It takes effort and energy for most of us to discover consistent happiness. That energy is fueled by power. Understanding where your true power and authority exists is one of the fundamental tools in the game of finding happiness. Here is how I understand the power grid when it comes to my essential nature.
Spirit rules the mind.
Mind rules the emotions.
Emotions rule the body.
Starting at the bottom, is the body. It brings its own wisdom and experience, as so many have written. Yet it also is “at effect” of emotions, thoughts, and all that transpires outside of one’s own small piece of the world. It will take just a moment to remind you that when you feel angry, your body reflects back to you very specific signs and symptoms. They often include an increase in body temperature, muscle tension, and digestive track responses. Your mileage may vary. Some people get very cold when they are angry, for example. Remember, the details themselves are not important in the broad discussion, only as they relate to you or me. What is relevant is to understand how each we react to various emotons and to realize that our emotions coexist with our thoughts and get experienced in our bodies.
Moving up the ladder, your thoughts also affect your body. Start thinking about your lovers or your enemies or chocolate or torture or politics or going to work tomorrow and notice if you have any emotional and physical response. In the classic example, think about biting into a plump, bright yellow, lemon that you have just cut open and whose juices may have squirted in your direction. Are you salivating slightly more than before this paragraph?
In between are your mind and emotions. They are in a constant feedback loop as you think a thought and have an emotional reaction to it. You start feeling a certain way, and then _without thinking_ your thoughts have changed and are delivering ideas to support or strengthen or validate your feelings. Before you know it, you are in a vicious cycle that can escalate, leading you to engage your body and act in ways you may later regret.
Sound familiar? Wondering why I am using the negative example of this pattern rather than the positive one? Those are the questions in my mind at this moment. Answer to the first: Yes. Answer to the second: because I think one of the most valuable aspects of so-called negative experiences is that they are familiar and it is often easier for people to connect with ideas and each other out of trauma as compared to successes. There is an element of needy energy when my world is in turmoil that creates a willingness to reach out for help. Rather than judge this as good or bad, I prefer to just use it to our advantage in this discussion.
History bears this out very much as just look for a moment at how strangers and even rivals come together to help each other in a disaster. When I observe big energy patterns like that, I want to make use of the _mechanics_ of it to build consciousness and understanding.
My monkey mind thinks an editor would not allow this sort of intimate dialog to pass muster, and fully expects that a first draft would come back with:
bq. Too personal – you must use the third person voice and stop pretending you are actually having a conversation. Do you want to write a book or have a conversation?!? Don’t you realize books are formal and impersonal so as to reach as wide an audience and sell as many books as possible?
Actually, I am writing precisely to have a conversation with you, not to write a book. I find that when I try to formulate an idea, it helps to keep it clean if I imagine myself taking to several real people who represent a wide spectrum of traits and preferences themselves. It’s insurance against making broad assumptions. It’s how I talk _about_ and _to_ advertising companies at the same time, and keep my integrity. It’s perhaps why I have wanted to write about this for decades (and in fact have started many times) but it has not come to fruition. I was bound by so many rules that work for other people, not me. Oh, and this is relevant I think — my ideas were less formed than now.
[Follow along with my writings captured on a recent trip to Bali. They are all filed under Writing Practice, and numbered.]