Juicy title, huh? So how exactly do you dissolve fear? Can you swallow a pill, take a supplement, or binge watch a trashy reality show? *Ahem* that last one is definitely not from personal experience. To the surprise of none of my clients (y’all have heard me preach about this stuff), the answer is no. I mean sure, those things might work in the short term. Love is Blind was a very entertaining distraction, but the fear will always return. Sigh. Instead of reaching for a temporary fix, allow me to offer wisdom from an ancient medicine cabinet. You guessed it, our old pal mindfulness.
The secret is surrender.
You have to make friends with your fear. You have to wholeheartedly welcome the fear and say thank you. And if fear doesn’t resonate with you, of course substitute whatever emotion feels most pressing to you today. It could be anger, worry, confusion, hopelessness, grief, loneliness, restlessness…the list goes on.
Take a minute to slow down and notice the subtle (and not so subtle) ways in which you attempt to push away your experience. It’s very normal to have thoughts like, “I don’t like this” or “this is hard.” But try to gently observe those thoughts as they come up. Notice they are an attempt to reject a part of your reality. It’s completely natural to want to escape a painful or uncomfortable experience. But I invite you to approach the discomfort a bit differently and see what happens.
Try repeating this to yourself, as many times as is necessary: “I can do this. I can breathe through this.” Utilizing the body and the breath as a resource, we can peel back the conceptual label (i.e. fear, anxiety, worry) and simply be with somatic sensation, physical sensations arising in the body. Try closing your eyes and focusing your attention on any sensation present in the physical body. It could be pressure in the forehead, a fluttery sensation in the chest, or tightness in the belly.
Breath by breath, moment by moment, choose to step inside whatever is arising. Choose to meet it right here, right now. We can tolerate anything if we meet it as pure sensation in the body. Drop any labels created by the mind and meet sensation as sensation. Just this.
And by consciously, willingly diving into sensation, perhaps we discover that what we’re experiencing isn’t so scary after all. The intensity begins to decrease and any sharp or uncomfortable sensations begin to dissolve. Perhaps a whisper of calm or a feeling of ease and well-being sweeps over you. The vast container of awareness, a sweet nothingness, may show itself. Your true self. Shining bright. It was there the whole time.
Wow! Sounds amazing, right? Well now’s your chance to give this mindfulness stuff a whirl. Below you’ll find a guided meditation featuring the techniques mentioned in this post. Download and listen for free, and then tell me how it goes!
From my heart to yours,
Meditation for Emotional Release: