Facing uncertainty


In truth, we are always living in uncertain times. Yet, right now it seems more evident or closer to the surface, but that thread of uncertainty is woven into everything and who knows when it will unravel. I have always been struck by this phrase from a ancient Buddhist teacher Shantideva "in a moment life breaks its word". This was not supposed to happen! - some part of us cries, "not to me or them"... change always brings shock, fear and struggle.

So. when we face that cliff edge of the unknown, how can focusing help us there?
Firstly it can help us to be with the parts of us that are anxious, scared or defended. We can sense them as parts or processes and not all of us. This is a big step and one that I practice over and over. "Something in me is scared" is a regular "mantra" And I keep company with it. (see more about keeping scared parts company here) I take it with me into the unknown. What I don't do so much is try and make it go away or punish it. It's deeply human to feel fear and terror and as time goes on, I'm more and more ok with it being there (as long as I'm with it and not driven by it). I fully acknowledge how difficult it is at a bodily level especially, but it does get easier as you get to know it.

Another things that happens at that edge is that scared parts will show us what they are scared off - through catastrophic thoughts and images. Perhaps intrusive and scary images come of what we are scared of. Our cinema is filled with such images: disasters, alien invasion, the end of the world. Again it seems like deeply human thing. With Focusing we can be with those parts, with the understanding that they are showing us just how scared they are.

Bury our heads - numbing and running away. I do it, you do it, we all do it. Turn away from that uncomfortable edge and make the feelings go away. Food, mobile phones, drugs, DVD box sets. Almost anything can be used to take a break. And do you know what? Let's be very kind to all of that. After all, the truth of life is pretty hard to bear. And giving ourselves a hard time for not always wanting to turn towards our direct experience would be unhelpful and harsh. Focusing can offer empathy for all the parts that want to turn away.

All of this is about stepping into a larger self that can hold the fear and other strong feelings and that can sense what might be a creative response in this moment - and in this particular situation. If we are merged with the fear or the running away from it, it's very hard to find a fresh and compassionate response to the challenge, but if we get bigger, many more possibilities open up. Our body knows this if we listen.

If you want to hear more about how Focusing can help with this issue - sign up for my free seminar on March 8th 2017, 7.30pm GMT
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