Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
What happens when you make a goal, decide to do something you have never done before or to go to a new place where you don’t know anyone? Listen to your body it has a special message for you. Can you feel it? That knot in your stomach or chest that feels bad. Go ahead and invite it up and just stay with the feeling for a while and observe it. This feeling does not feel good, does it?
Most people deal with bad feelings in three ways: they express, suppress or escape.
Here is an example of expressing or venting. A person meets a friend and complains, shouts or cries and dumps the feeling on the other person. This alters the feeling into action and may even give some short-term relief. It will not eradicate the feeling, it merely relieves the pressure for now. The person listening may really want to help, but it does not feel pleasant spending time with someone who is verbally throwing up on you. This can lead to further distress when the guilt kicks in and we regret saying what we did, or the way we behaved.
To suppress or hide is the most common and most detrimental thing a person can do with the feeling. When you push a feeling down the result is that it causes the repressed energy to build up leading to stress. Eventually, you are driven automatically to act in ways that you don’t like, and would not do if you were not being driven by the feelings. Eventually, these suppressed feelings will sabotage you by taking their toll on your emotional and physical health.
We try to cope or escape the bad feelings by watching TV, going out, having a drink, smoking, exercising, playing music – something and anything to get away from that disquieting, perturbing and vexing feeling. However, the feeling does not go away. you still have it. It has just gone underground and it is sabotaging you even though you may not be aware of it.
Today I would like to offer another alternative to dealing with negative emotions. Just do nothing. Sit and stay still and remain quiet for a couple of minutes. Focus on your breath, breathe in through your nose and out your mouth slowly. Do this several times and you will calm down and feel better.
Our feelings and thoughts are well-wired together. Everything starts with a thought. How do you know you are thinking wrong thoughts? You feel bad. You have let a bad thought into your head and have chosen to have give and take with it. The more give and take you have with the thought the worse you feel. The opposite is also true. If you have a good thought and have give and take with it. you will feel great.
I would like to share a story about a student of mine and how she changed.
Junko was an office clerk for an insurance company in Tokyo. She liked to analyze everything to see the problems in life and was always very serious, grumpy and miserable. She kept her feelings suppressed and dealt with people only on an intellectual level. A real hard worker. She was always first into the office in the mornings and one of the last to leave a night. In her head, she was honest and hardworking and always busy.
Every time there was a meeting others would talk about the positive things happening with clients, how things were improving and the goals previously set were being achieved. Then it would come to Junko’s turn to speak and she would just shoot out problem after problem after problem. By the time she finished everyone would feel like they just wanted to run away and have a shower.
One day there was a meeting scheduled for 7 pm. Junko had been in the office from 6:30 am, and all day she had a migraine headache. She pushed on past the pain but it grew worse as the day went by. When she entered the meeting she was hardly able to stand and actually collapsed. Everyone rushed to help her. She was taken to the nearest hospital and it turned out that she had a stroke. The doctors worked on her for 20 hours straight they had one problem after another. Eventually, they finished and had given the best service they could. Now it would be up to Juko and fate to decide what would happen next. Junko fell into a coma and stayed there for 6 months. Her family supported her every day coming sitting and talking to her. Eventually, she came out of the coma, but she had lost the ability to use her left arm and leg. She would have to give up work and stay home. This news and situation drove Junko into a state of heavy depression. She just wanted to die. Her mother was a very strong woman and she told Junko that she was not prepared to let Junko just lie down and die.
“You can overcome this situation it is just going to take time and effort, but you can do this!”
Junko returned home depressed and spent all her time in her room. Her mother made sure she had lots of positive influences surrounding her and filling her head. She brought freshly cut flowers every day. Bought Junko’s favourite foods etc. Everyday Junko had the poor me thinking going on, and she felt terrible.
Eventually, a travelling monk came to the house and he was very powerful in everything he did. His walk, talk, gestures and his laugh. No one could resist his positive influence.He was like a modern-day Buddha. He came into Junko’s room, bowed to her, and asked her how long was she planning to stay here in this situation? This shocked her because she had the “victim mentality” that there was nothing she or anyone else could do. She said she didn’t understand what the monk was asking. He scolded her strongly for being weak and informed her that he was going take her to his temple and within a year she would be back to normal. She made several excuses for not going, but the monk had made up his mind. there was no negotiating. He left and made arrangements for Junko to come to his temple within three days.
The monk made a daily, weekly and monthly schedule for training Junko. This was made up of meditation, physical therapy, massage and purification of mind and body. She would sit in a cold river and clean her mind of all impurities for an hour a day. On weekends she was taken to a waterfall and she sat under the waterfall for two hours. After a month she started to feel better. After 6 months she could walk and use her arm a little. Junko changed her thinking and became open to what the monk was teaching her. Within a year Junko was fully recovered and was like a new person. Completely changed internally and externally. She laughed and played with the monk, made friends with everyone she met and shared her experience with anyone who was down. She returned home met a man fell in love got married and lives now in Kawasaki.
She came to my dojo and wanted Aikido lessons with me. She became one of the top instructors in Kanagawa. Tough love saved Junko. However, she dug down deep, deep, deep inside and found that the resource she needed was inside. She learnt how to let go of things to extend positive energy and to let whatever happens be ok. Every day she spends time externally doing nothing. But internally she is dealing with the things that have been suppressed for years, loving them and letting them go. When you meet Junko you feel so peaceful, calm and that she understands everything about you, without you having to say a word. The love that she extends is so unconditional no one likes to say goodbye to her. You also have this power within. Why not take the time and discover the genuine you?
“All you need is to go inside and find the power within. Solutions are not found externally”
Until next time I wish you peace love and success. Martin Sensei