My heart feels tender as I turn a loving gaze upon some uncomfortable feelings. Anxiety. Guilt. Failure. Frustration. Oh, and did I mention anxiety? I’ve come a long way from the days when I suffered from serious depression and intense self-hatred. I’m on a pretty even keel, most days. But lately, I’m acutely aware that bits and pieces of some old patterns still remain, lingering in the shadows.
I’ve learned how to process my emotions with much more awareness, and I know the importance of being gentle with myself. I can manage my Inner Critic so she doesn’t torture me, and I’ve got a reliable set of stress-busters to call upon as needed. My spiritual practices uplift me, while time in nature keeps me grounded. These are some of the things help me stay balanced. Yet, the most powerful medicine has been the recognition of my True Nature. I’m no longer completely hooked by the idea that my body, my stories, and the feelings and thoughts that pass through me, define who I am.
Does this mean I never feel fearful, upset, or uncomfortable? No. The other day my car skidded out of control on a patch of ice. Was I scared? Yes. Even after I arrived home safely, I felt afraid. What about the next time I need to drive down my steep, windy, icy road? Should I hole up at home for the rest of the winter and avoid driving altogether? Next in the parade of worries came the financial concerns: My insurance company balked at accepting my claim for damages to my vehicle.
Letting go of the train of thoughts skidding out of control in my head, I brought my attention down into my body. Here’s what I found: A contraction around my heart. An uncomfortable vibration in my nervous system. Then, I noticed a sense of a bigger space, in which the vibration was moving. A sense of a bigger space in which all that I typically think of as “me” was being held with compassion…Big Compassion.
Seeing the distress of my personality-self through the eyes of this Big Compassion, all is accepted and allowed to be as it is. All is embraced within a larger energy field…a field of spacious awareness. All is permeated by a loving consciousness. Everything is ok. All is forgiven. It’s like a giant hug that has no arms…no boundaries or limits. That one who gives the hug with no arms, that’s my True Nature…my True Self.
I’ve discovered, in my own awakening process, that there is a natural flow of expansion and contraction. When I contract in fear or resistance, there is a temporary forgetting of who I really am. There is a condensing down that seems to solidify the small identity…the identity I think of as “Sajit”…the identity tied to this body, this personality, and these fleeting emotions and thought streams. When contraction is happening, I know there is something that yet needs to be seen, and then seen-through. Contraction doesn’t mean something’s gone wrong. Contraction doesn’t call for self-flagellation. Contraction calls for the pause button.
Big Compassion is always there. When I’m able to remember to shift my attention and look through Compassion’s eyes, the contraction begins to unwind. I can relax into the safety of the arm-less hug. As I identify once more with my True Nature, expansion occurs, naturally.
It’s like breathing. It’s like the flow of the tides. BIG COMPASSION…TRUE SELF…contraction…small identity…suffering…BIG COMPASSION…TRUE SELF.
Don’t sweep your uncomfortable feelings under the proverbial rug. Don’t try to hide them from yourself and pretend they aren’t there. What they need is to be embraced with Big Compassion. Give yourself the world’s biggest hug!