by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna
One day an earthquake shook an entire Zen temple. The ground beneath them began to shake, the building collapsed and the monks were terrified. As the world seemed to be falling apart the Zen Master calmly led everyone to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple.
When the earthquake subsided the Master said, “Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis. I did not panic. I was aware of what was happening and what to do.Taking you to the kitchen was a good decision, as we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my composure, I did feel a bit tense, which may have noticed, from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never ordinarily do.”
One of the monks smiled, but didn’t say anything.
“Why are you smiling?” the teacher asked.
“That wasn’t water,” the monk replied, “it was a large glass of soy sauce.”
No matter who we are, when an earthquake hits, we all feel many feelings. They come upon us in different ways, affecting our bodies, minds and hearts. At times an emotion is experienced directly, at other times there is increased heartbeat, sweating, chills, fast breathing, a sense of dread or impending doom.
Then, there are the times when we are not even aware of what we are feeling. Instead like the Zen Master, in shock and numb, we may begin acting oddly, not able to tell the difference between a glass of water and a glass of soy sauce.
Being stung by emotion can be like being stung by a serpent: it fills you with poison, immobilizes your senses, and blocks your understanding of how to proceed. Therefore, recognizing and releasing feelings is a practice that needs to be done daily. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the less threatened you feel.
Once emotions dissolve, clarity arises, along with spontaneous knowledge of what to do. This actually helps prevent many negative events that might otherwise be able to unfold. Or, if the difficult situation has already appeared, by dissolving your emotion, things calm down, recede and take much less of a toll.
On the other hand, when you allow emotions to fester or grow, you may be blowing up something small, or even drawing the situation to yourself.
To begin the process of dissolving feelings, let’s become aware of the many ways feelings appear, the effects they have upon us, how feelings camouflage themselves and infiltrate all aspects of your lives.
The Many Faces of Feelings
Feelings are tricksters, they manifest in all kinds of ways; as obsession, confusion, loss of control, or dysfunction in any area of you life. Feelings can be triggered by anything – thoughts, beliefs, memories, tastes, smells, unconscious ideas.
You suddenly see someone who reminds you of a cruel person in your childhood, and become flooded with fear. Or you are asked to do something you feel uneasy about, and anger arises.
Sometimes you enter a meeting feeling good, and pick up on the energy of others. Your happy mood disappears. Feelings are contagious, suddenly, you too are pessimistic, nervous and glum.
There are other ways, too, that feelings creep up. Another person can threaten you, either consciously or unconsciously. You sense this person perceives you negatively, feel their dislike and respond. Other times dire messages attack you. I say attack, because what is terrible about the message you hear are the negative feelings they generate.
Realize – If you don’t believe the message, or do not trust the person telling you the news, emotions do not appear. It is not the news you hear, but the way you react to it, the feelings you feel, that immobilizes.
Some give us negative messages simply to control us. When you are in the grip of feelings, you can be easily manipulated and controlled, no longer in charge of your mind, or spirit.
However, there is an alternative to a life driven by fear, and that is the process of choosing, releasing, not living at the effect of situations, but living a chosen life.
Stop: Whenever a message is fraught with fear, reject it immediately. Even if you think it is true, reject it. Reject it because you do not have the full use of your faculties when you are in the grip of negative feelings.
Wait until the feeling has vanished to decide if it is true. By rejecting the message, the feelings will subside and you will become clearer. There is plenty of time later on to decide if the message is true. (Most of the time it isn’t.)
For example, fear thrives on your belief in it. It needs you to believe the stories, ideas, beliefs, catastrophic expectations, assorted hallucinations and hypnotic suggestions it’s feeding you.
It needs you to see everything it says as true, as dangerous and life threatening. Once fear has your belief in it, then it turns your mind and heart to putty and knots. It causes paralysis.
Instead of believing in the power of feelings, why not believe in the power of truth?
Before you can see the truth of a situation, before you can re-claim your inner freedom and the full measure of who you are, you have to look feelings in the eye. You must be willing to stand back, make their acquaintance, let go of resisting them, see them for what they are.
As you stand back, you grow to understand how stress and feelings arises, what fuels them, how they disguise themselves and take hold in so many areas of your life. Then you become empowered to let them go, and choose the life you are meant to live.
From Sarah: I discovered Dr. Shoshanna just a few weeks ago and quickly got her permission to reprint her articles…she’s amazing, and you’ll love her book “Save Your Relationship.” Just go here to read more about Dr. Shoshanna and get quick, new help for your relationship–>>