When you feel the way you don’t want to feel

Feelings are tricky, no doubt. Maybe the trickiest of all human attributes. Triggered by various emotions, they can also be overwhelming to the point where you totally lose control. Over your reaction to the particular situation, but more importantly, the outcome. And whether expressed as fear, aggression, anxiety, despair, disappointment, frustration, or just blind rage, feelings could easily bring us to the very edge of sanity unless we pay close attention. But of course, we seldom do that anyway.

Realistically speaking, in most cases there isn’t much to do about how you feel. Maybe somebody has hurt you deeply and you want nothing but vengeance. Maybe somebody’s lying to you and you’ve just found out. Maybe your partner is cheating on you and you’re jealous. Or maybe somebody just gets on your nerves by breathing in the same room. Whatever the case, it ain’t easy to tame the beast within, once set free. Depending on your personality, you can either let all hell break loose and shoot to kill or suffer endlessly in silence. In fact, neither one helps. For if you directly attack the person who has inflicted your pain, you might hurt them more than expected (and in ways you’ll probably never know) and very likely, you’ll regret it later. On the other hand, silent suffering has the potential to eventually kill you. Literally and on all levels. When faced with a negative feeling and not willing to deal with the issue, oversensitive people tend to bury it as deep as possible. They push it through that Feelings door, somewhere in the gloomy dungeon of their subconsciousness, slam the rusty door and lock it three times just to make sure, shamming that feeling never aroused in the first place. But sadly enough, pretending the feeling isn’t there won’t make it disappear. It will stay buried within, waiting for the next time the emotional trigger shows up. So what to do? Eliminate the trigger.

This is not an easy task, I know. And rather frustrating too because when feelings come, they don’t normally give us a 14-day prior notice, so we could prepare in peace for what is to come. Sometimes situations just hit us, denuded and exposed, eagerly expecting our reaction. Now, any real Zen Master would keep their countenance, no matter the circumstances, but we ain’t no zen master. At least, not all the time. So what to do when storm hits? First, avoid trying to escape the feeling. It’s not really possible to not feel the way you feel. You can’t really tell your heart to stop breaking and get a grip. You are the one to get a grip. So as hard as it might seem, try to acknowledge the negative feeling. Don’t reject it. Don’t blame yourself for how you feel. There’s nothing you can do about it but accept it. If you’re having some issues on the love front, for instance, that might make you feel sad, rejected, and lonely. It might even result in you doubting yourself or your worthiness, provoking inferiority, bitterness, and depression. Any kind of betrayal hurts, yes, but ask yourself: “Who is really hurting now? My being or my feelings?” A simple, but also tricky question. Remember that we mainly hurt when our ego is affected, when we feel insulted and betrayed. Betrayal means that somebody doesn’t acknowledge our worthiness or fails to act the way we think they are supposed to act. How dare they?! We feel alienated, often raging in an attempt to prove we’re actually worthy in the eyes of others. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter. If you give it a thought, you’d see that our ego is rarely satisfied and that lack of inner satisfaction, among others, leads to shame, confusion, and discourage.

In short, when the feeling hits, look at it right into the eye. Accept its presence and take a few minutes to analyze it. Avoid speaking or acting. Just observe. Split the feeling into bits and pieces and try to find its real source. Do you feel intimidated? Does your ego hurt due to rejection? Are you afraid of something? And if yes, from what? Take the time to look at the situation as objectively as possible. Finding the source is half the battle. Acceptance is the other half.

But most of all, don’t feel ashamed if you feel sad, confused, unsettled, or jealous. You are who you are and there’s nothing right or wrong with feelings. You are the only one who could label them, but why would you even want to? Feeling grateful or resentful doesn’t necessarily make you a good or a bad person. Plus, at the end of the day, emotions are well-known for their transient nature. Sometimes they make us happy, and sometimes they make us furious. Our reaction, however, depends totally on our own choice and the level of our current development. It’s very unlikely you cried because your toy truck has broke as you would when you were five. And perhaps, you won’t probably cheat on your partner now, because you know how much it hurts to be on the other side. And perhaps, you’ll get to the point of wishing your colleague well for getting that promotion instead of you (if not already). In any case, you can’t run away or hide from your feelings and it’s rather naïve to believe you could. They are only there to remind you that you are human, for better or worse. So, accept your feelings exactly as they are, not a bit more, not a bit less. And don’t let them take the lead, you are in charge. So grab the wheel and keep driving towards that better version of yourself.

