I’m writing this while on holidays in Far North Queensland. I’m quite literally surrounded by lush lipstick palms and can hear the waves rolling on to Four Mile Beach as I’m typing.
The humidity hugs my skin and makes my body feel slow and docile, and incredibly relaxed. The hum of insects I cannot name fills the air. There is no doubt the tropics are vividly alive. The pulse of the Earth is strong here. Nature dominates and humans abide. I feel a part of the land, which I rarely feel at home in Sydney or it’s dry surrounding bushland.
Such an environment is fertile ground for taking an inventory of one’s life. An assessment of what is working and what needs to change. It is an opportunity to sink deeply into one’s self, beyond the surface level and in to the core of your being.
I call it entering the void, this diving in to the big empty. It is an opportunity to listen to the deeper, truer part of yourself, which is so often drowned out by the noise of a busy life.
It can be blissful, insightful and peaceful to be sure. However, the truth is that it is not always pleasant, this dropping deeply into the Self, because we are inevitably faced with the shadows we try so hard to avoid in our day to day existence: the inconvenient truths, the hurt feelings, the fears, the insecurities, the broken dreams. This all hurts, and it is all intimately part of being human.
These things often surface when the mind is quiet, because you are being presented with an opportunity to heal. You are being shown where you need to place your attention, what you need to release, where you need to grown, what you need to acknowledge and feel in order to move forward.
I believe this is one of the reasons many people find meditation so challenging, they are either consciously or unconsciously afraid of what they will discover in the silence of their own being. They aren’t willing to face their shadows, so they keep busy and distracted so they remain ignorant.
What I have found in my own life is that as painful as it might be to look at the things which hurt us, ignoring or avoiding things is far worse in the long term. It takes great courage to feel pain, to challenge limiting beliefs, to confront the parts of ourselves we are ashamed or scared of. But the only way out, is through. The more bold you are in feeling your emotions, the more able you are to shift out of it and into something better.
Do not judge what comes up. Simply feel it. See if you can drop the story you tell yourself around the emotion, and resist trying to figure out what it means. Just feel it moving through your body. Breathe. Move around if you feel to. Breathe some more. I find that when I am truly present with an emotion, it is followed by a wonderful sense of relief and release as it moves through me. That same emotion may return again, but usually with less intensity each time, as you clear away the backlog of stored trauma. You can literally alchemise pain with compassionate presence.
Suppressed or repressed emotions can manifest in unpredictable ways – and often as physical symptoms as well as mental ones. Be kind to yourself as you being to feel more deeply. This work is not for the faint hearted but the rewards are well worth the effort.
A lightness of being, a clarity of mind, an open heart. These are all on the other side of your willingness to feel and heal.