Overwhelm, acceptance, and a “how to” practice:

sea shells

Last week’s intention came from a personal place of emotional overwhelm. Perhaps you’ve experienced moments of overwhelm too?  How did you ride the waves of emotions and feelings? How did it go?

 

A new offering coming soon.

I am inviting you into an offering I will be releasing into the world next week that can support you in releasing the overwhelm and also navigating heightened emotions! It is an offering that will be a “Source of Strength” for your physical body, your emotions, and your Spirit. We will move our bodies with the intention to build capacity for greater physical and mental well-being, and Heart Center resiliency. I am really excited about this two week program! Short, but powerful! Details out soon!

 

As I waded through the stickiness of global eruptions, national challenges, and family events, I first leaned into silence and then my books. Sometimes we just need to lay down, close our eyes, and release a deep sigh.  

 

I then found, as Source would Guide me, Jack Kornfiekd and J. Krishnamurti’s words to be a balm. The words didn’t rid me of emotions into pure peace, but they did indeed support an acceptance that led to equanimity and, for me, more compassion. I hope you will be able to take away something too.

 

In his book, “The wise heart,” Jack Kornfield writes about the teachings of Buddhist psychology.

 

The ninth principle of Buddhist psychology says:

“Wisdom knows what feelings are present without being lost in them.”

He goes on to share how we can work with our emotions using this perspective. He offers a “how-to” by way of an acronym.

 

R.A.I.N.

  • Recognition
  • Acceptance
  • Investigation
  • Non-identification

*As I learned recently from my dear friend, Randi, one of Jack Kornfield’s collaborators, Tara Brach, replaces non-identification with nurture.  I feel that both Jack and Tara lead us to the same thing no matter which we choose to put in for the letter ‘N’.

 

As we explore deeper into this content here, I find it always wise to remember to connect to your heart and use the pathway of compassion. Even the beginning act of opening your awareness to what is present in the moment, and what your experience is in the here and now, can sometimes be overwhelming in and of itself. Feel free to return to last week’s blog on keeping an open heart.  You might also take time to slow down, ground, and take a deep breath.  Release and trust (That’s next week!).

 

Mr. Kornfield goes on to write that,

For many Western practitioners, it is important to spend a period actively reclaiming their feelings. Because this reclaiming is not usually done, we may need help. Practitioners and teachers can sit and inquire together. What feelings are present? Can they be recognized and accepted fully here and now? To release our resistance, we can begin to allow the state to intensify, to open and expand, to get bigger or change or dissolve as it will.

He further writes:

 

“We learn to trust our capacity to experience difficult states in a fearless way. When we have accepted the feelings that arise, we can investigate them. We can notice the way they feel in the body; the color, density, size, and energy of the mood; the stories our mind creates when they are present. We can also begin to recognize how automatic they can be, arising unbidden from past conditioning.”

 

 

How beautifully then, I opened J. Krishnamurti’s book, “The Book of Life: daily meditations with Krishnamurti”. 

 

His passage on the ability to remain with a feeling and to see what happens felt so succinct, in harmony with all I was starting to explore with Buddhist psychology.  He writes, “You never remain with any feeling, pure and simple, but always surround it with the paraphernalia of words. The word distorts it; thought, whirling around it, throws it into shadow, overpowers it with mountainous fears and longings. You never remain with a feeling, and with nothing else: with hate, or with that strange feeling of beauty.”

 

He offered this picture…

 

“See if you can stay with a feeling. Can you? Have you ever tried? Try to remain with a feeling, see what happens. You will find it is amazingly difficult. Your mind will not leave the feeling alone; It comes rushing in with its remembrances, it’s associations, it’s do’s and don’ts, it’s everlasting chatter. Pick up a piece of shell. Can you look at it, wonder at its delicate beauty, without saying how pretty it is, or what animal made it? Can you look without the movement of the mind?”

 

I do, personally, find it difficult. Even when I invited people to imagine a seashell in my classes this week, my mind immediately expanded an entire vision of a seaside and the ocean and the sand and the sky and so much more. I had to guide my consciousness back to just the seashell. And even then, to just see the seashell.  

 

But through this envisioning of being with a seashell, my mind began to see how just recognizing and accepting, seeing and honoring my emotions had already brought me back to a place of grounded equanimity. I wasn’t going to react. I was breathing. I still felt very deeply, but I felt more connected to the moment and more in control of how I would respond and what I wanted to do. I had choice.

 

Sometimes I chose to investigate and other times I didn’t.  But I could always remember the deepest sense of my Highest Self and to remember as I practiced R.A.I.N., that I wasn’t the strong emotions I was having.  

 

Jack Kornfield:

“With mindfulness we can learn that even powerful feelings and emotions are not to be feared. They are simply energy. When they are recognized, acknowledge, investigated, we are liberated from our clinging. And then we can choose. We can act on those that need a response and let others become freed as the energy of life.”

I am that energy of life. I am free. My wisdom knows what my feelings are without clinging to the story, without getting lost in the ocean of emotions.  My Highest Self has the ability to simply recognize and to accept with an open heart.

 

Even as I write that it sounds so simple, and yet my lived experiences begged to differ. I can remember a time when I was so deeply enraged that I was not able to let anything in or to be able to consciously see anything else. I was so in the emotion of rage that I couldn’t even think of what to do next. I had no ability to accept the rage or investigate it and it seemed as if I was rage.

 

Another example from my personal life, is when I’m in nature. When I walk through the trees and recognize a flower, it’s hard not to sigh at its beauty. Walking in nature gives me time to be able to slow down enough to recognize what I am feeling. I can continue to walk and choose to nurture my experience in ways that allow me to release as well as receive. I can release a story that is from the past and with it I can release the emotion that it activates within me; I return to equanimity.  I breathe.  

 

By the time I had completed the physical practice to go along with this theme, my emotional overwhelm had lessened greatly. As I moved through hip openers to support the sacral chakra, home of emotions, there was just a sense of surrender and acceptance.  And, simultaneously, the second chakra is home of locomotion and movement. I wanted to support each of us in our abilities to move with what came up in the physical practice on the emotional level. Again, acceptance.

 

I invite you to sit with this acceptance mudra:
  • sit comfortably, even in a chair.
  • rest the tops of your hands to your legs, palms facing up.
  • connect the tip of your index finger to the inner base of your thumb, at the base knuckle.
  • cover your pinky fingernail completely with the pad of your thumb.
  • leave the middle and ring fingers gently extended.
  • sit for a couple of minutes or even longer.

Breathe, and allow your breath and this gesture of your hands to support you in seeing all that is within you, accepting it, and knowing that your truest nature is beyond thought, emotion, form. Come back to the home of your heart, your true light.

 

I think the universe was also supporting us by giving us rainy days. 🙂

 

Under the umbrella with you,

Shawna 

Breathe and Believe. 

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