The game-changer is this: I noticed how readily my feelings reacted to my focus. What am I thinking about? I saw a direct and immediate emotional response to whatever it was. Focus on a scary thought, feel scared. But I don’t like feeling scared. So why not focus on something that evokes a feeling I do like? And that’s the answer. But of course, implementation takes some effort.
An important point: I don’t need to honor or investigate feelings that “randomly” spring-up within me. They’re not random, they are a reaction to my focus. The mind wanders, it thinks about EVERYTHING – so all these feelings I have aren’t meaningful in any way. If it exists, I’ve thought about it and my feelings responded robotically – there’s nothing special about them.
I used to gauge my current-condition by asking myself “how are you feeling?” Well guess what my answer was? “Bad, because I’m nervous.” Of course I felt bad, I was focused on anxiety-inducing ideas. So a better question is “what are you focused on?” If I’m feeling bad, I know without doubt that I’m focused on an unpleasant idea. So I stop and change focus.
While feelings aren’t the driver, they ARE the destination. Feelings ARE the most important aspect of experience. Feelings make experiences what they are. It doesn’t matter what I do, it’s how I feel while doing it that matters. Eating the best meal while sad isn’t fun, but a mediocre meal while full of frivolity is a great time.
But if I’m surrounded by nastiness, how can I focus on pleasant aspects if I can’t see them? Easy, I go into my imagination and focus on how I’d feel while experiencing the best version of whatever I’m currently doing. I’m simply speculating about the feelings I’d experience in a perfect scenario. And because feelings follow focus, I immediately feel better.