Being that I am wanting to advocate slowing down for a living, I have to deal with the fact that slowing down brings up people’s emotional baggage. It’s a good thing overall, but a sensitive thing and often an unpleasant thing, as I am currently demonstrating for myself and others….
I think a baseline of a little extra deep breathing isn’t going to confront many people, but if slowing down takes hold at all, we need a support system in our outer world, and a toolset for our inner world.
I have found the cadence of turmoil to be actually quite gentle. As I acquire and use new tools it seems *just enough* difficulty comes up for me to sit with and address. This surprises me every time. At least a handful of times in the past 6 months I’ve had some issue come up and thought “oh no, this one is probably going to be pretty intense” and then it processes relatively quickly. I’m pinning this on my willingness.
During our trip there came a point where the kids seemed to feel they were obligated to purchase something at every shop/giftshop we entered. Uhm, no. The litmus test became “are you willing to spend your own money on this?” If yes, I’m happy to buy it -none of their money required. If no, well, then, let’s not spend my money. It was great. Maybe every 10th time I’d actually make them spend their own cash (probably times when I was less than enthused about the item in question).
I feel a similar dynamic in this emotional processing work. When I am willing things go far more easily than I expect. When I am resistant (like this week) things take a bit longer. When I am willing intellectually but resistant with everything else it gets a little complicated. But slowing down, leaning into it, staying present – from what I can tell this strategy leads to lasting change and ever-deeper layers of resolution. My mental audio track continues to diminish WHICH MIGHT BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL.
Lesson #1: Don’t believe your thoughts.
That really is where all of the damage is done.
New agers have a lot of the ‘positive thinking’ stuff going on. More and more people are understanding the importance of the tenor of our thoughts – crappy thoughts generally produce less desireable outcomes. It’s not rocket science. The way we think – our worldview and the tenor of the inner dialogue – makes all the difference. So, between “don’t believe your thoughts” and “the universe is friendly (at least maybe)” and “we’re all just doing our best/walking each other home” the mental channel can be relatively at peace.
The heart channel is really important, too. About 3 years ago I had a distinct distillation of what had always been intellectually-intensive spiritual contemplation into a much more somatic experience of devotion – In Vedanta this is the distinction between jnana yoga and bhakti yoga. It changed my experience dramatically because spiritual experience is EXPERIENCE, not a concept. Concepts are neat and all, but this is a different animal entirely.
Probably 5 years before that I began a meditative practice wherein I would try to move my locust of identity from my mind/head to my heart (because hearts don’t think), so the brain could continue to produce thoughts without the benefit of my attention. I really liked this technique. I’m guessing my shift from jnana to bhakti started with this meditative technique.
That’s the story for another day, because I think now with my head and heart being tended regularly the new challenge is around the dan tien – this is a much longer post about the power centers in our lives.
BUT, even with all of the discomfort, the fear that keeps trying to overtake my mind (Thank God for the many tools I can employ), the disdain for the past behaviours, etc – for all of this yuck, it is worth it. Slowly but surely freeing myself from the bondage of my past is uncomfortable indeed, but the freedom – there is actual freedom there. And that is a very big deal indeed.
But the caveat is about having a support system and a toolset so that we don’t fall into crisis and jeopardize whatever peace of mind we’ve been able to achieve thus far…