Going Deeper with Your Inner Knowing
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
This being human can be challenging, but we are not without instruction. We have our own inner knowing. Whether we follow it or not is a choice.
Below are comments that are more insightful than the speakers may realize. Often, all we need is a nudge, just one more step to connect with our inner knowing.
"I don't know how to get out of these feelings."
Her solution is nestled in her doubt. The Don't-Know-I recognizes that thoughts and feelings are not the Self. The Don't-Know-I has externalized feelings. What we observe is not the Self. What we perceive cannot be the Self anymore than a passing cloud can be. Feelings are like clouds that arise and pass away. With the mind's eye, we can see anger as anger, sadness as sadness, etc. Like clouds, they may change shape, grow darker, or dissipate. But, eventually, they pass away. So, we accept the mind weather as it is. And as with weather, we can provision ourselves with the necessities in case of rain, snow, heat, cold.
Going further with the Don't-Know-I, we may inquire, "Who is this I?" There's the Don't-Know-I, but, this, too, can be externalized. This is not the Self either. It is the apparent-i voicing its exasperation. We are left with the proxy-i that sees and observes and assesses what it feels and observes- the one who "does not know how to get out of these feelings." This proxy-i has a model of expectations of how life should be. Beyond this self is THAT from which it derives its light. It cannot be objectified or externalized. It is the source of our being. We cannot tease that apart with mind. Mind itself derives its being from THAT. When the proxy-i returns to its source and dissolves into THAT, all else falls away. There is a technique that can guide us to that dissolution.
"Going to try and step out tomorrow. I feel terrified."
She is willing to face her fears and do it anyway. We call that courage- which is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to confront it.
"Spent all day in bed with constant negative thoughts. I felt worthless, but I can see its all lies.
He's on to himself. Seeing thoughts as thoughts can be liberating. We are not our thoughts. We needn't reify them or make false idols out of the concepts or models the mind constructs to make sense of reality. For more on how the mind creates an illusion of reality, watch parts 1 & 2 of "Equanimity in Challenging Times."
"Everything is changing. Life seems to suck right now."
First, she recognizes the impermanence of all phenomena. They arise only to pass away- thoughts, emotions, sensations, conditions, life itself. I like how she threw in the disclaimer 'seems to.' I preface with "I'm having the thought that life sucks right now." It acknowledges the arising thought without investing in it. I described this technique in more detail in a previous post.
"Anxious about the future and overwhelmed with memories and regrets."
She just described the root of anxiety and depression. When the mind looks to the future, anxiety arises. When it looks to the past, sadness arises. Past and future are illusory states. There is only ever this moment. You imagine the future now or dwell on a memory now. Root the mind in the present. Bring it fully into NOW- and I mean fully- and the anxiety dissipates. What is unfolding now? I type, you read. You breathe. The body regulates the vital functions. You can see, hear, touch, smell, taste, move. There is much to inventory and appreciate even as we sit reading. An anxious thought may arise. A sadness may linger, but, going deeper, letting go of the mental constructs, I can go into the body and experience how these emotions manifest in the physical realm and just be with it.
"Feeling fear relating to (event)..." To name it is to tame it. Labeling fear as fear, anxiety as anxiety is the first step in triaging strong emotions. There are many techniques we can apply after acknowledging what is there.
"Feeling angry and irritated right now. I have noticed this is the result of me taking whatever X does as a personal attack."
She is assuming responsibility for her feelings. This is empowering. She notices her conditioning and recognizes she is ABLE to respond to her inner state. She is response abled. She felt what she felt- anger- but had the awareness and presence to notice her reaction as a misperception and conditioned way of thinking. Now, she has options. Rather than respond as if it were a personal attack, she might be able to respond with more empathy, curiosity, compassion. She can release the storyline and shift her attention to the feelings in her body, remaining curious about how anger expresses there- a tightening of the jaw, for example, an accelerated heart rate, shallow, rapid breathing, etc. She can relax and let go or simply let be. When she is ready, she might listen to the the need behind the comment/action of another, try perspective taking, or learn and grow from the experience. She opens herself to more possibilities and has more freedom. No longer is she a slave to a conditioned response. Strong emotions can be her path to greater self-discovery and self-efficacy.