Meditation on Uncomfortable Feelings

posted Jul 1, 2017, 10:37 AM by Ricardo Hidalgo
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When feeling sad, afraid, ashamed, lonely, worthless..., notice any impulse to change how you feel or to get away from how you feel; and go in the other direction.

Allow the feelings to come to your attention and explore the experience you are trying to change or get away from - not with your thinking, but by paying attention to and observing your immediate, direct experience.

If you find that you are not able to set the resistance aside, this is not a failure, but a success in exposing the next layer of resistance that a moment ago was not apparent. Attempt to not act on this resistance, set it aside and go towards the uncomfortable feelings being avoided. And if you fail, the next layer of resistance has appeared! There is no failure in this. You are either exposing resistance that a moment ago was not apparent, or you are getting in touch with, allowing, observing and exploring your feelings.

When you find that you are able to go towards your painful feelings, to allow and pay attention to them, ask yourself:
"What are the bodily sensations present?" Then, drop whatever labels the mind uses to describe these sensations and experience them without referring the label.
"Where are they located?" Pay attention, notice, observe, without referring to the commentary in the mind. In the same way notice their size and shape. Are they clearly defined and located, or are they amorphous, and undefined - ever changing, ever moving?
"What happens when I simply allow them and observe them without acting on the impulse to get away from them?" Again, attend to your direct experience without referring to the narration in the mind. Later you can attend to the narration for purposes of remembering or communicating your experience to another. 
"How uncomfortable are these sensations when I am not resisting them?" Bring your attention back to your direct experience whenever you notice that it has gone back to the contents in the mind.
"Are they as uncomfortable as stubbing my toe, a tooth ache, a headache or a stomach ache?" 

Notice that these sensations are not static; they vibrate, pulsate, undulate, flow, change; they are not the same at any two moments. 

And when a thought says that they are unbearable or overwhelming, notice that you are bearing them even as the thought is saying otherwise. Notice that you are not overwhelmed*. Let these thoughts run on freely in the background of your experience. Nothing obligates you to give them your attention. They are the shape that resistance is taking in the mind. Bring your attention back to your bodily experience and notice what your experience is when not referring to the contents of your mind. 

Notice that these uncomfortable feelings are not essential to who you are. They come and go, you remain. You are not made of them, they are made of you. Notice that no matter how uncomfortable these feelings are, you remain independent of them, free of them. Remember to ask yourself, "How uncomfortable are these feelings when I am not referring to the thought that labels them as such?"

Notice that you, the one aware of your experience, is not changing. You remain the same. The knowing with which you know these ever-changing sensations is never changing. You were present before these uncomfortable feelings showed up, and you remain present after they are gone. What does this imply?

Remember, at any time your attention is not otherwise occupied, you can pay attention to, explore and notice what the experience of your uncomfortable feelings is when not referring to what is going on in your mind.

"Know thyself and to thine own self be true." You are free!

*Feeling overwhelmed is yet another feeling that you can explore in this same way.