I did a four-day intensive recently with a woman who came to me because her life was dull. She had an ok job, and a home and her kids were doing fine. But she felt like she was stuck like her life was passing her by.
When we began working together, I realized that my client, whom I shall call Susan, was completely shut down in terms of her feelings. She didn’t experience joy or happiness; she rarely cried. We all make up things in response to childhood events, and what she had made up was that it wasn’t safe to be herself. So she put her feelings in a box, and went through life on ‘automatic pilot,’ as she put it.
Getting back in touch with her feelings was essential for Susan to begin to stop feeling like life was passing her by. As with anything, if we put our focus on it enough, it changes. Consciousness follows our interest, and when we bring consciousness to things, it changes them. Consciousness seems to make the link between our personal thinking and something greater.
At first, getting in touch with her feelings felt like a lot of work to Susan – she was so used to tuning them out. But once she did, in the context of understanding the thought-feeling connection and the inside-out nature of life, her thoughts began to settle and clear. By the third day of her intensive, Susan began to feel like her real self again – not so disconnected from life. And by the last day, she began to experience a little bit of the happiness that is her birthright, that is everyone’s birthright.
In the middle of this process, Susan asked me a question. We were talking about the Thought-Feeling connection; how our feelings teach us a lot about our thinking, and so being aware of our feelings is essential to having a happy life. “Who has time for that?” Susan asked me. “I have a job, I have kids – who has time to be aware of what’s going on inside them?”
I’ve been asked this question before, particularly by people who are out of touch with their feelings. My response was this: Awareness doesn’t take time. It’s going on all the time anyway. You’re always thinking, and living in the feeling of your thoughts. You can dim your awareness of what you’re feeling to the point where you feel lost and confused, or stuck and on auto-pilot, as Susan did before the intensive, but the awareness is still there – you just have the dimmers on. Or you can stop dimming your awareness and be awake to what’s occurring in the moment. There isn’t any time involved – whether you’re awake or asleep, the time factor, when it comes to awareness, is the same.
Your perception of time will change, however, when you are awake, rather than asleep, to the thought-feeling connection. You will find yourself experiencing the present on a regular basis. The present is timeless. – the more you live in the here and now, the more time you feel you have. So in fact, as people become more awake and aware, they experience having more time, rather than less. There is no end to the gifts that awareness, and presence, can give you.
Susan came to the intensive feeling like her life was dull and pointless, and left with a sparkle in her eye, feeling full of hope. I’ll look forward to hearing how her journey unfolds.
With love, Annika