Questioning our negative feelings can greatly support us in letting them go, yet be careful of questions that are in fact counterproductive, providing disastrous results.
People often think that it is necessary to know why they feel about what they feel, as if by understanding why they feel a certain way will greatly help them in their healing process.
Unfortunately it doesn't quite work this way.
This can be seen with addicts in rehabilitation centres, who often have a prior understanding of the causes of their addiction, yet this same understanding did not allow them to clear it.
Asking our self a why question, such as ‘why do I feel this way?’ creates two potentially dangerous pitfalls for us. The first pitfall is that the mind can easily fail to grasp the true cause of our feelings, as feelings do not follow the mind's logic.
“Feelings do not follow the logic of the mind”
The second and more dangerous pitfall is the tendency to ignore or disconnect from our feelings when we think we understand them. That is, we may begin to rationalize our experiences rather than actually feel them. To some this may feel better because they are not feeling their painful feelings and may draw the conclusion that asking the ‘why’ question has cleared their feelings or solved their problem. Unfortunately any conclusion of this sort hinders our healing and only encourages our suffering to continue.
“Not feeling is not the same as feeling gone”
For when we are in our heads and we cannot feel our feelings any more, this does not mean that the feelings are actually cleared. It simply means our feelings are suppressed in the body, and if we suppress our feelings long enough, the pressure from our suppressed feelings begins to force us to act out dysfunctional behaviours, supported and magnified by the creation of negative beliefs.
“To ask why is to ask to suffer more”
In short, trying to heal our feelings by only understanding them through our mind is an unhelpful exercise.
Conversely to the why question, asking ourselves ‘what we feel?’ deepens our connection with our feelings. It is only when we are truly connected to our feelings, can it then clear, along with any associated negative beliefs.
“Clear the feeling by fully feeling it”
A helpful tip for when we are uncertain about what we feel, is to begin by asking ‘where do I feel this feeling in the body?’ and then stop, listen and feel, how the body responds.
The following example illustrates how these ‘what and where’ questions can work in practise.
When we ask ‘why?’ we have typically taken our awareness away from the body in order to engage the thinking mind, that is, we have lost the connection with our feelings.
“Create the invitation”
A more effective approach is to create the invitation for the feelings to heal. Ask yourself the question ‘what do I feel?’ and then allow yourself to completely feel the body, feel the emotion, creating the opportunity for the feelings to fully release and clear.
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Published: November 2017