A client asked out loud a question that, I’m sure, many of us have thought in our own minds. “Is it just me? Why am I so sensitive? Why do I have so much mind chatter? Why am I so reactive? Is everyone like that?”
My thoughts? Yes, it is the human way. We all have minds that are filled with concepts and points of view that can be limiting. All of us have ‘stories’ that are rooted in our past and influence how we see our current reality as well as the emotions that we experience. And there are people who choose to keep their inner cave closed, or at least a big part of it - NOT wanting to honestly and deeply explore.
There can be consequences to this practice of hiding or disowning parts of ourselves. Contractions occur which show up as body tension, emotional drama when we strongly react to others and the circumstances that we find ourselves in, and the non-existence of the full range of feelings available to us as humans, including pain and joy.
Feelings or thoughts that are pushed down and kept in the dark can seep through the cracks (staying with the imagery of a cave) in a myriad of twisted ways like addictions, passive aggressiveness, and other destructive behaviours.
We only have to pay attention to the news to see evidence of the ‘shadow’. The shadow is that which is disowned, judged or denied within us and projected ‘out there’ onto others - with the goal of keeping our own inner cave doors tightly shut.
It takes courage to open that cave door and shine a light on what is truly happening deep inside. Due to conditioning and old habits, it can be very easy to judge our feelings and thoughts as either negative or positive, and then to try to make the ‘negative’ feelings or thoughts go away. Resistance to ‘what is’ can become the order of the day.
The truth is that resisting doesn’t work as what we try to push down, in actuality, intensifies.
What does work? Simply noticing our thoughts - they often just pop out of nowhere, and we really can’t control them. Feeling all of what’s there at a body -sensate level without the story. Identifying contractions that can then be tenderly explored - allowing the emotional charge of each opposing view to be released. And there are so many more practices for us to stay connected to our core.
This work is a lifetime process. It doesn’t mean that we reach the place where we have no thoughts, feelings, body tension, or pain. As I said earlier, we’re human. It just means that we’re able to observe, love, and accept our humanness at deeper and deeper levels.
We experience compassion. We experience presence at greater and greater depths. We live with sobriety around what’s real as distinguished from a story that is based on assumptions and misperceptions. We make peace with the unchangeable past. We show up as our true selves instead of an image of what our minds tell us we ’should’ be like. We fully engage with our Life.
For me, the investment of time, energy, and finances is all worth it. Why? I ask - why wouldn’t it be?
Embracing all of life - the darkness and the light - encourages us to walk with the Divine.
Today take a moment - as many moments as you choose - to notice what is happening within. Notice your breath, posture, emotions, body sensations, thoughts, images, inner voices/rules from the past.
Everything is welcome.
Whatever you notice, be with it as it is. Simply be in the witnessing of it all.
Centered. Connected. Present. Observing.