Having the courage to feel
I was listening to Andrew Seubert recently talking about The Courage To Feel. I liked the way he described feelings, as embodied emotional energy. The physicality of this is important, feelings happen in the body, they are visceral. They are also energy, and by definition are continuously changing. Anil Deth points out that we perceive our feelings, we think about them, and we develop beliefs on the basis of them. For example, if your shoulders are tense, you may experience yourself as being braced against expected violence, but its likely the body sensation prompting the thought, and not the other way around. After all, 90% of the traffic of our influential vagus nerve travels from body to brain, and only 10% the other way on.
It seems then that feeling our physical selves is very important. This does not negate our awareness of our thoughts, it enhances and sits with it.
So how might you do it?
You could notice the warmth of your skin, or pay attention to the cycle of your breathing. You could tune into the steady beat of your heart. You could put your feet in the grass and uncurl your toes and really be with the sensations. You could dance and take your attention into your body as you move.
There are so many ways to tune into yourself physically, all it calls for is mindful attention. This sounds simple, but can be fiendishly challenging, particularly if it is not your natural tendency. The benefits, however, make it worth it.
How might you connect with your inner experience of yourself today?