A student recently asked me what she could do about feelings of apathy, meaninglessness and desolation.

These heavy, dense emotions feel terrible and our first instinct is to run away from them –  to not feel them. We may do this by distracting ourselves, by getting really busy or, perhaps, by self-medicating in some way. This is a mistake. By ignoring our feelings we actually allow them to dig a deeper groove in our psyche and in the body. In truth all emotions exist as a field of energy – an energy vibration held in the subtle body and the physical body and activated by thought. If we avoid feeling our emotions, the disturbance will eventually  manifest in the physical, as a physical imbalance and an ailment of some kind. The solution is the willingness to witness any negative emotion that arises as a sensation in the body – simply as a vibratory field of energy. What typically happens, though, is that the mind intervenes. The ego/mind wants to tell a story about the source of the pain – to blame some one, or to blame some external event for causing the pain, or to feel sorry for itself. But this only exacerbates the suffering. With the willingness to experience our emotions directly and to expose them to the light of Truth, they will leave.

Our pure awareness is the light of the divine, and when we bring this awareness and attention directly to bear on the source of our discomfort in the body, this light acts like a laser beam, burning through the disturbance to reveal what is always there – the ground of being – vast eternal Oneness – and the source of our true peace.

To begin this exploration find a comfortable meditative position, or alternatively, lie on the floor on your back, arms resting comfortably at your sides, palms up, legs slightly apart with your feet relaxed and resting outwards. In yoga, this is the classic savasana pose. Take some deep relaxing breaths and bring your attention into your body. Notice any physical sensations. See if you can find the emotional pain you are feeling in the body. There is a corrolation. It can be sensed as a knot of coiled energy, a tingling sensation, or a churning tumultuous feeling, or perhaps an area of intense heat or pressure. Allow your awareness to meet the sensation directly. Feel. Notice if your mind wants to co-opt the process by telling a story about it, and let this go. Come back to sensation. Stay with it. It may want to move or morph into a different shape, or take on a different tonality. Track it as it moves or changes. Focus your lens of pure awareness directly on the source of your discomfort. Allow it to burn away.

You will soon find that which seemed to have so much substance, to be nothing at all! Take some deep relaxing breaths and enjoy this new found spaciousness. It is this spaciousness that is your true nature, and the field within which all emotions pass.