A response to the question asked on Present Moment Awareness: Your Doorway To Freedom:
"Hey Adam, I am more aware of my own body than I ever was before. However, it somehow scares me. I discover unpleasantness that I did not even know existed. For example, as I come to the present, I feel pain and I hear this noise in my head (a tinnitus) ... It almost feels as if I am creating all this myself, maybe by becoming aware but being scared/resistant to what is. Is that possible? I am somehow disappointed in myself when I realise that I am not accepting the unpleasant sensations..."
I hope it helps.
All the best,
Listen to my response:
Read my response:
Thank you, Amy, for the question.
So, the more you become aware of not just what's going on in your head but what's going on in your body, then you can discover a lot of resistance and stored up tension that you didn't realise was there. Perhaps because we’ve spent so long only paying attention to thoughts and only been lost in thoughts - we just turn away from all the background stuff that gradually builds up underneath, all the background resistance and tension or the stored pain.
There's different things that we could say about how to start to remedy it. The first thing is to give yourself a break. All the resistance has built up unconsciously, or it's coming as a result of learning to resist, learning that that's the way to deal with things - keep tightening up and fighting. Or the resistance can be like a built-in defence mechanism in our system, the resistance is always trying to keep us safe in some way, or trying to help us to avoid pain in some way. So if a lot of resistance has built up over time, it's not even your fault. It's just happened. It's just built up and it was usually or perhaps always trying to help in some way.
So first of all, it’s okay that resistance is there.
And if the resistance and unpleasant sensations are there now and you feel like you are not accepting them, or disappointed in yourself when you realise this as you mentioned - that's nothing to worry about either. That's again a natural reflex to unpleasantness, the natural reflex is to resist, to create more tension, to try to at least hold it in place so it doesn't get any bigger, so you don't get destroyed by it, or so that it doesn't take you over.
So it's all natural. If you first realise that if you're in a state of resistance to anything in yourself or in a state of tension, rather than thinking you should be doing it differently, just notice the unwillingness to surrender, notice the unwillingness to ease resistance.
If you notice the unwillingness to relax, and the desire to stay in tension, then you can start to recognise that it's not even you that’s tense or in a fight against yourself. It's just an energetic habit that is functioning.
Notice how much of a desire there is for the unpleasant sensations to be different. Rather than focusing on the unpleasantness, notice all the resistance there is to the unpleasant sensations. Notice that the resistance isn’t good or bad, it's just there, and notice if the resistance is helping. Is the resistance actually helping to ease the pain or the unpleasantness?
It might feel like you can't control the resistance, but at the same time it can feel as if you're doing it, so then there's a struggle of “I'm doing it but I can't stop it”. But if you notice it's all just your system trying to protect itself, it’s just your mind or your body trying to stop the pain getting worse - then it's a bit more of a friend. It's a bit more okay to have these feelings or these resistances inside.
And then you might also notice that the resistance isn't helping as much as it thinks it is. The resistance is struggling to fix something or make you feel better, and it's almost as if it doesn't realise that it's making everything worse.
So you don't have to stop resistance, you don't have to change how you feel, but you can notice if the habitual resistance that’s inside of you - notice how useful that is.
And if anything is seen to not really be helping, it’s much easier for it to relax by itself.
The Releasing Process
A lot of this can come also when we're so used to having all the attention in our heads. It can create feelings of pressure like you said, a noise in your head could be just some stored up resistance that you never really noticed.
I know for me at some point I remember feeling just a lot of pressure in my head. But starting to notice these things is the first step in them being allowed to release themselves, so it's not a bad thing that you're more aware of them. You're actually giving them more space than they've had before, because before they were covered up by so many other things. They couldn't move or shift or release themselves in any way. But if you're more aware of them and you can feel them more, that probably means there's less stuff on top of them, so they’re gradually starting to shift.
But what will hold them in place or make them feel more solid and permanent, is that habitual tension, the habitual attention - our attention to things can often be not just a pure attention, it can also be full of a tension, a resistance, a mentality of “something’s not right, it needs to change, I need to change it, I need to do it myself”.
