Thursday, August 8, 2013

Something brilliant is happening inside your very own body

For each of us, there is a core feeling or emotion we just do not want to feel. When this feeling is activated, survival-level anxiety can be triggered and a disturbing experience that things are not safe. This anxiety can be subtle and is often unconscious, but you can also learn to observe it in yourself. When we start to look at this really carefully, we may begin to see that we have in fact organized our entire lives around never having to feel this particular feeling. The way we talk, the way we hold our bodies, our addictive behavior, the way we are in intimate relationship, even our relationship with spiritual teachings and practices – all point to this core feeling or vulnerability within.

Maybe it is the recognition that despite your outward appearance as fiercely independent, that you are in reality a deeply dependent person. Perhaps it is a deeply rooted sense that you are actually not loveable as you are. Or a feeling of terror when you envision allowing someone all the way into your body and your heart. Or maybe despite the fact that you believe you are an “awakened person” you know (when no one’s looking) that there are still ways you are hiding out in your experience. Or perhaps it is the feelings that are released when you feel into your own essential loneliness. Or that those close to you are sure to leave soon, without any warning.

When we were young children, we had to learn very quickly what was okay to feel and what was best to avoid. If those around us became anxious in response to certain feelings or withheld love or attention in the presence of our acting in a certain way, we did what it took to maintain connection – for even a misattuned connection is better than none at all. We learned quickly that it was not safe to feel certain feelings, for they may lead to a rupture in the bond between ourselves and our caregivers. And for a little developing heart and nervous system, this is simply not workable. It is too fragile, tender, and precarious.

As adults, many of you are wanting to organize your lives around the experience of loving awareness, of true connection with another, of opening your hearts all the way despite the risk that this always entails. One of the most important – and challenging – practices you can do is to consciously invite in those feelings that you have spent a lifetime avoiding. You can only do this, though, in an environment of kindness. It is not about “destroying the ego” or “getting rid of the self” or “blasting away your unconscious” for these could only be expressions of the very ego that you have deemed the problem. This journey of re-embodiment is the journey of a lifetime, and will unfold according to a blueprint written in the stars; it is far, far beyond our comprehension. Trust it. Allow your experience to become illuminated within a field of holding and kindness that you create for yourself. Experiment doing this work on your own and, maybe even more importantly, with others – with a close friend, an intimate partner, an attuned therapist. This sort of healing almost always requires a relational field as it was in relationship, in context with others, that these feelings were split off and relegated to the unconscious ground of the body. They are still there, being held in the body’s love, intelligence, and creativity, awaiting your care and your touch.

This is not easy work. It is very counter-instinctual and requires that you set aside the habitual movement to transcend, to change, to transform, or even to heal. It is paradoxical in that way. These feelings, emotions, and sensations are arising for you now at this time in your life for they seek only what you seek:  the light of your awareness, and the tenderness of your holding. This is a somatic process and is made possible by the brilliance and magnificence of your very own body.