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#410309 - 09/16/12 03:55 PM healing technique
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Hi Guys,

Here's another interesting healing idea from a book (The Places That Scare You, by Pema Chodron).

Context: She's talking about how to deal with painful emotions without letting the healing degenerate into whining or repetitive thought:

"When emotional distress arises uninvited, we let the story line go and abide with the energy."

She's specifically talking about meditation, but I think this is relevant for all our issues. For example, when I have anxiety, I should just say to myself, I'm experiencing anxiety, then take a breath and notice the feeling and its colors and intensities as opposed to retelling some story, like" I'm dealing with conflict and I can't handle it."

She goes on to say, "In vajrayana Buddhism it is said that wisdom is inherent in emotions When we struggle against our energy (by repeating the stories that lie behind the emotion or by rejecting the feeling) we reject the source of wisdom. Anger without the fixation is none other than clear-seeing wisdom. Pride without the fixation is experienced as equanimity. The energy of passion when it's free of grasping is wisdom that sees all the angles."

When I've worked with this, I've seen that underlying a lot of my abuse emotion is a stream of fear. When I don't tell myself the story that lies behind that fear, what I feel is adrenaline. I can remember an anxiety attack I had where I really leaned into the anxiety and said, "Bring it on! I can take whatever you have to give!" It turned into one of the most amazing nights I've ever had. I felt like I was surfing these huge waves. It was crazy. What had been one of the worst nights of my life became one of the best. When it was over, the anxiety was exhausted and i slept for hours.

We get so caught up in the narrative. And every time we tell it to ourselves again we recreate it in ourselves. That's a kind of self abuse.

Instead we need to stay in the present moment, knowing that the abuse is in the past, and that what we are feeling is emotion we can turn and work with. The emotion doesn't control us. To learn to be its boss we need to control what we do with it and how we talk about it to ourselves while it's going on.

Let's say there's a moment of hatred for the abuser or regret at lost childhood. Here our revisiting of the abuse story has triggered a wash of brain chemistry. If we stop the story and just feel the hatred as hatred, like tasting a new food and identifying it, it will turn into a general sense (which is a safer thing), and start to move. Maybe it will change to anger or to fear or to adrenaline. When that happens we can work with it, running the mind through other experiences where that chemistry was present, and feeling it really intensely. The fear can become like something experienced in a movie or through a book. In this way we can start to break down the triggering mechanism in the mind. Letting the story turn into a story whose results are under our control. And from which we can learn a huge amount about ourselves.

Another way of thinking about this is to realize that emotions are sides of an experience. Hatred is the other side of love, fear the other side of attraction. When we start to experience our emotions for themselves as opposed to for their stories, we can start to look at their edges and see what they can morph into. One way of understanding this is to remember the last time you were in a bad mood and friend turned it for you by saying the right thing (making you smile or laugh). Have you ever had the feeling of wanting to hold onto the bad feeling, but your friend's words just take it away? This is a great example of the way the feelings morph under analysis. In this case it is the friend who is finding the edge of the bad feeling where it connects to amusement.

One of my good characteristics is that depression bores me so bad that I don't tend to stay in it long. I start to see the silly side of my whining or despair, and then it starts to move.

The day before yesterday was really bad for me, very dark. But now that darkness has shifted back to light. It's all part of a spectrum. Many of us stay on the dark side of the spectrum not realizing the light is available to them if they can shift away from the stories they're telling themselves long enough to let the emotions move.

I hope this is helpful. It sure is for me.

Danny

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#410324 - 09/16/12 07:45 PM Re: healing technique [Re: DannyT]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3392
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Danny - this sounds very helpful. i will have to try it if/when the situation arises.

(that "surfing" the emotional tidal wave sounds intriguing. unfortunately - i'm afraid of the water!)

this statement was especially powerful:

*** "We get so caught up in the narrative. And every time we tell it to ourselves again we recreate it in ourselves. That's a kind of self abuse." ***

i have gotten an inkling of that in the past. but one question... i am not trying to be argumentative - but to bring another side of the issue to light.

is there anything in the book about how to handle the anxiety or bad feelings when you do not have a specific "narrative" attached to it? like repressed memories that you aren't conscious of - but you still react to triggers and don't know why? or just free-floating anxiety - i forget what my T calls that - for no obvious reason?

Lee


Edited by traveler (09/16/12 09:16 PM)
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#410353 - 09/17/12 09:06 AM Re: healing technique [Re: DannyT]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Hi Lee,

Anxiety or general bad feelings would be treated in the same way,by sitting with them and letting consciousness wander around their edges, exploring where they come from and recognizing their reality and illusion. Reality in the sense that chemicals are present in the body so the feeling are real, illusion in the sense that there's nothing in the present world that is justifying them.

Once you see around the corners of the feelings, you get them isolated from you in a way, almost like wrapping them up. Once you see around their corners you come back to the starting place and the wrapping is done. You might not be able to toss them out quite yet, but after enough quiet gazing it gets easier to move past them.

It's like you start to se the roots in the past, and you start to see how past the past is. Then these anxieties lose their growth point. They only arise because part of us is keeping the past in the present instead of letting go.

Danny

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