Avoiding and being with

Whenever emotions come up and there is an impulse to resist, avoid and escape, at least three things can happen…

One is to go with the escape, which usually means a combination of trying to change the trigger, the triggered, and bringing attention over to something else – often the inside of a story related to the emotion, or something entirely different. The habitual pattern of believing in stories is reinforced, as is the belief in that particular story, and the tendency to escape. Still, it is perfectly OK. It is just what the mind does when it takes stories as real. It is just something to notice and explore.

Another is to bring attention to something else arising here and now, such as the weight of the body. This brings attention out of the story, which means that the habitual pattern if attention going to the inside of stories is weakened over time. At the same time, it may bring attention away from the sensation component of the emotions, and the sensation/story conglomerate is not processed so it will most likely surface again. The belief in the story triggering the emotion in the first place remains, and may – at best – weaken slightly and gradually over time as the attachment to stories in general weakens.

And finally, we can be with what arises, bringing attention to the pure perceptions of the emotions (usually just a sensation) and seeing the stories associated with it (calling it fear, anger, etc.) as just thoughts. This is a more full processing of it, allowing the emotions to be seen/felt/loved, and the belief to surface for further inquiry.

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