’s a lesson I need to be reminded of now and then, when I lose sight of what matters.
And what matters is connection. What matters is love.
You can’t always find that loving connection in the moment. And that’s okay. Sometimes I don’t see it until after the event. Knowing it’s only ever one thought away, now that’s beautiful.
So the next time you have the urge to tell someone you love how it’s just their thinking, remember that store owner and the hats. Connect with that person where they are and offer the love and understanding that only you can bring to that moment. And that is more than enough. It’s a gift for you both.
What have you seen regarding your reactions to other people’s thinking?
© Juliet Fay 2017
Juliet Fay is a writer, poet, Marketing Geek and Three Principles Facilitator based in West Wales sharing The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks. Contact Juliet via the Solcare website. For articles, occasional poems, book reviews and programme news from Solcare, sign up to the e-mailing list here. She also hosts a Facebook group Love Your Life Again, for individuals, social care workers and social entrepreneurs experiencing mental stress and looking for more ease and flow in life and work. A place to look towards a deeper understanding of who we are and how our experience gets created.
In this group you can connect with others and share insights into a new understanding of how the mind works known as The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks.This is an extension of the work Juliet does at a local mental health charity facilitating conversations with members, staff and volunteers. Please ask to join. Once you are a member you can invite others into the group.
Do you believe everything you think?
Most of us don’t.
We don’t believe when it has rained for 6 days solid that the sun will never come out again (though that thought crosses our mind).
We don’t believe life is unremittingly bad though it can look like that when we are in a low mood.
What if you don’t have to believe anything you think? What if it is all made up? Simply thought energy passing through us?
Hang on a minute, I hear you say.
Well if you can disregard some thoughts and not others, what makes the difference? How do you choose which ones you pay attention to, which ones you give weight to?
Scientific evidence, facts, validation from others?
You only have to scratch a little deeper to find it’s entirely random. The difference comes simply from what state of mind we are in.
In a high state of mind (or expanded consciousness) the thoughts we believe and therefore our experience of the world, is entirely different to the thoughts we believe to be true and therefore our experience of the world in a low state of mind. In a high state of mind we experience love, joy, wisdom, well-being, lightheartedness and peace. In a low state we experience fear, lack, scarcity and distress.
What does this tell us?
It is our state of mind that creates our experience.
The innocent misunderstanding is that circumstances, our genes, our wiring, our past, our hormones or anything other than the thinking in each moment that we believe to be true, creates our experience. That misunderstanding is the biggest cause of mental distress because we take our thoughts at face value. We believe they tell us something about ourselves, other people or our world.
But that’s not how it works.
Our state of mind ebbs and flows and therefore so does our experience of ourselves, others and our world.
The thing that is constant is our innate, essential, well-being. We may lose sight of it but we all have, at our core, innate wisdom, well-being, creativity and resilience.
Our shifting moods tell us ever-changing stories about ourselves, the world and other people.
These are made up. Insubstantial. Illusory. Only they don’t look that way. They look real.
It is expanded consciousness that shifts our experience.
How do you get expanded consciousness?
It happens naturally when we get quiet and still and tune in to something bigger than ourselves. To the universal energy we call life or spirit or Mind (as expressed by Sydney Banks).
The good news is, as our consciousness expands our feeling states continue to fluctuate, ebb and flow but they do so from a different base line.
The even better news is that there is nothing to do other than settle down. There’s nothing to get, achieve, tick off or even aspire to. There is only doing and being.
There aren’t even any states of mind that are inherently negative. We only judge them to be so. We can experience distress from a place of expanded consciousness and experience it as the dreamer watches what is unfolding in the dream. Engaged but not attached to any particular outcome.
Thus we can get curious about these feeling states we get to experience with this whole being human thing. With nothing on it, there is no longer the need to chase away so-called ‘bad feelings’ nor try to cling on to so-called ‘good feelings’. Knowing that feelings ebb and flow we can turn away from thinking about how we are feeling and allow instead thoughts and feelings to flow through us. Casting our attention away from stale old ones and towards fresh new inspiration that is always available to us, in each and every moment. This allows us to engage in doing and being with wonder, awe and appreciation.
When you realise you are not what you think, nor does what you think say anything about yourself, the world or other people you can surrender to Universal Mind and to life flowing through you. When life flows through you uninhibited, your experience of this whole being human thing, transforms as more and more appreciation leads to more and more allowing for love, joy and peace to show up in your life and the lives of those around you.
Why isn’t this common knowledge?
You might well ask. For once you realise your experience of life is created by the thinking you believe to be real, your whole relationship to your thinking begins to change. The good news is, this understanding is being shared across the world and more and more of those impacted by seeing the reality of how our human experience gets created are bringing about change directly or indirectly, in their families, communities and work places. Change is coming.
You can find out more by visiting the Solcare Resources page.
Please add your comments below.
© Juliet Fay 2017
Juliet Fay is a writer, poet, Marketing Geek and Three Principles Facilitator based in West Wales sharing The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks. Contact Juliet via the Solcare website. For articles, occasional poems, book reviews and programme news from Solcare, sign up to the e-mailing list here. To learn more about the Three Principles ask to join Love Your Life Again, a Facebook group hosted by Juliet Fay of Solcare, for individuals, social care workers and social entrepreneurs looking for more ease and flow.
During my years in organic vegetable farming I saw how a naturally fertile soil can produce naturally healthy crops by harnessing nature’s own systems.
For instance, farmers have known, probably since Egyptian times, that rotating crops and planting legumes like peas, lentils and clovers are good for soil fertility. Fertile soils produce strong new shoots, less likely to be affected by pest and diseases. There is good science to back up this age old practice.
It struck me today that our minds work in a similar way. We often talk of people having a ‘fertile imagination’ if they come up with particularly creative or fantastic ideas.
And what defines a creative idea?
Usually it is something new, fresh, unseen, untested.
Where does it come from?
It can only come from a universal intelligence behind life. Where else could it possible come from? So why do some people find life a journey of discovery and others are prisoners of their thoughts?
It seems to me, the answer lies in the state of the space where thoughts arise.
In our minds.
When this space, our mind, is congested with stale old thoughts, it feels exhausted and clogged up. The stale old thoughts churn up and rather than paying attention to our state of mind, we try and fix those thoughts by changing things in our world, like our job, our partners or our diet.
Much in the same way a conventional farmer might reach for fertilizer, weedkiller or insecticide to try and buck up sad looking plants. In both cases it doesn’t fix the underlying issue.
The stirred up mind like the depleted soil, is not in good heart.
On the other hand when we allow our mind to do what it naturally wants to do, which is to settle down and get quiet and still, in my experience, love and appreciation naturally arise, if we allow those feelings to come.
How do you get your mind to settle down?
As soon as it occurs to you to let your mind settle, it will. In my groups I take a water bottle with sand in the bottom, shake it up and we all watch the sand slowly sink to the bottom. It takes a few seconds. It’s not the bottle of sand making us settle down; it’s just a reminder how quickly the mind can and will settle if we let it.
Like organic farmers, who understand that feeding the soil, produces new, healthy crops. So too, if we understand how settling down, nurtures the mind, nurtures the space where thoughts arise, allows it to fill with love and appreciation, then we too can experience fresh, beautiful new ‘shoots’ of ideas and a ‘healthier’ experience of our world.
And who wouldn’t want that?