I've been giving quite a lot of thought to the saying "What you resist persists" (variously attributed to either Carl Jung, or Werner Erhard).
The logic of this is reasonably straight forward. Our brains don't understand negatives particularly well. This is why when you drive a car, you look where you want to go, not at the thing you're trying to avoid (coz you'll veer towards it).
Thus, whatever you're thinking about you tend to create more of. It doesn't matter too much if it's a positive (I like that) or negative (I hate that) thought.
If your feelings towards something are purely loving, you lose that obsessive mental grip that things we dislike have. We lose those recurring negative thoughts. Therefore, we stop drawing those things we dislike to us.
So where do you draw the line?
It's very simple. Every thought and emotion in your life is either loving or nonloving.
Simplifying like this keeps everything very, very clear.
It also removes the need to try and figure anything out (which just gets our ego/brain involved — never helping). It stop us getting tied up in definitions ("Am I angry, miffed, annoyed, irritated or just antsy?"). It cuts short the spiral into obsessive thought patterns.
I'm usually not a fan of dichotomous (either/or) thinking, but in this case it's actually very helpful. Simple is good.
So, if that thought or emotion is loving? Great. If it's non-loving? Say "I love you" & let it go. Remember "I love you"? Arguably the core of the four most powerful phrases in English.
So what's the best way of going about this? Well, here's what I've found so far. And when I say "best" I mean most thorough, permanent & quickest.
Generally speaking, when you think about something you dislike (have non-loving feelings towards), there will be a physical sensation (a clutching or tension) that goes with it. This usually appears in our stomach or chest. Why does this happen? Simply because our energy, emotions, bodies and minds are all part of one holistic system. Nothing operates independently.
As you continue to think of that thing, if you say "I love you" you can simply open an imaginary door over your stomach or chest (where the tension is) and let that energy out.
This works best especially when you don't feel loving, because that will bring these contrary feelings to the surface even more vividly. Keep saying "I love you" and letting it out, and the clutching will disappear altogether.
Relationships are the core of our lives. "No man is an island" and all that guff. Ideally, you'd feel loving towards every person in your life. Why? Because then any time you think about anybody, you'll feel great! How awesome would that be? It's a trick question. The answer is very.
Start with the people you have the most nonloving feelings for. Why? Because you'll gain the most by changing those feelings to ones of love. Why would you want to love someone who's currently driving you mad? Simple. Because the negative thoughts & feelings you're harbouring are only hurting one person: You.
You're not doing any of this for that other person. You're doing this for you.
Also, be sure to get around to loving your family at some point, since they're the ones with whom we have the most complex emotional relationships.
So, what to do:
- Imagine each person in front of you.
- Say "I love you" to that picture you're holding of them.
- Let go of all tension, feelings & thoughts that arise (remember, you are the boss here, not the thoughts or feelings)
- Repeat until all the clutching is gone, and you genuinely feel loving towards that person
Of course, no person is one dimensional. So go through every non-loving event that happened with that person (just whatever pops into your mind). Remember the situation, what they said, etc. Keep circling it in your mind, all the while saying "I love you" & releasing all thoughts and feelings that come up, until you feel 100% loving about that situation with that person.
It may seem like this will take forever, but once you get into the swing of it, it goes faster and faster. I've waded through 20 year relationships in a half an hour while wandering around town. The reason it gets easier is because as you continue you're becoming more and more loving towards them. That energy builds up, so stuff drops away ever quicker.
Sometimes events may not necessarily be about a specific person. That's ok too.
As described above, imagine the event in as much clarity as you can. Let the feelings come up. Say "I love you" to the event; to the feelings, and let them go. Repeat until you feel nothing but love for the situation.
A good test is if you can emphatically and honestly declare "I am so happy that happened." Repeat until you can.
Everybody dislikes their body. Or aspects of their bodies. There's always something. So, just think about each part of your body in turn, say "I love you" to it, and let all the resentment, dislike and ugliness we've been carrying around dissipate. Yes, this may take a while, but remember, you've probably been carrying those nonloving feelings around most of your life. Be patient with yourself.
Unsurprisingly by now, keep going until you feel loving about every single part of yourself. You'll be amazed how much better you'll feel about the world in general when you feel completely loving towards yourself.
By this I mean "anything that's hard to picture in your mind". For example, "being lazy" or "feeling unmotivated."
