Cultivate Feeling States

Most of the time we are buffeted by our emotions. Meaning, we just react based on whatever feeling state that arises triggered by conditions in our environment that most of the time we are not even aware are occurring. Our bodies become unconsciously activated by a conversation, a smell, an image or a random thought into a story from the past. That unconscious stimulus evokes particular feelings that we label as negative or positive, which then sets off a cascade of neurochemical reactions. Becoming consciously aware of how we feel helps to bring us into the present moment. When we stop to notice how we feel in our bodies we can break a cycle of spending to much time ‘in our head’ ruminating about the past or obsessing about the future and then having to cope with whatever feeling state that arises. We have the capacity to actually choose how we feel and how we feel will establish the pre-conditions for creativity and inspiration.

The objective is to cultivate the feeling state of safety and trust. We do this first within ourselves so we feel safe, and grounded with our own deep connection to our essential self. This allows us to be confident in operating from a feeling of of relaxation and awareness while participating in the day to day activities of our world. Eventually we learn how consciously cultivating our own experience of safety and trust creates the ability for others to come into an experience of safety and trust.

To actively cultivate the specific feeling state of safety through out the day say to yourself:

  • I’m open
  • I’m curious
  • I don’t need to know
  • I’m okay with whatever arises

And really feel how it feels in your body when you say silently one or all of these statements to yourself. Then notice images, body sensations or mental dialogue that arise. If there is a specific word, symbol, body sensation or sound that you notice is associated with one of these positive feeling states then take a moment to really focus on it so that in the future it can be used as a ‘shortcut’ an object of focus that can generate a positive feeling state. This can be extremely helpful in day to day life.

Try actively cultivating the feeling state of safety within as you walk through your daily life. As you practice, you will begin to feel relaxed, rested, and alert. Over time you will recognize there is a space available to observe and notice what is arising within a situation – before reacting.

This is especially important when it is challenging. It is good to know you have resources. Through an inquiry into a different way of perceiving you will develop the space between the stimulus and the reactive mind to allow for a moment of choice. Further, try to experiment by cultivating feeling states to discover if you can create the condition of safety and trust before a difficult conversation and notice if there is more ‘space’ to respond with empathy and equanimity as a result.

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