So this “sleep your way to happiness” technique is working wonders for me. Combined with positive thinking, I have to say I might have actually found a bit of a silver bullet. Granted, I am not trying to solve a specific or pressing problem (i.e. health, finances, etc.) right now, so I cannot comment on how well it would do in a pinch. But what I am wrestling with is a general feeling of malaise and a vague indeterminacy of my own aspirations.
But isn’t that one of the biggest hurdles we face in our lives? Here I do not exactly mean the malaise, but the indeterminacy of our desires. How are we meant to work toward goals when we miss the absolutely crucial step of identifying them? And even then goals are often far too easy to pull apart. Once we start examining our aspirations, we sometimes find that what we thought we want doesn’t matter at all, or is just a stand in for something deeper.
With that being said, many of us also understand the power and beauty of working toward a desired end, with the confidence of knowing that we are capable of success. The Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say that three times fast) referred to this highly focused state of complete immersion in a task “flow”. If you read his books, he gives some great, salient advice on how to achieve flow; and it worked for me for a time.
Yet I would always find myself retreating back into a state of apathy or anxiety after a period marked by deep engrossment in a task. Mostly, this has to do with my monkey mind’s inability to just go with it. I cannot stop myself from picking my goals and actions apart to the point where they are virtually unrecognizable.
This is where Joseph Murphy’s “autosuggestion” technique has worked well for me. Rather than just entering into flow with my writing, parenting, wife-ing or whatnot and hoping it will sustain, I now have the ability to proactively maintain this state through affirmations on the brink of sleep. I started out asking for simple (but actually not-so-simple) things like peace, happiness and energy. But what has grown out of all of it has been a more balanced state of mind, better sleep, and the ability to maintain flow, without the incessant concern that my goals are faulty or somehow unworthy of pursuit.
In other words, I have felt more comfortable letting my desires lead the way a bit more. I do not mean this in the hedonistic way, but in the sense that I accept my desires as legitimate. And in doing so, I think I am discovering a form of self-love yet unknown to me. Because trusting in those small voices that urge us in one direction or another ultimately means trusting ourselves.
I promise that next time I post I will try to give you a more “wow” inducing example of manifestation or something. I love those experiences as well. But I have to say that the last week has proven to me how little the “wow” moments mean compared to a more sustained sense of peace, energy and well-being.