General anxiety not alleviated by acceptance

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General anxiety not alleviated by acceptance

Postby ninjakale » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:51 pm

Hi there.

So I've recently read the books by Tolle, and they truly fascinated me. I've been doing meditation for a while, and it seems to be getting easier each passing day. However, a concept I'm having problems with is acceptance. I never truly know whether I've accepted something, or if my ego is trying to trick me into thinking that I've accepted something.

For example, recently I've been feeling a heightened sense of general anxiety (I have no idea why, it just started one day) - it's not about a particular thing or subject, it's just there, a ball of energy within my chest/upper stomach. Now, when I listen to Tolle he says that the way to alleviate this problem is to fully embrace and accept it, so I try to simply close my eyes and focus my attention on the area where I can feel the anxiety most fully (usually the chest).

I'll keep my attention on the emotion, but nothing really seems to happen. I can't hear any thoughts while I do this (I suppose that's a good thing), but the emotion stays just as strong. Occasionally I'll hear my ego shouting "this isn't going to work - go ahead, try and transmute that emotion, it won't work", but I try not to engage with that thought and just let it pass.

So I guess my question is whether there is something I'm missing here? Maybe focusing my attention on emotions won't work if I have a motive? (i.e. get rid of the emotion/energy) Is there a "trick" that could guide me towards truly understanding the meaning of acceptance?

Sorry for the long rant, I greatly appreciate any help given :)
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Re: General anxiety not alleviated by acceptance

Postby dijmart » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:21 am

Your attempts at transmuting the negative emotional energy may not be working because in my experience you have to fully accept it's there in this moment to begin with and be ok with that. If fear arises that it's not going to leave, then that just adds to it. If I get present and accept this moment as it is...I'd call it surrendering to the moment. The energy usually neuralizes with some deep breathing and quiet atmosphere.
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Re: General anxiety not alleviated by acceptance

Postby DavidB » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:17 pm

Sometimes I get feelings of tension, anxiety and general unease. Mostly these feelings arise for no discernible reason. I suspect it is purely biological, there may be some sort of upset in the physical system, rather than the psychological.

I just accept that in that moment I find it difficult to be present, that I feel uncomfortable and not at ease. Then I just wait for it to subside. :)
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: General anxiety not alleviated by acceptance

Postby ninjakale » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:38 pm

Thank you very much for your replies, they both resonated with me :)

I suspect it is purely biological, there may be some sort of upset in the physical system, rather than the psychological.


This is something I especially feel is a good explanation, and this mindset has also helped me a lot - thank you very much for the insight!

Additionally I think my main problem was that I was identified with the emotion when it was feeling it so fully - I was basically standing too close I think - and I've used the trick described by esewald in this thread to disassociate with the feeling with an amazing effect.

I'm feeling much better already :-)
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Re: General anxiety not alleviated by acceptance

Postby ashley72 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:45 pm

What your describing here is something that disturbs you or bothers you to the point your feeling anxious tension when you focus on the unwanted sensation.

Based on your descriptive post... I could deduce that you are in a hyper-vigilant focused mode whilst these unpleasant physical sensations arise. That is a sure sign that your treating these unpleasant physical symptoms as sign of danger even though no specific thought about danger has arisen. So whilst your exposing yourself by staying focused on the unwanted & unpleasant sensations, that's not an indication that your truly accepting their presence in that moment.

True acceptance would be to acknowledge they arise, but realized its allowable & even normal anxious sensation which will ultimately just be a passing or transient unpleasantness that can come & go from time to time & is completely harmless.... and then move your attention or focus on some more important task in the moment.

On a personal note, I've face all these kinds of anxiety attacks over the years, and the only method that works is to definitely not avoid the trigger, but after you've acknowledged the disturbance move on to something more enjoyable & entertaining.

I'll give you an example, sometimes when my anxiety was at the worst I'd have a frightening or disturbing thought when I saw a knife or a glass in the kitchen. I would start to fear that the object could cut my throat. Initially these disturbing thoughts were bothersome and wouldn't go away, the more & more I tried to push the intrusive thoughts away it seem to make it worse or more intrusive.

One day I read about how to deal with these disturbing & intrusive thoughts, was not to avoid the thoughts or objects that that trigger them, but just accept that I was being frightened by a thought not the actual likelihood of it happening. A bit like a scary movie can scare you even though you know it's just a movie!

Your disturbing or intrusive physical sensations are exactly the same as my disturbing or intrusive thoughts. You just need to acknowledge their presence & realize that your treating it as signal of danger. Once you stop signaling the trigger as danger it will subside and stop being intrusive.

These things do take time to subside, and don't be worried or frightened if a disturbing trigger keeps returning for sometime, just remind yourself it's transient & is merely an artifact of my anxiety disorder & eventually with time you will find that intrusive trigger disappears & doesn't return as fear.
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Re: General anxiety not alleviated by acceptance

Postby DavidB » Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:08 am

ninjakale wrote:Thank you very much for your replies, they both resonated with me :)

I suspect it is purely biological, there may be some sort of upset in the physical system, rather than the psychological.


This is something I especially feel is a good explanation, and this mindset has also helped me a lot - thank you very much for the insight!

Additionally I think my main problem was that I was identified with the emotion when it was feeling it so fully - I was basically standing too close I think - and I've used the trick described by esewald in this thread to disassociate with the feeling with an amazing effect.

I'm feeling much better already :-)



I think this is the advice you were referring to.


by eseward » Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:04 pm
julia_whirly, this is a slight variation on a method which Vernon Howard describes. It has worked like magic for me even when the mind is sure it won't work and also when the mind doesn't want to participate or cooperate. Might be worth a try. :)

Consciously choose to disidentify with the thoughts and feelings as a part of observing them. How? Consciously give voice to the thoughts and feelings but consciously assign their source to the egoic mind/false self (rather than to yourself) as part of the procedure, by saying "it says...".

Scan your inner field of awareness. If you notice any uncomfortable feelings, silently say to yourself "it says...", then fill in the blank with what you observe/sense. The "it" in this case is the egoic mind/conditioned mind/false self. What it says is whatever you sense from the act of observing.

Eg. If you notice some anger there, start with "it says...". Maybe "it says" that it wants to smack that MF that just cut you off in traffic. So, "it says... 'I want to smack that MF'".

What this does is several critical things at once: it allows the thought/feeling to be there in consciousness with clarity rather than operating in the dark (very important), it allows the egoic mind/false self to have its say in the matter, and it also weakens your attachment to this thought/feeling as being a part of your real self.

You basically repeat this procedure every time your scan of the inner field of awareness shows any discomfort at all. Some strong identifications definitely require repeated applications, but eventually you notice a "space around the discomfort", as Eckhart describes, then a deepening sense of peace where the discomfort used to be.

And, of course, as you go long you will eventually notice more and more times when the inner scan reveals no discomfort at all, and when starting with "it says..." yields nothing to fill in the blanks with.



Great advice and very practical.

Being conscious of the movements of the mind and emotions is the arising of awareness. This awareness helps to draw out the hidden triggers that have bound us to a life of unconscious reaction. When we become aware of this invented self, that has so enveloped our life, we also become aware of the fact, that there is no authentic self that can be identified as such. This inability to identify an authentic self can often be sensed as a deep field of emptiness, spaciousness, formlessness and peace etc. It must also be remembered that it is from this place of emptiness that all form arises, and therefore is also the source of the fullness of life itself.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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