Feel Your Way Out Of The Dark

Feel GoodA desire to feel better than you currently feel is itself an acknowledgment that your current experience has the ability to change.

When I was younger feeling bad took an eternity.  Now it is more like an alarm clock telling me that I want to feel better.  I may press the snooze button again and again, but the second I decide to wake up how I feel changes.

There may be many rungs on the emotional ladder between how you feel now and how you desire to feel.  Don’t try to jump all the way to the top and fall victim to gravity.  Take each step as a victory.  Feeling bored feels better than despair.  Feeling annoyed feels better than feeling afraid.  We all know how we desire to feel, and we all have the power to let how we feel guide us toward what we desire.


Mo Birthdays Mo Problems

Trees at RaviniaMy recent birthday was filled with well wishes for happy returns of the day.  But I discovered that even on a seemingly special day, like a birthday, I still carried old issues with me.  The areas of my life that I struggle with did not miraculously disappear.  In fact, issues can be magnified on days where you feel you are supposed to be happy and having fun but find that you still bear the burden of your own suffering. Special days can’t be created by events written on a calendar, rather they manifest from the experience of personal growth and expansion that proceeds from the faithful tending of your inner state.

There are times when faking it till you make it just doesn’t hold up, and liberation from the tumult in your mind is more quickly gained by just being honest about what you’re going through. So the day after my birthday I decided to ask my friends on Facebook what they would say to someone who was having a hard time.  Their immediate compassion was a reminder to me that when you allow yourself to be where you are at and ask for what you need you are infinitely more likely to receive it:

1.This too shall pass… (Madeleine)

2.If you want someone to listen, I can do that. (Steve)

3.I am here for you…! (Libby)

4.Keep the faith. (Jessie)

5.Everything happens for a reason even if you may not know what that reason is at the time. (Ryan)

6.Want some pie? (Greg)

7.It gets better. (Kyle)

8.That sounds hard. I’m with you friend. (Melina)

9.Stay strong, it’s only gonna get better from here. (Adam)

10.I’m sorry this is happening to you right now. (Sheila)

11.I brought beer and pizza. (John)

12.I might not know what you’re going through but with faith everything will be alright! I love you and will keep you in my thoughts. (Mari)

If you think someone is having a difficult time, say one of these things to them!  A little compassion goes a long way.  If you knew someone was suffering what would you say to them?


The Good In The Extreme

High and LowExperiencing extremely high highs in life, along with very low lows, is exhausting.  There are some who enjoy that way of living, and there are also many wisdom teachings detailing how to escape such a precarious existence.  But just as in meditation, where you constantly are bringing your attention back from a wild train of thought to the present moment, experiencing going from very unconscious states to extremely aware states of being within the span of a day, an hour, or a minute is essential in the practice of living.

Some days I experience extreme fear, worry, and distress.  It can happen, when overcome with negative emotions or powerful thought patters, that I will bring a little bit of present moment awareness into my field of attention and take a step away from the crazy.  This type of experience is helpful in building up what Tolle calls “presence power,” that when accessed more and more easily, will eventually kick in before the thought patterns and emotions have a chance to take over.  But it is okay to go even further than a small glimpse of awareness.

I am now experiencing that when I fall into unconscious suffering, and bring that spark of present moment awareness into the situation, that I don’t need to stop there.  I can remind myself of the true depths of joy and peace available in the present moment, remember all that I have learned in the power of the reality of the here and now.  Not only can I shed light on the dysfunction that had caused fear to become all important in my field of attention, I can dissipate that fear with radical acceptance, and allow myself to feel peace, allow a smile, allow joy in the midst of anxious thought patterns.

This “allowing” is not passive.  It takes the same power required when the energy of residual pain makes peace and happiness seem like the last thing in the world you’d want to feel, but you “allow” yourself to disidentify from that loud voice of pain and smile anyway.

