Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy
cathy_edgett

Feelings -

Elaine sent this to me the day I was in my fear mode. I moved through that, and somehow didn't want to go back in and address it, but today, I am trying to hold all my feelings and emotions like a huge bouquet I lean in to sniff. Each flower adds to the allure.

I place these words of Thich Nhat Hanh here. I am typing with Mandu's chin on my arm. He needs my warmth. I read that it is 45 degrees in Mill Valley.


Transforming Feelings by Thich Nhat Hanh

The first step in dealing with feelings is to recognize each feeling as it arises. The agent that does this is mindfulness. In the case of fear, for example, you bring out your mindfulness, look at your fear, and recognize it as fear. You know that fear springs from yourself and that mindfulness also springs from yourself. They are both in you, not fighting, but one taking care of the other.

The second step is to become one with the feeling. It is best not to say, "Go away, Fear. I don't like you. You are not me." It is much more effective to say, "Hello, Fear. How are you today?" Then you can invite the two aspects of yourself, mindfulness and fear, to shake hands as friends and become one. Doing this may seem frightening, but because you know that you are more than just your fear, you need not be afraid. As long as mindfulness is there, it can chaperone your fear. The fundamental practice is to nourish your mindfulness with conscious breathing, to keep it there, alive and strong. Although your mindfulness may not be very powerful in the beginning, if you nourish it, it will become stronger. As long as mindfulness is present, you will not drown in your fear. In fact, you begin transforming it the very moment you give birth to awareness in yourself.

The third step is to calm the feeling. As mindfulness is taking good care of your fear, you begin to calm it down. "Breathing in, I calm the activities of body and mind." You calm your feeling just by being with it, like a mother tenderly holding her crying baby. Feeling her mother's tenderness, the baby will calm down and stop crying. The mother is your mindfulness, born from the depth of your consciousness, and it will tend the feeling of pain. A mother holding her baby is one with her baby. If the mother is thinking of other things, the baby will not calm down. The mother has to put aside other things and just hold her baby. So, don't avoid your feeling. Don't say, "You are not important. You are only a feeling." Come and be one with it. You can say, "Breathing out, I calm my fear."

The fourth step is to release the feeling, to let it go. Because of your calm, you feel at ease, even in the midst of fear, and you know your fear will not grow into something that will overwhelm you. When you know that you are capable of taking care of your fear, it is already reduced to the minimum, becoming softer and not so unpleasant. Now you can smile at it and let it go, but please do not stop yet. Calming and releasing are just medicines for the symptoms. You now have an opportunity to go deeper and work on transforming the source of your fear.

The fifth step is to look deeply. You look deeply into your baby-your feeling of fear- to see what is wrong, even after the baby has already stopped crying, after the fear is gone. You cannot hold the baby all the time, and therefore you have to look into her to see the cause of what is wrong. By looking, you will see what will help you begin to transform the feeling. You will realize, for example, that her suffering has many causes, inside and outside of her body. If something is wrong around her, if you put that in order, bringing tenderness and care to the situation, she will feel better. Looking into your baby, you see the elements that are causing her to cry, and when you see them, you will know what to do and what not to do to transform the feeling and be free.
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