Step One: Notice

September 6, 2008 by gus

Step one is to notice you are feeling something. (You are feeling something right now in response to this text) Notice what and where you feel it in your body. Is it in your arm? Is it in your stomach? Is it in your leg? Is it in your head? Does your bottom hurt? What does it feel like? Is it a deep pain? Is it pressure? Is it sharp? Is it dull? Is it just a general feeling of malaise?

I would start by looking for frustration. The traffic light hasn’t changed. The neighbor’s dog is too loud. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I’m sad. I’m bored. My spouse is no fun. My spouse is (fill in here). They are (fill in here). Common complaints pay off the best and are the easiest to find.

Another part of the first step is to notice that you think something is wrong. Until we are perfectly enlightened beings, and we know it, something will seem wrong. We are trained to distinguish that there is something good and something bad, and something right and something wrong, but we are also trained to ignore the feelings in our bodies in response to these judgments.

Here is one way we do this: “How are you doing today?” “I’m fine thank you. Life is just wonderful.”

These statements are the kind of things you hear. These attitudes are a socially acceptable way to deny everything about you. Our mind tells us “If you are actually feeling something, don’t tell anybody about it because they might think you’re weird.” “Just tell them you’re fine.”

Here is another way:

“I am (insert emotion here) all the time, so I need to express my emotions.” “That way, I’m not suppressing them.” “I can’t do anything about it; I’m just an (insert emotion) person.” “I was born that way.” I’m doing a good job of expressing myself.” “I should be proud of myself.” “I have to feel this way because of what they did to me.”

There is an error in this type of thinking that will perpetuate itself forever. If you are having an emotion now, that is okay. But to do nothing about the cause is just to justify your emotion and hide its error, manipulation, and cost. This will make you a victim of your emotions. We hide our emotions so we don’t have to change because it’s the only way we know. We also think the other person is the cause of our emotions (you did this to me). We may also think it’s assertive (I won’t be a doormat). We may think it’s a good way to get our way. Lots and lots of books have been written about this subject. They don’t seem to me to do much good for people. I have seen books make it worse. People are still frustrated because they don’t address the cause of their emotions and do not have a clear indicator of truth.

Almost everyone (except for people who are quoted in books like the Bible) feels several of these in a day. If you think you don’t feel one of these every day, your programming is playing tricks on you. Our mind may try to tell us we don’t feel anything. This is our conditioning speaking. We were taught not to feel anything. If we feel too much stuff all the time, this too is our conditioning speaking.

We were taught that showing our emotions would get us something. Until we are enlightened, and we fully know it, we will have something going on. Even if we pretend we don’t feel something there is a cost to it in the body. We could just be feeling tense. Stress is a word that is used for this feeling. The cause of stress is under your control and has nothing to do with how much you do in a day. I know that most people don’t believe this statement, but do the practice for a year and you’ll see how it can be true.

All you have to do in this step is to notice that you feel something, somewhere in your body for real, and locate it.

Here’s a question that I use to find what it is for myself.

What is it?

This will usually elicit a response from my body. If not, I just scan my body mentally and I will usually find something there. Some of these things I thought I’d been feeling my whole life and they were just a normal part of being a human (one was just a black shadow in my vision). When subjected to the application of this program it was found that they could be released and the energy I was using to hold them in place would be restored to me.

Feel it, name it, write it down and go to the next step.

Go to Step Two