The quote below is from a conversation at the end of a daily practice last week. Most anxiety and depression comes with intrusive thoughts and the compulsion to “figure it out”. Noticing this as a red flag is so helpful because then we can interrupt the habitual pattern.
Ideally, we welcome and are present with all feelings, sensations and energy in the body. We notice and look at thoughts that arise as we are mindfully witnessing what is coming and going in the body.
We don’t entertain loops of thought, particularly negative ruminations. Neural pathways develop in our brain and strengthen with repetition. With practice, we can easily see the difference between thoughts that are associated with energy in our body (that arise in the mind as we’re feeling into the sensation) and when we’re obsessively following negative or anxious trains of thought in our mind.
Welcome all sensation, energy and feelings!
Witness with kind attention to your body.
Monitor thoughts! Notice them, tap or trace if they’re sticky.
Go back to welcoming feelings and attending to your body.
This can be a challenge.
Our system is always on our side! We find the best of our limited options to cope with adverse experiences: we fight back verbally or by acting out, we “leave the scene” when we are being hurt, we numb and block out feeling powerless. We develop false core deficiency beliefs of being unlovable or unworthy as a way to explain our situation to ourselves and provide a glimmer of hope. If we could just be smarter or quieter or somehow better, this wouldn’t be happening to us.
When we are overwhelmed, we store trauma in our body. We disconnect from ourselves to prevent having to go back “there”. This is a natural and very common process. Learn more about that here: Fear of Trauma Stored in the Body
In the Living Inquiries, we work from the feelings in the body to release the Velcro from the associated thoughts and memories. Often the thoughts that come into the mind don’t “make sense” to the cognitive layer of the brain. They don’t have to. We are releasing what is stored in our body. We learn to trust this process!
“I’ve been in a crisis of extreme depression and loneliness. Lynn has helped me to notice the mind’s propensity to want to do something about it. That’s resistance in disguise. It’s the resistance that seems to perpetuate the suffering. She’s opened me to use the words “Thank you for arising, I love you, you are welcome to stay.” It was very difficult at first to welcome suffering then I realized we’re not really welcoming suffering. That saying is helping the mind to settle down and accept the experience as it is.
I realized there is nothing for the mind to do. Thinking about it is just a trick of the mind. Welcome it in and breathe. The body knows what to do. The nervous system knows how to self-correct. It is very intelligent. Wanting to figure it out in the mind is a red flag. The mind does not know what to do!” Stefano, US