By Adam J. Pearson
So, a thought pops up and says:
“I shouldn’t be feeling what I feel right now…”
That’s a good one! Can you absolutely know that’s true?
What’s the reality?
You’re feeling it!
Reality has spoken.
You should be feeling what you are feeling, because you are. That’s the reality.
How do you know when you shouldn’t be feeling it anymore? Because you’re no longer feeling it.
This is the simple truth that reality, rather than oppositional thought, reveals:
You should feel the way you do when you do,
And you shouldn’t feel that way anymore when you don’t.
This way of seeing doesn’t resist reality; it flows with it. ‘Shoulds’ that oppose reality become ‘shoulds’ that harmonize with what is. And then the resistance flows out like melting snow.
Based on my experience, I would suggest that you’ll be amazed how emotions tend to simply flow through when they aren’t resisted.
We can think of an emotion like a backpacker on a journey. This emotional backpacker simply wants to pass through a border crossing. That’s all this fellow wants. To show up, stay a while, and move on through.
Now, suppose he–or she, emotions don’t have gender–gets to the border and the border guards give him a really hard time, saying:
“You shouldn’t be here, sir. You don’t have the right paperwork, sir.
It says here that your name is “Anger Sorrow Fear The 3rd,” but we only want to allow through people named “Happy Joyous Peace.” You don’t fit our profile, sir.
We need to keep you in holding. You can’t pass through. You need to stay here, sir.”
So, the emotion gets stuck there. Because the mind resists, the feeling persists.
The backpacker can’t move on through. He stays stuck right at the border that would let him out of the body for hours, days, weeks, or months.
Why? Because some border guard thought is arguing with reality saying he shouldn’t be there!
What would happen if the border guards just let him through, if your thoughts just said “this emotion is here right now, so it should here be until it isn’t. Let’s embrace it while it’s here, pleasurable or painful, let it show up however it wants to show up”?
What would the backpacker do now that the border easily lets him pass?
He’d move on.
He’d come in, stay a while, and pass on, as backpackers do. Feelings are backpackers; thoughts that say emotions shouldn’t be where they are are border guards that keep them stuck in the body.
In the absence of those thoughts, feelings simply flow through. Thanks for coming, feelings. See ya!
Even if those thoughts that oppose what’s here *do* arise, just question them! Is it true? Can you absolutely know it’s true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without it? No sweat!
So, how do you know that you should be feeling whatever you’re feeling at a given moment? You’re feeling it!
Until you’re not. Then you shouldn’t be feeling it.
Note: This article is not suggesting that if you are in an abusive relationship or situation, then you should talk yourself into staying in it. Leaving such a situation, through the support of family, friends, and helping professionals, can be the most loving thing you can do for yourself and others. If this is your situation and you’re wondering how to do it, here are some tips.
Harmonizing our thoughts with what is doesn’t mean that we have to remain stagnant in any given situation. Life, like a river, flows. Harmonizing with the flow can mean flowing out of an unhealthy situation too. One thing is certain; if you give yourself permission to feel what you feel in any given moment along the way, you’ll travel much lighter over territory you’d be traversing anyway.
As a second note, the four simple questions used to question thoughts that I mentioned above are known as Byron Katie’s the Work.
If you want a free tool to help you question your stressful or painful thoughts about other people, or about yourself, check out the Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet.