Enlightening the Passions – Day 1 (Exploring feelings)

After having looked at the videos I posted about yesterday I decided to do an experiment testing in practice what Michael Brown speaks about in those videos. I will blog about this experiment and practice here because it will help me keep it up and reflect upon it daily, and it might help some of the people who read these blogs.

Let me give you a bit of background:
In the recent very challenging time in my relationship I discovered – or better, uncovered – a constant pattern of behavior: Deeply opening up to – trusting – someone will lead to abuse sooner or later. This pattern comes from my very young years when my mother gave me away to my grandparents who then put me in a boarding school that then kicked me out… don’t want to relate the long sad story of what f****d me up emotionally in my young years, only want to indicate an important influence to the present experiment.

Another important one is that I actually have a very fine-grained ability to feel my emotions; 30 years of therapy and a spiritual path that has been very adventurous has ‘helped’ me discern many shades of, for instance, grief, fear and anger.
And also: Looking at my feelings has almost exclusively happened with the intention of either healing, overcoming or transcending, and even if I did embrace my feelings – as in the meditations I used to do some years ago in which I did “Satsang with my demons” – it was always with the intention of finally healing them.

And finally one more piece of background to my experiment:
In this recent crisis I’ve discovered – or actually uncovered – the indisputable fact that my emotions, the dynamics of my feelings, are out of control; I cannot determine what I feel in almost every situation. For many people, especially women, this is certainly no surprise, and maybe it shouldn’t be one for me, but it is. This is absolutely clear to me now because as part of the crisis – how it came about – was me expressibly allowing, out of my conviction, something that, when it became a reality, deeply hurt, unexpectedly so.

The premises of the experiment

Being unconditionally with what is right now – flowing with life – is of supreme value (it feeds the soul, not only mine but of everybody I’m with, it is joyful and beautiful, it is needed for true love to unfold, and the foundation for understanding any kind of meaningful truth).

Being unconditionally with what/how I feel is an integral, and necessary, part of flowing with life as an actual experience here and now.

What matters experientally has (at least) 3 facets/components: physical, mental and emotional. By physical I mean the person(s) I’m with or the situation I’m in as a physical presence that ’cause’ or ‘trigger’ (partly) what I experience; the mental is the story I tell myself and/or others about this, my interpretation; and finally what I feel actually – feelings being the prime movers and motivators for my actions and behaviors and words in any given situation.

Feelings/emotions are neither good nor bad in an ethical sense, yet there are feelings I greatly value and seek and those I shun, flee and or want to get rid of. Some of them are ‘good’ in one circumstance and ‘bad’ in another.

The premise to be tested in this experiment is that all feelings, especially the uncomfortable ones, are potentially soul-food and enliven or quicken my present being-alive; they inspire in a most profound way by re-connecting me with the flow of life by intentional/willing/conscious participation. This is so as long as I am with these feelings unconditionally (not to heal, change, or in any way influence them).
An important aspect of feelings, maybe their raison d’etre, is to enliven my present state of being.

What this experiment has led to so far

Considering all this in one way or another I’ve identified a number of uncomfortable feelings that are an important part of the ‘melody of feelings’ that in some depth keep repeating themselves (at least when now I remember what goes on in general). I’ve identified 7 that seem to be basic and given them a label for easier identification. They are all situated in the lower breast and stomach area, 2 of them in the gut area.

Much of my behavior seems to be directed at influencing the situations I find myself in in such a way as to not ‘give reason’ for these feelings to come up, and if they come up to immediately avoid feeling them or if that’s unavoidable to diffuse them, throw some nebulae around them etc. If all of that doesn’t work I (like to) blame the other or situation for me having them, suggesting that if I could only change them/it everything would be alright again.

It also led me to, in my conversations – and at moments in other situations – keep an eye on the emotional melody playing. Since there were no overwhelming emotions it was easy to just be with them, ‘unconditionally’, dipping into their flow.

A very interesting effect: I haven’t been ‘reacting’ to what was communicated and could then much more easily respond to the content of what was said…

Design for next few days

In the morning after getting up spend 20 – 30 minutes with both contemplating my ‘feeling life’ and see if there are more primary uncomfortable feelings that need to be part of the Top Ten, and exploring the ones on the list already, that means:
* Remember situations that trigger  those feelings
* Unconditionally embrace the feeling
* Notice what comes up doing that (not pursuing it)

During the day keep an eye on the feelings, also scan for yet ‘unlisted primary feelings’.

Write about this in the evening.

Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)

Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

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