For years, I spent a lot of time fighting my thoughts, emotions and habits. I was constantly either trying to quiet them, avoid them, or re-direct them. In my pursuit of spiritual growth, things like negative thinking, bad moods, judgemental thoughts and my frequent post-lunch handful of chocolate chips seemed so ‘unspiritual’. At the time, I was certain that these aspects of myself confirmed for me that I wasn’t actually serious about spirituality right to the core.
Now I see it differently. I see that the ultimate acceptance and experience of Self starts with embracing, not denying, all aspects of our humanity. In other words, we must give ourselves permission to fully see (admit) and accept everything that is coming up in our inner (and outer) experiences – all our moods, habits, thoughts, judgements, without judgement.
We are so used to judging the things that come up that we’ve decided are ‘ugly’ aspects of ourselves, that we cut ourselves off from the profound experience of seeing what they really are. We hold the deep assumption that these things are part of who we actually are – and most of us are afraid/dislike what they indicate about us, so we try to fix, resist or deny them. (Or we use them to create roles-the victim, the martyr, etc.)
What if instead of stomping on all these things the instant they peek up into our experience, we allowed them to grow – full bloom?
Most of us think that if we don’t step in and try to fix/address anxiety, depression or anger as soon as it announces its presence, it will just get bigger and bigger and quickly swallow us whole. But what if that isn’t true. What if we just gave these things space to come up, and bloom. So we don’t take any action that suppresses, or that expresses them either – we give them the space to unfold and we simply watch what they do.
Something big started to shift in my own ‘sense of self’ when I started doing this with the things I’d deemed so negative that appeared in my mental and emotional experiences. When I was finally willing to drop the drama and just get genuinely curious about them, and watch without interfering with the full unfolding of their expression – I found that I truly wasn’t locked into them or tyrannized by them in the way I had been before.
I saw that I wasn’t actually attached to them at all – they were just doing their thing within me – and even when they were extremely intense, I saw that they didn’t actually mean anything about the essence of who/what I am ~ that was just a belief/assumption I’d previously held. I was somehow absolutely untouched by even the most intense unfolding of these movements.
It takes willpower of a new ilk; it takes the strength to see these things appearing and not do anything to change the way or fact that they are here.
Once I started doing this, my attitude towards arising emotional and mental patterns started to change. A sincere curiosity, and even fascination towards them all seemed to cultivate itself and overtake the frustration I used to feel when they came up.
It feels a bit crazy – because we have conditioned ourselves so deeply to use all kinds of strategies to ‘cope’ with our ‘darkness’ (**which are wise and needed in many cases – this inquiry is for when one is ready to really open to something deeper), the mind may scream at you for not doing anything – it may feel like admitting defeat. But in my experience, this is again only the mind – the very persuasive voice of the mind that knows which fearstrings to pull to try to make you move. Stay still and see what happens. This is a profound way to experiment with these intense movements of emotional and mental energy….
Only you can find out what actually happens when you start to fully embrace (rather than deny) all aspects of your gorgeously messy humanity.
And I’d LOVE to hear about it.
My support is with you as you take this courageous and exciting step.