As a young child, I did not have the capacity to discern between feeling bad and being bad. In the meaning-making mind of my little self, I feel bad equaled I am bad; there’s something wrong with me.
I can’t help but notice how this long-ago association continues to surface in my adult life and relationships. When I feel sad, depressed, anxious, or ill, the judgments, shaming, or interpretations automatically associated with these experiences add another measure of toxicity to the already raw embodied experience of the moment.
I’ve been appreciating lately how the practice of meditation has helped me build the capacity to remain balanced and curious when negativity surfaces. I am better able now to step back slightly, to observe the reactive impulse to judge. This stepping back a bit creates some space, but not so much that I disembody. I want to have perspective, so I stay as present as possible, and listen without being overtaken. It is an interesting blend of intimacy with parts of myself that are generally difficult and unwanted, while not fusing with those parts or becoming the full distorted embodiment of rage. This is a sacred balance, and one that I teeter on regularly.
I suspect we are each capable of being receptive and aware as feelings come into being. The bodies we inhabit appear to be designed to provide a bridge between divine consciousness and human intelligence. Our bodies offer the gift of emerging guidance, taking the form of sensation in order to communicate and transmit. An old feeling, a charged emotion, an eruption of somatic aliveness is an indication of eternal wisdom awaiting immediate awareness.
Attend to what is appearing now in your tissues and bones and skin and behold the creative force that inhabits the body. Stay with it . . . Hold it in that suspended state between your head and your heart and receive the illumination . . . the revelation.