OK, so once we’ve been over and over all the heavy things that happened to us, all the neglect and abandonment and isolation – all the wounds that shut us down when we were too small to know it wasn’t our fault, that it wasn’t really us that was the problem but the fucked-upness of the person looking after us. And after we’ve acknowledged that these present day experiences that keep sending us spiralling into agony or depression over and over again are mostly echoes of our unexpressed agonies of the past and not really direct reactions to today’s events at all. Then what? We can’t keep just listing and listing all the shit things that happened to us. Where’s the redemption?
The next step is to switch off the mind when it hurts. Switch off the thinking, the going over and over what just happened, what he said, what she did, what unfair events have just befallen you, and just feel the intense sensation of it in your body. It’s usually up the middle, somewhere between your belly and your eyes, or in my case, the whole central channel, often throbbing with waves of pulsing hurt. Aching, burning, bursting. My mind still wants to think and picture scenarios of why it hurts. Stories of what might have been or what I might do next. Or what I should have done. But no, come back to just the feeling of it, not the story about it. The sensation alone is what will free me, because all that’s really happening is that there are unfelt sensations that have built up in me from long ago, been triggered, and just need to be fully experienced here and now. That’s it. Simple. Feel what it feels like physically.
Lie back, breathe into where it’s pulsing. Imagine your nostrils are there in the middle of the pain. Dare not to think. Just feel. Imagine it’s only a physical sensation, that’s all. Then, wave by wave, like grateful, melancholy ghosts, each one will slip out of your rib cage and, having been felt, hurt no more.
And you don’t have to be in direct reaction to pain to be in avoidance. By never sitting still, by always feeling the need to be experiencing ‘something’, we are really, unconsciously, running from the risk of feeling uncomfortable. One way I have always done this is by filling every silent, spacious moment with an activity. This is the root of addiction. Filling up the space. It might be email, phone-calls, shopping, food, or ingesting a substance like cigarettes, coffee or drugs. Anything to get away from the Nothing. So why? What’s wrong with space? What’s wrong with nothing? I asked myself this today when I was in resistance to just sitting still. And the answer came back – ‘It’s boring’. And so I asked myself, ‘what does that really mean?’ And it came to me that the word ‘boring’ is a very misleading one. To me at least, ‘Boring’ implies nothingness, stillness, a lack of stuff, dull, uninteresting. But really, ‘Boring’ is a mass of uncomfortable feelings and emotions and sensations. ‘Boring’ is far from empty and nothingy, far from uninteresting. It’s full. Full of loads of arising pains and negative feelings I want to avoid. “Boring’ doesn’t really exist. ‘Uncomfortable’ does. ‘Insecure’ does. ‘Twitchy’ certainly does. But ‘Boring’ doesn’t really mean anything. I think ‘Boring’ is a trick word I use to justify never being still, and sideline the fact that I don’t need something to do because otherwise I’ll feel dull. I need something to do because otherwise I’ll feel full of discomfort in a million ways.