What do I want?
- A nice car
- Enough money
- A holiday in the sun
- A great marriage
- A home without a leaking roof
In reality, I don’t want any of these things per se.
What I am after, … are the feelings I associate with them.
When certain things happen, I feel happy.
So I pursue those things.
But do they make me happy?
No, they don’t.
They don’t exist in the same worlds.
Oil and water, light and dark, they don’t mix.
Happiness is an internal construct that exists inside my being, and the above list comprises things on the outside.
The outside doesn’t touch the inside, ever. They are separate.
If a winter breeze blows across my bare skin, I feel cold and put on a layer. (Outside breeze meets outside skin and is ministered to by an additional outside layer)
Happiness is an internal feeling fanned to life or snuffed out internally.
How does this work?
In my mind, I have endless inventories of things, like preloaded software.
I have a list titled “Things that make me feel happy.”
I have another one called “Things that make me feel sad.”
I have many such lists.
These indexes are created and passed down through parents, religion, politics, culture, and life experience and, like an app operating in the background, happening beneath my radar or awareness.
My subconscious cross-checks the lists against my life moments a gazillion times a day and prompts me to feel accordingly.
I receive the prompt, flick the appropriate internal switch, and BOOM! … a feeling.
I feel …
- New car – Happy list – Happy
- Being ignored – Sad list – Sad
- Being robbed – Anger list – Angry
So silky-smooth and automated is this process that I assume the ‘thing’ constructed my feeling.
But it didn’t.
The ‘thing’ was only the prompt, signal or excuse I used to produce the feeling internally.
I create my feelings.
Nothing and no one else does.
I might take my cue from external situations, but I create the feelings.
Good or bad, I make them all.
This is a game-changing moment of understanding because if I am the creator and initiator, I have much more power than I previously realised.
The implications are enormous.
I don’t need to wait for a ‘good’ prompt to turn on my feel-good switch or need to feel bad when a ‘bad’ prompt presents itself.
I don’t need a beer/car/winning ticket/holiday/compliment etc., to feel relaxed. I can skip those middlemen and go directly to peace and happiness.
I just need to flick the switch.
In addition, I can move items from one list to another.
Previously cigarettes, drugs and alcohol were on the ‘Feel-good’ list, but I have moved them to my ‘makes life miserable’ list.
Previously hard work and pain through massive effort were on my ‘Feel sorry for myself’ list but now appear within my ‘Feel good about myself’ list.
Life-changing realisations present opportunities to make changes.
Changes require effort to migrate from thought into reality.
The first key to managing my internal well-being is mental dexterity, and I achieve this through practice and more practice.
Like any muscle, the mind responds well to being used and becomes more adept the more I challenge it.
The second key is to develop my self-awareness and my ability to be introspective.
Both keys are served well by meditating and practising mindfulness.
Sobriety continues to be where I discover new ways to enjoy my ride through this life and a universe wherein I can better serve those whose orbit my trajectory takes me through.
I am Lazarus.
I am grateful.
I am alive.
I am here.
I am able.
I am now.