What happens when we do nothing at all? When we simply allow the emotion and the movement of the mind to be as it is? Our conditioned habit is thinking we must DO something. Emotions seem to demand action, and since we often pathologize them, we are quickly on the search for a cure or a fix. Because they seem powerful, potentially overwhelming and out of control, and because they are sometimes unpleasant, we often push them away and try to avoid them. But what is it that fears being overwhelmed or losing control? Can we wonder about that, not by thinking about it, but by looking deeply with the light of awareness?
Labeling may happen—it’s part of what the mind does—but we don’t need to mistake the label for the reality itself, and we can notice how a label can imply a whole judgment and storyline. For example, labels such as “depression” or “anger” may instantly suggest something negative and unenlightened, something that “shouldn’t” be happening. Labels also give us the false idea that we know what something is simply because we have a word for it. And not only do we think we know it, but we think that it’s the same “something” that we’ve experienced before, when in reality, we never do step into the same river twice. It’s never really the same anger, the same depression, the same fear, or the same sadness. So if the label pops up, can we simply let it come and go, and then open to a deeper exploration?
Can we experience the emotion as pure sensation? Can we feel it in the belly, the chest, the shoulders, the back, the throat, the jaw, the forehead, the heart—wherever in the body it shows up? Can we go deeply into these sensations and discover what is at the very heart of them? Is ANYTHING there at the core? And are these sensations solid and unchanging, or do they move and vibrate, coming and going, appearing and disappearing? How does it feel in the body to be angry or depressed or afraid? Where do we feel it? What is it like? Not to answer these questions, but to look and listen. To look and listen with open curiosity and wonder, without coming to conclusions.