Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Have you ever paid attention to the kind of feelings that motivates you to act? It’s a process that happens on auto-pilot:
First you feel a feeling -> Then you place attention on the mind’s story about the feeling -> Then you take action
Something I’ve realized recently is that for the majority of my life, I’ve automatically paid a lot of attention to shitty feelings and acted based on the stories that my mind told about the shitty feelings.
Feelings of guilt, shame, doubt, and fear – they leap up out of the blue into our awareness and our minds feverishly go to work cranking out rehearsed stories of where they came from and what we can do or not do to make them go away. Here’s an example:
Fearful sick feeling -> Mind says “Why did I agree to try that new thing? I’m totally unqualified! Everyone will just laugh at me.” -> Remain paralyzed in anxious rumination or cancel any plans for said endeavor.
Boring. Shitty. Bleh.
Of course, we experience plenty of other feelings too. Even if we’ve been deeply depressed or anxious for years, we still experience flashes of joy, peace, hope, and excitement. But so often, when we’ve come to believe that we are not safe in the world, those feelings just slip by unnoticed or are quickly brushed off as an accident only to refocus on the same old negative feeling and accompanying story, which, by the way, always revolves around protecting our "selves."
I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. It's so odd to stand back and look at it from a distance. I always hated the feelings and the mental voiceover, but I believed that listening to them would somehow keep me safe. So I learned to not only pay attention to the shitty feelings and stories, but to look for them. Even in my happiest moments, I was always looking over my shoulder for the sick feeling and the mental warnings and advice that came with it.
The ironic thing is that so often the fearful and self-absorbed story that the mind creates to interpret the shit feeling is often disguised with seeming virtue. It might make itself sound like your “conscience” or your moral compass.
“How can you be so arrogant to believe that you can do THAT?”
“How can you be so insensitive to say THAT when it might be offensive?”
“How can you do THAT when it might not be 100% safe?”
“How can you enjoy THAT when so many other people can’t afford to?”
Even more compelling than the disguise of virtue is the underlying message that the mind’s story must be attended to and resolved in order to avoid certain demise and destruction. So we give all of our attention to our mind’s drama where it invents a story of doom and then seamlessly switches roles to be the anxious solver of the fictitious problem that it created.
What a shitshow! And yet is is so ingeniously and creatively crafted and so dang familiar that we fall for it again and again.
You know what is so much simpler, so much more trustworthy, and so much more in line with our true nature?
Underneath all the feelings and voices in our head that pretend to be us, do you know what there is?
A good feeling.
That’s why even the most depressed person will experience an occasional flash of good feeling because when our thinking dies down, that’s the only thing that is left.
It’s what we ARE.
You are that good feeling, a gentle but powerful vibrating force of life that is 100% dedicated to the flourishing of life.
So whenever you light up with excitement, passion, hope, or love, it’s a massive sign that you are on the right path.
Shit feelings are indicative of one thing and one thing only: shit.
Good feelings are green lights pointing to truth and reality. A sign that the little light within ourselves is making contact with the bigger light.
I want to follow the good feeling. I'll bet that you do too.
Let's give a cold shoulder to the shit!