As you know from my previous blog posts, I've been going through a difficult time lately. I have been working with a lot of different and challenging emotions.
A lot of spiritual paths like to just focus on "feeling good." But that's a slow path to transformation because it's an attempt to override entire lifetimes of subconscious programming.
Instead, I've found that it's most helpful to focus on understanding "negative" emotions. Through understanding, I'm able to transform them into empowerment much much faster than through positive thinking alone. Neuroscience is actually starting to demonstrate exactly why this is, and I'll share that with you another time.
For now though, I want to talk a little bit about anger and how it relates to your heart.
Whenever you feel angry it's because youe WANT something that you can't have in that moment. Maybe you want something from another person and they won't give it to you. Maybe you want something from reality that you can't have.
(such as a break from frustrating kids, incompetent coworkers, a nagging spouse, unwelcome weather, financial fears, and so on and so forth…)
In short, we expect reality to be one way that is negatively different from what we want.
That's why whenever I'm having challenges in life, whenever I feel upset, I try to remember to ask myself a simple but profund question:
"What do I want to get from this?"
Or phrased slightly differently…
"What am I expecting this person to give me that I don't feel I can actually have?"
With the recent challenges in my life, I asked myself that question…
And I was NOT prepared for what I discovered!
Many spiritual teachers tell us that we should give to others.
Give unconditional love.
Give our world praises and prizes generosity.
Give service to others.
I could write for days on people have said we should "give" to others. One reason that giving helps is that it moves us away from the more ego-centric selfish mindset that is trying to "get." Instead, we shift into a more heart-centric space that has a little less "self" in it.
I have found this shift to be helpful, so I'd often go through a 2-part process to open my heart when I felt angry or hurt. I'd ask myself these questions:
(1) "What do I want to get from this?"
That tells me which needs within feel unmet. It indicates to me how I feel unheard or unseen. The answer lets me know how far I've strayed from my True Nature.
(2) "Instead of getting, what can I give?"
This tells me how to meet those unmet needs. It indicates how I can choose to be heard and seen. The answer brings me closer to my True Nature. And quite frankly, it feels good.
The other day when I went through this process, I discovered something was missing. The whole aspect of shifting from getting to giving still involves an experience of separation.
Specifically, it's the idea that I have something to give to another. Subconsciously, it goes something like this:
"I have this. You don't. I give it to you. Then I feel better."
Did you catch that last sentence…
"Then I feel better."
In other words, shifting from "getting" to "giving" doesn't actually change the nature of the ego-centric selfishness. It only shifts how we FEEL about our ego-centric selfishness.
Not that it's a bad thing to feel better. I kind of like it! I've just found that it's a limited view. Focusing just on "giving" prevents me from experiencing my greatest potential for peace, joy, happiness, and abundance.
Stay tuned for my next blog post…
I'm going to share with you the simple shift I'm now making that goes BEYOND "getting" and "giving." I've only begun using it, and it's already impacting me in meaningful ways.
And even though I've only recently started doing this, I am confident that if you use it then the results will be profound:
You will feel more full, alive, and abundant
You will feel more connected to yourself and others
- And as a consequence, your relationships with others will be deeper and filled with more joy
In my next blog post I'll share with you the one word that brings you beyond "getting" and "giving."
Since this insight is new for me personally, I've already started writing this word in different places. That way I'm reminded regularly how to bring this shift into my life.
It's your choice what you do with each moment of your life - so why not choose this moment as a time of inspiration, confirmation, and even transformation?
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