This is part 2 in a two part article. If you missed the first one, you can read it here.
Make the move from mad to sad
In order to feel your way out of the cave, you have to find a way to look at things with new eyes. Finding a change in perspective depends upon an exchange of emotions. Typically the change goes from mad to sad but, sometimes from sad to mad and back to a different kind of sad, the sadness of futility.
If you are starting from sad, it is important to note that, surrendering to sadness is not the same as self pity. Pity asks “Why me?”. Sadness and tears often occur in the face of self pity. In contrast, tears of futility say, “Ok I surrender, I will stop talking and listen now. What is it that I need to learn here?”. This second kind of inquiry is open to change and matches with tears of futility.
So, once you reach futility, who is that you’re listening to? Listen to yourself. Listen to your heart as opposed to listening to your ego. Typically, people think that listening to yourself means thinking things through and making sense out of your thoughts. If you’ve been depressed for a while, chances are you’ve already tried that. This listening is the opposite of thinking. It requires quieting your mind.
You cannot listen when you are thinking. Listening is non verbal.
Close your eyes and feel your breath. It’s not easy and it might not happen right away but, listen to your breath without guiding or controlling it. Once you have your focus honed, start to notice the sensations and physical experience of emotion in your body. Be aware of where you feel the emotion? What qualities does the emotion have?
Notice the ways in which the sensations change and/or move. Be present to the change or movement without comment. Also, observe the places where sensation seems stagnant. Notice the sensation of stagnation.
While the main goal is to stay non verbal in you’re noticing, over time you can become aware of the types of thoughts that interrupt your silence. Mentally say, “planning, judging, remembering…”. Then, gently let the thoughts go and return to sensation.
Continue to practice for 5-10 minutes. Return to sensation and listening every time your mind wonders into its habitual thought patterns.
**Your mad does not have to turn to sad before you start listening. Just make sure that you are listening to sensation rather than thought.
Why does this work?
You are letting your body/mind Process Information
All of that feeling, is information. Cellular communication is being read and processed by your body-mind in nonverbal ways. Your central nervous system is processing emotional information without getting interrupted by thoughts and ideas arising in the linguistic areas of the brain. Focusing on the sensation without words is a change of perspective.
Tuning your awareness in to listen to yourself, in a non verbal way, allows your brain to process and integrate your feeling states.In case you haven’t heard it before depression and anxiety are feeling states. They usually arise in your unconscious as a familiar discomfort that elicits familiar negative thought processes.
Backing up to the felt sense or, emotion – energy in motion – allows the emotion to integrate. Once some of the emotion is integrated, the brain has less emotional clutter. Then, you can begin to find the insight required to work around the problem.
Here’s a Cole’s notes list to help you remember the steps
- Emotions are energy in motion pushing you to remember your worth.
- Embrace your emotions, treat them as messengers.
- Remember the difference between surrender and pity.
- Listen in a non verbal way.
- Remember that developmental behavioural patterns are resistant to change.
- Allow futility to lead you to adaptation.