Last week we got out of a mental ditch. From there we built speed and gained direction to the point where things have now smoothed out entirely. Now it’s only the gentle ohmmmmm of the humming tires. We are no longer managing our driving, we can do it in its most balanced form. We are cruising.
At this point we can’t even really call ourselves happy. It’s a sweet, flowing spot, occurring as though the gravitational pull of the source energy behind us, and our egocentric Earthly life in front of us, are carrying equal force. It leaves us suspended in a strange kind of temporary weightlessness, soon to rise or fall again as the currents of life impact our two selves.
In this state we are not building exciting futures or worrying about regretful pasts. The ‘bee’ is gone. Our minds are in the moment. We’re content. We’re just sort of cruising in a satisfaction zone that longs for nothing.
The best part of being out of the ditch is that we can’t make big direction changes from down there. We have to be on the road to be able to see and choose a worthwhile route. There’s ultimately no right or wrong place to go, but we become the individual we are by choosing the unique routes we do.
The people we call our friends aren’t more lovable than other people’s friends. Everyone is equally lovable. Our friends are ours because the ways in which we are unique are in some way similar, or in some way, ‘compatible.’ This means the routes they are travelling takes them through a lot of the same head-spaces that we occupy, hence our sense of kinship.
Since we are what defines a route as correct for us, even when we’re in the ditch along the way, we’re still the same driver. And the road is always there. As long as we feel that our journey was worth it, then where we went, or how much time we spent in the ditch,
really won’t matter much.
From here two things can happen. The first is that we lose our focus and we drift back over the rumble strips of irritation. We just left those, but that’s fine. If we do have to re-focus our steering it just helps us to develop the skills of becoming more aware, and then responding more consciously.
If we’re fortunate, some thought we have will merge with some experience we’re having and some lightning will strike and we will feel inspired. Maybe it’ll be to hear a certain friend’s voice. Maybe it’ll be to learn something or to take a course. Maybe it’ll cause some big change to our lives.
‘What’ it is doesn’t matter as much as ‘that’ it is. Because that inspiration spawns a direction. At this point we are not just content, we are happily headed somewhere. Contentment has no subject or object acting in judgment. But happiness is derived from something being appealing, and that’s a form of attraction.
For example, if we want to learn piano, we’re now inspired to find ways to do that. In this way, our life emerges from our thoughts. Because if we have created an identity with our thinking that wants to learn piano, then that aspect of ourselves will notice ads for pianos for sale that our previous consciousness would not have noticed because we would not have seen them as relating to us.
Just like men don’t watch tampon ads, no one’s consciousness has any reason to attach significance to any aspect of reality unless our thought-based identity sees it as being possible or likely or meaningful within our ‘personal universe.’
To offer an alternate, more scientific explanation of the magic parking stall ‘materialization’ from the movie, The Secret, try thinking of it like this: If we think that we’re late and we having trouble finding a parking spot, then we’ll be harried and we’ll primarily notice the cars that we wish weren’t there.
With that wish and its ‘problem’ sitting in our imagination, our brains imagine full stalls not empty ones. We literally have trouble seeing the empty stall that would otherwise be obvious, because our brain believes in a reality where the stall is not likely to exist.
However, if our identity as someone fortunate is strong enough to cause us to anticipate that open stalls really do exist, and we imagine finding one in our minds, we now have that matching image lit up in our consciousness. And that helps us to actually identify the empty stalls instead of the full ones.
Of course, we all know this is true because we’ve all had experiences where we’ve found countless things where we already looked. Eyes are bio-mechanical. But ‘seeing’ happens in the brain. And what we see affects us.
This is how feelings can build on themselves. If we’re upset while we’re parking, we’ll notice all the cars in our way and we’ll get more upset. But if we’re happy while we’re parking, we’re more likely to anticipate a free spot and therefore we’re far more likely to actually see it. And that will help us to feel fortunate, which only serves to perpetuate that virtuous cycle. It’s all quite logical.
Today we talked about the move from ‘contentment’ to ‘happiness.’ But before we shift to discussing how one moves from happiness to joy, an interesting question to end today might be; where on the road or ditch do we think our life has been so far today? And do we believe we can change that? Because if we do, we can.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.