By Dr. Anna Pittman, nondual therapist 

As a nondual therapist, the shared skill of allowing energy to move in and around the body is primary. Emotion, or energy in motion, is often suppressed or repressed eventually creating a depression of energy. For various parts of the body from the breath to the musculature there will be a resultant bracing that can unknowingly demand the precise and endless attention required to holding a beach ball under water 24/7.

It appears that we have a national allergy on our hands; an acquired inability to feel coupled with fear. This fear of feeling has legitimized the myths generated from fear about this normal and natural purifying intelligence of the body. We need this connection to in fact know our deepest needs and values. Without feeling we cripple our ability to function, perpetuating the habit of making the body off limits for the discovery of sensation and crucial information. Instead, as many know all too well, we learn to direct the mind upward into thought and evaluation and outward into the environment for projection. Simply, without skillful means we lack the interoception that enables the ability to self-sense and to in turn sense others accurately.

It is common for some to meet a zone of numbness as their attention attempts to move inward. For others, their attention hooks with the feelings, sensations and stories so deeply that they experience collapsing into emotional flooding and overwhelm. This state often leads to excessive worry about what others think of them, often judging themselves too critically as well.

In nondual therapy, feeling allows the mind to optimally include a range of emotional possibilities that helps give us valuable cues and clues. If we cannot sense or decipher these cues we may misread the body’s way of speaking, ignoring its whispers and only hearing its louder screams for attention.

When it comes to experience Peter Russel wisely suggests, “Letting it in and letting it be.” In other words, allow the feeling, any feeling, and all feeling to exist and expand in a meditative way. Deep feeling is much like a meditation in that we can remain choicefully aware of sensation without the need for immediate action. For example, one can feel anger without becoming angry and feel sadness without becoming sad. We do not choose our feelings; they simply rise. When there is a strong emotional trigger, feelings can surface due to memory; a person or event triggers an internal response that we are now responsible for. With practice we can gain discernment and the ability to recognize which feelings are part of suppressed information and which are worth considering for wisdom and action.
In addition, most of us have learned through conditioning which feelings are not permissible and the degree and range of those that are. For example, in one family only Dad is allowed to express anger while the daughters are encouraged to express only happiness or sadness. Part of the practice of feeling is encountering the tension of suppression itself and inviting it to rest so that more energy can flow. As we master this skill, we learn the art of self-regulation gaining access to the secret language of the body. We become clearer, more at rest, and our feelings more accurately align with what is happening in the moment. As nondual therapist together with the person I am working with, we trust the feelings that rise as an indication of whether they are in alignment with their essence or not. If frustration surfaces for example, then one can use it as a cue to recognize an unknown need instead of being frustrated at the frustration.

So, how can we move the energy of feelings in a skillful way? Here are some thoughts:

  1. First, access the willingness to pause and turn attention inward as the first big pivot from reacting and externalizing, exteroception, to interoception.
  2. Personally invite the body to relax, allowing sensations to be with curiosity and open mind. There is, in truth, no need to like or dislike the sensations, but to simply allow.
  3. Mentally release the story of the trigger as completely as possible. This is essential as it keeps the mind from building and validating a bigger, stronger ego structure around the feeling.
  4. Include the space within which this energy movement occurs by widening attention and relaxing the gently alert, open mind through the space within and around the body. Allow the space and the sensations to be one experience.
  5. As the energy disperses, rest in the calm after effect of the experience.
  6. Take the time for discernment before initiating any action.

Simple skills can have profound and long lasting effects on our nervous system. Learning to connect with feelings, resting, connecting with another if appropriate before taking action is certainly one of them.