Like you I grew up with the misguided perception that life happens to us and we are simply at the mercy of the external world. This is perfectly understandable because after all we inhabit a body that is constantly stimulated by something coming from the outside. My eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin somehow all need something external to be activated.
With our bodies constantly bombarded by external stimulants, it’s no wonder that we innocently believe in the illusion that even the way we think and feel, which affects our state of mind, must be the result of our situations and circumstances. Fortunately, that could not be any further from the truth.
In fact, what the Three Principles teach us is that in any given moment we are not living in the feeling of the world, but we are living in the feeling of our thinking. In other words, it’s always what we think that generates a feeling, and together they create our experience moment by moment. 100% of the time.
Now, when I first started learning about the Principles (also known as the Inside-Out understanding) I could immediately see how that could be true some times, but I had my list of exceptions. What about a stressful day with all those emails to read and respond to? Isn’t that the reason I feel overwhelmed, drained and bad tempered? Or what about the sunny days that always seem to lift my spirit and those rainy ones that make me feel blue? Not to mention how people treat me and the effects it has on my mood. Look at my wife for example, she does know how to push my buttons, doesn’t she? Sure she does! and the list goes on and on.
I’m sure you can come up with your own list, but what if, even in those exceptions, what’s really happening is simply us feeling our thoughts?
Personally, I can see the truth in that. I can see we are all thinking creatures and that our experience is truly generated by the constant dance between a thought and a feeling. It may not seem so obvious all the time, yet I no longer see exceptions. Not even in my Inbox, and you know why? Because I’ve noticed something curious about it. I’ve noticed that some days the list of unread emails in the morning stresses me out and some days it doesn’t. Now, if it were my inbox that created my experience of life, then it should stress me every single time, right? Well, it doesn’t, so it makes sense to me that it’s actually the way I think about it in the moment that creates the feeling of stress, and inevitably my experience of being stressed.
I’m sure you can think of at least one example where you have felt differently in front of the same situation.
I’m going to leave you with that for the moment, with an invitation to consider if you see any truth in what I’ve said and what your exceptions may be.
P.S. If you missed the previous one you can find it here