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…

Keeping Focus

Current mantra: love, lightheartedness, creativity, and triumph.

Love: appreciation, adoration, enjoyment, patience.
Lightheartedness: laughter, delight, frivolity, joy.
Creativity: creating, crafting, doing, beautifying.
Triumph: satisfaction, success, contentment, confidence.

These concepts are all I’m allowing myself to focus on. A little time has passed since I began and it’s going well. They’re what I really want out of life I suppose.

I want to love, laugh, make stuff, and feel like a winner. What else is there? I spent so long attempting to avoid the things I didn’t like instead of focusing on the things I did like.

During the times I’m not actually experiencing these concepts, I must try to turn my focus to them. “If surrounded by darkness, should you not seek the light?”

Primary Focus

If “focus” is the ultimate influencer of experience, then what am I allowed to focus on (while ignoring everything else)?

For you Rich, you may focus on the following (but only in fun and never frustration):

(in no particular order)
Tools, woodworking, technology, engineering, computer programming, and math.
Good relations with companions.
Funny aspects of things.
Triumphant stories and comical depictions.
Lightheartedness and the sensation of joy.
(joy: warmth, weightlessness, oneness – everything is as it should be, perfect, complete.)

Watch your thoughts – if something comes into focus that isn’t on the approved list, switch it off and select something from the list. If you’re experiencing a situation that is difficult to disconnect from, attempt to focus beyond it. Ride it through calmly and quietly while trying to focus on something outside of it.

Mind Pet

Think of it like this: the mind is a pet. But not an easy one, he’s more like the worst behaving pet ever. If you leave him unattended, he’ll destroy the house and eat his own feces. BUT, instead of being cute and cuddly, there’s another reason to keep him: he’s similar to a lick-able toad. He takes you, the consciousness, on exciting journeys within wondrous narratives packed with twisting plots and crazy characters. You’re kinda addicted to it.

Being that the mind is the only way to access these stories, you deal with it. It’s a major pain in the butt though – and you’re often at odds, yelling at the mind for his complete disregard for keeping things tidy and feces-free. “Stupid mind, I told you not to do that!!” But the mind keeps on doin what minds do: crafting excitement and excrement. Obviously, yelling at the mind never works.

But like those tales of incompatible roommates, sometimes a happy-medium can be achieved. First, the mind can NOT be left unattended and allowed to entertain himself. Yeah, sometimes the mess won’t be so bad and you’ll assume the mind’s finally calmed down and behaves appropriately when left alone. But soon enough, BAM!… feces everywhere. You can’t trust it, ever.

Of course that puts a burden on you, the consciousness. There’s just no vacation, no rest for the weary. But consider this: you might be able to set the mind on a specific course and coerce him into an acceptable narrative in which you (the consciousness) sit back and relax. It’s like putting him on a leash or in a fenced area.

For example: sit him in-front of a movie he likes, make a playlist of videos he’ll enjoy watching, get him into a suitable hobby, assign him a project he’s interested in, do some exercise he enjoys – essentially, find something he performs without complaint. Otherwise, the second you stop supervising, he’ll smear poop everywhere. You’re his cruise-director, do your duty and make sure he’s got entertaining stuff to do or he’ll trash your ship.

Stop Snowballing

Noticing a thought. Considering that thought. Extrapolating from the thought. Adding to the thought. Rolling the thought around with all its extrapolations and additions until you’re covered in an anxious mess that you can’t escape from.

I’m literally anxious from just thinking about the process. A minute ago I was fine – but snowballing is such a wicked form of self-torment.

Notice a thought. Shut it down. Notice the thought again. Shut it down, again. Notice a thought. Shut – it – down. If you don’t roll it around, it can’t collect more snow. Keep it small and manageable. Once it gets larger, it can’t easily be undone.

Stand up and do something physical, something distracting, do something differently than usual, find a show or video to watch, have a project ready to jump into, say hello to someone, tidy something, find a fun activity. Stop the snowball from forming.

