Feelings Example #145

Imagine how you’d feel while experiencing the best version of whatever you’re currently doing:

Okay, I’ve got my hands on a keyboard ready to type into an iPad. Let’s see, in an ideal scenario I suppose I’d feel confident in my ability to compose prose so enlightening that whoever wandered-in would be shaken awake to the infinite truth elucidated by my words. And as a reader myself, I too would feel the resplendent glow of enlightenment as universal understanding becomes my default.

I would feel a sense of purpose, feeling as though I’m traveling a welcoming path through a narrative of my own design. I feel comforted, I feel at home, I am one with all and all in one (whatever that means). But I feel as though it provides deep meaning that resonates with all who hear it. I feel amused, the sensation of fun guides me through this lighthearted experience. Laughter is the best medicine, and the doctor is in.

I feel no drought of ideas as creativity bubbles out like a fountain. And many come to drink, for the water refreshes. As I place fingers on keys, I feel the flow of electricity energizing the characters painted on canvas. There is no end to the story, only beginning. I feel the hopefulness found in every dawn. A new day begins, a wondrous world made manifest.

And I must admit, I feel it.

The Bistro

As I sit in the usual spot at the bar, I feel welcomed, comforted by an earthy wood-smoke – oftentimes pine or cedar. Gazing across the way, I’m delighted by the diminutive bistro-lights strung across the balcony entrance. And closer by, the dazzling candle dances before me. I raise my glass, experiencing the warm embrace in a sip of brandy. I sit contented, listening to tunes that transport, providing melody and rhythm to groove to. A night at The Bistro is a sensual experience, tempting the senses with elements of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

I visit The Bistro nightly as a means of relaxation before bed. Hm, it must’ve been over a year ago that I developed the concept. Since then there’ve been times I purposely shuttered the place, but I ended up going back. When bedtime rolled around, it felt wrong without a trip to The Bistro. It’s like a sacred ritual with all the fixins: candles, incense, music, and a consecrated chalice. And importantly, I must always remain aware of why I’m there and not let my mind wander beyond the confines of The Bistro.

On the surface, The Bistro’s just a counter in the kitchen of a condo with music provided by my phone. But for the duration of that half-hour, I’m in an old-timey nightclub, not quite a century ago, enchanted by live music and surrounded by those in search of simple amusement. It’s not the look that matters but the feelings it evokes.

Because after-all, The Bistro isn’t a place, it’s an idea. It’s within me and I create my nightclub from whole-cloth every evening. Oh sure I place props on the set, whatever’s in reach – but from there the imagination fills in the rest. Experiences boil-down to the appreciation of a scene painted by perspective. Elements of The Bistro are all around, from the glittering candle on the table to the smell of scented smoke in the air. Essence of what-is gets mixed with what’s imagined – and the result is favorable emotion.

EV Dreams

Dear diary, I just drove around in an all-electric vehicle for the first time today! My friend did the actual driving while I sat in the passenger seat. It was an all-new 2023 Subaru Solterra. I was super-excited and had a great time. It’s very quiet when stopped, but of course there’s tire-on-road noise while driving – and wind when I had the window open.

It’s a dream-come-true. No offense, but I’ve always disliked internal combustion engines and hoped one day an alternative would arrive – it’s satisfying to see this day come to fruition. Decades have gone by, and it’s finally here. I’m a huge fan of technology and innovation and gadgets and such, so yeah, I’m pumped.

But I just drove in it, it’s not my car. My car is “in the shop”, as it’s a frail internal combustion engine vehicle with many fallible mechanical parts. Funny enough, the EV was the only “loaner” available because everyone else was too scared to take it. My friend, knowing my predilection for electric-motor based vehicles didn’t flinch and said “I’ll take it!”

No, there wasn’t a frunk, and I looked like a dummy trying to get the nonexistent front-hood to open. When Googling how to open it, I learned that the all-wheel-drive capability took-up the frunk-space. But other than that, I didn’t have any complaints. Boy, what’s next? Maybe ChatGPT powering the voice of a Boston Dynamics Atlas?

