I have this little exercise that I do whenever I feel an emotion that I'm not happy about or feels uncomfortable in some way. Without trying to change the feeling in any way, I just look at it. Where exactly is it in my body? With any kind of fear or anxiety, it is usually in both my throat and chest at the same time; kind of like a swollen hot dog that's stuck and won't move. What exactly does it feel like? The important thing for this exercise is to not try to make it go away, just feel it. It doesn't take long before something interesting starts to happen. But first let's look at the language we use when we describe these kinds of sensations. Don't we usually say to ourselves, I'm depressed, or I'm angry or I'm really nervous about this or that. Basically we are saying we ARE anger, fear, depression or whatever. It has, at least momentarily, taken over all of our awareness and for all practical purposes our personality. But when I just look at this emotion with no effort to resist it or change it, not thinking about it or analyzing it, I realize that I am actually someplace other than IN that emotion. I'm to the back a little bit seeing it, but I'm not IN it. When you look at something, YOU must be someplace other than the thing you are looking at. And invariably that emotion, as I watch outside of it, begins to morph little by little into something less threatening and overwhelming.
For me, this has a profound effect on how I act on whatever the situation was that caused this emotion to arise. I can now distinguish between who I am, and what I'm feeling. Feelings come and go, but if I remain a little more constant than the rising and falling of my emotions, my actions are different than when I'm swept along by them.
And that makes me feel better!
Black Bean Soup
2 months ago