You know that feeling of being overcome with discomfort? Whether its emotional pain, anxiety, disgust, anger, a headache, or a backache, there is one thing all of these expressions of discomfort have in common.
As a premise for what I am about to explain, consider this: Emotions are the language of the body as thoughts are the language of the mind; our thinking combined with our emotion in any given moment determines our state of being.
In a negative state, we have accepted that we have now entered the discomfort-zone and not only do we accept it, we begin to feed it. Amplify it. We have great conviction when it comes to our negative states. Personally, I believe this has a lot to do with a misplaced sense of guilt we all carry, as though we somehow deserve this unpleasant experience. But that’s another topic on its own.
As Joe Dispenza has put it, when we feel a certain way, we will generate thoughts that match the way we feel. In neuroscience, the reason for this in simplest terms is that when we perceive something as negative or unwanted, or positive and desirable (whether physical or emotional), the brain will release specific chemicals through the nervous system. When we have a bad or negative thought, we feel bad.
When we have a positive or uplifting thought, we feel good. This means that if we are feeling less than optimal, the chemical environment in the body is already primed for negativity and feeling crumby. As a result, the likelihood of beginning to think about all of the things in our lives that we are less than thrilled about, will increase. One of Dispenza’s most famous quotations is that in order to shift our state, ‘we must be able to think greater than how we feel’. A regular meditation practice is a way of building the musculature needed to choose better thoughts.
In meditation, we are asked to repeatedly redirect our attention from the babbling of the mind to a chosen focal point. This repeated exercise allows us to become skillful at ‘unhooking’ from the thinking mind.
I want to propose a practice in which our focal point will actually be to imagine the physical and energetic sensations of a highly positive emotional state. The idea is that we will bring forth this emotional or feeling state, independently of our thinking; in the absence of our thinking. We will repeat and memorize this state by giving all of our mental energy to conjuring up a feeling of positivity, ease, harmony, balance, feeling good. Think: ‘fake it til you make it’.
In tonight’s practice we will develop the ability to feel better than how we are thinking; to feel instead of thinking. I will guide your for about 5 minutes and set you up in the process and then you’re on your own. At the end of the day, whether you are wrestling with negative thoughts or negative emotions, the meditative musculature can be a dynamic and powerful way to break the cycle.