2 Exercises That Help With Emotional Distress
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2 Exercises That Help With Emotional DistressHelp Yourself To Step Back From A Crisis
When you are in the throes of emotional distress, the world can seem like a very dark place.
Since the mind is more powerful than your physical environment, even if you are sitting on a sunny park bench, your mind could be in a treacherous, stormy inner landscape colored by fear and suspicion.
You might be in the exact same physical space as someone else, but if she just won the lottery and you just lost your dog, your internal worlds would determine your experience within your material environment. You would be in different “places,” figuratively speaking.
In my book, Uncharted, I have 2 exercises to do which can take your mind away from the intense pain you are experiencing in that moment by shifting your perspective of the situation.
The Awakening the Observing Self exercise uses my Invision Process to help you step back from your emotional reality, observe it as a landscape, and identify its features. Awakening your observing abilities allows you to not feel so immersed in the experience that you identify with it and can’t see any way out of it.
So let’s go to the Realm of Spirit and wake up that Observing Self. Just as with any of the Invision Process exercises in my book, Uncharted, find a quiet, private place to do this exercise, and have your journal or pen and paper handy.
Exercise 1: Awakening the Observing Self
Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
Tune into your current state of mind. Without any judgment of yourself—without trying to figure out what you should be feeling or thinking—just describe your state of mind in three adjectives (for example, happy, mellow, tired or angry, fearful, blaming).
Now, ask yourself, “Where am I?”
Let a landscape comes up in your mind’s eye and simply observe it. You might see a meadow filled with poppies and chirping birds—or, conversely, a volcano beside a burned down forest.
Then open your eyes and write down a description of the place you saw or sensed. You might have seen it vividly, or if you’re less visual, you might have gotten an instant knowing that the place would have certain characteristics.
Let your imagination wander and deliver you images or information that you just somehow “know.” Don’t try to force anything. This process requires your unconscious to be actively engaged in showing you symbols and images, and when you relax, it will.
Close your eyes again and allow the place to come up again in your awareness.
Now that you’re looking at the place rather than being focused on your feelings, pay attention to how your attention is shifting. Notice what is changing.
Then ask yourself, “Who is the one looking at this place?”
Tune your attention to the one who is looking—your Observing Self.
How does this self feel different from the self that sat down at the beginning of this exercise?
What words or images come to mind to describe the difference?
Open your eyes and write about what you just observed.
The small self can be thought of as the younger self, brash and a bit of a know-it-all, while the Observing Self is the older and wiser Witness, more philosophical and detached and less reactive to outer circumstances. Remember, the Observing Self is your soul self, which is immortal and directly connected to Source or Spirit.
This Observing Self makes no judgments; it enables you to be discerning, seeing the qualities of something without creating emotions or a story about it. The small self assigns meaning according to memory, which is always colored by our emotional perception.
The soul self just observes “cat bite,” and doesn’t care if cat bites or doesn’t bite. It wants to have a full experience. It observes, and it experiences all aspects of the human condition. By working through us, it makes possible the art we make of our human life.
I teach everyone I train in the Invision Process my favorite thing to say when accessing the Observing Self: “That’s interesting.”
Now that you have experienced the Observing Self, you can awaken it again to bring yourself home to the Realm of Spirit, a sanctuary you can visit at any time, using the following exercise that picks up where the previous exercise left off.
Exercise 2: At Home in the Realm of Spirit
When you feel at home in your skin, safe and secure, you are in the Realm of Spirit. Pick a time when you are feeling relaxed; then sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing until you feel even more relaxed. Choose to create a feeling of security and safety within yourself. Then ask yourself, “Where am I?”
What image or idea of a landscape comes into your mind?
Pay attention to the qualities of the place you see. What is it—a temple? An open field? A beach? Is there a breeze? What does it feel like against your skin? Is there greenery—grass, bushes, trees, flowers? What is the quality of the light?
Bring your attention now to being in the position of Observing Self. You should immediately begin to sense a calm, mindful detachment as you witness the place from a distance—pull back from it, like a camera backing away from the scene.
As you pull away from identifying with the place and the feelings you are experiencing in this landscape, imagine that you see this place is sitting in the hands of Spirit, whose giant hands are made up of sparkling light energy and unconditional love. Pause there for a moment, enjoying the beauty and the grace.
Now allow yourself to move back into the landscape and relax into this unique sanctuary. Wander around the landscape exploring, taking in all that you see and hear. When you are ready, come back into your ordinary consciousness.
Afterward, write down your experiences while exploring this place.
Did you see anyone there? Were there any animals or objects that stood out for you?
What was it like knowing you were always in the hand of God?
Write about your feelings, or draw a picture to show what you experienced.
In the realm of Spirit, your intention allows you to attain far greater wisdom than you can in the Realm of Form, the everyday world of the senses, where you're relying on just your five senses and your conscious mind and its intellect to figure out how to change what your don't like about your life.
By repeatedly performing both of these exercises you will have given yourself 2 very important tools for connecting with the Realm of the Spirit which in turn will allow you to connect four more realms; mind, light, energy and form.