The mind sometimes scares itself through attaching sensations to stories, making the stories seem solid, real, and scary. And then it avoids feeling those sensations, since those sensations seem scary and uncomfortable.
There are several ways the mind avoids feeling these sensations with images and words attached to them. One is by going into stories to distract itself from feeling the sensations.
It can seem counter intuitive, but the mind will sometimes even go into scary and painful stories in order to avoid feeling something that seems uncomfortable.
A common reaction to hearing this is to think that scary or painful thoughts create fear and pain, they don’t help me escape them. In my experience, they do both. There is a scary or uncomfortable feeling. In order to escape it, the mind sometimes goes into further scary thoughts creating fear and pain, and it does so in order to not actually rest with and feel the sensations. The sensations are there, and are often noticed and even felt to some extent, but they are not rested with since attention is caught in the fearful and painful stories.
When the mind is caught in stories, the noticing and feeling of sensations is half hearted and partial. It’s actually a way of avoiding feeling it in a more restful and allowing way. And resting with and feeling it in a more allowing way is what allows the mind to eventually relax, and see that the sensations are sensations and not really that scary, and that it doesn’t have to go into stories to avoid feeling it. At least, it’s the beginning of it. Often we need to intentionally separate out sensations and stories (images and words), and ask ourselves some simple questions to see that that’s what they are, and also ask some questions to see what additional stories and sensations are associated with it.
Said another way, the mind will sometimes create drama to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings. It tells itself it’s feeling it, and it’s partially true, but it’s feeling it in the midst of being caught up in stories and drama. And that tends to fuel the sense that the sensations are scary, and also the drama the mind uses to distract itself.
Another side to this is this: (a) We have wounds (velcro, beliefs, identifications) waiting to be triggered. These are often initially created in childhood, and then recreated until we take a closer look at them. (b) These are triggered by life circumstances. (c) It seems scary and painful to feel the sensations and look at the associated images and words. (d) We go into stories instead, and these stories are usually about the current triggering situation. We distract ourselves from feeling and looking by going into the stories about the current situation.
This also means that although there may be things we need to take care of in the current situation, what’s going on in us isn’t what we think or tell ourselves is going on. What’s really going on is that something old (and also new since it’s here now) is triggered in us, we avoid feeling and looking at it, and attention instead go and get absorbed into stories about the current triggering situation.