Recently, I have been working to sit with myself and distinguish who I am from what I am feeling. This pursuit came about after listening to a recording by The Sedona Method facilitator Hale Dwoskin, in which he argued that often our suffering in life comes as a result of confusing our feelings with ourselves. That is, often we use our feelings as a means of defining who we are and thus how we are able to show up in the world. So for example, if someone asks how you are doing very often the response is, “I’m okay. I’m fine.” versus “I feel okay. I feel fine.”
For me, this small distinction helps reaffirm on a deeply subtle level that I am not my feelings. They are transient, impermanent, fragmented, and occasionally volatile. Whereas, “ME” – the deep, universal ME that all yoga teachings and practices work towards revealing, the ME that is also within you – is so much more permanent, stable, whole, and calm.
Even for those who don’t believe that there is a big ME, a universal consciousness that unites and animates us all, thinking that our feelings are not the defining factors of who we are on an intrinsic level, provides a happy sense of space and separation between our sense of self-worth and the fluctuating experiences that occur on a day to day basis. This space is particularly helpful for individuals who experience depression. For instead of “being depressed,” you are feeling/experiencing depression. Here again, this small distinction provides a great deal of help to those like myself who find themselves occasionally feeling sad or blue.
The question I have for you, the question I am asking of myself this week is this: “How are you feeling? And what are you feeling?” Can you separate your sense of self, your identity, your ego from the momentary fluctuations in energy and sensation you might be experiencing at this moment? What happens energetically as you separate your sense of self, and your self worth, from those fluctuating experiences?
Take a few moments to sit and breathe. As you do so, continue to ask: “How do I feel? What am I feeling?” Can you allow yourself to begin to create space and separation between your feelings and your identifications as a person? Please write down anything that comes up.