Yesterday we talked about the importance of embodied experience in creating positive change in your life. Today I’d like to give you a suggestion on how to best stay present with your experience, so that you can get in touch with your feelings and needs in any given situation.
Based on my own experience, I find that a daily meditation practice helps me greatly. Normally, when we go through our day and encounter different challenges, we don’t always take the time to process our emotions fully. They stay right beneath the surface, giving us a vague sense of uneasiness. Our first instinct, in order to avoid pain and unpleasantness, is to turn our attention away from ourselves towards some form of occupation, whether it be work or some form of entertainment. This is an unconscious mode of living, which makes the cycle of learning and going through the same experiences time and time again much longer than it needs to be. Our patterns remain the same and we give our power away to others by not turning within and nourishing ourselves with our own inner wisdom.
There is another way, though. We can choose to carve out some time each day to be fully present with ourselves. We can sit in silence, breathe, and focus our attention completely on how we are feeling. This can be quite challenging sometimes, especially when intense sadness, anger, resentment and fear come up. We don’t always know what to do with these “negative” emotions. In these instances it’s good to remember that emotions are actually different forms of energy and that the most harmful type is static energy, locked up and unmoving. When we allow ourselves to feel all of our emotions, they start moving around, seeking release. We can release sadness by letting ourselves have a good cry. We can release anger by hitting some pillows or growling like a lion (yes, growling) and coming into contact with the strength of a lion as well. The lion is often depicted as king of the animals. Do you feel like you are the king/queen over your own life? What are the ways in which you give power over your life to others, and how can you reclaim it?
I have to admit that anger is a difficult emotion for me, but it’s very valuable as a message about our own well-being. Anger is often a sign that our boundaries have been crossed in some way, so we can take some time out and give some thought to our concept of healthy boundaries and how we can speak up for ourselves in a constructive way.
We can also stay present with fear and allow ourselves to fully feel and own it. Fear is often unconcious, so when you make the true root of your fear conscious, that act alone makes it lose much of its power over you.
Important in all this is to remain patient and gentle with yourself. It’s not because you are feeling “negative” emotions instead of peace and bliss during meditation that something has gone wrong. Not at all. It’s so healthy and healing for us to feel everything and to allow everything. I notice that when I truly listen to my body throughout these intense feelings and bravely stay present, that my sweet body rewards me with a deep, content, healing silence where I feel completely whole and at peace. This leads me to believe that all your inner self wants is a listening ear, someone who will sit with her/him through the rough times and hold their hand. You don’t need to panic on how you are ever going to get rid of these bothersome emotions, you just need to trust in the wisdom of your body and know that your presence is much appreciated. You’ll be more in touch with what you truly want and need, and this in turn gives you the tools to create a happy, fulfilling, blissful life, without resentment.
For all those who are struggling with expressing anger, I strongly recommend Harriet Lerner’s book ‘The Dance of Anger’. It’s very practical and has given me a LOT of valuable insights in how to effectively express myself and my needs.
If you find the traditional meditation methods a little dry, or you just want a pleasurable, sensual and profound initiation in meditation, I can heartily suggest ‘Meditation Secrets for Women’ by Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche. I’ve had this book for quite some time and it has proven to be a real treasure.