Looking at oneself…

.. through the intelligence of the body

by Paul

In Brandon Bay’s book, “The Journey: A Road Map to the Soul,” she describes a process that she was given by an unidentified spiritual teacher. A student asked what to do about the arising of intense emotions.

The answer from her spiritual teacher was very radical, and I am looking at this very closely. The suggestion she gave to do seems to be very close to the suggestions of John Welwood and Eckhart Tolle as well. The answer was simply “Just don’t move. Let yourself be completely present to the emotion. Welcome it.” She then describes how we can be tempted to distract ourselves with things like going to the refrigerator for food, turning on the TV, calling friends, etc. She continues by saying, “Just stop and feel it. Just let yourself be present to it. You’ll find if you don’t try to distract yourself from it, or push it away, or, worse still, dump it on someone else; if you stay still, if you are really present to it – in the very core of the feeling you will find peace So when you feel a powerful emotion, just let it be—DON’T’ MOVE. Welcome it.

So to try this, I have sat in a quiet, comfortable place for an hour at a time and watched the feelings in the body. Brandon says that any sensation felt there points to stored emotions, conditionings, or covered memories. When looking at these sensations in the body, feelings and memories return, often with a painful emotional character. This is the point when Brandon’s suggestion is so useful. I watch what comes up and then welcome it, and “just don’t move.” If these body aches and sensations are indeed storing painful unresolved conflicts, they now become available to me again. As Brandon describes, this begins a process of “peeling an onion” of layers of old emotional content.

To face the stored past in myself this way really is very revealing and helpful. This looking creates the gap inside, and the space there contains the vital life energy that wants to come through us, but is blocked by our ordinary consciousness and typical avoidances to everyday experiences and events.

Without facing old stored memories and patterns keeps us unconsciously reenacting them, and we are held in their repetitious program. To face them fully is to create the space and gap in which they can dissolve and leave, with their memory imprints, the body for a final time.

Quoted passages are from “The Journey: A Road Map to the Soul,” by Brandon Bays, Kindle Edition, sold by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc


Connecting with our being…  Oreo, Paul & Lake Michigan
January, 2005

This entry was posted in The Armchair, The Crystal Mirror and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Looking at oneself…

  1. Sheila says:

    Hi Paul. A while back I copied and saved a post of Abitiki that hit a chord with me. It is exactly what you write about here. This is an edited version of what she wrote:

    When a strong uncomfortable emotion rises up, I treat it as a meditation.

    Rather than allow myself to act out or run, I gather myself with a few breaths, and center my attention on the emotion in my stomach. This keeps the mind occupied, because it will be champing at the bit, straining to think or attack or suggest an escape strategy.
    Next, hold the emotion by examining the sensation of it (same process as learning to feel the tingling in the inner body).
    Each time I catch myself thinking, start again. Take more deep breaths, and keep going straight back to the emotion in the stomach.
    Don’t think…hold the emotion. Enter it. Be the emotion. Meet it with welcome. Suffer it. Cry or whatever comes up. But don’t try to escape it by thinking (no stories!).
    Don’t walk around. Don’t move. Don’t run from the discomfort or pain.
    Stay with the feeling and the sensation it brings to the body.

    What I’m finding is that this will burn the emotion up completely.
    Nothing remains to add to the pain body.
    And I’ve just NOT done ‘what I always do’…I have changed.

    This simple practice creates an enormous amount of space, and frees up an enormous amount of energy.

    Thank you, Abi.

    • dsrtsng says:

      Thank you Sheila/Abi,
      This describes the process exactly. The more we watch within, “without moving,” the more we learn/see/transform. By becoming aligned with these seeming negative energies, we with with them instead of against them.

  2. Angelika says:

    What hit me very much when Paul read the passage of the book to me was, that people also push their emotions on to Others.
    Having been identified with the victim – part, I have experienced this numerous times, over and over again.
    I am so glad to finally learn, that this is really what Others do and not merely a false perception of what is.
    Gettting so upset about this topic….lol….I see that it for sure is important, especially for myself, to observe it.

    Also, I understood something, for the first time in its full range. (maybe..lol)

    As Eckhart and Byron Katie are telling, BB also experienced a very, very strong emotion before becoming present.

    THAT is it.

    Emotions are the path to becoming present.
    All I have to do, as Paul descibes, is be aware of my emotions and fully enter the experience of having them.
    I will also ovserve upcoming body sensations the same way.

    Isn´t it, that BB talkes about a “felt sense”?
    Paul, would you like to write about this?

    • dsrtsng says:

      This is a good point. The emotions are there, so we must stay with them and let them be as they are. Normally, I block or ignore the ones I do not “like,” just as I resist facts that I do not “like” (which then triggers emotions).

      Eckhart says we always get a second chance to be present. When something happens, we respond. But, perhaps, we turn away from what we do not like. Then, an emotion arises. Whatever is there, this is where our alertness is needed, or it gets stored in the body. Eventually, the body develops a condition to show us that we have a lot in there, just waiting for us to see it, and finish properly what is waiting in there.

      The “felt sense” is a beautiful pointer. This would make a good subject for a new article. Although it is related to emotion, I think “felt sense” is deeper.


  3. Angelika says:

    Isn´t everyone who really triggers an emotion in us

    actually not an enemy, as the ego would put it,

    but a courageous, passionate, loving assistant for our own awakening?

    • dsrtsng says:

      I remember Eckhart saying that this moment is perfect for what we need, because it is what we have. Nothing, or no one, in the present moment can be an enemy because they or whatever is taking place is What Is. It is only my ego that would tell me there is something wrong with it or them. Those who are there are truly friends along the path. What we recognize in them is only possible if it is there in ourselves.

  4. Sheila says:

    Angelika……..could you clarify what you mean when you said,
    “….that people also push their emotions on to Others.
    Having been identified with the victim – part, I have experienced this numerous times, over and over again.
    I am so glad to finally learn, that this is really what Others do and not merely a false perception of what is.”

    Could you give me an example of what you mean? Something is in there for me that you are saying.

  5. equiwolf says:

    Yes! Thank you for the lovely post, Paul. All spiritual teachers point to this ‘stopping’ or ‘choosing not to move away from’ or ‘surrender’ that your post describes. When we do not surrender to what is, including our emotions, we are simply taken back into our story again and again and again, in the endless cycle of rebirth that happens each time we re-enter our story (instead of the present moment).


    • dsrtsng says:

      Our story or the Present Moment? Yes, that is the choice that is always there.

      Last night, I felt a “space” around my ego and it seemed that I could see that I was simply a clown. A clown who is there to entertain “myself” or itself or whatever. It wants the energy from the present moment, and is like a sponge that soaks it up. The entertainment was in the form of the story.

      I was lucky enough that there was a gap, and I could see it from outside the process of what was going on. It was like the moment in the Wizard of Oz when the Wizard is seen to be a man behind the curtain…

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