|Posted on 15 May, 2017 at 6:25|
There is a great image that hypnotherapists sometimes use, of watching leaves floating down a stream. You sit on the bank and watch the leaves come down the stream, pass, and float on by. You know that you yourself are separate from the leaves, the leaves are not you. These leaves can represent our thoughts, feelings and sensations. You watch them come, pass, and float away.
The point of the image of leaves floating down a stream is that we let go of our usual identification with our feelings and thoughts, both the seemingly negative and seemingly positive. So that we can observe them without being absorbed by them, and see them come and go by themselves. You yourself are not your thoughts.
However, it can be useful to pick up a leaf now and again to examine it, though you still know this leaf is not you. For example, a negative automatic thought can be examined and tested. What is the real evidence for this thought? Is it a product of distorted thinking? Is there a more positive and realistic one that can take its place? If so, then the negative thought is soon blown out of your hands into the stream.
Positive helpful thoughts also come and go in the stream of life, but you choose whether it is the helpful or unhelpful thoughts that occupy the centre of your attention.
Noticing feelings without making any judgments is a good thing - not thinking about them, but using sensing of the body. For example, if I am anxious, the muscles in my abdomen are tense; I sense my lower abdomen; the more I can sense here, the more the possibility of relaxing these muscles occurs; and the more I can relax these muscles, the more I am able to sense them, and so on.
Many worsening of physical conditions, ‘flare-ups’ and such like, are brought on or exacerbated by anxiety, or even by anxiety about anxiety. The body usually does a very good job of healing itself, if we don't interfere with needless worry. It is always possible to find a still point within, no matter what storms may be raging outside.
The lightning and thunder,
They go and they come;
But the stars and the stillness
Are always at home.
- George Macdonald