Today's Daily Tip
Feel Your Way
Let go of the story line. At this point, you'll notice that certain thoughts are attached to your particular emotion, thoughts that frequently begin "How could he?" or "I always..." Acknowledge these thoughts and then let them go, keeping your attention on the feeling rather than getting caught up in your personal story line.
Some people ask, "Suppose there is content in my feeling that needs to be dealt with psychologically or practically? Am I supposed to just let it go?" For the moment, yes. For this particular process, it's important to let go of believing the story that your thoughts and feelings are telling you. If you sense that something in these feelings or in the situation that provoked them needs specific action or attention, take note of it! You'll come back to it later on.
Hold the feeling inside your heart until it dissolves into awareness. Consciously bring the feeling-sense of your emotion into your heart. Hold the feeling inside the energy space in your heart. As you do, let your heart space expand, gently and slowly, until you have the sensation that there is real space around your feeling. Now notice what happens inside you, how the energy inside your anger or grief shifts. It might become sharper and more intense for a while, or it might begin to soften around the edges, to become less specific, less prickly or swampy.
It's important to realize that you aren't just trying to make yourself feel better. You are in a process of shifting your perspective about this feeling. Your intention is to explore its energy and to let that energy resolve itself back into its root, into the core energy of every feeling.
When we bring our heavy emotions into our heart space, it is as if we are bringing them into a place where they can be safely cradled. Psychologist Rudy Bauer has a great way of describing this. He says that holding our intense feelings in our consciousness is like holding hot coals in a basket. The basket contains the coals and allows heat to build up so that we can warm ourselves by their fire, but it also keeps the coals from burning us.
In this way, we can harness the energy inside our intense emotions and use it as a vehicle to move beyond our ordinary mind and toward the source, the Self, where we are powered and supported by something much larger than ourselves—something impersonal and yet loving, something that has no content and yet is full of wisdom. Abiding in this place, we understand what Rumi really meant when he said that fighting and peacefulness both take place within God. Whatever the quality of the times we live in, when we know how to enter the energy of intensity, we have discovered a doorway to the infinite.
Sally Kempton is the author of The Heart of Meditation. She also teaches Awakened Heart Meditation workshops. (For a schedule, visit www.sallykempton.com.)