So what’s the target I see of myself? First off, experience has taught me that actual physical attainment is meaningless. It’s only the feelings that matter. For example, if the best meal in the world sat before me, I couldn’t enjoy it while feeling dejected. Whereas a mediocre burger eaten while feeling delighted is a great experience. Therefore, my target can’t include actual physical depictions.
I see my target-self as loving, loved, lighthearted, laughing, creative, creating, triumphant, winning. What he does while feeling those things really doesn’t matter. So no matter where I am, my target remains in view. But even though I can perceive the target, I can’t easily attain it. That’s where all the focus and discipline come into play.
For example, what I implemented recently was to simply imagine how I’d feel while experiencing the best version of whatever I’m currently doing. Again, it doesn’t matter what I physically do, only the feelings matter. I’m overwriting the feelings of a poor experience with the feelings of a great experience. I apply this anytime I’m feeling uncomfortable or dissatisfied. This technique has shown itself to be highly effective – the result is immediate.
The most demanding part of the path is maintaining focus. My mind constantly wanders into unpleasant territory – finding something wrong with everything. Therefore, I have to monitor my thoughts ceaselessly lest I step in poop – which gets all over the place, is difficult to clean, and whose smell lingers long past the incident. I’ve witnessed how readily my emotional-state conforms to my focus. Think bad thoughts: feel bad. Think good thoughts: feel good. It’s simple but it takes more effort than just letting my mind wander – so that’s the challenge to overcome. Don’t be lazy, apply mental-discipline.