The Up Side
by Brian Germain
When we consider the whole of life, there are always at least two ways to look at any given situation. One interpretation focuses on what we would consider to be unpleasant and unwanted aspects, and the other is what might be termed the "up side" to the situation, the beneficial aspects. We have a choice about which angle we focus our minds and our conversations upon. Each direction of thought that we choose creates a very different experience, based on the state of expectation launched by our thinking. The future is created, therefore, by our interpretation of the present moment.
It is always true that there is an aspect of the current situation that is clearly not to our liking. You would like less of that, and more of something else. Sometimes this thing is absolutely intolerable and you need to change something right now, and sometimes you can simply look the other way and have a good time despite the presence of something that is really not your thing. Either way, continuing to focus on the undesirable direction that reality could possibly go will never assist you in avoiding it. In fact, what we resist, persists. It remains because we are stuck in the mindset of whining and complaining and pushing against this thing that we aren't enjoying, and are thus are incompatible with the reality that we desire. Consequently the aspect that we do not like seems to cling to us and follows us around like a cat follows a person who does not like cats. The person or situation that we are striving to rid ourselves of shows up again and again, either in person or in its conceptual equivalent.
Have you ever started your day on the wrong foot? First you step on something painful on the way to the bathroom and then the phone rings while you are cooking and your forget to stir the food that you are cooking and you burn your breakfast. Then the traffic is worse than usual and you stress all the way to work, and the momentum continues. The feeling of helplessness and victimization causes a negative wave that precedes you, and everything you touch seems to turn to garbage. Your environment gives you corresponding experiences that mirror the emotion of what you are focused upon, does it not?
What about those days that begin the right way? You sleep just the right amount and wake up before your alarm feeling wonderful and fully rested. Before you even get out of bed, you remember how lucky you are to be alive on this glorious new day. Taking this good feeling with you, you get up and take care of essential things before stretching and sitting in silence for fifteen minutes or so, allowing the good feeling from your perfect sleep become clearer in your head. Next, you write in your notebook and expand on on what you are thankful for, expanding your feeling of appreciation. You walk into your day with this feeling of graciousness for everything around you, not taking any of it for granted, eager for more. Consequently, your day is one fantastic moment leading into the next. This is the state of mind that leads to everything good in life, what many have called grace.
Nevertheless, even if you were to walk through a perfectly orchestrated day in what you personally would define as a perfect place, there would be parts of your experience that would not be exactly what you want. You can dwell on them and complain about them, or you can benefit from the clarity that this facet of your experience leads you to, and return to the rhythm and rhyme of noticing the beauty and launching off of it into the next positive aspect.
When we dwell a bit too long on the side of our present moment that is not to our liking, we can bring ourselves down. This is the very reason for negative emotion. It lets us know if we are thinking about where we want to go and what we enjoy, or the opposite of it. When we look in the direction of what we do not want, we feel negative emotions such as fear, anger, depression and grief, and we feel resistance within us, like driving with the parking brake on. When we look in the direction that we want to go, and think thoughts that lead in the direction of who we really are, we feel a positive flow of energy moving through us, and a sense of eagerness and joy makes it easier for us to think and move in that direction, like a river flowing downhill. Positive emotion is our higher self saying yes to something. It is nature's reinforcement for a beneficial direction of motion.
Despite our inner knowing that this is the case, most of us stare a bit too long in the direction that we do not want to go, and talk about unwanted aspects more than is beneficial to us. This will continue to happen simply because of the culture into which we were born. Humanity is gradually becoming happier as a species, which means that the past is often an example of what not to do. It is through these "don't do that again" learning experiences that we share as a culture, and as individuals, that we find the way to expand and improve our world, from top to bottom.
This is a complicated time in history. There are so many things that have changed from the way that we once lived on this earth, so many ways in which things have escalated toward faster and more complex. As we pick our way through this barrage of experiences, we change our world by realizing what feels good and what feels bad to us, and what works and what does not. This is the up side of all suffering. With every step, whether it is toward or away from what we personally prefer, we are clarifying what we desire, and therefore learning and growing and manifesting a better future. The mind is the shaping tool with which consciousness improves the world.
Before there is action, there is visualization. This visualization is often positive, and by picturing what we want, we can eventually experience what we desire to experience. Perhaps it will take a while to show up as a concrete event, but within our imaginations are the things to come; the conceptual equivalent of our imaginings, that is. Either way, this puts far greater importance on what we dwell upon and talk about, because we are actually practicing and preparing for a new reality that is remarkably congruent with the emotional and conceptual quality of our visualizations.
Most of us have noticed this. Despite realizing that we are creating all aspects of our reality in both direct and indirect ways, we often fail to connect this profound principle with our day-to-day conversations and inner chatter. We were born within the mindset that if we point our fingers at something long enough, it will go away. If the wheel squeaks loudly enough, someone will do something about it because that's what screaming about unwanted things leads to, right? Well, so it seems, not so much.
The up side is not just a Pollyanna angle on your reality. Like the rose-colored bifocals through which happy elderly people view their lives, this perspective has creative momentum, and we consequently generate a reality that is deeply pleasing to us. When we get on a roll with the process of noticing the positive attributes of every situation, things get better and better. By loosening our grip on the negative perspective and the negative conversations, we naturally drift toward being happier, and our reality drifts along with us.
When we are feeling appreciative, things to appreciate show up all around us. We are radiating a wave of quantum information about the feeling of what we are focused upon, and the matching aspects of reality are brought out that would have otherwise remained dormant. It is very much like an electro-magnet that brings the metal fillings out of the sand when it is turned on. When we center our attention on unwanted aspects, it makes us feel lousy, and the magnet turns off and the iron flakes fall back into the sand, completely obscured from our view. We are bringing toward us the essence of what we are resonating. Which direction we choose to focus our thoughts is entirely up to us, and the consequences are profound.
The up side is always right there in front of you, but you cannot get there from a place of unhappiness. You do not have access to that experience until you lighten up and start to have a good time again. If the experience you desire to have is a happy one, and you are screaming at the top of your lungs that the current situation is not at all happy, you will never be able to move from where you are to where you want to be until you change the tone of your inner music. You have to allow the shift of mood within yourself if you are to walk through the gates of happiness, because if you are not joyous and appreciative, you are not compatible with your true nature.
All you need to do is get back in the habit of shining your spotlight on the elements that make you feel a little better, as opposed to the ones that make you feel a little worse. That will lead your shift in the right direction, and before you know it, less horrible becomes pretty decent, which paves the way for pretty good, and in no time, you are walking the path of splendidly amazing.
The journey from negative to positive begins with a feeling of relief, which always starts in the only moment that ever was, this moment right now. Take a deep breath in, say thank you to the multitude of aspects of your reality that require thanking, and let it in that all who are thankful are worthy, and begin again. The gates are always open to those who look for the up side.