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Some words of wisdom from Michael Neill.
“Underneath every desire is the desire to feel good” – from The Teachings of Abraham
You will find that as you step off a self-defeating train of thought you nearly always move up one or two notes on the scale of emotions. Essentially there are nine emotional states you can experience in relation to any goal or project you may be working on, depending on what’s going on with your thinking. The higher up the scale you go, the better you’ll feel, the more clearly you’ll think, the more energy you’ll have and the more quickly and easily you’ll be able to create what you want.
The Scale of Emotions
Here are the nine ‘notes’ of the emotional scale.
Apathy is the ‘dead’ feeling that so many people experience as a sort of depression or indifference to life. In relation to your goals it stems from a kind of learned hopelessness: “Nothing you do is going to matter anyway,” apathy tells you, “so you may as well not do anything at all.”
Apathy is sometimes mistaken for peace because of the absence of emotional variance – the difference is, peace actually feels good!
If you feel a great sense of sadness or loss when you think about your goals, you are resonating with the frequency of grief. This is an evolution from the hopelessness of apathy to the helplessness of despair. “What you want could have happened,” grief says, “but it won’t – at least not for you, not anymore.”
When you begin to see that it really is possible to have what you want, grief often gives way to fear. “You could have what you want,” says fear, “but it would cost you so much that you’d regret it for the rest of your life – which might be over sooner than you think if you actually go for this!”
The important thing to remember is that if you’re feeling fear, you’ve already turned a corner – you have moved from hopelessness to helplessness to possibility (albeit a vague and frightening one).
As you get more comfortable with the idea of having what you want, lust (as in need and greed) tends to kick in. This is for me the real meaning of the biblical phrase “the love of money is the root of all evil” – substitute “lust” for “love” and you can see how lusting after lucre could lead to all sorts of moral, ethical, and actual dilemmas. Lust says, “You can have what you want – and then you can get more, and more and more and more and more, and then everyone will do your bidding and you can take over the world.”
On the plus side, in order to have lust for something you have to have really begun to believe in the possibility of getting it.
The energy of anger burns hot. “Sure you can have what you want,” anger rages, “but look at all these jerks who are trying to stand in your way. You deserve it – how dare they!”
There is actually a lot of energy in anger – it’s just usually directed at your obstacles, not your goals.
Pride can be a tricky one, because to many people it feels really good. “Look at me,” pride declares. “Aren’t I amazing to have already done so well and gotten so much of what I want?”
The truth is, you are amazing – but if your energy gets stuck in pride, it stops moving toward your goals and quickly slides back down into anger that you don’t have more, lust to get it, fear of losing what you’ve already got, and grief anytime you actually lose what you thought was yours to keep.
Courageousness is the first truly “attractive” emotion in that it accepts the possibility that things might not work out but drives you on anyway. “Screw it!” courageousness declares. “Let’s do it!”
There’s an easiness to acceptance that says, “I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
With acceptance, you’re still moving toward your goals, but it’s with a sense of ease and lightness that knows the journey is every bit as much of a prize as the destination.
In A Course in Miracles, readers are encouraged to make peace their only goal. This is because when you have peace of mind and heart you need nothing and have everything. Peace doesn’t say much of anything, except to occasionally whisper, “Rest easy – all is well.”
When we are at peace, we already have everything we need – and nothing is quite as creative as a need-less human being.
In order to move up the scale of emotions in relation to a project or goal, all you need to do is let go of your current thinking about that goal – in particular, the story that having what you want will in any way change your life for the better or for the worse. When you recognise that there’s nowhere for you to get to and you don’t really need what you want you’re free to have it – and that freedom is perhaps the ultimate goal.
One of the most comforting things for me is knowing that regardless of what’s going on in my thoughts and my life, a deeper feeling is always available to me. Gratitude, compassion and love are examples of these deeper feelings – deeper because they don’t necessarily go up or down depending on what’s happening around you.
When your mood is low (or even when it’s not) you can reconnect to your higher wisdom by simply tuning in to the deepest, most wonderfully unconditional feeling you can find and hanging out in it as best you can.
Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.
With love and gratitude
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