As Lesson 5 points out, visualisation is as much about feelings as anything else. Our thoughts awaken feelings, and the feelings put us in the mood for similar kinds of thoughts. Our mood tends to create thoughts which maintains that mood – unless something intervenes. The something which intervenes may be external, like a surprising event such a visit or call from a good friend, or it can be something internal where we take charge of our thoughts and feelings.
Deliberately intervening in our normal patterns of thinking and feelings is one of the keys to success in Thought Bricks. It is very important to notice when our thoughts and feelings are low and to do something to raise ourselves up. It takes practise to learn what kinds of mood changers works best for us. Sometimes it will be listening to lovely music, having a nap, or it could be a walk in nature will do the trick. It can really help to have a daily dose of inspiration, something which uplifts us – especially if it is as close as possible to the beginning of the day. It can also really help to have something in the evening which soothes us. A gentle read, or the Enfolding Wings Exercise (from Lesson 3), to help us sleep soundly with a sense of peace and ease.
What does not help is if we start to blame ourselves for feeling low. If we tell ourselves, “Oh no I am feeling down, I will create bad things in my life because of it….” this is the completely wrong approach. We have a deeper level of feeling than the level of our day-to-day emotions. If we are kind and compassionate towards ourselves when we feel angry, worried or fearful then we bring something else into the situation. Feelings like kindness and compassion not only offsets the potential negative effects of emotions like worry or fear; it helps to transform them and increases our capacity to create the good in that moment and in the future.
We need never be afraid to look honestly at our feelings or mood at any given time. Even if it is not a good mood or not a good feeling, and even if has become a bit of a habit, we can transform it. We transform it by 1) acknowledging it 2) asking ourselves what we need to do in order to feel better. We may need to “baby” ourselves a little bit. Treating ourselves kindly, like we would a frightened child that we really cared about, can work wonders.
It might help to think of anger, fear, worry, panic, resentment and so on, as emotions and see think of compassion, kindness and love as feelings. That way we can then observe the feelings we have about our emotions. We can then notice whether we become an angry or irritated with ourselves when we feel hurt or afraid (and try to bully ourselves out of it) or we can see whether we go too far the other way and fall into the hurt and fear and get lost in it (becoming a victim of it). Rather than pile more emotions on top of those emotions we can cultivate a healthy attitude which opens the way for change at the deepest level.
The ideal is to be a kindly, but firm, adult towards the more immature parts of our nature. To take them in hand, with an optimistic attitude which says that we know we can handle this and turn it to the good. Sometimes a low feeling can be shifted easily; other times we might feel like it is hard work and we have to be very patient with ourselves. The main thing, is to have a caring attitude towards ourselves, and a warm sense of humour about our faults and failings. Our faults and failings are just temporary, and we are on our way to better things and to a better way of being, so no need to be overly bothered about them.
Here is a lovely chart from Bernard to help you with your Thought Bricks, The Green Leaf Chart