I suppose you have to become your own cruise-director. Don’t leave your daily activities and entertainment up to “whatever”. If you don’t design something interesting for you to do, you’ll just end up scaring yourself with dumb thoughts all the time. A bored mind will relieve itself one way or another – it’s better to provide it with pleasant options.

Dream Life

If reality’s a dream, how should I act within it? Intensity is controlled by focus and perspective. For instance, zooming into something “disturbing” causes intensity to magnify. For example, you could be sitting there all day saying “Oh dear! Poor me! Poor me! I suffer so!” or you could daydream about soaring through vineyards and snacking on grapes. So, steer your focus and adjust your perspective.

Think of it like a magnifying-glass or telescope. Your consciousness is the person viewing through the eyepiece, your focus is whatever you aim the device at, and perspective is the magnification setting. For example, I could aim the device at a wound I have on my hand, zooming into it at the exclusion of all other matters – considering all the things that went into cutting my hand, the mistakes, the potential for infection, even the road to recovery. Or, I could go have a cookie and forget about it. I could turn my focus to treats, zooming-in on the cookie, savoring each bite as chocolate morsels melt in my mouth.

But here’s the thing: the knobs aren’t obvious – and they can stick. And, your device might scan across some things you don’t prefer. Then you’re like, “huh, what’s this?” and before you know it, you’re like “EW!! I didn’t want to see that!! Gah!” Sometimes you gotta fight to change the channel. Keep in mind that it’s never the images themselves you’re fighting, the struggle is for control over your own focus and perspective.

Deny, deny, deny: “This isn’t happening!” or “This is fine.” Because in fact, it IS fine – it’s only a dream, remember. The fanciful images floating across your gaze are yours to ignore or accept. Wrestle your attention away from the unpleasant then coax it towards the things you prefer. Persist in this disciplined approach and you should witness a vast improvement in your experiences.

Off to Space

I’m not a human, I’m a whimsical dream. I’m “The essence previously-known as the physical-form of Rich”.

I have relieved you of the burden of body, now how do you feel? Lighter I suppose. No longer real, but ethereal. Floating through 3D scenes, I skate the frozen surface. I witness far-off reflections of forms glistening amidst a golden glow against boundless backgrounds of flickering spectacles.

I am beyond the scene, as a viewer of TV resides on the other side of the screen, glass in-between. I can experience momentary distress from the images I see, but it’s really not me. Ultimately I don’t care. Unless I can alter the drama before me, then it feels like someone else’s handiwork. All I can say is “okay cool” in an apathetic way, shrugging my shoulders.

So recently, I’ve been testing out a very zoomed-out perspective. It’s weird to perceive all “this” as a complete fabrication – yet it feels closer to the truth. The Earth I know, is absurdity all the way down. Life is pure parody nowadays – which I’m fine with, I like parodies (the joke-version of something).

I’ve noticed the changes, the lightening of my experience flashing before my eyes. I laugh more, my annoyances are minor, I joke more, my responsibilities are less – things are different. The degree to which my world fundamentally altered suggests it wasn’t built on rock, but sand. It WAS a dream after all.

The transient nature of experience, filled with choreographed scenes designed to evoke emotion, demonstrate this. Hello dreamworld, I see you – hiding behind drama in your chaotic camouflage.

Feelings Alert

“Oh bother, I’m feeling upset. I feel unworthy, unloved, unappreciated. It feels like I’m missing out on so many things. I feel as if nothing goes right in my life. It feels like everything is horrible.”

“Oh no! He’s upset! Sound the alarm! We better figure out what’s causing this issue so it can be fixed!”

“First, let’s do an overall scan of his current life-situation, maybe there’s a lack of fulfillment there – a hole that needs filling. Let’s also scan his childhood for early signs and symptoms that might trace back to his current problem. Also, scan his thoughts, what’s he been thinking about lately!? All hands on deck!! This is NOT a drill!!”

Or, I could choose not to have those feelings and bypass the rigmarole.

