Present Tense


“Have you ever read ‘The Secret’?”

We were talking about intention and manifestation.

“I haven’t.” I said. “I like the idea of manifestation, but I always struggle to make it work for me.”

It was a nice idea: the thought that I could just think things into existence by concentrating on them. And I could think of a handful of times when it had worked for me inadvertently: that things had come together just so after I’d been thinking about them. But just as often I’d wished and hoped and obsessed over things that I wanted only to be disappointed over and over again when they didn’t happen.

“Thoughts are energy- everything is energy, therefore thoughts can become things.” Was the fortune cookie explanation for how and why it should work.

“Ok, fine, I mean, I like the idea of being able to think things into existence.” I protested, “but what about disappointment? When you think so hard on something and it doesn’t happen? Where does that fit in?”

“The trick is you have to think about it as if it already exists.” Was the answer, and then my bus came and I had to go.

The conversation stuck in my mind: the past few days have been especially fraught with severe plunges in mood, to the point of outright sobbing over little nothing past-tense insecurities like the age at which I lost my virginity. It’s not like it’s something I can go back and change: no point in crying over it. And yet, there I was: sniffling into the soapsuds while trying to do the dishes.

Depression is a hell of a drug.

The whole next day I sat at my desk in an intermittent rain shower of tears as my mind paced back and forth over everything I wanted and didn’t have, ever person who’d ever ignored or excluded me, everything wrong with my life, all the ways I was holding myself back, etc. When it couldn’t find actual things for me to cry over, it started to make shit up.

Stop it! I told myself. Focus on your breathing!

I’ve been reading a book called “Radically Happy” lately, which is ninety-five percent instructions on How To Meditate; Step One- Focus on your breathing.

Breath in. Breath out.

*tears* *intrusive thoughts* *persecuting voices*

Breath in. Breath out.

It didn’t much help.

Sometimes, if I was lucky, I would be able to clear my mind for a few minutes at a time while doing nothing else, but the instant I went back to work, the torrent of feelings would come rushing back. I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose by researching Manifestation a little bit more, so I looked it up on the internet.

My takeaway was twofold:

  • It’s not things you manifest, it’s feelings about things. (Ex: feeling valued as compared to having money)
  • Focus on these feelings in the present tense. (‘I am valued’, not ‘I wish I was valued’).

It was worth a shot. I made myself a list:

  • I am welcome.
  • I am wanted.
  • I am celebrated.
  • I am satisfied.
  • I am impressive.
  • My value is recognized.

I took about fifteen minutes and concentrated on a few of the items: thought of ways they were already true, thought of ways they’d been true in the past, and imagined ways they’d be true in the future in the best possible world. What did “welcome” feel like? Having people smile to see me, having doors open, being invited to join groups, being invited to adventures… I could think of examples of ways it was already true, and then thought of ways it could continue to be even more true.

After fifteen minutes, I felt calm and I stayed that way for the rest of the day. So, whether or not it works as an exercise in wishful thinking, I certainly found it helpful as an immediate remedy for my low mood, which is nothing to sneeze at. Maybe there’s something to it.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 10, 2019.

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