Dear Still Water Friends,
What Are You Feeling Right Now?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Want to play a little mindfulness game? It’ll just take a minute or two.
Take a moment to shift your awareness to your physical being, and briefly scan your body. Is there a particular physical sensation you notice right now? How would you describe its quality, and its location? Tightness in your jaw? Spaciousness in your abdomen? Fullness in your throat? Is the feeling localized and specific, or more generalized and diffuse?
Now: Do you associate this sensation with an emotion? Anxiety, joy, anger, gratitude, impatience, love? Is it very obvious, or perhaps you can’t quite put your finger on it?
A model for emotional experience that I have worked with says that emotions are actually somatic (body) experiences, which we interpret through language as fear, delight, anger, etc. Most of the time this process happens very quickly and below our consciousness. We usually don’t attend to the physical feeling and we often don’t even articulate the emotion – we just experience it and react to it. But one of the wonderful gifts of mindfulness practice is a deeper capacity to step out of the mental drama, drop down into our bodies and just notice, without judgment, what’s going on. We can better sense the currents flowing within us that normally would drive our behavior. Give them the space to just be, so they don’t need to take us over. And then, of course, we can respond more thoughtfully, less reactively, to the world.
This week we’ll explore the connection between physical feelings and emotions. My hope is that we’ll discover some new insights: How can we use mindfulness to understand the link between these two domains, so we can live more intentionally?
I hope you’ll join in the fun.
peter (who is currently feeling a lightness rising in his heart-center)