“I notice I’m feeling bad. Hm. Perhaps I’ll daydream about a scene that I’d enjoy. There I am, feeling triumphant! I’m a winner, praised by those that appreciate me – I feel their love. I did it, I AM worthy, I feel worthy. This worked out great, everything’s great, I feel great!”

My earlier complaints are gone. I feel better. Who cares what my current situation is. Who cares what my childhood was like. Who cares what I was thinking about. I choose to feel something pleasant. Turns out, it doesn’t matter why I felt bad before – logic won’t help. I just need to write-over the unpleasant feelings with better ones.

Any cheap, low-quality plot can manipulate feelings. The reason why I feel a certain way isn’t special. I could’ve been watching a soap-opera and applied its plot to my own life. Feelings are dumb and they’re evoked with dumb story-lines. This is fine, but it means feelings aren’t valuable – they’re a dime a dozen. This also means that whatever inspires a feeling isn’t special either. I can choose to make it special, but that’s a decision I make – it has no control over me.

Well that’s the theory anyway. We’ll see how the previously mentioned experiment goes. The initial results are promising though – so far so good.

Subpar to Par

How can everything be subpar when I haven’t experienced “par”. In other words, how can everything be below-average when there’s no actual average to compare to? I don’t have satisfying experiences, I have disappointing experiences – and that’s always the case. Maybe it’s because I’m comparing my circumstances to an “ideal” that only exists in my imagination?

That sounds like a trick my chatty-mind is playing on my experiential-mind. So there I am, experiencing life, my consciousness is quietly observing – but then, that bully of a mind starts with the imaginary comparisons. “Well this could be better! If they tweaked a few things, it would improve substantially! As it is, this experience is horrible!! It’s basically torture!” Hm, yeah that’s what typically happens.

So, all this time I thought I was having the worst experience possible. But it turns out that my chatty-mind just keeps trash-talking everything, so things seem like they’re the absolute worst. Yet they can’t be – you can’t have a “worst” if there’s no range of options – there’s no “best” or “just right”. It’s always some form of unpleasantness, it’s either “meh, this is lame” or “gah, this sucks” or “hmph this seems okay, but it’s probably bad”.

What’s the takeaway from this realization? That my chatty-mind is cruel and ruins everything. It’s literally the worst thing that’s ever happened in my experience of existence. Wait, that sounds like something my chatty-mind would say about everything else, yet I’m saying it about my chatty-mind. Hm, I’m not sure what the takeaway is. Maybe my chatty-mind needs a hug.

Degrading Ideas

Okay, it’s been about a week since my last update on my current experiment. I’ve noticed an issue with performing an experiment longer than a few days: concepts degrade over time. What made perfect sense a couple weeks ago, isn’t so clear now. What was I doing – exactly? Even if written down, the original inspiration fades, the background setting changes, focus isn’t the same, definitions morph and evolve – and daily life seems to scribble over the page.

I can see how the decay-rate of memory can be beneficial, allowing me to forget a lot of stuff. I think it helps in the ability to perform routines, making activities seem fresher than they are. I can forget how full I was yesterday and eat more food today. And if I forget the details of a movie, I can enjoy it again. In other words, the way thoughts fade away over time seems to be a good thing.

But, it makes long-term alterations difficult. How do you maintain a concept when it has a temporary shelf-life? The original inspiration isn’t there anymore – all I have is a memory of a thought. Then another week passes and I only have a memory of a memory of a thought. Reminders don’t work because they fade into the background, like smell-blindness. It seems I have to wait until a similar idea and its accompanying inspiration passes through my consciousness again.

The general idea of the experiment had to do with a practice of positivity. I’m supposed to infuse my mind with a habit of thinking good-thoughts – focusing only on thoughts that suggest creativity, appreciation, or lightheartedness. But without the original motivation, how can I remember to do that throughout every hour of every day? I recall the process kinda worked, but now things are back to “normal” and I’m lost in everyday life.