Namasté!

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A quick guide to meditation – Part III

When starting out with meditation, the hardest part is to control the flow of our thoughts. They keep popping into our heads, distracting us and making our minds wander. This active mental state also keeps our brains in a conscious and alert state, preventing us from going deeper within and lessening the benefit of the meditation itself. The practice is, after all, about going deeper within and disconnecting from the physical world, so the incessant chatter of the conscious mind tends to get in the way of that. Our physical bodies, including our conscious minds, are energy vibrating at a level low enough, so it can take a physical form and shape and allow us to experience life in the relative way of physical reality. Whereas the purpose of meditation is to raise our vibration, elevate above the constraints of the matter and into the realm of ‘ultimate reality’, outside the bonds of time and space. And when we go deep within, our brains also change their wave output, getting us closer to the same state we experience when in deep sleep, but with the benefit of being awake and aware.

Just as the brain begins to output electromagnetic waves at lower frequencies when we reach a state of deep meditation, so can external input of those frequencies bring us quicker to a meditative state. There are many useful tools out there, that will help you with the task of quieting your mind and putting your brain in the right ‘wavelength’. I find it useful to use an app (search for Binaural beats or sounds), that generates low Delta frequencies which put me in the desired state and saves me the time it usually takes to bring myself ‘down’.

In the last post on the subject I described a way to do a cleansing meditation, where we get to let go of negativity and mental and emotional burdens. This meditation is particularly beneficial at the end of the day, before we go to sleep. Apart from generally cleansing ourselves of negative thoughts and emotions, we can also visualize the process of letting go of specific events, experiences and emotions from the past day. Since everything we experience throughout the day is processed and stored by our subconscious during sleep, it helps to let go of anything painful, negative and counterproductive, so it’s not kept inside the long-term storage of the mind, where it will influence future decisions and choices and the experience of life itself.

A useful technique I find to work very well, is to picture yourself on a beach, ankle-deep in the water (some waves background music comes in very handy to set the scene). As you breathe and watch the waves come in and out, ‘see’ your daily events that you wish to get rid of and watch the waves come in, grab them and drag them away, as if they were large pebbles or rocks. Repeat that for as long as you can, until every unpleasant word, thought, action or feeling of the past day has been washed away by the waves. Then slowly walk into the water, lie floating on your back, and feel it washing you clean, scrubbing away all your worries and troubles. Invite in a feeling of peace, happiness and contentment. And after a while, now completely at peace, swim or walk back to the shore, feel the sand between your toes, feel the lightness in your step, breath in the fresh ocean air. And after three deep breaths, open your eyes and be here.

Make this evening meditation part of your daily routine and soon you will notice how the stresses of yesterday no longer disturb the peace of today. Having let go of the past worries means no longer wasting time over what has been and focusing instead on what is now. It helps you stay in the present and enjoy the moment without the fear, guilt or regret that comes from looking at the past.

Until next time, love and light.

Namaste.

Dealing with the emotional beast

The journey of life is most of the time unpredictable and that’s for a fact. Sometimes you hope for one thing, but life gives you something else. Sometimes you get what you want, but it’s not what you expected it to be. And sometimes you’re found in a situation, which is hard to accept. Maybe because it’s not what you wanted in the first place or maybe it’s hurting you. Whatever the case, it’s not a pleasant feeling and that’s where the emotional beast comes in. You see yourself rebelling against circumstances, shouting and fighting, but there’s nothing you can do about it. And eventually, you have no other option but to accept that sometimes in life things are beyond your control. The only choice you have is to find the inner straighten to make the most of the situation. It could be a negative emotion, frustration, or just that annoying feeling of discontent that life failed you one more time. In any case, acceptance is your final resort.

