Psychologist Carl Jung said “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”
It’s so easy to disconnect from our emotions. Most people have spent years perfecting this skill – checking out from what they are feeling, disconnecting from body sensations. Distracting oneself has never been easier. There is a nearly constant beg for our attention – people, places, media, ideas and opinions, substances – and the internet has made them all more available than ever.
Additionally, it’s not even just distraction that is used to resist reality. It’s also judgement. Pushing away, resisting, fighting against the present and the emotions that exist in the present – these are all forms of resistance.
It takes concerted effort to truly feel what we are feeling. But for all this energy spent resisting – the emotions have not gone anywhere. And often there are new problems springing up as a result of all the resistance – loneliness, addiction, shame, Eating Disorders, disconnect with self and others, sleep disorders. Presence and acknowledgment of emotion, these are important practices. Despite emotions often being truly painful, they have important messages for us.
Today we practice feeling them through this exercise:
Get into a comfortable position – back against hard surface, feet against the ground, eyes closed or to the floor.
Bring to mind something that is causing you stress. Don’t try to fix it or solve it. Experience the emotions, the body sensations, and the thoughts that come to mind. Notice what distracts you and gently bring yourself back to the thoughts, feelings and sensations. Let yourself notice what it feels like to be mindful of this circumstance or thing. Try to do so without judging any of it as good or bad – simply being open to what is. Notice any deeper insights you experience as a result of sitting with these thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Take a deep breath.
Bring to mind something that you are looking forward to or something positive in your life. Notice the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that arise. Notice what distracts you and gently bring yourself back to the thoughts, feelings, and sensations, gently guide your mind back. Try to do so without judging any part of this experience. Notice any deeper insights that come as a result of sitting with these thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Take a deep breath.
When you are ready, when you have allowed yourself to feel fully – knowing this is a place you can come back to for more insight as often as you need it - come back to the room.
Journal or ask yourself these questions:
What emotions, thoughts, and body sensations did you notice?
Any new messages or insights that surprised you?
What was the hardest part?
Did you notice your mind wandering? If so, what was the distraction? And what was it like to gently guide your mind back to the present?
Did you notice yourself judging any thoughts, feelings, or body sensations?