The River of Feelings

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“There is a river of feelings within us, and every drop of water in that river is a feeling. To observe our feelings, we sit on the bank of the river and identify each feeling as it flows by. It may be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. One feeling lasts for a while, and then another comes. Meditation is to be aware of each feeling. Recognize it, smile to it, look deeply into it, and embrace it with all our heart. If we continue to look deeply, we discover the true nature of that feeling, and we are no longer afraid, even of a painful feeling. We know we are more than our feelings, and we are able to embrace each feeling and take good care of it.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh
Photo: © Yvonne D. Williams

For some reason this Thich Nhat Hanh quote stuck in my head when I read it because I know what he is referring to—I’ve felt it myself—the stepping out of intense feeling, no matter how painful it may be, and simply watching it flow over us as we remain sitting on the bank in silence before the enormity of the water passing through on its journey elsewhere.

If you aren’t sitting a part from it on the bank, that “River of Feelings” is a flow we continually ride—sometimes in a kayak gliding above the water and sometimes in an inner-tube with half our body immersed into it.kayakriverswirl67.jpg

So for us to say that we do not “feel” something emotionally is to say that we are riding the kayak as we skim the waves while still feeling the froth of turbulence. We may bob around a bit with emotion, but we’ve elevated our heads above the water and as long as we remain upright, we know that we won’t drown.

Inversely, when we are immersed in the feeling, we become the feeling and may struggle for our lives; clinging tightly to our inner-tube to keep our heads above water—for fear it drowns us with wave after wave of intense, gut-clenching emotion.

tube on river67Grief is an inner-tube type feeling. So is rage. It’s easy to be swamped when you immerse yourself in those feelings.

Some would say depression is such a feeling, but I believe that depression isn’t really a feeling as much as it is the result of losing the inner-tube completely and accumulating body fatigue from continually treading water without relief in sight.

So what is the difference between riding the kayak and sitting on the bank?

The kayak provides an experiential option for riding the feelings we naturally have during the course of our lives. It gives us buoyancy and distance from the worst of the emotional waves sloshing about us.

The bank is an entirely different perspective on emotional impaction. From the bank you do not participate in the feeling, you only observe it as it comes and goes, and try not to judge its rightness or wrongness; its power or onriverbank45.jpgaffectation on you.  You acknowledge it as it impacts you and note what is being felt, but you let it go—you let it move on and away without clinging to it—without wallowing in it or calling it back to re-experience, over and over.

It’s not easy sitting on the bank and observing your own river of feelings; and sometimes it’s hard to even find a kayak from which to navigate the powerful river of emotions that we feel.  At times when life takes a tumultuous turn for us, we feel fortunate enough to simply have that inner-tube to help keep our heads above the overwhelming waves.

What I think Thick Nhat Hanh was saying in this quote is that observing from the bank (meditation) is the far safer option for dealing with intense feelings, because it allows the greatest perspective on the river of emotion itself that we must experience over the course of our lives.

As humans, we will have good days and bad ones—people will come to us and then leave us through disagreements, grievances or death.

During the course of our lives, we make efforts to achieve or acquire what we do not have, and those efforts are sometimes successful and sometimes not.

We love and we lose love.

We agree and disagree with others, and feel both great joy and great fear at many aspects of life, including our own mortality.

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But during the course of our lives, that river of feelings flows on and on, over familiar ground or new ground—but it keeps moving onward until we individually feel no more and merge again with the Great Ocean of Consciousness that logs “all feelings” as simply a part of the living experience.

So keep your inner-tube always handy, and find a kayak when you can do so to keep your head higher above the waves; but if possible, try instead the view from the bank for its safer, broader perspective, and simply allow that emotional river to flow on by without judgment or clinging.

I know—easier said than done—but it IS possible to do it. Trust me on this one.

 

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Kaypache Lescher on “The Great Mystery of the Divine”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhcn__6FWUg&feature=share

What is my life about?  Why did I incarnate?345kaypacha1-400x400 (1).jpg

At present, Kaypache is into the shamanic astrology of Peru, where he is traveling.   I’ll just paraphrase a few of his statements here rather than use direct quotes:

In this video, he expounds on receiving direct transmissions from nature and the cosmos—letting Spirit speak directly to you or through you.  Spiritual awakening involves being taken out of this existence—of our returning to our Source—exploring our multidimensionality—witnessing the infinite universe—experiencing actual transcendence.  But it is spiritual awakening without using substances to do so—no hallucinogens—no ayahuasca—simply natural spiritual awakening, slowly and gradually.

He also believes (as I do) that it takes time to evolve and awaken.  You need patience, perseverance, endurance, … because true spiritual awakening happens very slowly—and it SHOULD BE slowly revealed because brief, powerful glimpses of the Divine can be more disrupting than slow, steady emergence into a higher state of being and emergence into the Bliss-field.

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But does my life have meaning? you still ask.

Well, similar to Alan Watts declarations, Kaypache says there is no meaning to our lives other than living—existing—you have NO particular purpose for this life—life existed prior to you and will exist long after you.  What we create in our lifetime is what we gain from life.

We aren’t here to find ourselves but to create ourselves.  We must go within and close our eyes and tap into Source or the Divine that wants to emerge out from us and be birthed into this world through our existence.  Or maybe NOT.    (Again he sounds very ‘Alan Watts’ here to me, but as I mentioned earlier, Alan Watts videos are resurging again which makes sense since Kaypache talks about that 51-year cycle beginning again now.)

When you can simply sit still, the truth is revealed, the mystery unfolds—all things come to whoever waits for them.

345kaypacha1-400x400 (2).jpgThis is the equinox point of the 51-year cycle of Chiron (the wounded centaur healer—the Master Teacher)—very powerful cycle for finding the deeper purpose in your life experience.

Chiron is also associated with crisis—like a physical health crisis.  That health crisis sits you down to reflect on your very existence.  This reflection time on our own mortality helps us to gain greater understanding of the archetypal energies of which we are only a part.

Kaypache’s parting words are: Take your time—be still—and in the stillness, the mystery of your life will be revealed.

 

“I close my eyes and what do I find,578AbsoluteBliss.jpg

My body, my Soul, and my mind,

Revealing to me when I’m ready to see,

The Great Mystery of the Divine.”

 

 

Silence Speaks So Loudly

During the most difficult times of our lives, there really are no words that sooth us as much as loving arms that hold us.

There really are no right words to speak when words are meaningless compared to actions.

Empathy is such a grace-filled quality—just being—just feeling—just knowing that only the warmth of another human body can calm grace.jpganother’s shaking.

With loss so deep there are few consolations that matter—even fewer wanting to be heard.

So say nothing other than your sorrow for such a personal vacuum.

And simply BE THERE for all who suffer.

BE THERE.

Silently.