Emotional Alchemy

It is ideal to receive even badness with goodness, and of course to receive goodness with goodness (which is more difficult than it might appear). To respond to badness with goodness is initially an act of resistance for most people, and requires conditioning yourself over time to learn to identify the badness that you are reacting to first, and then to make sense of it before you react to it emotionally or physically. Even if you immediately, uncontrollably react badly to the badness, you must use that as a trigger to shift into physical consciousness by taking a deep breath and pointing your awareness on the sensation of the breath. This disables the thinking part of the reaction, even if only momentarily in your first attempts to shift consciousness in those difficult moments, and over time this practice will allow you to extend your attention to physical consciousness to longer times and deeper sensations. This will allow you to control your breath, and you will continue to breathe deeply and intentionally for longer and longer periods of time with practice.

Gastrointestinal distress is a major subconscious cause of agitation. Breathing deeply to aid in digestion is both chemical (oxygen being delivered steadily to the gut to help break food down), and mechanical (your diaphragm pushing the bulk down with every proper breath). A few minutes of deep breathing after a heavy meal will bring lasting relief.

For years, when I didn’t engage in regular challenging physical activity, I often avoided spending time in the state of a physical awareness. I felt I had little use for my body besides minimum maintenance and pleasure centers. Learning to extend your state of focus on your body allows you to remain calmer for longer periods of time. It also allows you to program your neural circuitry more efficiently. My discovery is that I learn the most quickly and easily when I am relaxed physically while I practice or read. The problem is that many people are like I was, avoiding deep focus on my physical state. For me, this was mostly related to my shame of my physical state, indicated by my poor posture, my flabby musculature, and my lack of self-esteem about my body in general. I am familiar with wanting to avoid focus on that aspect of my self, and instead existing in a mostly mental state of consciousness. This is the state I observe most of my first world compatriots to exist in — a state of overthinking. Another way of saying it is that the thinking consciousness is dominating over the physical consciousness, and that sometimes makes it hard to break into the physical consciousness when the necessary time comes, like in a time of acute anxiety.