writing about my life

Breathing the Feelings

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I have come upon this exercise through trial, error and experimentation over years. I call it “Breathing the Feelings”.

What I do is breathe deeply for about 10-15 (or more) slow breaths while realising that the track I have (usually) been on is my thoughts but that I need to allow awareness to spread into my feelings as well. While I breathe I just wait for feelings to come to me, and I gently sense them as I notice them. Sometimes small movements or vocalisations will happen as I groove into the other space.

Usually you find (I did just now) that you weren’t fully aware of your feelings and that you have been living in your head. I found that within myself I had been keyed up… almost panicky, but that I hadn’t **actually known this**. The breathing shifted me to a different mode and as soon as I recognised the background feelings that had been blocked I paid attention to them, and processed, then naturally relaxed and felt more centred.

I think of it as combing the tangles out of my mental hair. Also if you find you have had a stressy day and you want a drink this can substitute very well. If you do it in the morning it sets you up for a better day. In life it seems we can forget ourselves a bit. I think that sometimes people approach meditation by interpreting it as just a thought trip that means staying in their head, but it’s the opposite.

Also I personally sense that being in thought is like a linear sequence of symbols that are steadily being processed, or with more complex thoughts perhaps a branching tree, but when you shift into your feelings they are like a continuous field that you sense as a whole, surrounding and bathing you. The first feelings are often a surprise, and what they are depends I think on your being, life and individual character. I personally find I usually need to *slow down*, as my chief feeling lesson ! A hyper, driven state of being changes into a calmer one. I can’t calm myself like this just through thought alone, because the very thoughts are sustained by the rush. But shift into a different state and things develop better.

Sometimes there’s a reluctance you’ll find in actually taking steps to do the exercise, and you have to summon some amount of “resolve”. It is as if the rational mind and the feeling mind are often at odds, enemies. Once you are locked stably in one it can be an uncomfortable transition to kick into the other, but it’s always worth it as far as I have known. This may indeed be a phenomenon you can connect to all that well-known talk of left and right hemispheres (and male/animus and female/anima modes too.)

But rounded thinking is about combining any separate modes you can, and integrating. Allowing the conscious agents to speak to each other and share or mingle data. That activates more regions of the brain and makes you more aware. I personally see it as trying to combine the passion and vision of the poet with the discipline and precision of the mathematician. That’s why I feel that this growing concept of EQ is a good one for our world. If you pay attention to your feeling self your social environment improves, you complete the equation of “do as you would be done by” more effectively. And you reach out and share with others far better than when you are in “logic only mode”. This benefits everyone concerned. And it can be intellectually enhancing as well as emotionally because your emotions are thinking too, as much modern research has shown.

Even this that I’ve pointed at here is not universal, though, because some other people (not me) may be too much in feeling and not enough in the hyper-rational thought. Horses for courses. Maybe meditation and breathing can bring us all into the centre ground of balance, regardless of start point… but then I’ve never been anyone else so I’m not completely sure about that !

Such exercises seem to bring that little jolt of extra awareness into my thinking and I correct bits found to be out of step with my own unique goals and become more “busy” on life. You want to be in charge, right ? Yet really taking responsibility for your own inner self is actually taking care for the whole universe around you, which your awareness is situated in. To me these exercises which build awareness are not like plunging into an opiate nirvana, they bring reasons for more not less mental activity. But that extra movement makes life more intense, you are working all the muscles harder, and sense that you are more alive.

It’s not always easy, but I’ve found solid rewards start rolling in quite soon if you pay attention to the experiment. Of course any bloggers dream is loads and loads of relevant comments so please add anything you want, o reader.


Written by Luke Dunn

October 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm

One Response

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  1. Interesting. lt,is,of Course, meditation we’re talking about here.Music helps as well as you know.
    Best wishes, Robert Crowe

    Robert Crowe

    October 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

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