We don’t want things, people or events.
We want the feeling we mistake them for.
–and you can have it any time.
That was a key message offered and received at the The Alchemy of Love and Joy™ talk held in Ottawa in August 2009. We cause how we feel, and we can choose and cause how we want to feel no matter what is going-on around us, if we practice The Alchemy of Love and Joy™. If you use suffering to point you toward joy, to consciously seek joy in the face of adversity, you can blow-out the belief that has held you captive all your life; the belief that outside things can hurt you or make you feel good.
Having had that experience, I can say it was the most profound thing that ever “happened” to me. I put “happened” in quotes to point out how deeply rooted this fundamental belief is–it is even built-into our language! It did not “happen” to me. I did it. I decided it was not how I wanted to feel, and I made the internal movement toward joy. I made myself feel better by actually seeking and creating pleasure and joy.
Many of us have been told before that no-one can hurt us, or at least not unless we “allow” it. So just how to do we this “allowing?” Even that sentence is not truth. The truth is we do it. We hurt ourselves, we actually cause the interior pain, and that is hard to swallow if you don’t even know that you are doing it, much less how, and worse yet if you can’t do anything to change it. Now we know how, and now you can change it.
In May of this year I experienced severe suffering and refused to “go outside.” I refused to blame anyone or anything for my pain, and that forced me to go deeply inside for relief. To my surprise I found that, like babies, we can switch from pain to laughter immediately. We were all born bundles of joy who forgot that, and before we even had words to describe how we create joy, we learned to mistake the power for the “outside.”
The only things standing in your way of freedom and joy now are the old beliefs that something outside can hurt you or make you feel good, and habit. Isn’t it interesting that the “something” can be pretty much anything?! First of all, does that make any sense, could that really be possible, that pretty much anything has this control over you? What it really is, are the things we decided to believe could hurt or please us, which were then put on auto-pilot.
Our nervous system is extremely masterful at automating self-protective reactions. Touch a hot stove and you jerk away fast. Intervention of reason, of conscious thought, is not only unnecessary, it is not desirable. How beneficial would it be to think “Oh, gee, I think that’s hot, hmmm maybe I should remove my hand?” When it comes to physical injury and pain, this lightening-fast automatic response is usually the right thing.
However this same auto-mechanism is used in reaction to other external events or thoughts, where it is not desirable. Unlike a hot stove, just because you feel the effects of a negative thought does not mean the thought is right or true. It means you are experiencing a negative-feeling thought. Nothing else. Certainly the pain you created is real, but that does not meant the thought is true.
You see a man walk past you with a scowl, and the majority of people have a knee-jerk bad feeling and believe something like “he looked at me ugly,” or one of another thousand variations of mind-reads all designed for bad feeling. In this day and age, what survival need does this fulfill? For all you know, his wife just died.
Why did we seek pain, for us and others, this way?
–simply due to not knowing better, having inherited the only previously known way to get relief, and through the unconsciousness of delusion and suffering. When we are suffering, we contract away from intelligence, we become deluded. When feeling good, we access a vast intelligence beyond the pain. The more you contract, the narrower your vision becomes, and the only thing that can wake-you-up from it is the pain…the pain that is telling you to stop contracting, to expand, to seek joy.
Our fear and pain reaction system can be put on such a fast automatic-pilot that we are not aware that it is ourselves actually causing the bad feeling inside. We mistake the outside event for the cause. The event that happened is not your feeling. You may be abandoned, but you don’t have to feel abandoned. We can confuse events and things for feelings. You may notice the thought someone rejected you, but you don’t have to feel rejected. We have confused thoughts for feelings. Nothing, no-one, no thought can make you feel any thing, good, or bad. Yes, this “outside” condition or situation exists, and yes, you can feel good.
A question posed during the presentation was, “Isn’t that denial?”
Yes, and no. Yes, it is denial of the belief that it can hurt you, which will return you to sanity and peace. And while you choose, cause, and sustain the feeling you want in spite of the outside conditions, while looking directly at the conditions (not denying them), you are not denying the totality of reality. The reality is that there is much more available to you; there’s much more going on in your experience that is NOT suffering, than is. So actually, suffering is denial.
Another important message was that the automatic, habitual response of looking outside for the “reason” or cause of our hurt only serves to support the belief that something outside did it. Plus, you will never find the solution focusing on the problem.
Suffering causes stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, it over-works the heart, motivates you for bad behaviour which you may later regret, and just poisons your body, the people around you, and the earth’s energy.
There is only one purpose for suffering–to point you toward joy!
Use suffering as your cue not to go looking “outside” (where you can’t change anything anyway); use it to go inside and do the practice. Ask yourself what you do want, and then how what you want feels. And feel it. First feel the relief, then build it beyond to feeling good. In this way, you are giving yourself back what you had been denying yourself. Suffering is a contraction away from the full glory of who you are. No wonder it hurts!
At first the old habits do battle, but if you make feeling good a priority, and not fall for or believe anything that would take you away from it, peace, joy, and love will become your new predominant states, as they have for me. It seems I can’t suffer anymore. The idea of suffering has become amusing, even. Given the two options, no sane person would choose to suffer. When you practice The Alchemy of Love and Joy™, you give yourself the other option which was always already available to you. You open to the vast intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge that is always available to you. As you begin to question your old beliefs and expand, as a bonus all of your physical senses become heightened–what a refreshened delight life becomes, in every activity!
I have directly and clearly seen the delusion intense suffering causes, and directly and clearly seen the intense suffering that delusion causes. I have both experienced it and been the co-creating cause of it in the past. Now I presence with and as the solution. Clearly knowing how unnecessary it is, and yet how painful it is, my heart of compassion cracked open, and I must share this gift of freedom, joy, peace, and love beyond conditions.
Language by nature limits, and now knowing that many of our simple and habitual sentences like “It made me happy,” or “It annoyed me,” are not true, I search for ways to express my experience that are truthful. And when other people voice things I know can’t be true, purely out of unconscious and handed-down habit, the words jump out and glare at me. To enable me to work with people, I may use a powerless sentence while being fully aware that it is not truth, and knowing that we are using it to move toward truth, peace, and joy. From the very roots of our language, our society has been denying who we really are. From birth, who you really are is freedom, power, peace, and joy, and you can reclaim your birthright, right now.
Warning: may cause sudden outbursts of laughter, and intense joy. Seek joy! –Cindy
Thanks so much for sending the ebook….I just read it and I’m tingling from head to toe. This is so IT! And the crazy thing is, I get it! And even better, I am BEING it!!! –J.Myers, Vancouver