I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to think what I want to think about.
My mind has a habit of thinking about what’s wrong with my life. Solve/fix problems. Feeling indignant, maligned, mistreated.
Yet this is a vicious cycle. Our emotional habit reinforces itself. It becomes easier to feel what you’re used to feeling. The concept of emotional muscle illustrates that when you engage in a particular activity, that act becomes easier. The easier and more comfortable and familiar it becomes, you gravitate toward it more. If bicep curls are your favorite exercises, your biceps grow and become capable of lifting more weights. You may skip or miss other exercises but those biceps, you train them every time. You may even start looking for excuses to flex your biceps, to show off or just revel in the sense of strength you feel there.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to get used to feeling what you want to feel. Whatever you’re used to feeling forms a lens through which you view your world. And this lens will make you see the proofs, the reasons why you feel the way you do. But it’s not that the world around you make you feel that way — it’s the opposite. You view the world the way you do because of how you’re used to feeling. If you’re used to feeling frustrated, then you’ll see the world as a frustrating place, with a long list of easily-found proofs. But is that what you want, to live a life where you’re constantly incensed at how you’re thwarted from doing what you want to do? What if you get used to feeling safe? Or to things being easy?
Your thoughts generate feelings, and oft-felt feelings become habit, and that habit creates your worldview, and your worldview dominates your life experiences. That’s why it makes sense to start in the right direction with the first step. We need to think what we want to think about.
In the book Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss discovered that over 80% of the extraordinary people he interviewed engage in some kind of mindfulness or meditative routines. After reading that I went and installed Headspace on my iPhone. While I’ve enjoyed the daily 10-minute meditation for a few months now, I am starting to view it as the first of the two-step process.
Meditation helps quiet the chatter in my mind, but once that happens I find myself desiring to immerse more in visualization. I’ve always been a daydreamer/fantasizer, but it feels different in this instance from the usual mental-escaping, or “checking out” from reality. Daydreaming can be an anti-pattern of not being mindful and feeding the conflict between your real life and your fantasies. But an immersive visualization following a meditation session allows me to experience my fantasies without that conflict. It’s like going to a gym and engaging in exercises that train the muscles I want to train.
And then there’s music if I find it hard to truly get in the mood for the feelings I desire. Music is a powerful mood-setter and a focused listening session of songs that contain the desirable feelings can really affect me in a positive way.
The point is that we need to exercise our mind to feel what we want to feel. Don’t let your perceptions of your life/world dominate your mind because those perceptions were formed from your emotional habits of yesteryears. Acknowledge those feelings, they are valid, but engage in regular routines where you practice thinking the thoughts you want to think, and feel the feelings you want to feel. Over time that has to influence your worldview, and then your life experiences.
Your thoughts are your currency. You’re living in life experiences you bought in your past. What do you choose to buy today, for your future?
When I came upon this insight it felt very empowering to me. It clears up the shroud of confusion and mystery I see in some corners of personal development/New Age/Law of Attraction crowd. Our thoughts have power, and we can train our minds to think what wen want to think, which leads to feeling what we want to feel. And that leads to more fulfilling life. It doesn’t depend on whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
It only depends on what you choose to do.