In Judaism, we have a deep concept called Heshbon Ha’Nefesh which refers to an accounting of the soul. According to some teachers, we are supposed to do this before we fall asleep, reviewing everything we did that day – our successes and our short comings.
Is this not in contradiction to some of the teachings in my writings? Think things that feel good. Focus on things that feel good when they’re focused upon. Choose to feel good and watch the thoughts, experiences, and objects that flow towards you.
So, what you’re really saying is just ignore anything that makes me feel uncomfortable, live in a bubble of “goodness” that has no bearing on reality, and keep making the same mistakes again and again? Right?
Um…wrong. Well, not wrong about the “bubble of goodness” part.
What we want to avoid is reinforcing the same negative mental patterns (remember, if we are constantly thinking, acting, and feeling in the same way, then we’ll keep getting the same results). You’ll notice that when you talk to people, they love to talk about their problems – how things aren’t working out, how life isn’t enough. Every time that we do that, we continue to manifest that reality. We’re thinking the same thoughts, reinforcing the same narrative, activating the same emotions, and creating the same reality. When we tap into real change, or real desire, we don’t have to even talk about why it’s not there yet. We don’t even really need to focus on why things aren’t going well. We simply talk about the little progress we’re making, the gratitude that we feel, the excitement that we have. Little by little, our whole mindset begins to shift. We begin to reprogram narratives that weren’t serving us for years. That means, your time of reflection should not be filled with guilt or shame. That’s just reinforcing your negative patterns. You only feel guilty or shameful if you’re still stuck in the same thinking that created that problem in the first place.
How To Know If You’re Doing It Right?
Rather, the marker that you’re doing this right is it should feel exciting, exhilarating, and inspiring.
The key here is that we are coming from our new place and manifesting that newness into old, habitual patterns. So, from a place of calm, clarity, you can think about the less-than-ideal interaction you had with your spouse and envision it going differently. Envision feeling compassion not annoyance. Envision feeling grounded not threatened. Then, the next time that situation arises, you will have practiced a different outcome.
What about things that went well during your day? Replay them again and again, but focus on the feeling and bring it into the now.
How amazing it feels when I nail a business meeting.
How powerful I feel when I share love with my partner.
This is how we learn from the past without getting stuck in it. If you feel resistance in your thinking when thinking about the mistakes you’ve made, do not fall into the trap of thinking these are good thoughts – of course I feel like a terrible human being! If I don’t think about myself in that way, then I’ll just continue to make the same mistakes! Good thoughts are thoughts that make us feel good, whole, more compassionate. Being a better person comes from healing that part of ourselves that caused the negative action in the first place. We do that through compassion and understanding.