So in that case, rather than trying to just stop resisting, see if you can allow your attention to find something easier that’s a bit deeper within yourself, within your body, rather than the attention just going into the head or just going into the unpleasant sensations anywhere.
Opening Up Beyond Your Conditioned Mind
What I mean by that is - see if you can entertain the energy of relaxation. What does the energy of relaxation feel like? What does the energy of ease feel like? So it's not even as if you have to do anything. You don't have to make yourself feel anything. You’re just asking - what does ease feels like? What does non-resistance feel like? Or what does surrender feel like? What does gratitude feel like? Anything. Anything that works for you. If you can ask a question like that then you're taken more into the energy and away from more unpleasant sensations.
A good question you can ask yourself is “how does the universe feel about this?” “how does nature feel about this?” or “what does the universe think about this?”
Because we can be so stuck inside our own heads, and we can become very dependent on our own conditioned thinking, and we become separated from deeper more intelligent source. But asking questions like “what does the universe about this?” opens you up to something deeper. There might be less resistant attitudes towards yourself and what you're experiencing.
And it can be a process. There can be so much talk about “only this moment” and “not waiting for the next moment” – and that can be very good, but sometimes these things take (or seem to take) a bit of time to fully leave you, this old stuff.
So you don't have to be in any hurry, you don’t have to be hard on yourself, you don't have to try to get anywhere, you don't have to try to achieve anything or rid yourself of anything. The more you are okay just as you are, the less you have a strong idea that you need to have achieved a different experience, then everything starts to lighten up a bit, everything gets a bit lighter and easier and a bit more spacious.
Let Go Of The Fixing
Don't assume that it's your job to fix it all. Don't assume it's your job to liberate yourself or rid the pain or free the pain or anything, because that can create another heavy sense of resistance or tension.
So instead, if you do feel like you have a sort of burdensome sense of “you’ve got to do it yourself” or as if it's your job to fix it, see how it feels to just not have that sense. See if you're hindered in any way by not feeling so responsible about fixing it.
For some people, they could hand over the responsibility or shift the responsibility of it to the universe, to the intelligence of their body, or anything that feels slightly deeper than themselves or greater than themselves.
Knowing How To Feel
We can often create so many ideas of what we should be doing, how we should be feeling, but perhaps assume or entertain the idea that you don't know how you should be feeling at this moment.
You’re not not absolutely sure. How would you know what exactly you should be feeling? How would you know what the answer to that is? Where would that sure answer come from?
Perhaps you don't know exactly what you should be feeling, and if you don't know exactly what you should be feeling then resistance against your own experience can relax a little bit because there's less of a conflict.
If I ever mention anything about focusing on something else, something that feels lighter as I did before, even if it's entertaining a feeling of lightness - that can sometimes be interpreted as denial, like you're not really dealing with the tension or the resistance that’s within you, and it can be interpreted sometimes as a form of avoidance.
But really it’s a redirection of energy into something that you would prefer. Rather than your attention feeling stuck and slightly in conflict with unpleasantness, you can perhaps lean into glimpses of lighter energies, like a feeling of freedom. How does freedom feel? How would freedom feel?
Actually allowing yourself to feel some relief, regardless of what your mind says is happening, regardless of what you think has happened inside your own mind - allows for some more space, some more ease, and it indirectly removes resistance because you're no longer focused on the things that you dislike in yourself, and you start to accumulate the finer vibrations if that makes sense. Or you become more in touch with them.
It’s All Okay
But it's okay. Just know it's all okay. All the stored-up that resistance is ok, it’s not permanent, it’s not there forever even though it feels like it will be. It's not. It might take a little bit of time to release itself by itself. The more you're okay with it, the more you realise that it is a store-up of attempts to keep you away from negative situations. It's all resistance built up to stop you from being in some sort of difficulty or pain.
Then resistance almost become like a friend, perhaps a confused friend, but still a friend, and no longer an enemy.
So I hope that helps, and if it didn’t or if you’ve got any other questions, then feel free to ask me more if you like.
Thanks for listening.