Persimmon painting by Johnson Su-sing Chow from his book Fruits (V2), Vegetables, Fruits, Insects and Aquatic Life Paintings. Historically, contemplative Buddhists have viewed persimmons as symbols of spiritual transformation, the shift from acrid ignorance to sweet wisdom. See a larger version of this painting.
Everything You Want is For the Feeling
It was a tremendously impactful revelation when I first heard that everything that I wanted to do, be or have was because of how it I imagined those accomplishments would make me feel.
The revelation was even more earth shattering. I could actually get access to the feeling right away by focusing on things that made me feel how I wanted to feel. I wanted more money for the feeling of freedom and I could get access to that feeling by grabbing a brush and painting freely on magic paper. I could see my strokes appear, appreciate them and then slowly watch them disappear as the magic paper dried and made itself ready for the next round of painting.
In fact it was much easier to access the feeling of freedom focusing on painting than it was focusing on money. The more I focused on painting freely, the more free I felt. The longer I felt free, the more my money situation improved without me having to focus on it at all.
Could this be what is meant by the phrase "follow your bliss?"
All You Need Is to Find One Thing to Feel Better About, and Everything Can Change for the Better
I experienced this during my first serious relationship. My girlfriend at the time was the subject of my focus. I would focus on her and I felt invincible. A world of possibilities opened up when my I would direct my mind onto her. How beautiful she was. How sweet and honest the poems that she wrote me were. How confident I felt with her by my side.
I had such a great year. Everything I did seemed effortless and I was having the time of my life. The thing that I didn't realize was that I could have done this with any subject. The feeling was what was important. I could have focused on a hundred different things in the same way and it would have produced the same results. Unfortunately, I attributed it all to her and when we moved on from our relationship, I chased her or someone like her for a decade before I began to realize what was really happening.
Find a subject, any subject to focus on in a way that makes you feel good. Could be a person like a grandchild. I know all of us in the OAS Family feel so good when we think about our newest member Cody. He is an easy subject of focus when we are looking for something to feel better about. But the choice is not limited to people, it could be an activity like painting or some broader subject like nature, a forest or a beach. Could be a piece of music.
The possible options are endless and the best choice is a personal one. You will know it when you find it. It will feel like the path of least resistance to a better feeling state - like the way a river flows around a boulder, effortless and without conflict.
Will painting be your ticket to a better feeling? It does not matter what the subject is but it is a subject worth finding.