It is difficult for most people to be still and silent, and to meditate. This is because the difficult feelings that we have been avoiding with all of our distractions busyness always arise first. We rarely feel peaceful when we meditate because we have so much under the surface that wants to be felt and accepted.
There are ways to meditate, such as with mantras that serve to focus or force the mind to be silent. This kind of meditation is more of a trance or a controlling/numbing of what wants to arise into our awareness, rather than a sense of open awareness that is creatively game to feel everything.
Repressed Feelings are Resisted Feelings
Consider that most of the activity of our thinking and doing is designed to defend ourselves against resisted emotions. Emotions hold tremendous energy. Feeling your emotions as energy - without thinking about them or putting a story to them - is a powerful way to creatively accept whatever is arising in the moment.
When anxiety comes up in the stillness there is usually a difficult feeling underneath the anxiety that we have stuffed, avoided or distracted ourselves away from. Anxiety most often indicates that something is arising from within that we do not want to feel. Repressed feelings are resisted feelings and they take a great deal of life force energy to continually push down.
Difficult Emotions Hold Large Amounts of Life Energy
Most people do not want to feel difficult emotions and yet the bigger the emotion, the more intense the energy. When you feel big emotions to completion, more life-force energy is made available to fuel your passionate and creative life. You might notice that whenever you have a difficult or an unwanted emotion, you immediately assume that something must be wrong. You may begin to look outside of yourself for the cause. Your anxiety might try to attach itself to any given thing such as a person who was irking you, a situation at home or at work. We can always find many things to attach our anxiety to.
When I did this collage several years ago I had been struggling intensely with emotional flooding. I always feel my emotions hugely, and at that time I was feeling overtaken by them. I felt engulfed with suffering and resistance to my sadness, my anger and my fear. I was having a hard time being present for what was arising within. The roses surrounding the skeleton seemed to perfectly express all positive affirmations that I was superimposing on top of my life to keep my repressed emotions at bay.
I was still wondering what I was doing wrong to be feeling so much, so deeply, and so intensely. I was intent on discovering what I needed to change in my life to have my emotions go away. I decided to go for a long walk to meditate on the source of my anxiety. After a long while, I finally realized with utter certainty that that there was nothing outside myself that was the cause of my heavy emotional states. Outside events can only trigger what is already inside of us. So as I stopped projecting my emotions out onto my life, my discomfort intensified inside.
Finding something or someone to to blame and project our difficult emotions onto seems to relieve our anxiety for a time but only serves to create havoc in our outside world. We can choose instead to hold our emotional state, and allow it to intensify inside until it becomes more intense and then dissipates. Repressed emotions often become stronger at first and then they begin to move as they were originally intended to move. Energy in motion = emotion. When we allow the energy - the pressure of repressed emotions - to have their time in our witnessing awareness we are always made larger and suddenly can handle more of life.
Holding and allowing difficult emotions to intensify, peak and release into a state of relaxation is an exhausting process at first because we usually try to resist, or distract away from the feeling process. Staying open takes effort. Feeling fully stretches us our capacity for witnessing presence enormously. When you resist the temptation to find a cause for anxiety outside of yourself, your fears and anxieties will burn inside of you with nowhere to go. This is often highly uncomfortable - if you resist the process. If you go along with the natural energy flow of your emotional states as they peak and intensify it can be a very creative and enlarging experience instead.
We are most often used to expressing or projecting our emotional energy outward to try to get rid of it. You might, for example, be tempted to start a fight with a loved one to let off some steam. You might try to get extremely busy trying to "solve" your "problem" so as to dissipate your energy. Or you might find a reason to hate your life and want to make grand gestured to change it drastically and unreasonably.
But today, try to feel everything that is arising with an open heart and with as much inner strength and presence as you can muster. Keep your heart open to your fear, your sadness, your anger, or your despair as long as you can without distracting away from or denying your feelings. Feel the energy of your feelings move and shift through your body with as much curiosity as you can muster. Make it a creative process. Does the feeling have a shape, a location, a color, a sound, or a visual symbol? Try to sense your feeling as energy.
There are infinite rewards on the other side of your strength and willingness to feel your emotions without the goal of changing them or resisting them. They immediately become unfrozen and begin to move and change of their own natural accord. Feeling deeply with no intention to change a resisted emotion can be exquisite if you can learn to ride the energy of the feeling. Eventually there is an integration - an inclusion of what was unaccepted before - and a release into a greater capacity for presence. There is always an end to a difficult feeling.
It is hard to verbalize how it feels to come through on the other side of a difficult feeling. It is like coming clean or feeling newly born. There is no longer such a need to do or think so much to avoid what we do not want to feel. Coming out on the other side of an emotion that has been avoided for a long time imbues us with power and a much stronger sense of presence. I can only describe this strength of presence of as feeling "original", authentic and utterly at peace. It is as though you recover who you were before you repressed the emotion - rewarded with all the reclaimed energy of the stifled emotion. Intense emotions such as fear, anger and sadness and loneliness contain large amounts of energy - and this is a good thing. You can use that once stagnant energy to create and move your life forward!
"In the less conscious person suffering is perceived as coming from the outside. This defense against suffering or more accurately against the expansion of consciousness that can embrace suffering in a new way is a defense against the very movement of evolution."
Excerpted from the 30 Days of Inspired Creativity E-Course