Recently I have been thinking about different things that relate to the various feelings and sensations I have been experiencing and the tendency to create a story, or a set of beliefs, about those feelings and sensations. This line of inquiry was sparked by something I read by Hale Dwoskin, the author of The Sedona Method.
In essence, Dwoskin suggested that we could find freedom, happiness, and ease in our lives if were were able to simply allow sensations to be sensations. From his argument, it was suggested that very often a person tends to intellectualize various sensations. These sensations, or life experiences, are then turned into thoughts and feelings, which become the basis of a series of beliefs, narratives, stories that then define the way in which we interact with the world. All of which, Dwoksin argued are false and can at times cause us a bit of turmoil. However, if we could simply let sensations be as they are, without becoming attached or involved with them, then perhaps none of the subsequent angst would ensue.
As one whose frequently experiencing various forms of disease, I loved this idea. However, it was difficult for me to really understand what Dwoskin might have been hinting at within my own life until I watched The Croods.
Featured within this DreamWorks production is a cave dwelling neanderthal family of six – i.e. The Croods. Like most people, the Croods are primarily focused on survival. And having stumbled upon a method that meets this need, the Croods do their best to adhere to this strategy in order to live another day. Their belief system specifically is one based upon fear of the new and unfamiliar. And through the story’s intro, we learn this strategy has enabled the Croods to outlive their neanderthal neighbors; thereby reinforcing the perceived “truth” of this belief as well as strengthening the need to adhere to its rules.
So day after day, month after month, and year after year, the Croods continue to live this way with fear of the unknown being their leading light. They become so entrenched with these habits, in this way of viewing the world, that the motto, “Never not be afraid” becomes something that they say to each other as a sign of both support when they have to do something potentially dangerous but also as a reminder to challenge, question, and destroy anything new that might potentially be pleasant.
While this mode of operandi enables the Croods to survive, as the teenage daughter Eep points out in a fit of rage, “There is a difference between living and just not dying.” The fear based belief system that the Croods adopted because it enabled them to outlive their neighbors has also kept them from fully living, or thriving, because anything new is immediately distrusted instead of explored. Thus anything different, unexpected, unusual, fun, or even liberating might is automatically destroyed out of fear that it may unexpectedly cause their death and destruction.
So to connect the dots: the Croods developed a fear based belief system based upon the intellectualization of a series of momentary sensations and experiences. These beliefs in turn shaped the way in which the Croods lived their lives.
The question I have for you, the question I am attempting to ask myself, is where have you adopted a specific belief that although having kept you safe at one point may no longer serve because it prevents you from fully living life? Perhaps this belief may be within the area of an intimate relationship, where vulnerability and honesty are shied away from? Maybe this old strategy appears at work where new opportunities are avoided because their outcome isn’t certain? Or perhaps their is an old set of beliefs buried within your body and your asana practice, where you may avoid attempting certain poses because they have never been successfully mastered?
Whatever it is for you, I would like you to ask yourself, are you living or just not dying and what is the potential cost of this way of being?