What do you do in minutes when you feel uncomfortable and edgy, but you are not quite certain why or what to do about it? In this article, you will learn a simple technique to get to the heart of what you are feeling and find the message in it, so you can take action to move you forward.
So, what’s your first inclination when you feel edgy? Do you need to take something to make the feeling go away? Do you divert yourself by focusing on something else? Do you try to find something that happened, something you did, or someone to blame? Do you analyze it until you come up with a story that makes sense?
All these are natural inclinations that can have value. These approaches may alleviate or take your mind off of symptoms in the short run. Yet they may also perpetuate the recurrence of the very same feeling again and again. Identifying with the stories we tell about our experiences can make them stick and repeat. We tend to think our stories and tell them again and again, so our life replays at a self-fulfilling loop.
So, what can you do in these uncomfortable moments that would change things, direct you ahead, and initiate something new? Here’s a simple technique called Accessing Your Mental Centerline.
The minute you notice yourself feeling edgy and uncomfortable, instead of leaping into analyzing it and finding a story to explain it, see if you can just sit with the sensation, be present with it, and get under it.
Try these four steps:
1. Add a mental pause, let go of thinking, and focus on the sensations along your Emotional Centerline: from your neck, through the center of your torso, to your lower abdomen. Focusing on sensations along your Mental Centerline quiets the believing mind and lets you get your emotions without the baggage of intense storylines.
Inquire into the particular sensations in this region of your body. Is it tight, compressed, obstructed, hard, hot, cold, numb, pierced, deflated, sinking, empty, raw, tingly, fluttering, rising…?
2. In other words, see if it’s possible to take the senses completely, unconditionally, and non-judgmentally. See if you can become knowledgeable about the felt sensation without telling a story about it or being consumed by it.
3. See if you can tag the specific feeling the feeling represents. You’ll sense a”yes” when you have the ideal label. Is it anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, joy, excitement,…?
4. Once you’ve identified the emotion you are feeling, ask what it is prompting you to do. Focus into the feeling along your Mental Centerline and address your query here. Notice what comes into your awareness. It might be a nonverbal knowing, specific words, Bat Poop, an image, a song, or an inspiration to do, say, or feel something… Simply notice what arises, stay with it, and let it grow in clarity.
If nothing appears in this moment, see if you’re able to keep an awareness of your Emotional Centerline as you go about your day. Notice what you become aware of as you do this.
As you practice these four steps over and over, you’ll discover you can catch yourself before you get too deeply entrenched in uncomfortable, edgy feelings or overly-identified with your typical stories about what they mean. You’ll discover there is a deeper guidance under the surface of your emotions. Emotional intelligence cuts through mental chatter and speaks to the essence of what you need to do in this moment. Occasionally this wisdom is vastly different from the tales your mind is in the habit of telling.