In my newest book, Space of Love, I talk a lot about the power of thought in creating our experience of life. This includes our perceptions AND our feelings.
This understanding of the human experience is one I was introduced to just a few years ago. Once I got a glimmer, my entire world seemed to shift.
I understand this principle to be as true as gravity. It goes like this.
There is an energy of thought. It is in constant motion. Fluid and transient. Moving through us within our minds. It creates our internal chatter, our personal thinking. It is responsible for our subconscious thoughts. We are not even aware of these thoughts. We can't hear them the same way we hear our personal thinking. But they are there. Humming their tunes. Always swirling beneath the surface of our awareness and always creating our experience of the world and the people in it.
Thought is the conduit between what happens in the outside world and our personal feelings. Thought creates feelings.
The movies of our lives are brought to life by something called consciousness. Therefore, we don't experience them as thought. We experience them as REAL. It's similar to when we get engrossed in a movie at the theatre.
We don't constantly look back at the projector to remind ourselves we are in a movie. And so it is with thought. We don't constantly look within and remind ourselves it is thought. What fun would that be, right?
Instead, via consciousness, we get to fully experience it all! From the sadness of grief to the joy of a new life coming into the world. And everything in between.
It is so easy to get tricked into thinking what is happening in the outside world is responsible for our feelings. Personally I regularly get fooled and mistakenly believe there are exceptions to this thought created reality system of the human experience.
I find it fascinating when I see a new piece of evidence that points me back to the thought created nature of my feelings.
As I mentioned in my previous post, a close friend recently passed away. This past weekend I attended a beautiful church service in her honor. I was moved to tears and touched in so many ways. I experienced the full gamut of emotions from a deep achy sadness to a powerful gratitude for the fact that I had so many good times with Carrie.
In the evening, there was a traditional Irish wake. In other words, a party. The food was excellent. Many of the guests brought favorite dishes. There was beer and wine a plenty. The mood was joyful. Pictures of Carrie were running on the TV. It truly felt like a celebration of life. This gathering was a beautiful tribute to the person she was and the fullness of her life. There was a feeling of happiness and lightness in the air.
As we were leaving, her husband told us this was traditional. Cry at the church and laugh at the wake. I had not heard that before but I sure like the idea of it.
As I reflect on that day, I find evidence of the thought created nature of our feelings and experience. Even when someone dies? Yes!
But what about grief, isn't that normal? Yes, of course it is normal. Most of us feel a loss and sadness typically described as grief after someone's death.
But what creates the sadness?
There is something that comes in between the event of a person's death and our feelings. That something is the energy of thought. This is why I could feel so sad at the church and so much happier at the wake. This is how everyone could sit in the church with tears in their eyes and there could be so much chatter and even laughter at the celebration of life party just a few hours later. Nothing in the facts of the outside world had changed. Carrie was still gone. And it was much too soon. Cancer took her and it wasn't fair. (My thoughts inserted here.)
At the wake, those thoughts had passed through and the collective group seemed to be experiencing a new batch. I can't read other's thoughts, but it looked that way to me.
Even sadness ebbs and flows. It will probably return and dissipate many more times for Carrie's family and friends.
Understanding that our experience is made of thought doesn't mean we shouldn't have that experience or that feeling. Nor does it mean we have to fix it or change it or improve it.
Knowing our feelings come from the inside out rather than the outside in does not mean we are guilty of doing something to ourselves. We do not control the flow. We may be able to choose what we ignore or give a lot of attention to, but we don't really get to cherry pick the thoughts that float through. Trying to control that part of ourselves is an enormous amount of work and a losing battle.
Understanding where our feelings come from, seeing our experience is fluid, feels empowering. We feel what we feel until we feel something else. No tampering necessary. End of story.
I'm grateful to have found more evidence. This leads to a deeper understanding. This looks like freedom.
Freedom to feel what I feel until I don't.
Freedom to allow all feelings a place in my life without jumping in to analyze or attempt to adjust them.
Freedom to see that I am not dependent on a change in the outside world for my internal state of being to shift.
Freedom in one moment, to feel intense sadness around the death of a close friend.
Freedom in the next moment, to celebrate her life.