Speaking of which, I’ve been impressed by ChatGPT’s ability to answer my questions. I used to frequent chatrooms in the 90s – and compared to that, ChatGPT is very capable and competent. I even asked it to respond in the style of a “teenager” and we started chatting about my favorite bands, like Guns N’ Roses and stuff – totally cool.

Okay dear diary, that’s all for now. Over and out.

Feel Experiment Update

I’ve been experimenting with this practice:
Imagine how you’d feel while experiencing the best version of whatever you’re currently doing.

I think the experiment is going well. It’s relatively easy to do and the results are immediate. For example, I was sitting at my desk after breakfast feeling “blah”. So I said to myself: what would you feel if you were experiencing the best instance of this after-breakfast-transition time?

Well, I’d be excited to do whatever I was doing that day. This is the time when the morning-routine ends and the meat of the day begins. I feel inspiration striking. I feel creative. I’m confident. I’m pumped. I’m ready to go!

I knew I wasn’t actually going to be doing something that warranted a high level of emotion – but I felt those feelings anyway. It’s like reading a book or watching a movie and reacting emotionally to the story – same thing. And what happens when you’re subjected to an inspirational tale? You wanna go and do stuff. And so it was, I stopped feeling “blah” and did something creative. It worked.

I’ve found that it’s NOT a good idea to frequently poll myself and ask: so how are you feeling right now, Rich? My mind often wanders, thinking stupid thoughts, and winning stupid prizes – like dissatisfaction. So instead of asking, I should be telling. I should select the feelings I want to feel, then interject those into my everyday life by using my imagination.

For this practice, I’m simply imagining the feelings themselves. I’m not trying to design the perfect scenario that evokes them. That’s too much and too distracting. But occasionally, I might try to prime the pump by thinking of a fanciful scene – it’s only a brief blip in order to get to the feelings themselves.

Previously, I waited for external circumstances to inspire positive emotions. Unfortunately, that rarely happened. Now, I imagine the emotions I want, then feel them regardless of the external circumstances. Why not? I’m not even trying to delude myself, I’m simply answering a question, speculating about the feelings I’d feel in an ideal variation of whatever I’m doing.

Feeling Great

Imagine how you’d feel while experiencing the best version of whatever you’re currently doing.

So during morning meditation, I would imagine the feelings I’d feel during the best instance of meditation. A lightness of body, an easiness to everything, a tranquility, the sensation of appreciation, and the feeling of understanding.

Another example: during the morning shower, I would imagine the feelings of anticipatory preparation – like getting ready for an event that I really want to participate in. I’d feel the renewal that results from ritualistic cleansing. And as I donned my apparel, I’d feel like it was the right tool for the task of navigating the day. I’d feel ready. Confident.

In the handful of times I’ve tried this out, it seemed to work very well. I’m not actually experiencing the best, nor trying to convince myself that I am. I’m simply imagining the feelings I’d associate with the best possible experience. I’m not picturing any scenes or designing scenarios, I’m only imagining the feelings themselves.

So instead of my mind being filled with its usual litany of complaints and discomforts, it’s filled with pleasant sensations. Perhaps with practice, my mind will no longer use engagement and activity as an opportunity to seek discomfort and complaint. Perhaps this will train my mind to feel like I believe it should during each of the activities it engages in. Well, the experiment begins…

Entrance Fee

Having recently revisited my favorite spiritual texts (The Bhagavad Gita, The Dhammapada, and the Bible’s Matthew), I can see a common thread that I wasn’t previously focused on. And that is: when the Almighty Creator calls you back, you can’t just walk-in and sit-down next to him. You have to earn this coveted spot. There’s no free pass. The Creator doesn’t want some inept slug sitting at his table.

