November 14, 2015
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR TRUE FEELINGS -
For anyone who has tried the direct experiencing exercise in a therapy session, would you like to try it on your own? If you have experienced this work in therapy and if you are interested in doing it on your own, here are instructions. For those who are visiting this website and have not tried this exercise before, it is better to experience it with a therapist before trying it alone. However, it can't hurt to try it if you are interested and are comfortable with exploring deep feelings.
Start by closing your eyes and focusing within on whatever feelings present themselves, or on a specific feeling you are experiencing. Remember that you are doing this to heal the feelings and try to be open. Try to focus on the raw energy of the feeling you are exploring and exclude all thoughts, all words . You won't be able to stop your thoughts; just ignore them and put your entire focus on the feeling. Think of what it feels like to get into a warm bath and let the warmth wash over you until you lose track of all thoughts. Try to do that with the feeling you are exploring. Another way to think about it is to let yourself feel the emotion and the thoughts associated and then separate them so you can focus on the emotion alone. You will be focusing on the raw emotion as though it is a sensation and has no cognitive meaning.
Once you are in touch with the feeling, let it embrace you by identifying with it and experiencing it as though you are in the middle of it or you are it rather than watching it from outside of it in an objective way. This will cause it to start moving on its own. It is in the nature of feelings that when contacted by consciousness they will move and evolve. Try to put your consciousness in the middle of the emotion rather than looking at it objectively from somewhere outside of it. Then relax and just watch the feeling energy as it evolves itself, just as you might watch a movie. If you find yourself focusing on thinking, go back to observing the feelings exclusively. No healing is taking place while you are thinking.
Remember that all feelings you experience are feelings you have had inside you for a while and they cannot hurt you by becoming conscious of them Nor will releasing them cause negativity in the universe or cause bad things to happen, as is commonly but mistakenly believed these days. As you experienced in sessions, they most often dissipate immediately upon connecting with your awareness. This means they have been integrated with your whole self, can no longer affect you in their former form, and instead add to your personal empowerment as old baggage is removed and a part of yourself formerly held apart and in opposition to you is accepted and reintegrated into your conscious self.
Once you have explored the overall feeling, there are two ways to proceed. One is to go deeper with the overall feeling and the other is to sort out each thread of feeling involved and follow that thread deeper. Either way is equally effective and the process is the same. What you want to do is, while you are looking at the feeling, whether it is the overall feeling or a thread, look for the worst, most intense, most painful, or most uncomfortable sensation you feel comfortable allowing. The reason for this is that when the most intense feelings heal, everything less intense is healed along with it. Then surrender to that sensation and let it take you as far as it goes. Again, be sure that you are not distracting your focus into thoughts or words, including the story or issue behind the feeling. If you find it difficut to stay with the feeling, though, it's fine to trigger the feeling again by thinking of the issue briefly or a word that represents the issue to you.
When you are ready to take it deeper, while you are feeling whatever you can, look for any place where you sense tension, something like holding back, holding your breath or experiencing a loop - where your energy seems to be starting to move and then stops and starts over. Lean into it with your consciousness, lean into the blockage, by putting your focus right in the middle of it and just staying there, focused and relaxed. This intent to open to the feeling will at some point cause a slight feeling of the contraction loosening up - that's the consciousness (light) penetrating it. You can also breath into it. You can also state your intent to accept this feeling and heal it. While you are leaning on it, try to notice if, around the tension, there are any feelings or sensations that are hanging around. Often or even always, when feelings are blocked, little pieces of them seep out around the tension. You can also find seeping feelings by noticing if any thoughts occur while you are leaning into the tension that seem out of place from your focus or surprising. Sometimes you will notice the feelings and other times you will notice the thoughts arising from them.The thoughts are only important as a clue to finding the feelings. It's the feelings alone that can be healed. Healing the feelings will heal the thoughts associated with it and will also teach you to trust feelings over thoughts. When you find thoughts, look deeper for the feelings underneath, and focus your attention on them. Eventually, this process will free you from societal conditioning by showing the benefit of trusting feelings rather than societally induced thoughts.
For example, let's say you are leaning into the tension that comes up when you have been exploring anxiety, and you start thinking something like, did I forget to turn off the stove. If you look at the feeling underlying that thought, you see anxiety, fear, worry. then you would want to start following that thread (anxiety, fear, worry) by focusing on the raw feeling or one of the threads..
If you are dealing with a loop, try to relax and allow the energy to finish it's own natural motion. If there is fear about doing that, start by working with the fear.
Whenever feelings are blocked, fear is pretty much always the culprit, generally fear of the feelings that are blocked, but it can show as fear of something unrelated. So any time you feel stuck, it's always a good idea to look around inside yourself and see if you can get in touch with any fear, or rather fear in any form (nervousness, jumpiness, agitation, feeling frozen or paralyzed, anxiety, worry, fearful thoughts, shock, or straight out fear). If you can find a movie (or book, music or any other source for triggering feelings) that triggers fear when you are feeling stuck, it will release the blockage, no matter what feeling may be blocked and even if the content in the movie is not related. Keep in mind that the point of watching the movie is to move feelings, not necessarily to follow the story line to the end. It is often helpful to stop watching when you are triggered and focus on the feelings directly, rather than finish the movie all at once.
One more thing about this. When the feeling seems to 'go away', this can mean two very different things. If you have integrated the feeling into your consciousness successfully, you will feel a lightness of being, a sense of happiness, and have insight or understanding into the situation that you didn't have before (catharsis). A resolution might occur to you, or you might feel renewed energy, inspired and eager to go on with your life. Alternatively, you will get stuck in resistance or blockage which can also feel like the feeling is gone, but the feeling will now be replaced instead with a feeling of numbness and/or tension. If this happens, no worries, it's part of the healing process and a natural result of habitual denial of feelings. Just lean into the numb feeling or tension and be patient. Try to do this throughout your day if possible, or tune into it whenever you can. It will naturally respond to your openess and intention to heal.
If you would prefer to do this exercise only during sessions, that is, by itself, an effective way to heal. Doing them at home on your own is not necessary for a successful outcome to the therapeutic process.
If you have any questions while attempting this process at home, feel free to contact me by email and, if time is a factor, by phone (see contact me in left column).