I recently recalled the movie Matrix. I thought about how when Neo sees what reality is, he cannot go back to the fake, programmed world he was living in. Now, I have that kind of feeling; as if I have come out of the matrix and there is no going back. Once the healing transformation starts, the unravelling seems unstoppable. I have so much more awareness than before. I’ve even been becoming more aware in my dreams; suddenly having this lucid feeling which sometimes lasts or sometimes is brief and I then tell myself, “Wake up!!”
It’s a little creepy to think that for many years I was only living half-consciously. I wasn’t fully present. I wasn’t letting myself feel my emotions. I didn’t truly love and accept myself. And I had a false sense of invulnerability and control which made me feel safe and secure. I was operating from fear; doing what I thought was necessary to protect myself. I think two of the most dangerous things we can do are: 1. make choices out of fear rather than from a deep connection with one’s highest self. 2. push our feelings down; denying or ignoring them. Connecting with your wise inner self (and listening!) and feeling all your feelings are both essential for cultivating health and peace of mind. A question we can continuously ask ourselves is–Am I being the best me I can be right now? I am acting from a place of love and integrity or am I acting from fear and incompleteness? What is the best choice for me right now? What is the next best step?
It’s strange that we seem to often encourage the opposite of these. Crying is a sign of weakness. Self-exploration is undervalued. People think emotional health has little to do with physical health. We learn that we are supposed to ‘Man up!’ Don’t show anyone you are vulnerable. Anxiety and depression are viewed as common mental problems that are cured with some pills. When I told my doctor I was having some anxiety, she didn’t hesitate to pull out her prescription pad. But I knew that taking a pill was not the answer for me. I knew that this anxiety had something to teach me. I believe that anxiety is usually a symptom that some underlying feelings have not been addressed; feelings like anger, resentment, worry, doubt, grief which are all rooted in fear. I had been stuffing down my anger, sadness and insecurity; probably some emotions had been held in my body, buried for years. But these emotions were not going to magically disappear by themselves. I had to feel them to let them go. Or perhaps vice versa: I had to let go to feel them.
One day, during a meditation where I was intently focused on my diaphragmatic breathing, I felt the tears coming and I couldn’t stop them. I didn’t want to. I just wanted them to spill out all over. Finally, I was letting something go. I didn’t even know what exactly I was releasing but it felt good to soften my heart, relax my belly, and stop holding all of it in; to just allow it to happen. Afterward, I had a clarity, ease, expansion and feeling of peace that lasted quite a while. It’s startling to me now, how little I had thought about my breathing before. BREATH is our life force! “The way you breathe is the way you live. Full, free breathing is the key to enhancing physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.”
The breath brings you into the present and has the power to heal and transform you. When you begin to pay attention to your breath, you become grounded in your body and the body can only be in the present moment. It’s the mind that is constantly tugging us into the past and the future and that’s where where our fears exist. Fear does not exist in the present. When we are fully in the present moment all we do is see, hear, and feel exactly what is there. Rather than spending 80% of our day thinking (planning, worrying, hoping, regretting, being resentful or retelling our old stories) and 20% in the present we should be doing the reverse.
I used to believe, as many people do, that hope was a good thing but let’s take a better look. Hope is defined as “the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes”. It dawned on me that hope is really no better than worry. It certainly hasn’t helped me to hope. It has only distracted me from finding productive ways of dealing with what is right in front of me just like worrying draws me into trying to predict the future. The definition of worry is “the state of being anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems”. See the similarity. Both send our minds into the future where our circumstances are either better or worse. I’ve noticed at times I slipped into hoping (which is actually not a far cry from praying) –Oh, I hope I will feel better soon. I hope this anxiety will go away. I hope that by next year I will feel ‘normal’ again and be able to get on with my life.
A word that came to me one morning was ‘resilience’–the ability to bounce back or recover from difficulties. I realized I didn’t need to cling on to some hope. What I had developed was much more powerful–RESILIENCE! I had come this far and I was still okay. I was alive! This is my life!! RIGHT HERE! RIGHT NOW!! In this moment, all is well. I’m exactly where I need to be. There’s nowhere to get to. It’s all perfect, RIGHT NOW! All all need to do is breathe and stay present.
To put it in a nut shell, we don’t need a world of delusions or denials, we don’t need pills or even hope. We need to breathe, be in the moment, be in tune with our inner self, feel our feelings and trust in our own resilience. The more you breathe, the more you feel and the more you feel the more alive you are!