By Matt Licata
When a feeling or emotion surges within you, it does so longing for two responses.
First, to be met with your presence. To be seen and held as valid, as worthy of your curiosity, openness, and warmth. You don’t have to pretend to ‘like’ the feeling, but you honor it in any case, as the way reality is appearing in this moment. Knowing that arguing with what is, is the root essence of all suffering.
The sad one, the raging one, the shamed one, the unworthy one, the scared one – though they can be quite intense, they are not obstacles on your path. They just want to be heard, to be felt, to be cared for, to be re-parented, to be allowed to share their experience, which until now perhaps they have not felt safe enough to do.
Please listen – not just with your ears, but with your heart. Each carries sacred data, but this information is released only into a field of kindness… not aggression. See that it is the abandonment of these ones that only reinforces their centrality in your tender inner circuitry.
Next, see that the feeling is not who you are. It is not fused with you and does not in fact carry any information about your worth as a person. I ‘feel’ bad does not equal I ‘am’ bad. Just because a negative thought or image, or a painful feeling or emotion appears does not mean this is who you are. You must slow way, way down and discover this for yourself. For it is the key to a new world.
Pull back slightly and come into relationship with your feelings. Separate a bit from them, but not so much that you dissociate and disembody. You may discover there is so much space around your emotions. You can practice intimacy while not fusing. This is a holy art that you can learn.
You are the warm, open field of awareness in which all feelings and emotions can come into being for a short while, dance within your nervous system, and then dissolve back into the vast, safe ground from which they arose.
Find the sacred middle and rest there, in between the ancient pathways of denial and fusion. It is here in which the great process of metabolization by love will unfold and illuminate.
The old way is that of a triggered and inflamed limbic system, spinning out its strategies of numbing, denying, indulging, and acting out, as a way to get you away from your vulnerability as fast as possible. These strategies saved your life as a little one and were the best ways you knew to care for yourself at an earlier time. But something else is calling now. Listen carefully and you will hear the invitation – early in the morning, late at night, and as you wander through the day. Come closer. Open into. Breathe with.
The new way is alive now and rippling inside you. The pathways are revealing their flexibility and their longing to be reorganized. Soothe the fire with your presence and a fiery compassion. Open your heart to your vulnerability and meet it with just one moment of awareness and with kindness. And then slow way, way down, and see what you are.