emotions and painbody

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emotions and painbody

Post by Grant2u » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:53 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm brand new to this board. I literally just finished reading "A New Earth" and I'm about to start "Power of Now"....I know...in reverse order. I'm really confused on something. I've been interested and semi-practicing mindfulness-meditation for a few years now, but not until I read "A new Earth" has everything come together to make sense to me on what consciousness really means. This book has literally changed my entire outlook on "life".

What I'm confused about: There is just a plethora of infomation seemingly on emotions/painbody and feelings. From my understanding based on numerous meditation books that talk about emotions, you must acknolwedge that an emotion is present, accept the emotion without identifying with it until the feeling passes. You are not supposed to suppress an emotion. Now, I've seen numerous examples of where people indicate to "feel the emotion" without attaching yourself to it as it is vital to "feel it and face it". Please, someone clarify this for me. Aside from the physical manifestations of an emotion, what is there exactly that we are supposed to be "feeling" because the feeling itself is always based off of thought? My point being that in acceptance of what the emotion is, if we do not focus on the thought process behind the emotion (as all emotions are derived from thoughts), then what is left to actually feel? Whatever we feel in our bodies (the actual physical manifestation from the emotion) are merely secondary reactions to the actual thought and what does focusing on that physical feeling accomplish? So, when we are faced with emotion whether it's sadness, anger, etc, are we supposed to be focusing on the thought that is causing the emotion? Or is it the physical manifestation of the thought? To say "Feel" the emotion is just too general to understand. I "thought" the whole concept was to not actually "focus" on our thoughts and if we don't do that, then there's really nothing left of emotion to feel other than perhaps....a knot in your stomach...tension in your shoulders, etc. Once you divert your attention from your thoughts on to your actual physical, shouldn't the feeling immediately dissolve?

A quick example....last sunday, I was overcome with sadness really based on nothing. I just started feeling down and a slew of thoughts started going through my mind throughout the course of the day making me even sadder. I became aware of the thoughts and tried my hardest to literally feel the physical manifestations of that emotion while tryint to divert my attention away from the acutal thoughts causing the emotion. However, my sadness would not go away becuase the thoughts continued to pop up and as a result, the "feeling" ensued and I kept bringing my attention back to the body and away from the thought, but the feeling would not go away that quickly. I would love some insight on how to approach this next time or if this was the wrong approach that I took.

In addition, I find that of late when I have knee jerk reactions to things that used to irritate me, I become aware that I am getting angry, and my anger disolves immediately sometimes before it even starts. Does this consitute suppressing the emotion since I really don't have a chance to "feel it"? What about noticing that you are overcome with joy over something in the "future"?

Some general insight on what I should be focusing on to "feel" as far as the emotion or painbody would be so incredibly helpful to me.


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Re: emotions and painbody

Post by rideforever » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:16 am

The technique is to become present to the physical sensation. That's it.

Like you say this physical sensation is connected to emotion and to thoughts. It's actually a large interconnected "structure".

The reason why you focus on the physical sensation is because if you focus on the thoughts you just get lost - you can try it to see that it is useless. When focussing on the physical, I believe the grounding of the body is used as a temporary framework to provide stability for the observation.

It is useful to "follow the breathing" from time to time as that has a powerful effect to help you. You can alternate 5 mins with the breath then 5 mins with the physical sensation, or whatever suits you.

The sensation in the body : just relax and feel what it feels like. Bring intensity to your awareness. Feel the area of the sensation - 3 dimensionally not just on the skin -, is it hot or cold, is it pain or ache or ?, watch it watch it watch it. It will change. Stay utterly present as it changes - like your very life depended on it.

This is a skill you have to learn. By being extremely present to the sensation your mind develops a deep sensitivity - so that you can feel each individual hair on your skin.

The awareness is not just staring at it. There has to be a real feeling of aliveness inside you, a keen interest in what you are watching, a passion. Otherwise you are not aware but sleepy. It is no good watching it like you are watching TV. You must strive to be as alive as possible as you do it.

You will know you are progressing as you notice you can sense more and more of the sensation. First you feel a dull ache say, then you notice the boundaries of it clearly, then you notice that it penetrates within the flesh, then you notice the temperature.

If you are doing it correctly you will sense that a change is taking place within you ... and the "body" that you are observing is being processed. This can feel like a discharge of energy, or a torrent of energy running through you, you may feel many emotions coursing through you, and many thoughts. Your job is to allow all these things to flow through you but to remain constantly engaged with the sensation on the body.

As you become more well-versed with this technique you will be able to for instance feel the pulse flow through your body from your heart to your extremities, you can feel the miniscule change of pressure flowing through the flesh.

All the "knots" in the mind are mapped to the body, so by resolving the body you resolve the mind.

As for the pain you mention that you think disappears quickly on its own ... it could mean a number of things. If you bring awareness to yourself when it happens in the manner described, or bring awareness to the memory of such a situation ... you can investigate it yourself and determine what is happening.
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

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Re: emotions and painbody

Post by Grant2u » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:27 am

Thanks so much for your in depth reply. This really does clarify a lot of what I have been trying to "rationalize" on some level. The whole concept of focusing on the feeling in the thoughts was throwing me off and it makes much more sense that you mentioned staying with the sensation going on in the actual physical body. The next time a I find myself becoming aware of the pain, I will investigate without dwelling.

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