Here is a simple way to bring the wisdom of our higher level of mind into moments when the primitive brain and limbic system have taken over. Put a message on your phone to remind yourself of what you know to also be true.
There can be a fierce need to ‘get away from’. It can feel like we won’t survive this distress or fear or memory or energy if we don’t do something RIGHT NOW to relieve it. At those times, a tractor beam is pulling us right into the addiction. We go unconscious and have no choice. The ‘screw it, I’m gonna do it’ takes over aided and abetted by our familiar companions of denial, rationalizing, justifying, numbing.
Other times the intensity of the painful feeling could be similar but the willingness and ability to stay with it instead of avoiding is there too. This is where our regular practice of Natural Rest comes in. We have developed a willingness and capacity to notice and turn toward our experience. It occurs to us to rest, observing what arises and falls in the space of awareness. It occurs to us to take a few deep breaths, exhale and relax. It occurs to us to nurture kindness and compassion for ourselves. We remember our network of safe people and we make a call. We step outside and feel the sun on our skin and fresh air in our lungs. We dance or play the flute. We reach out for a hug.
What makes the difference? How can we find that opening, that gap, where our situation becomes workable in that moment? Difficult, sure. Painful, yes. And also workable.
I know I can be present with whatever comes up because I have done it. Over and over during the Living Inquiries I’ve allowed it all in and experienced the dissolving of suffering and identification. I’ve sat with painful energies and looked at the images, memories, words and I know in my cells the Inquiries work. When something is very intense and traumatic, I work with a facilitator. When it’s less intense, I self-facilitate. Over time, I’ve learned how this mechanism of thought and sensation work, of how stored trauma comes up and is seen and releases. I have confidence in the process and in myself. I no longer describe myself as someone who is in denial. I’m not. I don’t need to be.
When I’m triggered and don’t have access to self-compassion and wisdom I pull up that Note and remember. What’s on yours?