With these, a slightly different approach is helpful. Rather than saying "I love you" — because it's hard to connect with it — just ask yourself "Can I let 'it' go?" Don't let your brain get all tied up in knots over what "it" is. What you're trying to do. How it's working or any of that.
Just ask, and answer (particularly if you're feeling adamantly opposed) "Yes." Keep asking "Can I let 'it' go?" and keep answering "Yes."
Just saying "yes" has power. All the power you need. It puts you into a state of courageousness, since you're making a decision, a choice. You just saying that you're letting it go is enough to send that energy, that tension flying out of your body.
Keep saying "yes!" and you'll feel it all lift off and away.
As always, keep it simple. Our brains like to complicate things, but it never helps.
What to do if you get stuck
If you get stuck with saying "I love you", or you feel like it's not shifting out, there are a couple of things you can do.
- Physically tap yourself over the spot where you're feeling the clutching. That'll shake up the energy & help it shift out.
- If you're saying "I love you", then try mixing it up with some "Can I let this go?" "Yes!". That brings your inner power into play.
- If you've been doing all this in your head, try saying it out loud (& forcefully). A lot of times that verbalisation helps connect us much more strongly.
- Try injecting the word "still" or "all", for example "I still love you", or "can I let all of this go?" Don't save any little bits for later.
- If you're into it, feel free to draw down as much energy as you like from the universe to amp your "I love you"s the hell up. (Just imagine a bright white light coming down into your head then into whatever you're dealing with, that'll do the trick)
- Experiment. Play with it. Find what works best for you.
Ha ha, you think I'm kidding. No, I'm serious.
I've talked about saying "I love you" in the past. Back then, I figured being super light hearted was the best appraoch. Having a light heart is great, but I've since learned there are ways to take that light heart and really amp up the power.
For a start, you want to make sure you're in a good mood before you start any of this. Good posture, a good night's sleep, water & food will help with this, obviously. Your body is your temple (and so on).
There are three specific energetic states that are ideal to aim for.
- Courageousness (simply sitting up straight and emphatically repeating "Yes" will get you into this state pretty quickly)
- Acceptance (a state of "it is what it is". Saying that to everything in your life/mind & letting go of everything else will get you here)
- Peace (a state of knowing. To quote The Matrix, "Don't Think you are, Know you are." This is a state of being — rather than thinking, worrying and so on)
Any of these states is ideal. Peace is the most powerful. That's when you're fully connected to your true power. Meditation will get you there. I have to be in that state to experience my best, most loving Aikido. Peace is the flow state.
So. Now you're in that high, calm, place. Then start thinking about events, people and yourself.
When you're saying "I love you", say it calmly, with all the attention & inner conviction you can muster. Or, if you want to, shout it with all the enthusiasm and outer conviction you can muster; that's great too. The critical thing is just that the more you can manage to mean it, the more powerfully it will sweep all that garbage out of you.
How do you achieve that when part of you is screaming "No, no fucking way, I do not love them"?
Remember how you are not your mind, you're not your body, you're not your emotions? This is where you show them all who's boss. Just by answering "Yes" (when your mind is screaming "No"), you take control. You are the boss. So just say it.
Saying "Yes" is just a choice. Saying "I love you" is just a choice. The more you say it, the more true it will become, as everything non-loving disappears.
It really is that simple. Force yourself to say it. Keep saying it. You know what will happen? Your ego will wail, complain, bitch & moan (as usual).. and then, it'll all start to fade. We live on automatic so much, letting our emotions and thoughts push us around, so it's easy to forget who's really in charge.
Remember, you're doing this for you, not for anyone else. You're doing it so you feel better. With that in mind, just force yourself to say (out loud if that helps) "I love you." Then simply let all that internal noise, the physical tension, the emotional crap just float out of you.
The reason we (occasionally) feel crap is very simple. We have crappy thoughts, and crappy emotions. Let go of them, replace them with loving thoughts and emotions and what will happen? That's right, we'll stop feeling crappy. We'll just feel loving, all the time. Or at the very least, a hell of a lot more of the time.
As an added bonus, the people around you will notice. Maybe not consciously, but you will see their behaviour towards you change as you shift to only ever having loving thoughts and feelings towards them.
Why do you think people have pets? Because everybody craves unconditional love, and animals give it. People respond to this, at an incredibly deep level.
How much easier will it be to do your work, go about your day, to live, if all you have are loving feelings towards everything?
Incredibly easy. Happy. Effortless. Exactly the way life is supposed to be, we just plop out on this plane and forget. So now's the time to remember. I love you.