Insight Inside Ourselves
We seem to share in the human experience of suffering, most in particular, in our avoidance of pain. We tend to be afraid of the energy moving through our own bodies. Notions and beliefs, self-protective coping responses, or conditioning within a culture driven by speed and unquestioned definitions of success have taught us to disconnect from the sensory feedback inside of ourselves. We desert our bodies as though the energies of our emotions could kill us more than disconnecting from them entirely. But when we desert our bodies on an ongoing basis, we also desert our lives. It is an ever-present conundrum- our freedom and mental well-being rely on us to occupy our bodies with our head above our feet, and all the while we seem to be pulled away from being at home there.
Emotion- whether pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant- longs to express itself as what it is- a moving, ever-changing energy. Our emotions long to be free of the weight of our negative perceptions of them that tend to move us into avoidance of our fundamental experience. Simply put, unpleasant emotions create greater pain through our negative perceptions of them than the emotions themselves. But without mindfulness, our brain short-circuits to short-term relief. We avoid the sensations inside ourselves by engaging with our narratives, perceptions, and judgements, or through a myriad of external means. And yet, no need to judge our judgement here. We can start by respecting the primitive brain’s good intentions to keep us comfortable with its mental shortcuts, no matter how short-sighted it may be. Indeed, without our well-intentioned primitive brain, we would not be here with an evolved higher level of consciousness that allows us to be talking about it.
Next, when we can be with an unpleasant internal experience before turning away from it, we learn to be with emotions without the weight of our perceptions and identification with what is unfolding within us. Instead of avoiding the flow of experience at home in ourselves, we can learn to avoid becoming the centre of an alluring narrative that pulls us up and out of our bodies, away from whatever is truly arising. We learn to unsubscribe from repetitive old stories, and instead, we pay into a subscription for the more interesting and untold story of the body, writing itself as we read with non-judgemental attention. There, we find plot twists in the form of wisdom that our tired old narratives simply failed to provide. When we can turn toward instead of away from our direct experience, we discover an exquisite source of guidance and we comprehend whatever is upon us more clearly. Paradoxically, we come to better govern our lives by learning to be with the ungovernability of it all. We learn- granularly, one remembering of ourselves a time, that our heart can carry more that we thought possible. Inside of ourselves, we learn to be with how we are now, where we are now, and with life as it is now, open and receptive to the feedback of our bodies as a compass for each step forward into our new and unwritten stories.