“Be still and know yourself as the Truth you have been searching for. Be still and let the inherent joy of that Truth capture your drama and destroy it in the bliss of consummation. Be still and let your life be lived by the purpose you were made for. Be still and receive the inherent truth of your heart.”
Note: This is the third in a series on difficult emotions. You can find the first two posts by clicking these links: The Art of Navigating Difficult Emotions, The Highly Intelligent Approach to Difficult Feelings.
Picture this: In the course of your daily life, something happens that triggers a feeling in you. You notice that something has shifted, so you stop and relax. Ahhhh. Your awareness is so spacious that any experience that appears is received and welcomed.
You aren’t put off by the strong emotion. You don’t avoid it out of fear or discomfort. You stay calm and present and feel the sensations and energy in your body. You pay attention to this experience with acceptance and openness as long as it feels right, then you go about your day.
This is the possibility for all of us when it comes to difficult emotions. Think of them as weather. They arrive, then pass through. So simple, so effortless.
Now another scenario: Something happens that really pisses you off. Your mind revs up with stories of self-righteousness and revenge. How dare he…I’ll show him. You feel enraged, indignant, and fired-up – your jaw tense and throat constricted. What to do? Have a drink, blow off some steam, yell at the dog, anything to get the stress to stop eating away at you.
How to Be With Emotions
Every moment of this precious life presents an opportunity. We can stay asleep or wake up. We can ignore, defend, strategize, analyze, negotiate, or give up when difficult emotions appear. Or we can relax, receive, honor, and allow.
The experiences that arise in you are life – the way that life happens to be flowing through you at any given moment. They are a sacred offering. If a strong feeling comes, don’t make it into a problem. Because it isn’t. Let it be a friend and not an enemy. Stay uninvolved and let it run its natural course. It is not you.
Abandon the story in your mind, and you will notice sensations in your body. Let them be – every vibration, tension, and tightness. These are remnants of a time long ago when you learned that feelings weren’t safe. They went underground and lodged in your body. Now is the time for their liberation.
Stop the effort of resisting and simply be. Relax. Be still. Let the integrity of your felt experience show you the way. Give it a chance and you will see that it is OK. You are OK.
Nothing to Get Rid Of
Remember that the point is not to get rid of any experience, including your feelings. Let me say this again. You do not have the power to force feelings to disappear or compel desirable experiences to last. The only thing you have any control over is where you place your attention.
Do you want to know true happiness that is undisturbed by anything? Do you want to be free of the cyclones that emotions bring to you? Here is the secret: Don’t try. Simply, effortlessly allow what arises to be. Whether it intensifies or goes away entirely is not your business. Your only job is to relax and receive.
Let go of preferences for or against, and you will see problems melt away. Feelings come? No problem. Strong sensations? No problem. Bliss overflowing? No problem. Everything welcome just as it is.
Everyday Examples – Just Like You
A friend of mine who often has trouble sleeping took a new approach one night. Instead of getting lost in the mental noise about her to-do list and frustration about not being able to sleep, she relaxed her focus. She discovered strong energy running through all parts of her body. She stayed with it, let it be, felt it completely, and the suffering released. Not long after, dreamland.
In the course of a conversation, another friend remembered some very difficult times from his childhood. He told me that later that night, he felt a strong burning sensation in his chest that he never noticed before. And he let it be present. So soothing.
And members of our community here at A Flourishing Life have offered more examples in the comments from the first post in this series.
Northstar offers: “I have been getting acquainted with sadness lately and the more that I just “sit” with it – the more compassion I seem to be developing towards myself. I’m also getting a bit more adept at watching the “story” that sometimes goes with it and allowing it to float by. When I do that then the sensations of sadness can still be there but there is no actual ‘pain’ – if I get into my head and hooked into a story about it – that’s when I experience pain.”
Galen writes: “I finally wore myself out from all the effort and energy it took to keep the “bad” feelings at bay. Once they were “loose” I found that they weren’t so scary after all.”
And from Joy: “For most of my life, I used to ignore/deny/bury any feelings that were “less than”. I know this emotional pain resulted in physical pain. When I chose to heal past wounds, I began to acknowledge feelings as they surfaced, hold space for them until they pass..there is a natural flow that is peace filled when I honor this process. Fear of a feeling gives it power to direct my steps, faith in a feeling allows me to fold it in and create with it. And the depth and heart opening that comes with Feeling All leaves me in wonder and gratitude:)”
See the possibility? No endpoint, ever. Just the continuous flow of experience and the living as harmony itself.
Let yourself return home. Melt into being. Receive emotions but don’t get involved with them, and live as the love that you are.
How’s it going? Please feel free to share your insights, questions, or confusions. I’d love to hear…