Working with Anxiety and Fear
Posted on 27th March 2017
Working with fear and anxiety
And just about everything else you don’t want.
The questions on a recent webinar I run seemed to be centred around difficult emotions such as fear, anxiety, guilt and a busy mind.
I want to get straight to the point. The question we all have is, what can I do about them? How can I have a quieter mind and not be dominated by fear and anxiety?
The main key to this is willingness. We need to be willing to do the work, to do what is necessary to be free of them.
Fear, guilt, anxiety etc, though they vary in ‘flavour’ and intensity, they are from the point of view of our mindfulness practice, made of the same stuff – thoughts and bodily sensations.
What we need to do is to create a ‘container’ for our emotions. In other words we can start to be aware of them as energy moving through us. Often when we have strong emotions we tend to get lost in our head trying to work it all out. We go over it this way, then we go over it that way. We ruminate and ruminate and ruminate.
This just leads to distress and misery. We can see believed thoughts as fuel, and the emotion as the fire. If we stay in the habitual and unconscious thinking we fuel more emotion, the fire. Take the fuel away and the fire burns out.
The technique we use is to label our thoughts as ‘thinking,’ then we turn our attention to the sensations in the body – which initially we don’t want to do of course. We may ask ourself, where do I feel this, what does it feel like. The reason we ask these questions to ourselves is to become curious. When we are curious we cannot be unhappy. However, we dont want to be curious because we habitually want to think about ourselvrs and our problems. Now I am not suggesting that we never think about what has happened.
There is though a great difference between the mind moaning and chattering away about something and that of reflecting on the event afterwards. (I will be going into this practice during the series of webinars in April)
When we get trapped in the tirade of thoughts we got lost in self pity, anger and rwe close down around the thoughts and emotions. When what we need to do is to open up, to feel the body, feel the emotion without all the mental and emotional overlay.
People often think that because I say we need to take out attention away from our thoughts that thinking is bad, and that we shouldn’t think. This is not what I am saying. The thinking mind is a wonderful tool but we need to learn to use it wisely. When lost in thinking, ask yourself if this thinking is helpful or not. Just a little persective is needed.
Learn to experience your emotions in the body. The body can be seen as the container, if we can turn toward the emotion in the body then we are aware of it.
This is how we develop a ‘container’ for our emotions, by containing them in the body with awareness.
I was asked about grief recently. We need to give time for the natural grieving process to happen. Sadness is not bad, it is a natural and healthy response to loss. There will be times when the person we have lost comes to mind, which again is natural. Allow those thoughts to guide you into the feeling of grief in the body. Watch for going over and over things – this is unhelpful thinking.
Embrace the sensation in the body – what we feel we heal.
It is okay to think about people we have lost but but quite often we do this with the thinking mind only which spins and spins. Take yourself into the felt experience of whatever it is you are feeling.
I will be going into more of these areas in detail on future webinars nad courses so please keep an eye open or drop me a line.
Tagged as: Suryacitta
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