For example, reincarnation isn’t a reward. It means you didn’t cleanse yourself enough before arriving at the Almighty’s house. But don’t worry, you have plenty of chances to try again in your next lives. As for Jesus, he was asked who the greatest in heaven was (Matthew 18), he replied: “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), the master punished the servant that didn’t return the master’s money with interest.

In other words, you arrive upon this Earth as an unfinished lump of clay. The Almighty Creator does NOT want that unfinished clay back. He expects YOU to improve upon it and shape it throughout the course of your existence.

At your ultimate arrival, you can’t show-up empty-handed. But what can you give a Being that has everything? Cultivating your consciousness as a gift to the Almighty Creator is about all you can do. You’re returning your soul with interest.

Isn’t it rude to assume the Almighty wants you back in an unfinished state? Therefore, refine yourself into something worthy of entrance. Does your Creator love you? Sure, but He’s a Tiger-Mom that demands achievement.

I tried the “God loves and accepts me as I am” approach. But I quickly noticed an endless supply of external circumstances pecking at me – there was nowhere to hide. Something is ALWAYS pushing me towards the refinement of consciousness. I’m not good enough as-is, something wants me to improve.

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And that’s what I assume he meant by becoming childlike. It’s to love unconditionally, to be eager and full of delight, lacking cynicism, approaching the world optimistically, appreciative of whatever’s provided. In other words, be the good-kid God knows you can be.

Another Entry

Well dear diary, here we are again. Let’s review and get you up to speed. Basically I was born, I was confused, I found being a human-being to be a strange and disagreeable experience. Because of that, I’ve been forever trying to fix this predicament. For decades I’ve strained to discern the solution to my problem. But, because I’m a relentless problem-solver that’s energized by defeat, I’ve readily maintained this pursuit.

If I had to guess, there’s likely no solution to be found. It’s more about the pageantry of hide-and-seek rather than actual achievement of a goal. There are times when I recognize this futility and stop looking. I figure I can coast-by in mild-discomfort. But then something really uncomfortable happens and I start searching again. I’m currently in search-mode if you couldn’t tell.

I guess you could say “the search for a solution to the inherent dissatisfaction of existence” has been my profession for all these years. That sounds a lot like the Buddha’s line-of-work. Obviously he’s been a role-model of mine since long ago. It’s said that he found a solution. And from what I can discern, his answer boils down to “mental discipline”. But that’s basically the video-gamer’s taunt of “Get good, noob!”.

I’ve spent at least a couple decades trying to get good at mental discipline. From meditation to reading various texts in the philosophical, scientific, religious, and spiritual realms – as well as completely altering my worldview. But even after all that, the path has no perceivable end. I’m not complaining per se, I mean at this point what else would I do?

I always figured I’d find the fix, implement it, and then live out the rest of my days in retirement, living the easy life. Enlightenment achieved, check. But I guess I’ll just keep tending my flock of thoughts, rambunctious though they are. Hm, maybe I shouldn’t be so resentful of their unruly nature. I mean, what’s a game without obstacles, right?

Lighthearted Path

Being a modern monk. Essentially, you’re traversing a path to the Almighty Creator. Why? The consequences of not doing so are unbearable. In other words, you’re kinda pushed onto the path and kept there by thorns on either side. But whatever, you’re on the path and the only viable option is to remain centered and keep moving forward.

Upon this path, obstacles sit in your way. Things like anger, impatience, pessimism, hopelessness, grievance, self-consciousness – essentially a turbulent mind filled with negativity. Like in any video-game, these never-ending obstacles must be avoided or else your character takes damage. To reiterate: Do not engage with negativity – it’s subtractive, it’ll lessen you. Negativity will dim your light.

Because basically, your role is to shine your light into a dark world. As you walk the path, you glow. Your radiance illuminates the path. This allows others to see the path and they’re drawn to it. You’re a beacon signaling the existence of a pathway to the Almighty Creator.