Extreme happiness and extreme sadness lead to a weary existence.  But moments of extreme unconsciousness that transform into moments of all encompassing present moment awareness can lead to the empowerment of your ability to dissipate the pain created by identification with the thoughts and emotions.  Judging a moment of pain, fear, or sorrow will lead to more of the like, but accepting it and entering fully into the present moment strengthens the light of your consciousness that can dissolve the deepest darkness.


When The Going Gets Tough

HeartSometimes the days when you feel the least connected can be the most fruitful.  Part of the practice of being present is staying present even when you’re feeling out of sync.  There are days when I notice the voice in my head getting frustrated with the smallest things.  When I experience a day where a stranger sitting too close to me on the bus gets to me, I find it is a good opportunity to explore where the negative energy is coming from.

Occasionally the thoughts in my head give rise to negative emotions.  But more often than not, I first experience a low-level of unhappiness or discomfort emotionally that ends up giving rise to negative thinking.  Watching yourself, when you are reactive or irritated, builds the power of your presence even more powerfully than when you are watching yourself have a positive experience.  Spiritual growth happens in these uncomfortable moments.

The mind will often try to solve discomfort and in turn create more discord.  Noticing this as it happens is a crash course in awareness.  The strength of your own presence creates powerful roots of awareness during seasons of discontent.  This means that no matter what outer and inner circumstances you witness throughout your life, you will have the anchor of your own presence guiding you and working all situations for your good.  This doesn’t make negative energy any more comfortable, but it gives it meaning through the valuable lessons gleaned from it.

Eckhart Tolle provides an amazing free online resource for spiritual awakening and learning about presence.  You can sign up for this free online “UnCourse,” as he calls it, here:  Whether you are experiencing times of joy, or discord, the opportunity for a more awakened consciousness is always readily available.


Don’t Let It Go To Your Head

WinterNegative emotions are low frequency energy currents that pass through the body, and often surface from within the body if they weren’t fully felt and “digested” when they were created.  I sometimes feel negative emotions unconnected to thoughts, which surface randomly.  They are uncomfortable.  But they can also be dispelled.  The trick is, don’t let negative emotions go to your head.

It is easy to not want to feel negative energy currents and try to numb them, or come up with various schemes about how to rid yourself of those emotions.  When this happens, thoughts end up feeding the negative energy currents with more energy of a like frequency, creating a cycle of negativity within the body.  Not only do thoughts create more negative emotions, but they also prevent them from being dispelled.

When I feel negative energy rising up within me I find the most helpful way through it is allowing myself to feel the emotions fully.  I let myself sit with them.  It is not comfortable, but it is also not difficult when I tell myself that it is okay to feel negative emotions.  There is nothing inherently wrong with feeling “bad.”  I give myself permission to feel what I’m feeling, without trying to explain it away or come up with a solution.

Negative emotions are just another frequency of energy we can experience.  So I let myself have the experience.  By accepting what I’m feeling in the moment, space is created around the emotions.  I don’t give more energy to the negativity by wrapping myself up in it, and letting it feed my thoughts.  Instead of becoming the negative emotions, I experience them.  (This didn’t happen overnight, it is an ongoing practice!)

As an energy current, negative emotions naturally try to feed and grow, but this can be prevented by retaining the awareness that they don’t actually help.  I know that feeling bad isn’t going to make me feel better, or improve my circumstances.  Only high frequency energy can take me where I want to go.  So even as I’m feeling the emotions fully, I am aware that I needn’t let it go to my head, because after they pass through I will once more be on my way to feeling peaceful.  One of the most life changing observations I learned from Tolle is that behind all negative emotions is the belief that they will somehow get you what you want.  But they can only feed on the same low frequency of energy that they are, and cannot improve your circumstances.  What happens when you have a surge of negative emotions?  Does it trigger your thinking mind?  Next time you experience a “bad” feeling, see what happens when you allow it to be there.  It may pass through quicker than you think.