Using the Magical Power of Unconditional Love to resolve unwanted thoughts and feelings
Newsletter, March 2016
As always, I kick off this newsletter with a gentle encouragement, to ask you, right now, to check in to that still, quiet space at the centre of your being, the one that is toally unrufflable (is that even a word?!). Know that this space is there and that you can access it whenever you need to, just by stopping ‘doing’ and bringing your attention to the centre of your chest, your heart centre, or in Sanskrit, your Anahata Chakra. Right at the very centre of your heart chakra is a point that is perfectly still, free from anxiety, free from time, simply peaceful and full of love for the world. Can you feel that perfect stillness right now?
We need to come back to this point again and again as we get overwhelmed with life, and as our thinking minds get overwhelmed and start to play tricks on us. We all have an aspect of our psyche which Carl Jung called the ‘shadow’. The shadow is composed of all the stuff (thoughts, feelings, memories) we have swept under the carpet throughout our life, because our family and social conditioning has taught us that these parts of our self were not lovable, or not socially appropriate. Imagine a big beautiful cashmere carpet that we desperately want to keep clean, so that anyone who comes to visit our house does not judge us for our slovenly habits. But…to keep this carpet clean, we sweep all the dirty stuff underneath it. Well all that debris under the carpet is your shadow. And that debris does not usually go away, but has a tendency to come back and bite us, often when we least expect it, and are at our most vulnerable.
One of the classic ways our shadow comes back to bite us is through unwanted thoughts and feelings. These unwanted thoughts and feelings come in so many shapes and sizes, and we all get them: from the uber-dark thoughts about the world and life and sometimes wanting it all to end, to the catastrophic anxieties about a situation that we know deep down is never going to happen, to the debilitating self-doubt and panic-ridden questions about our own sanity, to the perverse sexual thoughts…these kind of thoughts just crop up even or especially when we don’t want them to.
Yes, we all have these unwanted thoughts and feelings, and sometimes they can be really troubling, especially if they keep coming back and asserting their status as somehow ‘real’, whilst another part of us desperately wishes they weren’t there. When these thoughts and feelings keep coming back they can cause us to feel really weak, exhausted, our of control, mentally unwell, disconnected from the world.
So here are some tips from me on how to use the magical power of unconditional love to resolve unwanted thoughts and feelings. These tips have worked really well with my clients as well as in my own life.
The first and most important thing is to welcome your unwanted thoughts and feelings. This might seem at first counter-productive, as why would we welcome in a thought or feeling that we don’t like. Well, the short answer is that these thoughts only trouble us because they are not welcomed by us in the first place. This is an important point worth repeating: unwanted thoughts and feelings only trouble us because they are not welcomed by us.
Imagine all your thoughts and feelings are like punters trying to get into an exclusive nightclub. When some of your thoughts and feelings get the red carpet at the door, the others don’t even get a look in. The bouncer (your ego) refuses to even acknowledge their existence. Imagine the frustrated energy and desire for revenge that builds up as the unwelcome thoughts and feelings skulk away with their tails between their legs! With all this frustrated energy, the ‘unwelcomed’ will just keep coming back and trying all sorts of tricks to get access to this exclusive discotheque of your mind. So to save yourself a lot of energy, first you must start by welcoming these thoughts and feelings. If you don’t know the Rumi poem, Guest House, then I recommend reading it, printing it off, and having it placed somewhere prominent in your house.
So how do you welcome your unwanted thoughts and feelings? Well, for a start, it is important to recognise that they have some valuable learning for you. As you extend a warm welcome to these unwanted thoughts and feelings, you will soon find that they always contain vital information about some aspect of your whole being that has been disowned. Until we fully own these disowned parts of our self we can never be whole. As Mr Jung said: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” The ‘darkness’ here simply refers to all your unwelcomed, unwanted thoughts and feelings.
Once you recognise the inherent value in these niggling, nagging thoughts and feelings, you can then use your imagination to really welcome them in. I often use symbols with clients to represent these disowned parts of their psyche. I encourage clients to set up a sacred space where they can place the symbol representing the particular disowned part of themself that is troubling them. I then ask them to surround this part with love, using beautiful objects and even written affirmations, such as “I am grateful for your presence, for showing me the wholeness of my being, the light and the dark.“
A simple meditation that you can use is to imagine the unwanted thought or feeling is being held in the centre of your chest, and that a beautiful light of compassion is extending from your Anahata Charkra, that quiet, still, unconditionally loving centre of your being. Like the sun, this light radiates in all directions and provides warmth and nourishment with no discrimination about who is or isn’t worthy of its light. You can imagine this unwanted part of you being bathed in this glorious light.
If you want to take this practice to the next level, you can extend this unconditonal love practice to the bouncer (your ego), the one who is trying to help you keep those undesirables out of the discotheque of your mind. I don’t agree with some spiritual teachers who suggest the goal of human life is to dismantle the ego. The ego serves a protective function to our psyche, and so sometimes all it needs is a little TLC.
This process can be quite challenging at times, and I do recommend seeking professional help if you are experiencing thoughts and feelings that are really troubling you. We are all so used to conditional love, the whole of our upbringing, of our life, of our world is based on conditional love. So putting into practice unconditional love, especially to our own self, can feel uncomfortable at first. But I can assure you that unconditional love has a magical power that we all need if we are to become whole again, to find a real, lasting inner peace.
If you have any questions at all about this newsletter or anything else, then please send me an email or post on my Facebook page. I would love to hear about your own experiences of putting into practice unconditional self-love.
With all my Love and Gratitude.