Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In Search of "Happy"

This week I've been reading The Ultimate Introduction to NLP:  How to Build a Successful Life by Richard Bandler.  Although I already had the first pieces to the puzzle, it gave me a bit of an Aha! moment.

In a typical NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) fashion, I ask you to think of something fun.  Think of a time when you were wildly happy.  If the moment doesn't make you feel like giggling right now as you're thinking about it, you probably need another moment.  Think of one of the best feelings you've had.  Maybe something so good, you would be embarrassed to share it.

Got it?

Now notice where you feel the emotion in your body.  Where does it start?  What part of you?  Where does it move to?  Play with the movement of the emotion.  See if it has a color associated with it and see if you can move it through your body.  Visualize a lever named "Fun" in your mind and picture moving the feeling throughout your body by moving the lever.

Congratulations.  You have just created a lever in the control panel of your mind where you can access "fun" or "happiness" whenever you want.

I've mentioned the Law of Attraction before in this blog.  Step 4 of the Law of Attraction is to "Nevellize" (a term coined by Joe Vitale honoring Neville Goddard, an earlier pioneer in the field of the Law of Attraction.)  To "Nevellize" is to feel as if you are already living the life of your dreams.  If you were living your dream life, you'd probably feel pretty happy, huh?  You just built a lever to help you Nevellize.  At the same time, we tend to attract people and events that broadcast at our same frequency.  There's a very good argument that, if you flipped your switch to "fun" every morning before you went to work or whatever else you did during your day, you would attract only more fun and happiness to you.  Even if you didn't believe in the Law of Attraction, couldn't you argue that, by choosing to be happy, your days would be happy?

Now that was not my Aha! moment.  I had already learned that if a person can control his mind and choose to be happy, he/she will be happier.  It had been a slow realization that came from Eckhart Tolle's quote that I no longer con recall well enough to quote.  Basically it was addressing the need to go find yourself and was something like "it takes no time to be you."  It also came from witnessing other people who had the belief that you could simply choose to be happy and their subsequent successes and failures.

Now maybe some of you, when I told you to think of a time when you were wildly happy, were faced with an empty head completely silent of any suggestions.  Maybe you were left with a big, "hmmmm let me think about this a moment."  If so, you're not alone.  I was in that exact same place the first time I was ever approached to do this exercise.  First, my mind was a big empty black hole.  Then, I had a few memories of good times but they were irrevocably intertwined with bad things that happened later.  In fact, a good portion of my life has been lived in search of "happy."  At times it has been a little embarrassing.  My search has come up in conversations with other people.  Friends, who invariably would say, "What about when we did this?  You had fun.  You certainly laughed a lot."  It was embarrassing because I lacked the skills to explain that, while their memories seemed vivid and fully detailed, mine were weak and pale, lacking any real substance.  That was my Aha! moment.  I can explain now because I understand what was happening to me and I know what to do about it.

As Richard Bandler asks in the book:  Have you ever had an argument and then replayed it in your memory afterwards?  Have you ever replayed an argument for what added up to be much more time than the actual argument lasted?  How about this.  Have you ever played an argument in your mind, which hasn't happened, but you anticipate it might?  You might imagine that my answers were yes, yes and yes!  And you'd be right.  In the book, Bandler refers to a client who has replayed arguments she had with her mother for years after her mother has died.

How much of the present moment do you think you experience when you're mentally in the audience for an argument that happened years ago?  As a child, I learned to constantly troubleshoot my environment.  I was always watching my mother's mood, desperate to keep it from switching, but wanting to be aware the instant it did.

Have you ever put a very dry sponge into water?  A sponge so dry that it took it a moment to actually be able to absorb anything?  That was me and "happy."  Basically, I pursued being happy.  I did "happy things."  But I did them like I was the Universe's Secret Service and I was always on the job.

I attracted a lot of other people like me into my life too.  I once went on a trip to Walt Disney World with a man who later told me his every day "base" emotion was anger.  Now that was a fun trip.  He spent his trip being angry about the lines, how much things cost, and the fact the rides emptied into gift shops and I spent my trip micro-managing how to keep him from getting angry.

It's funny.  I got that way because I had been hurt and scared a few times and I wanted to protect myself from it happening again.   What I really did to myself, though, was lock myself in a mental prison of worrying about all the worst things that could happen and I very nearly threw away the key.

But I didn't.  If you can relate to what I've said and have problems naming a time you were "happy" too.  You can retrieve the key as well.

1.  Practice being in the present moment.  Life happens in the present moment.  It is the only moment we actually have.  The past is passed and the future is just an idea.  Be here now.  One excellent tool for doing that is Gil Mciff's Three Step Clearing Method.  I mentioned it in a previous blog entry ("The Law of Attraction and What You Resist, Persists" October 7, 2014.)  But here it is again.

Three Step Clearing Method by Gil Mciff

Feeding what you want is natural and easy, you are already doing this in many ways.

The emphasis of this practice is focused on starving what you don't want by simply observing your emotions and thereby dis-identifying from being them.

Your habitual state of consciousness is the number one determinant of your personal circumstances.  The quality of your consciousness in this moment is the primary determinant of your future.  And what determines the quality of your consciousness is your degree of presence.  

Check in 10x a day with the question: "How am I feeling emotionally in my body right now?"

You can use a reminder app or alarm on your phone, sticky notes placed in random places, paint one fingernail different from the rest, wear your watch on the opposite wrist or upside down, or put a bandaid on your finger.  Every time this catches your attention, ask yourself, "Emotionally, how do I feel in my body right now?"

(A further suggestion my fellow coaching student told me was to do it every time you needed to use the toilet or took a drink of water.)

If there is ANY kind of negativity or if it is simply a lower emotion than you would like to be feeling, the fact is you did not choose it.  It's based on conditioned interpretation and is simply an old program running and it is time to do the following 3 steps:

(If you are feeling what you would like to be feeling then start with step 2.)

1.  Say These Specific Words - There it is.  That's not me.  That's a program.  

2.  Observe it deeply.  What physical and emotional sensations do I feel?  Where do I feel them?  Or simply I feel it (here,) it feels like (this.)  Realize who is doing this inquiring?

3.  Thank you for checking in.  I love you, I love you, I love you.  Thank you for no longer feeding the program.  Thank you for dis-identifying from the program, thank you for catching yourself and for no longer losing energy here.  Thank you for whatever you want to say thank you for.  I love you, I love you, I love you!

There it is.  That's not me.  That's a program.
I feel it here (location,) it feels like this (characteristics.)
Thank you for checking in, I love you I love you I love you.

These steps are not for the purpose of getting rid of the negative feeling (i.e. resisting and therefore feeding what we don't want.  That benefit may sometimes come with it, but this practice is more about implementing a new habit/program.  So every time you observe the emotion, it's an opportunity to do this practice without judgement.  It doesn't matter what emotion is there, what matters is that you simply observe it without giving it any meaning.  When this becomes habit you will have successfully reprogrammed the unconscious perpetuation of the old reaction with the automatic newly programmed conscious response.

It takes less than 30 seconds to do this practice.  30 seconds at 10x a day = 5 minutes
How many days will it take before this healthy response has become a new program for you?

2.  Actively choose to be happy.  Do the "Fun" lever exercise and build a control panel in your head that helps you select how you want to feel rather than being on a treadmill of worry or negativity.  Start each day with a happy frame of mind.  When you are in the midst of a happy experience, really feel it.  Take in all of the sensory details.

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