Obsessive thinking can be a defense against feeling. When, for example, you receive upsetting news, rather than feeling the fear or, perhaps, anger that is being stirred in you, you may quickly jump into your head. You start spinning stories, trying to figure out what to do or you start worrying, imagining catastrophic outcomes. Often, what’s beneath the ceaseless mental activity are feelings that need to be acknowledged and felt, allowed to move through your body-mind.
Over-identifying with thoughts obscures feeling and also keeps us from connecting with the intuitive dimension of Being.
When you are caught in a mindstream of repetitive and obsessive thoughts, here is a process that you can use to help you unhook from the thinking mind and access the feelings and wisdom that reside in the deeper layers of your being.
STEP ONE – Recognize
Recognize that you are caught in thought. Simply notice this without judgment or resistance. The mind is doing what the mind does. See yourself at the effect of these internal forces. You can be identified with the thinking mind and also notice that you are caught. You are paying attention to what’s happening from a neutral place.
STEP TWO – Drop In
Take 3 or 4 slow, long breaths, letting your body-mind begin to relax.
Let your attention drop under the thoughts that you are “velcroed” onto and into feelings or physical sensations that may be present.
STEP THREE – Hold An Open Space For Your Experience
Without labeling or trying to understand what’s occurring, make room for feelings and/or sensations, open to them, let them be. For example, you drop in and discover what feels like sadness in your chest. Perhaps you discover that you’re on the edge of tears. Consider how you might respond to a child who is distressed. Hold an allowing, caring space for the sadness. Be with it fully.
The sadness may be related to a current situation in your life – perhaps whatever triggered the obsessive thinking – or it may be related to something from the past that this situation reminds you of. You don’t need to know why you are sad. As you keep relaxing into the present moment, allowing your experience to unfold, what needs to be revealed will be.
Other feelings or sensations may arise. Just keep opening to the moment. If, at any time, this feels too intense for you, just stop and shift attention to your feet and your legs. Sense your feet making contact with the floor. Place your hands on your thighs and sense your hands making contact with your thighs. You might even want to stand and walk around slowly, noticing what is in your environment. This will help to ground you.
STEP FOUR – Invite Wisdom
After you have fully connected with your body-mind experience, take 3 or 4 slow, long breaths and open to the boundless wisdom that is ever-present. Your wisdom can be known in many ways. You might imagine that you’re in a beautiful place in nature and your wisdom shows up in the form of a wise sage, a river, or an animal. Perhaps you discover your inner knowing in your body. You become aware of a deep calm in your solar plexus or you experience a vast silence that pervades your body-mind. You are no longer identified with the linear mind and the boundless wisdom that is an aspect of who you are becomes available to you.
You can pose any questions to your knowing. Perhaps you need additional clarity about the situation that is connected to your sadness or you’d like more insight about how to continue to open to your feelings or your intuition. As an aspect of Being, your wisdom is benevolent and generous and will provide you with the guidance you need. All you have to do is ask.
You may not have any questions at this time and prefer to simply rest quietly in the vast realms of Being. Just follow your natural inclinations.