Tuesday, November 27, 2012

11/28/12—Feeling Your Feelings

Today's Draw: The Hierophant from Dreaming Way Tarot. Have you ever observed yourself avoiding your emotions? What kinds of things do you do in order to avoid them? How much practice do you have at purposely sitting in the midst of those emotions and feeling them through to the end?

The Hierophant signifies a spiritual teacher or teaching, among other meanings. Recently I've been feeling really disconnected from my spiritual self, so I've been making an extra effort. One of my friends has a 1.5-2 hour commute each way every day, so she listens to Buddhist teachings from Pema Chodron on CD and, frequently when we talk, she mentions some of the principles she's considering at that time.

Lately she's been talking about "staying with your emotions", which is something I've always meant to get around to...haha. But see, that's how it usually works with people. We avoid. We have an issue at work, for example, and we distract ourselves. Bury our heads in work. Or go home and have a drink. Or watch TV. We follow our impulse to "make the pain stop".

Staying with the pain isn't about going home and telling your spouse about your day. Sure, that's better than nothing. But staying with the pain is about sitting there and going inside yourself and letting it wash over you. It's about taking that pain all the way back to what it's really about. It's about feeling all the fears that the situation brought up for you. It's a deeply personal thing and not something someone can do for you or with you. You can share your experiences with others, but it's part of your personal journey.

Most of us don't even know what that is, because we're so good at not looking at our issues. And the consequence of all of that is that, at best, we're held captive by our fears. At worst, avoidance manifests as unhealthy behavior and addiction.

I think we can all agree that I'm a pretty introspective person...haha. But I'm an expert at avoiding really feeling my pain. And if I'm that good at it, imagine what it must be like for someone who avoids introspection altogether! Think of how many people can't even go as far as the people who read this blog. And think of your own behavior when you're hurt or scared or frustrated. Do you sit there in silence and feel it all the way to your toes? 

Yeah. Me either.

Pema likened it to scabies (gah!). But I'm going to say poison ivy. Our first urge is to scratch the spot, just like our first urge is to stop the emotional pain. But if we scratch, we spread the poisonous oils and make the poison ivy worse. The same is true for our pain...if we scratch our itch by avoiding the pain, it just spreads within us. It creates more pain and even disease. If we don't scratch our "avoidance itch", however, and sit with the pain...allow it and trace it back to our innermost fears...we learn how strong we really are. It may sound ironic, but the only path to making the pain go away forever is to dive down deep into it...stop avoiding it. 

I frequently find myself examining myself and seeing where I can improve and raise my vibration and all that. But that's just one facet of the path. We can become better people all we want, but what kind of a foundation is that built on? One where our fears and pains are swept into the corner to fester and mold? I think we can only go so far along our path without learning to sit with our emotions. Because the more refined we become as individuals, the more the tar of our avoided emotions diffuses our light.

No comments:

Post a Comment