I was listening to a 3PGC talk recently and heard Chip Chipman say, “The true self cannot be described. It can only be felt.” I had an “aha!” moment and understood more clearly what Sydney Banks was pointing to when he says in his recordings, “The wisdom is in the feeling. You are looking for a feeling.” I hear it now as another way of saying you are looking for your true self, and you will know you have found it by the feelings that accompany it. We all know the beautiful feelings we are capable of having. They let us know who we really are.
At the recent 3P School, Elsie Spittle said, “I don’t welcome negative feelings. I understand them.” This underlined for me where healing and change come from. They do not come from encouraging the experience and the expression of negative emotions.
Personal change comes from having an encounter with our true nature and that is always accompanied by beautiful feelings. This experience has the wisdom and power to transform our consciousness and allows us to enjoy more freedom.
I am not advocating for repressing negative emotions. I am saying I can use my freewill to look for a good feeling because that points me in the direction of my true nature where growth and change come from. It is helpful to understand that negative emotions come from negative thoughts that are limited. It then makes sense not to fuel the distorted thoughts and give them more strength. It affords us permission to give them the least amount of attention possible. There is no pay off for going down that road.
I have spent a lot of time in my life wallowing in negative feeling states. This was, of course, innocent. I did not see how I was creating my experience by bringing my thoughts to life. I thought the negative feelings meant something about me. I thought I would grow stronger by feeling them and encouraging them. I believed going through them would purge them from me.
I did not realize there was no end there. I did not understand that my divine gift of thought would allow me to create an infinite amount of negative thoughts through my creative potential. I did not see that my experience could shift on a dime simply by having a new thought. I thought there was something real to cleanse.
However, I was having to constantly create what I was feeling. It did not exist. I made it up, and innocently kept making it up in the present moment, and because I did not understand I was making up, I did not see I had choice. I felt victimized by my feelings. I felt oppressed by them. It was invisible to me that I was creating them by ruminating on my negative thoughts.
Now I see I can use my feelings as a guide to let me know which way to focus my attention. Understanding I create my experience reveals the choice point to me. My conscious awareness is like a pathway with infinite turnings. I can say, “No thanks” to the anger turn off, “No” to hate, “Not this time” to resentment, and “I’ll pass” to sadness. This doesn’t mean I won’t feel these emotions. I am not in resistance to them, but I have the gift of free will, as we all do.
When I understand that focusing on these feelings only takes me further away from my natural state and my spiritual nature, I am less likely to give them my curiosity and analysis.
When I know that there is no benefit to bringing those feelings to life, I spend less time experiencing them. Not because I see them as wrong or bad, but because I recognize I have freedom. The freedom comes from understanding that feelings are a feedback mechanism that let me know the quality of my thinking in the moment. When I see them for what they are, I am not afraid of them. I recognize negative feelings are the result of my distorted, illusory thoughts and can choose how much I want to bring these thoughts to life. I can’t choose whether or not I have these thoughts, but I can choose the amount of energy and attention I give them.
I found myself in a low mood earlier this week. I didn’t know why I felt the way I did, but I knew what was happening. I knew my experience was being created from the inside out, and I chose not to analyze what was going on. I chose not to make it mean anything. I chose not to catastrophize. I purposefully did not look into the content of my thinking to try and figure things out. I just road out my experience and felt mostly physical symptoms of fatigue. But this feeling state in the past would have sent me on a tailspin. I would have made it mean lots of negative things about me and generally felt miserable, hopeless, and worthless until I would eventually get distracted and bounce back up.
That is the difference between understanding and welcoming negative feeling states for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t have them, but they are more like a dark storm cloud that hangs over me and eventually passes than an experience of falling into quicksand and being engulfed. That is the power of understanding where our experience comes from. The understanding illuminates the way so we are less likely to tie ourselves up in knots.
And, on the other hand, I welcome feelings like compassion, love, empathy, and joy. I experience the wisdom within them that is beyond words. Often, when we least expect it, these feelings bring new thought. We see something fresh and new. We gain a new perspective we have not seen before that changes everything.
That is the gift of experiencing our true nature. It is closer than we think. It is always there, but we have the choice of where we put our attention.
Are we going to stay fascinated with ourselves and the ever-changing ups and downs of our moods and thoughts, or are we going to look in the direction of a good feeling — of our true nature? The choice is ours.
Rohini Ross is a psychotherapist, a leadership consultant, and an executive coach. Rohini facilitates personalized three-day retreats for individuals, couples, and professionals to help them connect more fully with their true nature and experience greater levels of wellbeing, resiliency, and success. You can find out more about Rohini’s work on her website, rohiniross.com.