I was just wondering what you mean when you say “be with your fear”…. or negative emotions etc… I’m not sure how to “be” with fear. Could you maybe elaborate on that for me. You use that quite often and I’m not really getting it.
Yes, it can be quite tricky to choose to ‘be with’ something that we just want to avoid or get rid of. Why would we want to feel something that makes us feel horrible? Yet if we don’t learn how to be with it, it continues to perpetuate in our lives and run the backstage show. The goal is to drop the mind and trust that its safe to feel our feelings. Once we find this space everything changes.
Being with a feeling means you are fully allowing that experience to be there as it is in its raw form. If we are open, vulnerable, curious, and courageous the ego/mind has to sit down and allow the feelings to be explored. If you’re trying to be with a feeling and nothing is happening, usually, it means there is not enough vulnerability and trust to allow the feeling to be experienced.
Lack of vulnerability always creates a barrier between you and your experience. It’s like if you were super hungry and had a fresh hot pizza on the table in front of you, yet they wouldn’t let you take off your COVID mask to smell it, bite into it and you could only look at it. You would feel just frustrated trying to ‘be with it’. Yet once you remove your mask and dig in, you will start to enjoy the experience.
By fully taking in any experience, we are savoring each bite, allowing our body to digest the feeling fully, and will feel satisfied afterward. We can finally relax deeply inside which is the ultimate goal… real inner peace. So ultimately it comes down to your awareness of the ‘mask’ that you’re still wearing, the one that’s blocking you from being vulnerable and feeling your feelings. The egoic protective barrier inside us creates this guarded resistance to feeling any negative feelings, and once you can move through your resistance, then you actually can be with the raw feelings themselves.
Another secret I’ve found is letting go of the story we attach ourselves to the feeling. Letting go of attachment to the “I” or “me” who was hurt in the process and is now feeling XYZ because of it. There’s often a blame game going on where we hold onto the story as a way of remaining in anger or being right about the way we feel. If we can drop the story and just stay with the body sensations that arise, we can feel the emotion and let it be released from our system. We can be with the tension, feel the tight energy, notice the shallow breathing, watch the fast breathing, experience our jaw-grinding tension inside etc. With awareness, we can allow whatever feelings to arise and let them go.
Just stop everything and ‘feel your feelings’ might sound trite or stupidly simple yet to be with something we must have the internal resources to give it space and allow it to be there. We must be connected with a feeling of safety, knowing that we will be safe after we feel this sensation and okay with the outcome. If we always knew we would be safe no matter what happened, it would not be challenging to feel any negative thing. It would come and go like a rainstorm and we could enjoy the whole process. So it’s about getting in touch with God, love, or a higher spaciousness so that we can let anything come through us.
By knowing we are connected with something much bigger than the mind (like consciousness) we can invite any experience into the body. Most people do not even know that they are up in the head and living their whole life in the mind until something hurts them mentally physically or emotionally then they are forced to feel.
Our feelings are soooo super powerful that we spend a lot of energy trying to control them so that they don’t bust out and ruin our relationships. When they are suppressed they often take over control of the entire body-mind and so to be with them can be scary. It boils down to being in the moment and continually opening ourselves up to something bigger than the story they contain. Surrender to the actual bodily sensations and breathe with them.
If you need a technique to help you move through the resistance (or unconscious control) to feeling your feelings, I would recommend laying down and taking 100 deep breaths into your belly with your mouth 75% open. Breathe into the heaviness, stuckness or stickiness and see what happens after. Just be sure to not get over-identified with the story that arises. It is not who you are, just an idea of who you are. Who you are is the infinite soul, the source of pure consciousness itself.