is a very good exercise to learn to observe our habitual behavior
and emotional postures, many of which we might not be aware.
And our best friends are not going to tell us, if they want
to remain our best friends. It is probably easier to do exercises
to help recognize that we are not our pleasant feelings rather
than to start with exercises to get us to see we are not our
negative and depressed feelings, and that, therefore, we needn't
go grabbing for Prozac. The reason it is easier to be objective
about pleasant feelings is that most of us are already rather
tentative about our good feelings and thoughts. We never quite
trust them as solid--as if the happy stuff is likely to leave
us and disappear at any moment. There is some validity to
this thinking. The recurring thoughts that we are going to
lose our happiness sooner than we want, being fearful thoughts,
do bring on bad feelings. And thus the happiness is usually
very temporary because the fearful thoughts constitute a self-fulfilling
prophecy as they turn into anxious feelings.
have quite the opposite fear with bad feelings. We tend to
see ourselves as set permanently in the cement of our painful
feelings or thoughts, and we believe we need outside help
to set us free (pass the Prozac, please). This time the fear
is that the feelings and thoughts will not go away, and we
are going to feel bad forever. These fearful thoughts keep
engendering more bad feelings. Again, the fear comes true.
That's why the fearful clinging to happiness doesn't work
and the fearful wanting painful feelings to end doesn't work.
Now if we could want our painful feelings to last and try
to keep them they would disappear just as fast as good feelings,
but that is another exercise.
exercise helps put some distance between ourselves and our
feelings. We can put our sensory experiences and thinking
in the passive voice as we are experiencing them. It is easiest
of all to see that we are not our senses, although it is through
our senses that we experience the physical world. If we hear
a bird singing, we can change that to the passive voice, and
observe that bird song is happening. If we see a beautiful
cloud, translated it into the passive voice, we observe that
clouds are happening. If we are very thirsty and are just
ready to down a big glass of water, we can observe that thirst
is being satisfied. Then when we get pretty good at this,
we can start with the negative stuff. Anger is happening,
sadness is happening, fear is happening, instead of I am angry,
I am sad, or I am afraid.
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