Lately, I’m finding myself dispelling a lot of myths about enlightenment and being a spiritual person on my coaching calls. I know I’ve talked a lot about finding the better feeling thought. But many of you seem to think that means, “find the thought that Jesus/Buddha/Gandhi/my saintly grandmother would think about this and try to think it, no matter how frustrating that is. Because enlightenment is all about thinking like a saint.” And then, you wonder why you don’t feel better and proceed to beat the snot out of yourself for not being more enlightened.
But there’s a huge, HUGE misunderstanding in all of this – one which I hope to set straight today.
Ok, first of all, when I talk about finding the better feeling thought, you have to take that literally: find the thought that actually feels better to you. I don’t mean, find the thought that you think should feel better to you, or the one that some enlightened being would feel good about. When you do that, you are, in fact, judging one option or thought to be more enlightened than another, which has nothing to do with how you, personally, feel.
Let me give you an example:
Your son’s school is having a bake sale and you’ve agreed to make a cake, even though you’re really busy and you’d rather not participate. But you don’t want to seem like a bad supermom, and so, you stay up late making a chocolate cake with a frosting. The next day, you deliver the cake to the school and meet up with one of the other supermoms, who just happens to be a royal bitch. You brace yourself for the inevitable backhanded compliment, and sure enough, she makes some crack about how she’s sure that everyone will just love your store bought cake, before pointing out her County Bakeoff or some other meaningless Award winning pastries, the recipe of which was handed down to her from her French great-great-great-grandmother who served them to Napoleon himself.
You do your best to keep smiling, knowing (because you’re a good little LOA student) that there’s a thought in there somewhere that’ll feel better. Perhaps she’s just having a bad day. Or she had a rough childhood. You try to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe her husband is secretly gay, or maybe she wasn’t loved enough. In any case, you try to see her with compassion and even send her love. The problem is, you’re not actually feeling any relief. In fact, the more she chatters on about how she ran a marathon last year while being eight months pregnant and fireman-carrying an injured runner the last mile, only to cook an eight course meal for her entire family later that night, the more you just want to punch her in the face. But you don’t want to admit that. It’s not enlightened.
Be honest about how you feel
The point of finding the better feeling thought and even reaching enlightenment is not to think thoughts that seem like they should feel better to you. The point is to find a thought or option that actually does feel better. And in order to do that, you first have to admit how you feel.
Stop judging your emotions as inappropriate. Here’s a newsflash: Your beliefs and the feelings they cause will NEVER make sense. They will not be logical. And they are all, every single one of them, valid. Whatever you are feeling, it’s ok, and it’s absolutely right on. If you want to punch the bitch’s face in, then that’s how you feel. There’s no point denying it.
There’s no such thing as an enlightened thought
Here’s the thing: One thought is not more enlightened than another. In fact, the thought or option itself really has no vibration until you run it through your perception. That’s what gives it a certain frequency.
So, you can’t really judge a thought or option as being “better” than another, until you check on how that thought or option feels to you, personally. Think “Which thought actually feels better?”, instead of “Which thought should feel better?”, or “Which thought would feel better to others?”, or even “Which thought would you choose if all your thoughts were broadcast on a big screen for all to see?”. Make the judgment of the thought and what others would think about it irrelevant and just feel for which option feels better to YOU.
In the example from above, you feel like punching the bitch in the face. That thought doesn’t feel good, but that’s where you are. When you try to get all enlightened and shit, and you reach for thoughts of compassion and love, you feel no relief. In fact, now you feel like punching her AND you’re mad at yourself. Well halleluiah.
But, what if you just walked away? What if you just left her there standing there next to her award winning whatever, wordlessly turned around and went and talked to someone you actually liked? What if you decided that instead of trying to feel better about this woman you really want to punch in the face, you just found a way to feel better, period? What if you let go of trying to be a supermom, or of the obligation to do it all and just admitted that you didn’t want to bake the freaking cake in the first place? What if you decide that next time, you won’t be guilted into it? What if you actually told Ms. Perfect what you thought of her? What if you actually called her on her behavior, the way no one ever does but everyone wished they could do?
Do you see how all of these thoughts actually feel better? When you’re angry and frustrated and feel like you want to slap a bitch, thoughts like this feel like relief. You can reach for love and compassion later. Right now, these thoughts are what truly feel better.
The true meaning of enlightenment
Enlightenment isn’t measured by what kinds of thoughts you’re thinking. It’s not measured by your lack of negative emotion. Enlightenment is the ability to recognize how you’re really feeling, admit it and then move into a better feeling place. All the other stuff, the recognition that all manifestations have value, even those that seem painful, that this value may not be immediately apparent, and the ability to shift into better and better feeling perspectives, come as a result of enlightenment. They don’t cause it.
How the Masters do it
There’s this misconception that when someone is an enlightened master, that they never have any negative emotion. However, since negative emotion is simply a feedback mechanism that lets you know when you’re focused on something that isn’t serving you, and the very act of living and growing will always expose you to a variety of manifestations, some of which you’ll like and some of which you won’t, and finding out which ones you prefer and want more of necessitates looking at options which you don’t prefer, it stands to reason that anyone who is alive in this physical reality will, at times, experience negative emotion. Now, those who have trained their general vibration into a really high, stable place may experience more subtle emotions than the rest of us and may catch those negatives well before they get all big and painful, but they will still feel the discord.
Someone who is enlightened doesn’t squash their negative reactions. They rejoice in the feedback they get, allow the emotion for as long as it’s useful and informative and then shift toward truly better feeling thoughts as soon as they can. They work WITH the feedback, not against it. They understand that anger and frustration are just as valuable as joy and love. They don’t judge where they are.
So, how would an enlightened master have handled the supermom bitch? When asked to bake the cake for the bake sale, she would take a moment to check how she feels about it, realize she doesn’t want to do it, and would just say no. Then, she would take a guilt free bubble bath. Before the bake sale, she would take a moment to line up with pleasant experiences. From that point of attraction, she might be inspired to genuinely compliment the supermom’s pastries, completely disarming her, or the supermom would be in the bathroom while the master walked by the baked goods table. In any case, she wouldn’t have meet up with the bitch in a way that triggered her in a big way. She would note that there were plenty of delicious baked goods that others had provided, and would happily made her own contribution by buying herself a cupcake.
Her good experience would have come about due to preparation – she noticed the discomfort she felt when being asked to bake the cake, and decided not to go down that road right then and there. The resistance she felt was the same as if it had all played out in the original scenario, she just caught it in the more subtle stages. In that case, just saying no was the better feeling choice. Later down the manifestational road, the better feeling thought might be to tell the bitch where to go, or walk away from her, or put her in her place. One example is not “better” than the other. It’s just a different stage of the same manifestation. And no matter at what stage you catch it, the key is what you do from the moment you realize that you don’t like what you’re feeling. How far you need to go down that road has much more to do with how stubborn you are, how deeply ingrained that particular belief is (old beliefs feel very familiar and are much harder to detect), and how much suffering you’re willing to put up with, than your mastery of LOA. Trust me on this. I consider myself pretty good at this stuff, and yet my own teeth nearly had to kill me to get my attention.
You’re not going to reach enlightenment by judging your emotions to be wrong and pretending that you’re feeling something you’re not. That’s not enlightenment, it’s denial. If you want to keep reaching higher and higher levels, and have more and more enlightened moments, if you want to be happier, you’ll have to be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling and proceed from wherever you are. You’ll have to let go of judging how you should be feeling, or what others might think of what you’re feeling and just allow yourself to have your emotions, no matter what they are.
The following posts also deal with enlightenment in various ways: