In the movie “The Mask,” Jim Carey plays a shy, inhibited man who is taken over by his impulses. As he dons the magicalmask that catapults him into perpetual motion, he gleefully says “Somebody Stop Me!” then dashes out to indulge his unbridled desires.
Have you ever been in the throws of a force like that?
Have you ever been gripped by a magnetic pull that reaches past your determination and self-respecting kindness and drives you to spin out negatively, become overwhelmed emotionally, or eat, shop, or work compulsively?
What is this magnetic pull? What has the power to take you to places you would rather not go?
The answer is found in your thoughts and your feelings.
And here is the shocking truth:
· You are not your thoughts. Yes, you have them, but YOU are not them and therefore need not be taken by them.
· And, you are not your feelings. Yes, you have feelings, some more often than others, but YOU are not your feelings and needn’t be whipped about by them.
You are something other than your thoughts, and you are something beyond your feelings. Would you like to be more of who you are and feel more freedom from the way thoughts and feelings grip you and drive you?
Fortunately, we live in a time when we have both the scientific knowledge and tested human wisdom to live into that freedom and being.
In the simplest of terms, here’s how:
First, step back from your thoughts and witness them. See them for what they are. They are like children. And just as your children don’t determine who you are, your thoughts don’t define you. You can witness them, you can ignore them, you can redirect them, and eventually you can let go of them. But you must recognize that YOU are not them. Mostly, it helps to just be kind to them, disciplined about them, and not overly involved with them.
Some thoughts are like toddlers. Their perspective is so limited that they imagine the world revolves around them therefore they make you believe you are to blame or are responsible for most everything. These are the thoughts that arise when your partner is sullen and you start examining yourself to find out what you did to cause it. These are the thoughts that drive you to perfection in order to avoid the cringe of self-recrimination and regret. And these are the thoughts that tell you that you are defective because of experiences such as childhood abuse or current losses due to economic or relational reversals.
Some of our thoughts are more like teenagers. These thoughts are much more elaborate and creative, capable of weaving a red herring tale that succeeds in duping and distracting. Teenagers can bring the car home after a night of joyriding and, with a straight face, state they have no idea how the smell of pot got into the upholstery or the scratch on the bumper happened. Our teenage thoughts distract us or lie to us. Thoughts like “I don’t deserve to have the kind of relationship I want,” or “I don’t have time to exercise because I have to take care of everyone else,” are as challenging to live with as teenagers.
Gotta love ‘em, these thoughts of ours. We just don’t have to believe them, be ruled by them, or identify with them.
Second, pay attention to your feelings. You will discover that you are not your feelings. YOU are the pure awareness that can notice them rather than being limited and defined by them. You can have a relationship to your feelings in which you are not overwhelmed, controlled, or disconnected--a relationship that allows them to become a friendly source of relevant information, guidance and deep satisfaction rather than troubling guests. I recommend everyone develop an Emotional Positioning System (EPS), a way of navigating through the ever-changing landscape of feelings without being victimized or held hostage by them. For more information on developing your EPS read “Your Best Position” at: http://www.50fabulous.com/columns/view/your_best_position/
If you practice daily, for 21 days, paying attention to your feelings (rather than blending with them or rejecting them) you will discover a rich, satisfying sense of inner intimacy. This intimacy is what is most real and true about you.
Sense this intimacy.
It is calm, clear and expansive, capable of looking with soft, compassionate eyes at whatever is occurring and responding with courage and confidence. This intimacy is your birthright and natural state, no matter what your historical story has been.
Look for this intimacy. It’s the peaceful center of every storm, at the core of every earthshaking change, and it is what satisfies your deepest longing. It is you, resting at the center of your True Being.
Be what you truly are and live life from there!