The other day I was driving to the super market and when a wave of emotional anxiety came up. My thoughts and being began to organize to “deal” with the anxiety, until I noticed that it didn’t have anything to do with my present experience. This bit of grace allowed me to step back out of problem-solving-alert mode and simply experience what was happening.
We feel in each moment what is alive in that moment in our emotional body. Emotions are originally a response to what we experience in the world around us. They are meant to come into being, motivate us to act, and then fade away. Its this last part that often fails to happen. Then they are left as imprints in the emotional body, tied to thoughts and memories in the mental body.
Our present experiences can trigger these emotional memories. Then we are feeling something created in the past, which may be different from what is being called up by the present. Alternately, we are thinking about something from yesterday, or last year, or how we will feel tomorrow, or next month, and these thoughts stir up associated emotions; either memories, or reactions in expectation. Then we are feeling things from other times and places, which also may have little or nothing to do with what is happening in the present moment.
This was happening to me on the way to the supermarket. It has happen countless times before, only this time my attention was called back before I was caught up. I was able to check in and know that I was experiencing things out of time, and that I didn’t need to respond to them. They were part of some old patterns that have been percolating up and releasing out of my being recently.
When you are committed to spiritual process, personal growth, or emotional healing work, the old imprints will begin to surface. Simply witnessed they will move through and complete without much need for you to do anything, except be present and give them space. They will, however, cause emotional weather that is not directly connected with the present flow of life, adding a background color to present emotional experience.
Realizing that what I was feeling was something old moving through gave me space to allow it to be present; to perhaps be a bit curious and just experience the emotions in part of my being, while most of me went on to the market and with the rest of my day. I didn’t need to give them all my awareness, or become them, act them out, or try to solve them. I could choose to let the weather move through and keep my present-time emotional space.
Is today a hard day because there are hard things today, or are things hard today because old hardness is flowing through? There is a lot of freedom in being able to let things move through without having to do anything, or by reacting let them create ripples and effects in your current life. This is part of the answer to how you get off the wheel of action and reaction, how you let old patterns clear without creating new ones.
Some days will be colored by old emotions, weather moving through, but this is a different level than present moment emotions, and with practiced awareness we can let them move through in the background, while living our chosen life in the foreground.