All feelings show up as sensations in your body. When you fall in love, you might feel butterflies in your stomach. When you’re scared, the hair on the back of your neck might bristle. When you get angry, you might experience your heart pounding in your chest. Every feeling has a corresponding sensation in your body that you can learn to observe. Observing them means giving all feelings the space to come and go, without clinging to the ones you like and resisting the ones you don’t. By observing sensations, you release stuck feelings back into the flow.
Think of a difficult situation you’re currently dealing with, something you feel triggered by. Now look for where you feel it in your body and put your unbiased attention there.
The first thing you notice is your immediate resistance to what you’re feeling. The tendency to want to push away the discomfort is deeply ingrained. But it’s precisely that reaction that causes your feelings to stay stuck. Forgiveness becomes impossible as long as you keep those feelings stuck.
Come back to the sensations and continue to observe as best you can, without pushing them away. Every time you lose focus, simply notice your attention has drifted, and bring it back to the sensation. Sound familiar? This is where your thought awareness practice comes into play. Your ability to focus on your breath is the same ability you use to focus on your sensations. Keep observing for about a minute and then read on.
Notice a shift in the quality or intensity of the sensation? Or in the area from which it radiates? Once you get the hang of this exercise, you should be able to discern noticeable changes. Should you experience an initial increase in the intensity of your sensations, no need to be alarmed. It’s happening because you’re no longer pushing your feelings away. Instead, you’re giving them space to be. Eventually, the intensity diminishes, and the discomfort decreases – until something truly remarkable happens: The sensation dissolves. It’s no longer there. The emotional charge has left your body. You instantly feel lighter and relieved. Congratulations! You’ve just released your stuck feeling back into the flow. Both you and the feeling are free.
It should be noted that some stuck feelings can be very challenging. If you ever feel overwhelmed by what comes up for you, don’t hesitate to seek outside help. Asking for support from family, friends, or healthcare professionals is part of your commitment to self-care. You’re not showing weakness. You’re honoring yourself. You’re choosing to feel better, and asking others for help is part of your journey.
Take time throughout the day to observe your sensations and release stuck feelings. Nothing has a more immediate and lasting positive impact on your well-being and quality of life. How much time you allocate to your practice is for you to determine, but the benefits speak for themselves. By letting your feelings come and go, you become part of the coming and going. That’s where you’re one with life. Every emotion that passes through you makes you a deeper, wiser, more compassionate person. Instead of clinging and resisting, let your feelings – especially the ones related to forgiveness – transform you into the free and abundant person you are meant to be.