Often, when I’m experiencing uncomfortable feelings and moods, I’m barely conscious of them. It’s not that these feelings are subtle and hard to detect—at times they can be pretty intense and still be mostly unconscious. It is as if I am the feeling (as opposed to being aware of it). I make a practice of seeking out and fully experiencing these uncomfortable feelings, rather than pushing them away or unconsciously “being” them.
Often, at these times of unconsciousness, I will be thinking, thinking, thinking— unconsciously trying to figure out how to escape from the uncomfortable feelings. I try to notice that this is happening and move my attention to my body to actually experience whatever feelings are there—moving toward the feelings, rather than away from them. I try to notice in detail how the feeling feels and what thoughts go along with it.
There is often a relief that comes with this. It’s like shifting from trying to escape from the reality of my feelings to just being with them in a more relaxed way. Usually, this process reveals some kind of insight; I get more clarity about the situation that’s been making me uncomfortable.
Photo (by bark) is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.