In one of my previous articles I already talked about frustration and the cases where you feel helpless to change circumstances and the negative effect all this has on you. This time, I’m gonna focus more on the emotional part and suggest a way to deal with your emotions. We have all learned from experience that handling our emotions is hard. Effectually, emotions have the overwhelming power to take control over you, your actions, and your words. They have the power to drive you mad, make you beat the gun and think later. But emotions are in essence volatile, so the emotional beast normally comes out of the hole for a short while and then gets back to sleep again. That transient nature of emotions is the key to master acceptance. Because the power of acceptance beats the power of emotions. You should try to avoid people, situations, or circumstances that affect you negatively, but if for whatever reason you can’t, then learn to accept them with gratitude. Now, that certainly requires profound life experience and patience, but it could only do you good. Acceptance means to let go. It means to look at the big picture, no matter how hard and painful it might be, and make peace with it. Acceptance is to make peace with yourself and stop fighting. Life in all its beauty could sometimes be a real challenge, I know, but adopting the attitude of perceiving everything that happens in a more constructive way, would be of use for your growth. Accepting all good and bad in life as a gift would allow you to develop patience and make better decisions, so you won’t be inclined to act hastily, when the situation rather requires patience and tranquility.

But what does that mean in practice? It’s easy to accept something good, but what if you’re facing annoying circumstances, which bring frustration? What if you are forced to do something you don’t want to or work with someone who sets your nerves on edge? What if you have annoying neighbors or relatives or something around just bugs you to the extreme? First of all, don’t try to change anything, for some things don’t depend on you. Trying to change it, if you’re not the real reason for that, will bring more frustration and you’ll feel lost even more. What you need is to become aware of the big picture. You need to make an objective judgment of the situation rather based on facts than on emotions. So take the time to do this and deal with it at source – inside of you. Sit down peacefully on your own. Take a few deep breaths and try to gradually relax your body. Visualize the situation in your head. Notice the negative emotions that immediately brings and observe your reactions. Just observe. Don’t try to change it. Don’t judge your feelings. Don’t judge yourself. Remember, nothing’s good or bad, there’s no right or wrong. It’s just what it is, nothing more and nothing less. Then, go deeper into it and try to reach the genuine source. Why is this so important to you? Why does it affect you so much? Is there something you can do to change the way you feel about it? Can you see yourself acting differently when being provoked? Focus on that. Call in your inner peace and just observe your thoughts as they’re unrolling in your head. Maybe there’s something on subconscious level that makes you so angry. Maybe there’s a memory of your past that this situation triggers and that’s why you find it so hard to deal with your negative emotions. That’s the time to remind yourself how easily emotions come and go and no matter how difficult it might seem to you right now, try to see the good part of all that. Reach out for your inner peace and remind yourself that you can’t change people. You can’t make them act or talk differently, it is who they are. And since you’re not able to avoid the person or the situation bringing the negative response, you are challenged to develop patience and tolerance, which is good. So take this as a valuable experience and feel grateful you’re given the opportunity to refine yourself and move a step forward to the better version of yourself. Take this negative situation and turn it into something good. That’s how you learn acceptance. For it’s all about accepting your life the way it is at the moment and keep in mind that your reality reflects your inner self, your current development. And after all it’s all about choice. This time, for a change, you may choose to remain unaffected. You may choose to raise higher. This time you may choose to accept life as it is and go one step up. This time you may choose not to let the situation get you. So choose it. It’s all up to you.

