I’m writing this from my room at Mickey Singer’s Temple of the Universe in Alachua, Florida. It’s my second visit, the first being in early March. It’s been quite a trip, in more ways than one, which I’ll write about in depth later this week.
For now, I want to focus on something Mickey said in his Temple talk yesterday. He was talking about how to deal with inner disturbances.
What does he mean by inner disturbances? Some examples:
– Your parents hounded you about your weight throughout your teen years, causing you to become extremely sensitive about your body into adulthood. You’re in your 30s now, work out regularly and have a fantastic body. Nevertheless, on your third date with a guy you really like, his innocent comment about how fast you devoured your crème brulee cuts you to your core.
– You have a deep fear of abandonment due to your mom leaving the family when you were twelve years old, resulting in a history of avoiding intimate relationships. Now 35, you have a near-panic attack when your girlfriend of three months broaches the subject of moving in together.
– You developed an inferiority complex around sports because you were scrawny and unathletic as a kid. Now in your 40s, you’re a successful lawyer at a blue-chip law firm. But when you get picked last at a pickup basketball game with some of your attorney colleagues, it strikes a sore spot that deflates you.
These are all examples of painful experiences we hold onto. They just sit there, pockets of energy stuck in our lower selves, determining the course of our lives.
So what do we do about those pockets of energy, which I call emotional baggage and Mickey calls Samskaras (from the Sanskrit)? We let them go when they come up.
All three of the situations described above offer opportunities to free that energy so it can rise up. They’re opportunities to let go.
Letting go is the indispensable spiritual practice
And as I’ve written several times before and will in the future: We can do all the meditating, qi gonging and all the other spiritual practices all day long, but if we don’t let go of this baggage, it isn’t going anywhere. It will sit there and continue to plague our very being.
Long story short: Letting go of our emotional baggage is critical for liberation.
The problem is that, even if we’re in that fortunate minority that is aware of this baggage and the need to let it go, it’s still really difficult to do.
Why? Because when it comes up, when it gets poked, the first thing we want to do is push it away.
Why? Because it’s painful!
Working out the knots
Which brings us to the massage table. Most of you have gotten a massage from a friend, partner or professional.
And unless you’re superhuman, that masseuse has come across muscle knots in your body. Mine are invariably found in the shoulder blade area.
What do most of us do when that area gets hit? First, we grimace and groan a little bit. And then we say something like,
“Yeah, right there. Work that nice and easy…Ahhh…Yes…”
What do we not say?
“No! Stop. That hurts too much. Don’t even touch it!”
But that is what we do when a painful emotion arises. Again, we push it away.
What to do
So next time one of these feelings comes up, imagine a picture in your head of you laying on a massage table. And your masseuse has just arrived at a sensitive muscle knot.
Then see if you can treat that emotional “knot” just as you would the muscular one. How would that look? Something like this:
“Ooh. Ow, that hurts. Go ahead, get in there and work on it…Ow…Ahhh…”
In other words, instead of immediately pushing it away, just let it be. Let the masseuse loosen that energy pocket so it can rise up.
Because the goal is the same in both endeavors: To loosen the emotional/muscle knot so that it can stop blocking your natural flow.
A critical question
Now, here’s a key question we need to ask: Who’s the masseuse working out the emotional knot when you’ve been triggered?
Not you! You don’t get involved at all in the process of loosening up that Samskara/emotional baggage knot. All you do is, as you would in a massage, let the masseuse do her work.
Fine. Then who’s the masseuse here?
When you slice your thumb dicing onions, what do you do? You clean it, put on a bandaid and leave it alone. You don’t pick at it. You don’t do anything.
What do you do? You let nature heal the wound.
It’s the same here. We let nature heal/soften that energy pocket so it can rise up.
But in order for that to happen, we have to remain on the table and not resist or push away the pain. If we do push it away, as most of us do most of the time, that energy just gets pushed down again and continues to cause us problems. It’s an opportunity lost.
This really can be helpful. Use this image of seeing yourself on a massage table next time a feeling comes up that upsets you.
Do your best to remain on the table, leaning away from the pain, but remaining present with it.
Then let nature work out the knot.