Along my spiritual path one of the best pieces of advice I ever received was in a class at Unity of Fairfax. I believe it was a study on metaphysics, ideas involving human existence. I clearly remember another participant feeling strongly about a concept. Once she was able to verbalize her understanding, our facilitator told her to, “Stop talking and sit with it.”
At the time, I did not know how important that instruction would become in my life. That same instructor said those exact words to me many times in the years to follow. Although I have not seen her in years, her words still ring through my ears.
I have been analyzing the idea of working through life’s challenges. So much of what we are taught is contradicting. Don’t dwell, move one. It’s in the past, remember where you came from. Let it go, hang on. I use to find of all it confusing and exhausting. Then I discovered that these contradictions led to a balance in my life. The act of working through the past to create a healthier future brought me back to the present moment.
When something negative happens, it is tempting to ignore the frustration and pain, but I now know it is not helpful. When I dwell on the past, I start to create a future based on those false truths. My mind bounces back and forth between the past and the future. I completely overlook the present moment. I lose my energy and myself to moments and thoughts that are not truly there.
My current process to cope with unpleasant feeling is to sit with them. This does not mean to dwell, it means to allow them to have an affect. Feel the feelings rather than avoid them. It is unpleasant, but necessary for my spiritual development. This can take minutes, days, or even weeks. I know I am ready to move on when the feelings no longer arise. Not that I forget, that I have allowed my feelings to become memories rather than full on emotions. I am able to accept my past, so that I can envision a future based in truth rather than creating once out of pain and fear.
However a person chooses to deal with life’s unpleasantness, they need to face it in their own way. Dwelling in the past or creating an unrealistic future takes energy from a person and the present moment. I have discovered a profound balance in this process. This journey has led me back to the present moment, which is all there is.
Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go. ~Unknown