Breaking the cycle of thought-based reactions and feeling your way through challenges
I’m sure many of you will identify with the title of this post, and this is a reminder that while it’s natural to have negative feelings, those that stay with us are sustained by the mind. Simply recognising this is an important first step to moving on from difficult emotional times, pushing through the negative cycle.
As you know, the Masterhearting approach involves using the heart, not just the mind to guide us. By connecting through our heart to our Inner Being, we gain access to an infinite source of strength, wisdom and love (and everything else that can help us!)
The role of the heart as a gateway cannot be underestimated. It is where the material body meets the energy bodies, meaning we can feel it both at a physical level and a spiritual one.
This is the foundation of what we will be working on in the next live Masterhearting session, which has emerged through much reflection, over the last couple of weeks, as to why some of us get stuck with certain thoughts and feelings when things happen to us, especially when interacting with others.
(I’ll be honest, it’s been happening to me recently, despite all my work in this area! Again, we teach best what we most need to learn! I am not one of those teachers who claims to have things all worked out and running perfectly; I do, though, insist on taking responsibility and shifting from “life happens to me” to “I happen to life” – so empowering!)
In the session, I will be setting out a couple of techniques that are emerging as a result of this reflection, as I test different interpretations and ways of dealing with those times when we have trouble moving on from events (or people).
The second is actually an extension of the first, which is a quicker, more direct route which may work for you if you already have an ability to deal with these challenges. For those more sensitive and/or analytical among you, who tend to replay unpleasant events to try and understand them but end up perpetuating the negative emotions, I will provide some additional steps to regain your power, peace and joy – to reconnect with your true nature.
Let me outline them here so all of you can give them a try.
First of all, recognise how closely connected our hearts, minds and bodies are connected. All parts affect the whole. But know also that it is our mind that perpetuates feelings and our mind has the power to destroy and heal – regardless of your level of spirituality and consciousness.
The good news is by recognising these truths, and experimenting with connecting, through our heart, to our Inner Being, we can ground ourselves in the truth of the infinite peace, love and joy that transcends any earthly perturbations.
So the first technique involves simply shifting attention from your thoughts in mind to your heart. In our live sessions and especially the guided meditations, we have practised “dropping in”, inducing a state of deep relaxation and focus, then feeling our heart, first as the condensed energy that is the physical organ and surrounding tissues – a warm glow around our heart, then as the expansive energy that is the source of the physical workings of the body.
Sometimes, simply by using the gravitational force of the heart to drop down from our minds into our hearts, we can connect to the infinite energy that is always available to us and so break the cycle.
Other times, we need to go deeper. Recognising and welcoming the thoughts and feelings is the first step to being able to let them go, as you have heard me say many times.
Most negative feelings are based on fears and insecurities: loss or lack (of material things and people or freedom, control, love…), ability or worth, etc. – which are, of course, all in our mind, whether or not there is any basis for them and usually there is not. (Actually I would argue there never is, as even death should hold no fear as I believe we are infinite beings of energy which are simply transformed back into a state of pure energy, but that’s another story!)
Giving ourselves permission to think and feel the fear, insecurities or whatever it is, we can can then drop down even further, to the base of our spine, the area around our coccyx, which contains a collection of nerve endings which give rise to the root energy centre, or root chakra, in spiritual traditions.
The root centre is a focus for our sense of safety, security and physical survival. We can strengthen our sense of strength and safety by drawing energy through this centre.
One of my favourite techniques to do this is to imagine a chord or beam of light connecting the root centre to the centre of the earth, allowing the power of Mother Earth to flow up and into us. We can use this energy and connection both to break down and dissolve our feelings of fear and insecurity and instil a profound sense of grounding and stability.
We can then draw the energy up through our sacral energy centre, responsible for our sense of social survival and pleasure, breaking down the blocks in our relationship with others, up through our solar plexus and back to our heart. Use your breathing to cycle the energy up and down in a circle, up through your spine and down through your chest and stomach, in the process loosening any tension in the stomach from nerves.
There are lots of different techniques for breathing, and you can experiment with what works for you, as long as the breathing is long, deep and slow, something we should do regularly but usually forget to – practise using the diaphragm to really fill your chest and stomach, which may feel strange or even “difficult” (different!) if you are not used to it.
Here, though, I find it easiest if, as I breathe in, I first fill the stomach, then, as I fill my chest, I push the energy (or simply feel it moving) up through the spine. On the exhale, I empty my chest first, then my stomach, pushing the energy back down. It will need a little practise before it stops feeling strange, but after a few cycles it should start to feel smoother and more natural.
Go easy on yourself and at your own pace – there is no wrong way, so if you have trouble with this technique, just settle into a comfortable – but deep – breathing cycle and imagine the energy moving in a cycle up and down your torso. This is just as effective, more so if it allows you to relax more easily instead of concentrating on the technique – which gets you right back in your head, of course! (Though at least you’ll be thinking of something else!)
Finally, feel your heart expand and deepen your sense of connection with the energy and power that is in you and all around you. Feel that grounding and acknowledge that nothing that you or anyone else says or does can affect who you are behind the physical veneer of your human existence. We all make mistakes, we call have moments of ineffectiveness and lack of clarity or communication. It is irrelevant who you feel is responsible for the way you feel (because of events or harsh words), you are responsible for your thoughts and emotions. And, of course, for learning from the event and communicating your feelings, with love, with other people. But first, dissolve any feelings of resentment, guilt, fear, anger or insecurity in the recognition of who you really are beyond the human experience.
We could, of course, go even further and in other (or longer) meditations, you can connect with your inner senses, either by simply listening in to your inner guidance or actively focusing on the other energy centres to gain specific insights into how to communicate better (throat centre) or “see” better (the “third eye”).
That’s a whole other area. For now, I invite you to try the simple “dropping down” technique to shift attention from your mind to your heart, which can, with practice, be used to instantly shift your energy and so how you are feeling from moment to moment, increasing peace and helping your relationship with others and yourself.
And if you need more help to do this, try meditating using the above guide on dropping further down to your root centre to provide the foundations you need to build your sense of power and confidence in dealing with undesired events and unpleasant conversations.
The ultimate goal is to use this connection and grounding to act always out of love – hence the focus on the heart. When we are in alignment and in touch with our truth – our true nature as an expression of the universe, along with all other humans, whatever their level of consciousness – we are better able to live in and at peace. From here, we can act out of love and these techniques remind us of our infinite capacity for love and can allow us to transcend the experience to reconnect with that love.