Knowing and Seeing
At the outset of one of my workshops, it’s not uncommon for me to kick things off by going around the room and asking each participant this question:
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how deeply do you know that circumstances can’t cause feelings?”
Answers always vary. But, invariably, someone in the group will turn the question back my way. I’m typically asked: “What about you, Garret? What’s your number?”
My answer: “10.”
To which the group will often try to call me out: “C’mon G, you mean to tell us that it never looks to you that your circumstances cause your feelings?”
My standard reply: “I didn’t ask you guys where it LOOKS like feelings are coming from. I asked you if you KNOW where feelings are coming from. Big difference.”
And an essential distinction.
Indeed, it will almost always appear to us that what we feel is connected to, or caused by, what’s happening in the world around us. However, it never is. And this precise inner knowledge is what prevents a person from falling for the outside-in illusion that will forever be part of the human condition.
In other words, it’s impossible for us to stop being human—we have feelings, sense a physical world, and, thus in our minds, will usually connect the two. But this connection can’t lead us astray unless we label it as real. That’s why, my role as an advisor, teacher, or coach is never to prevent the unpreventable: stop others from looking outside for answers. It’s to remind them of where their feelings are actually coming from—from thought or spiritual energy, and not the outside—when they do.
What’s awesome about the game of life, in fact, is feeling high or low as circumstances unfold, or even when we look to the past or the future. Just keep in mind: Yes, the outside-in illusion is totally normal, and it’s either exhilarating or a massive pain in the neck, but that doesn’t ever—and I mean line-in-the-sand type of ever—make it true.