Frustration and how to deal with it

There are times in life when things are beyond our conscious control. There are situations, which fall just a bit out of our scope. When faced with a challenging situation, we often fight and we struggle, either with ourselves, or with the people around, depending on our personality. But no matter how hard we try to regain control, this is to no avail and we don’t seem to find the right solution. This consumes a great deal of effort and causes frustration, which is at the least frustrating. 🙂

Driven by emotions, we often lose it and go off at half-cock, making all the wrong decisions. We speak and act, before we even think about it. And most of the time, after the dust has settled, we regret it. It might be due to anger, or to desperation, but it usually ends up bad. We fail to overcome the increasing frustration and finally we are left emotionally drained, having said and/or done things we wouldn’t normally say or do. But what is this desperate need to control everything around us? How do we deal with it?

Sadly enough, as much as we are given the freedom to make our own choices, we seldom are the masters of our lives in the sense that everything happens as we want it. Trying hard to control anything on the outside, however, often leads to rage and inner struggle. Everything that surrounds us lives a life of symbiosis. We form an integral part of that symbiosis, being one with the whole, but still existing independently. We are both free and yet interdependent and that very contradiction is the reason why we sometimes find it hard to deal with circumstances that we cannot control.

Sometimes in life, however, it’s better if we just let go. People, things, sometimes even our fondest hopes. And once again, it’s all about balance. Pursue your dreams, but never sacrificing your highest values. Hold your ground, but not by all means. Some people for example (including me) find it hard to accept their own flaws. They live by that inner conviction that they were born perfect and there is no way they could have done wrong (Yeah, I know. :)). They always fight to be right, no matter the price. But here’s a different perspective. A dear friend of mine once said: “You can either be right, or happy, and I choose to be happy.” So there it is, pure and simple as it can be. You cannot always win, you cannot always be right, for sometimes this is not what matters the most. What matters the most is that Universe is talking to you. Anytime, anywhere. All you need to do is get that message right. And if you do, you’ll see how everything just flows with ease without putting any particular effort to that end.

My practical advice in times of anger, great disappointment, or frustration, is to just take a few minutes to calm down. If you’re feeling that you are just about to say or do something that you might regret later, just take a moment to stop and take a deep breath. If you’re not alone, it might be a good idea to leave the room and take a few minutes on your own. Give yourself a moment to reflect on the situation not through the eyes of anger, but through the eyes of the person concerned. When overwhelmed by rage, we often fail to hear anyone else than ourselves, so take the time to see the big picture. Are you being fair to them? Is it really that bad? Is there anything you could have done to avoid this situation? And if there’s something to say, remember the wise rule of three: always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind? And if it is, then speak ahead. But if not, it’s quite possible you regret it later.

This covers communication struggles. As for inner struggles, things are a bit more complicated. Let’s say you can’t get something done. Or not exactly in the way you wanted it to be. Or you wanted to achieve something, but there are impediments present, which hinder your success. It happens. But do you honestly believe that everything is under your control? Because it’s not. Nor it will ever be. But that’s good news. Life is beautiful in its entire unpredictability. It may be wise to make plans, but definitely wiser to remain flexible in terms of any surprises life has got in store for you. And if you allow yourself to go with the flow, your soul would certainly find the right path more easily. You may wish that life would always go according to your plans. Sorry, ain’t gonna happen. You may wish to control each and every situation you are facing. Sorry, ain’t gonna happen either. So what do you do in times of frustration?

First of all, remember that by rule those moments don’t last for long. They come and go like a storm. What you should do is give yourself a moment to be aware of the situation. Analyze it as clearly as you can. A serenity prayer you’ve probably heard of goes like this:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

So basically, take a deep breath and ask yourself: Is there something I could do about it? Is it within my power to change it now? Should I wait for a better time to do so? Is this the time and place to act? And if so, do what you can. If not, just try to remind yourself that Universe knows better. If for some reason, there is something you can’t have or achieve regardless of your efforts, then remember that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Maybe it is not that good for you as you might think. Maybe it would bring you more harm than benefits. Maybe it won’t really be how you imagine it to be. And maybe a time shall come when you’ll get something better, something that will do you more good and you will appreciate it higher. Whatever the case, if you struggle and you fight for it, if you put efforts and energy into it, and it still won’t happen, then be glad about it and just trust her. She knows better.