Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New pathways of love

It can take a tremendous amount of self-kindness – and an unwavering love of the truth – to explore the various strategies you employ to take yourself out of feelings you do not want to feel. For a variety of developmental reasons, certain feelings have come to be associated with dysregulating anxiety, triggering a subtle, survival-level sort of panic. In response, dissociative pathways are put in place to get away from the underlying vulnerability and back to safe ground. In the abandonment of the vulnerability, however, we cut ourselves off from the aliveness we are so tenderly longing for.

Periodically, throughout the day, when you are triggered, or when you find yourself caught in some sort of distractive behavior, you can ask: I wonder what feeling state am I trying to get out of in this moment? And for just a few seconds, would I be willing to infuse it with warmth, with presence, and provide it with safe passage?

As we practice in this way, we may come to discover that the most effective strategy of avoidance – one that we've all mastered – is the removal of awareness from our bodies, our feelings, our emotions, shifting it into the field of thinking. There is no easier, less expensive, less time consuming means of dissociation than the fascination with the storyline of “me.” The greatest story ever told, staring “me,” involving the most vivid cast of characters and how they are spinning… around “me.”

We become masters at thinking “about” our experience, rather than actually “having” it. In seconds, we can abandon what is alive in the here and now and immerse ourselves in our conditioned histories – falling into the grooves of our archaic narratives, dramas of unlovability, compelling stories of flaw and failure, and trances of victimhood, shame, and blame. All to remove us as quickly as possible from the open, raw, unresolvable aliveness of our immediate experience.

These strategies were critical as young children, to maintain ties with important attachment figures, and to ensure our psychic and emotional survival. They were intelligent at the time, and quite creative. They are not ‘bad,’ ‘neurotic,’ ‘insane,’ ‘pathological,’ or ‘unspiritual.’ They are just a bit out of date given your current capacities. They just need an upgrade.

For just a few seconds, use your breath to enter inside the feeling. Make the commitment to stay close to your vulnerability as it surges when you are triggered, and when the uninvited guests arrive. Infuse your presence into the core of this material and surround it with warmth, with kindness, and with space.

As you return into the tender, shaky Life as it moves through you - slowly, with kindness – the somatic tangles and psychic knots will begin to unwind and rest. Your raw heart, your miracle brain, and your sensitive nervous system will come online and be updated with new pathways of love. And from these new pathways you will more creatively and more skillfully be able to help beings everywhere, to discover the majesty that they are.

Photographer unknown