Give your mind something to do while you feel your feelings
When you feel a strong emotion, the mind leaps in to ‘explain’ it. This is a smokescreen. The truth is, mind is afraid of feeling. You can get around this normal and natural quality of mind.
When you feel a strong emotion, the mind leaps in to ‘explain’ it.
“I feel this way because of…
my lack of education,
“I feel this way because I’m just …
lazy, foolish, broken or any other idea you have about the way that you are not good enough)”
The mind is almost always mistaken.
Chances are, you’re doing the best you can. It’s just that the mind loves (and needs) to understand, to label, sort and name things. The thing is, the mind also loves to make up stories – especially when strong emotions arrive.
Strong emotions are uncomfortable – they’re meant to be. Strong emotions are a signal that something important is going on – something you care about, something that matters.
Yet, for many people, showing (or even, simply feeling) their emotions feels dangerous. You’ve been taught:
Keep your cool.
Big boys (and girls) don’t cry.
Suck it up and carry on.
You’ve been trained to feel concerned that you’ll be hurt or judged for simply feeling what you feel. This teaches you to stuff feeling down. You separate from your feelings, holding them at arm’s length (where you witness feeling as a detached observer, as if you are floating above or beside what you feel.)
This detachment (or disassociation) separates you from fully experiencing your life. You won’t be able to really feel love. You won’t be able to experience real joy.
You’ll get so good at avoiding feeling that you’ll call numbness ‘comfort’ and you’ll trade non-feeling for living.
You can change this.
How? by retraining the mind to interpret strong waves of feeling in a new way. What if, instead of ‘overwhelm’, the mind re-labeled waves of feeling as ‘surges of power” “supportive energy’ or even, ‘guidance’?
Get the mind really really curious about what feeling feels like.
When you feel a strong feeling and notice that your mind has leapt in to explain the feeling away, let yourself get curious about that.
First, simply bring the feeling back. (You can do this a little at a time or all at once.)
Let yourself feel into the feeling. Explore its contours and textures.
Where is this feeling? Is it inside of you or outside? If it’s inside of you, is it in your body? Where? Is it in your mind? Where? If it’s outside of you, see if you can locate it? Is it all around you like fog? Is it coming toward you like a wave? If it’s moving toward you, which direction is it moving in?
What are it’s qualities? Notice the shape, color, texture of the feeling.
All of this noticing keeps the mind busy so that you can feel your feelings. Let the mind examine and name the feeling. This is how the mind is. It wants to understand, to know, to explain.
Allow the mind to become fascinated with feeling.
While it does what it does, slip beneath the stories and labels and feel the feeling.
Let this happen easily, naturally.
Work with the mind in this new way – moving from feeling to thinking and back again. As you do this, you are retraining the mind; you’re developing a new habit of mind, one that will bring mind and heart into easier alignment.
You see, the mind is not the enemy. It’s a diamond – a precious expression of the wholeness of creation – and of you. When you welcome the mind to occupy its sacred seat at the table, the heart can come to the table, too.