But keep in mind: you’re not shining because something’s broken or lacking. You’re not fixing anything – you’re simply following in the tradition and pageantry of illumination. Some people are bakers and they provide bread – loaves don’t just appear in the pantry. In a similar way, you provide light, you’re a lamp – you simply light the way.

Steering the Cart

I’m concurrently reading my goto books: “The Bhagavad Gita” and “The Dhammapada”. They quite clearly point-out my problem: I’m lacking mental discipline – I’m letting my mind wander wherever it wants – and THAT is the direct source of my dissatisfaction.

Here’s the thing, I KNOW this. I’ve read these books already, many times, using several different translations each. Yet here I am, doing EXACTLY what I shouldn’t be doing. To be fair, the books readily admit that taming the unruly mind IS a difficult task.

I believe I went wrong by assuming I was “done”. I cleaned out my mental attic and felt I could sit back and relax. I could not. As Barty Crouch Junior always said: “Constant vigilance!” Whenever I let my guard down, my tempestuous mind has always shown its readiness to pounce.

So back on the wagon I go. Meditating twice daily. Reading spiritual truths. Turning my mind towards the infinite all-pervading source of all. Moderation in diet and activity. It’s not something you graduate from, it’s a way of life. Yet it’s so easy to forget and get lost into an illusion.

Raising a Mind

I think I was very close to stripping-out all excitement from my experience. No stress, no deadlines, no anxiety, no drama, no social-stuff, no health-stuff, no existential angst – nothing. But what remained, was a general dissatisfaction.

Then all of a sudden a strange and uncomfortable feeling developed one afternoon – and it kinda freaked me out. And with it, came a new existential angst – a fear of existence itself. I knew beyond all doubt that this world wasn’t “real” – but what was it? Something bad? Am I in hell? Am I perpetually trapped in Wonderland?

In one sense, it was kind of exciting to feel fear again. But I definitely don’t like the sensation of being stuck in the fever-dream of an eternal consciousness. Is it better to stay asleep within the dream or wake-up to the intense suffering and loneliness that sparked the dream?

It took awhile, but I finally saw the pattern. My mind simply found a new way to attack me. I was able to dismantle EVERYTHING my mind had previously thrown at me. Boredom was the only thing left, but I can coast through that pretty easily. This new existential angst was just my mind’s latest attempt to incite excitement. Oh, he had me for a bit, he really did.

I’m not completely deaf to his dilemma. I get it, the mind needs SOMETHING to occupy his attention. I was starving him, I admit it. In one sense, I felt abused by my mind and I took away all his toys. Therefore, I’m now attempting to find a compromise.

I obviously don’t want him thinking about all the stuff I don’t like. I want him involved in wholesome stuff. But he isn’t captivated by just anything. I can’t simply sit him in front of a desk full of tools and expect him to make things – I tried that and he often wanders into unpleasant topics. As long as I have an interesting project, he’s manageable, but it’s not easy coming up with an endless supply of absorbing projects.

For an experiment, I spent this entire month of January doing menial tasks around the house – and guess what? Those activities were sufficient enough to distract him. It’s just a couple hours per day but he’s been vacuuming, dusting, bread-making, and assisting housemates with simple stuff.

Oftentimes I can think of something to shop for and he’ll busily browse Amazon just adding stuff to a wishlist. Other times I can sit him in front of an adrenaline-based video-game and he’ll remain amused for awhile. And if I find an exciting movie or video, he’ll sit there quietly. I’ve yet to find that one big thing, like a career or hobby, that can completely captivate him.

So dear diary, that’s where I’m at right now. I’m a thought-herder, tending to my flock while dreaming of doing something else. Tired of looking after all these dumb thoughts that wander to and fro – getting into trouble wherever they go. But do I dare wish for more? Or is it best to accept and appreciate the task I do? Sometimes I imagine all this toil will improve the world – transforming it into a lighthearted place full of love and creativity, where everyone feels like a winner and part of something grand.