Alchemy: Plain + Simple?

I have a friend who has often urged me to turn my nervousness into excitement. This SOUNDS really wonderful, and I’ve always been drawn to the language of it. But, the ins and outs of how to transform one feeling into another can seem quite esoteric and unattainable. I’ve been meaning to read Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart — wherein Tara Bennett-Goleman unspools some of the mystery.

Confession: I’m drawn to anything with the word alchemy in it. I mean...alchemists turn lead into gold! So, it’s an effective metaphor for obvious reasons. Often our thoughts drop on us like the heaviness of dull lead. It’s super easy to become disillusioned right away instead of taking a minute to remember that it’s all just energy and it can be transformed. A bit of quiet mindfulness and meditation can help us act instead of REact to others and our own thoughts.

We’ve heard it in yoga class or meditation sessions: Just acknowledge the thought and let it pass. Don’t react to it.

But how can we take it a step further? Acknowledge the thought, don’t react to it, and turn it into something positive. One could argue that, in our phone scrolling culture, simply having the presence of mind to recognize a thought as negative is a triumph.

Turning something basic into something extraordinary. So my friend is really onto something. A feeling, a sensation, is energy. So, the potential to have a different experience of that energy is there. We just need the tools. Alchemists have tools. Flasks, vials, glasses, funnels, vessels.

They’ve got some lead, and they’re working with it.

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