I recently read and experienced Danielle La Porte’s book on desire mapping. (The Desire Map – Sounds True – 2014). In it she takes you through an in-depth process to discover, or uncover, your core desired feelings which you then use as a base for your whole life. Instead of deciding from the mind what to do, where to go, how to feel, you use this base of core desired feelings and you ask yourself, “What will I DO to feel…(core desired feelings)?” What a turnaround way to live life? And I am discovering just how powerful it is.
Last summer I found myself camp hosting in a magically beautiful forestry campground in the Snake River Canyon in Wyoming. There were no services here; no phone or internet and no hookups for water, electricity or sewer, (except for the camp host).
The undergrowth was carpeted with yellow spring flowers.
The Snake River roared its way down to the Palisade Reservoir about 50 below my camp site.
Bald Eagles and their babies called loudly from their nests across the river, and Osprey swooped in giant curves through the canyon. In the early days there were very few to no campers so I had the place to myself.
My beloved Cocker Spaniel, Jazzy, had died just 4 days after my arrival. So there I was, alone and devastated, seemingly cut off from communication with the world, in the midst of the majesty and might of Life Itself expressing through my environment. I sat a lot in those days, under the trees on the edge of the river, allowing the grief for my beloved companion to pour over and through me, and also allowing nature to heal me. I did the process from Danielle La Porte’s Desire Mapping and came to understand that my core desired feelings were reflected back to me through the quiet ecstasy of Life living through the life and death cycles of the mighty forest, through the vitality and aliveness of the brilliant carpets of yellow flowers, and the exhilaration of the green, swollen river rushing on its merry way.
Here were my core desired feelings at work and my job was then to figure out what I had to do on a daily and consistent basis in order to feel such quiet ecstasy, vitality, aliveness and exhilaration. That experience is etched deeply into my being, so it is relatively easy now to call to mind those feelings.
However, mind does not give up easily.
The mind’s efforts at control get stronger, I have learned, the more aware we become. It doesn’t want to give up the control it has had for most of your life, and old, well entrenched brain tracks/habits die hard. While you experience much of your life becoming more peaceful as your awareness of your true essence grows, those last stubborn pockets can seem almost impossible to root out.
But struggle is not the answer. Meeting an adversary head on rarely works, though for a while it might feel as if it does. In the end, learning to allow these mind efforts to just be there, to stop resisting them and to instead focus on core desired feelings works amazingly well for me.
Writing projects very often bring up one such struggle with mind for me. At times mind has had such control, that a project has lain waiting in the ‘dusty’ files of my computer for years at a time. Small bursts of inspiration on my part simply serve to awaken that old, fearful part of mind again and the project falls back into the anonymous world of ‘could have been‘.
Waking up to that voice
Then several awakening opportunities arrived all at once. Danielle La Porte’s Desire Mapping was one. Another was The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer (New Harbinger Publications/ Noetic Books (October 3, 2007). Such a powerful book – about what it takes to untether the soul from the mind chatter and brain tracks of every day life.
To untether the soul you have to become aware of the sea of thoughts, feelings and emotions that float through consciousness continually, at seemingly random. It’s an ongoing process of waking up to who you really are when you can stop for just a moment and become aware of that continuous sea, especially when you are in the throes of something really frustrating and stressful. The concept that you can separate yourself from this endless flow of thought is hard to get your head around. You have to experience it. Then slowly you start catching a thought in motion and for a brief moment becoming aware that this isn’t who you really are. Eventually, you come to the place where you recognize who you are is most definitely not that voice.
How do I want to feel?
e.g. ‘I am feeling so hungry’. I already am aware that this is a thought form that arises in response to frustration in particular and stress in general. It’s back again. I check my tummy. No it’s not hungry. So then “Who is hungry?” I stop and watch. I allow the power of that brain track to be there. I acknowledge its presence. I give it space. I breathe and then I turn my focus to my core desired feelings. Not to push the other thought away, but to change focus to that which is so much more powerful. “How do I want to feel? What will I to do to feel …(core desired feelings)?”
I breathe deeply and allow all thoughts and emotions to just float right on through. And I think of the quiet ecstasy and aliveness of my forest and the exhilaration of the roaring river. I feel that energy pouring into my cells. The brain track is still there, but it’s moved from consuming me to the outer edges of my awareness. It tugs still, every now and again. And eventually subsides into the illusion from whence it arose.
What will I do next, to feel that quiet ecstasy, that vitality and aliveness, that exhilaration of Life Itself filling all my senses?