How do we relate to uncomfortable thoughts and sensations?
We can avoid them. Be present with them. Or invite them to resolve.
Each one has its place.
Avoiding can be useful in the short run. But nothing is resolved, the discomfort tends to return, and avoidance in itself can create problems in life.
Being present with the images, words, and sensations can be helpful. It tends to help the mind calm down. We may notice what’s there, some of the dynamics of the mind, and perhaps have some insights. But in itself, this too won’t neccesarily resolve anything.
So how do we resolve it? It can be resolved through the consciousness side or the energy side, and really through both. I’ll just mention the few approaches I am familiar with, out of the innumerable ones available.
We can identify and examine the stressful beliefs, and find what’s more true to us (The Work). We can notice and rest with the mental images, words, and sensations creating the stressful experience, allowing the mental connection between the thoughts and sensations to dissolve (Living Inquiries). We can dissolve it from the energy side while inviting in insights to support the new patterns (Vortex Healing). We can change our relationship to it through heart centered practices (tonglen, ho’o, metta).
In general, we can meet it with presence, patience, respect, kindness, and curiosity. And that curiosity is a kind of inquiry supported by certain pointers, guidelines, and perhaps practices aimed at helping us see what’s already there. The truth is kind, and it will set us free.
Another meta-skill is important for something to resolve and that’s intention. Intention for it to resolve and clear. Intention for us and the process to keep moving, to find and explore associated and underlying beliefs and identifications.
It also helps to notice that all of it – any movements and any content of experience, including the stressful beliefs and how we relate to and explore it – happens within and as presence. That’s the context for it all. And it helps us notice identfications with wanting something to change, and then notice that too as happening within and as presence. It gives it all more space and freedom to be.