Receiving a critical email…or was it?

critical email

The Initial Criticism Was Hard to Accept

Recently, I received an email from a very dear friend. It was an extremely critical letter about recent actions of mine. I had some pretty negative thoughts about my friend: “how can you be so nasty?”; “I thought you were a good, kind, and sensitive person!”; “I can’t believe how wrong I’ve been about you!” I was also aware of an imploding kind of feeling, ramping up to resentment and anger.

I felt compelled to respond straight away, to give my friend a piece of my mind, returning the criticism even more strongly, using some character assassination skills that I had picked up from watching lawyers in TV courtroom dramas!

The Tap on the Shoulder

What happened next took me by complete surprise. I had been learning about the Three Principles for a while and had learned a few surprising and helpful facts about how thinking and feeling work.

I had the thought, “I am having thinking. And I am having a feeling.” I saw them as two completely separate entities in my mind. My next thought was, “Brett, you are feeling your thinking here.” Mentally, I responded saying “Yes, I know, I’ve been teaching this for a while too!” Next thought: “Brett, take another look – the thinking and feeling are connected!” “No, no, there is no way they are connected. I’m having a feeling and I’m thinking about how awful my friend is.”

“Brett, you really are feeling your thinking here!” It was like a tap on the shoulder, only it’s tapping me more firmly than ever before to grab my attention. “Hmmm, maybe there is something in this.”

I had just about enough openness to explore the possibility that thinking and feeling could be connected, but my attention wavered, and I went back into thinking about my friend being so uncharacteristically nasty.

Another thought popped to mind: “Brett, that connection is 100%!”

The Insight: The Power of Thought

Out of nowhere, an insight occurred that completely changed my entire perspective on the email, revealing what was actually happening.

I insightfully saw that I was putting thinking into the “Power of Thought” and therefore I was feeling my thought about my friend, and not “I feel my friend”. Insight proved the connection of thinking and feeling.

I realized that because I had been putting my thinking into “my friend”, it had made sense to me that my friend and the email she wrote were the cause of my feeling – the Power of Thought had nothing to do with it.

And because I had been putting my thinking into “my friend”, it made sense that the way I was feeling was all because of my friend and the email she wrote. The Power of Thought had nothing to do with it.

But insight showed me that, in fact, my feeling had everything to do with the Power of Thought. And as soon as I saw that, I realised that all the thinking going into “my friend” no longer made sense because that’s simply not how it works – we experience life 100% through the Power of Thought.

I had been living in the Outside-In. The Outside-in paradigm has this equation:

The Outside-In Paradigm Equation
The Outside-In Paradigm Equation

I had been thinking about “My Friend” like this:

You can see how I was feeling “something other than Thought” – I was feeling “My Friend,” as in, it’s not thought!

The Inside-Out paradigm, however, has a very different equation to the Outside-in.

The Inside-Out Paradigm Equation
The Inside-Out Paradigm Equation

The Insight showed me how it actually works – that what I’m feeling is NOT “My Friend”, but my thought about “My Friend,” like so:

The Paradigm Change

Now, with the Power of Thought included, I could no longer think about my friend as the cause of my feelings about her. Insightfully knowing that the Power of Thought is where my thinking actually “goes” instantly changed my thinking about her. I was in the world of Thought now, rather than in the world of “Not Thought.”

In the world of Thought, what I’m dealing with is my own mental life, not “My Friend” as a circumstance. When the spiritual element of the world of Thought was included in my experience of my friend, I had a couple of realisations I could not have had otherwise:

Whilst I was in the Outside-In Paradigm, I didn’t see that my feelings were coming from the Power of Thought. It made sense to believe that my feelings of resentment and anger were coming from My Friend, and I felt justified in all the thinking I had about how to respond to her. Because, in the Outside-In “logic”, by doing something about My Friend, I could influence how I would get to feel about her. In other words, it really seemed that if My Friend withdrew the email, or changed it to make it nicer, or even apologize, or admit My Friend was wrong, I would then feel better again.

But the paradigm-based insight emphatically ruled out any connection between My Friend and the experience I was having of her – the Outside-In connection was rendered illogical by insight. And because the Outside-in is illogical, the thinking I had that was based on that Outside-In assumption had to be illogical as well. So all the thinking about doing something about my friend in order for me to feel better completely disappeared from my mind. And because feeling is connected to thinking, all my feelings of resentment and anger also fell away. I felt lighter, with no effort on my part. No techniques, no strategies! All it took was the power of one insight.

I started to re-read the email. Identical email, yet completely different! How could the same email be completely different?

This is what I now know to be true. What we read, see, or hear is always 100% based on the mental paradigm we are in at any moment. Outside-In, the person will have thinking about whatever they are thinking about, and that thinking is NOT possible in the Inside-Out. And vice versa, thinking in the Inside-Out is not possible in the Outside-in. That’s why, when I reread the email, it was a completely different experience, simply because I was in a different paradigm.

My experience of the email helped me to learn something about myself that I didn’t know I needed to learn. The benefit of insightfully experiencing the shift from an Outside-In experience of the email to an Inside-Out experience of it has been of huge benefit to me, beyond the email itself. And, of course, the way I felt for My Friend changed back to one of love, connection and appreciation: My Friend is my My Friend after all!

I replied to the email with a neutrality, perspective and gratitude that a few moments earlier would have been totally unthinkable.

Isn’t it fascinating that what I had thought was happening with such conviction, turned out to be not at all what was actually happening? I had no idea that an email that in one moment seemed to enrage me, could in the next moment be experienced as actually of benefit.

Paradigms matter. “Thinking going into the Power of Thought to give you the feeling” is the insight that unlocks access to your wisdom and common sense.