Over the weekend we found ourselves having a chat over coffee about our experiences the last year and how clear it’s become that expectations can shape our perception, and therefore our reality. For example, we’ve both been told by doctors that we could never heal things that we’ve healed. We are told by our culture that we are good/bad, right/wrong, strong/weak, limitless/limited. Depending on the information we receive it can buoy us into our potentiality or sink us into hopelessness. We all have expectations, that not only inform our behaviors, but influence how we will experience reality through our 5 senses. These expectations are sometimes invisible, like the air we breathe, yet are effecting us greatly.
This week we are answering a patron’s question about something that is up for them in their life. It contains a lot of nuance about how to be with other people’s emotions without feeling overwhelmed, as well as how to receive kindness and love without feeling overwhelmed by that either. The shortened version of the question is: “When I do let myself feel my emotions deeply I frequently get super overwhelmed and times that I am center of attention or receiving heartfelt love and support are still very uncomfortable for me in groups. Why is it so difficult to feel deep emotion in myself and from others still?”
In this episode we both speak about limiting identities we are each up against that are related to hiding. How might our genuine values be co-opted by ego identities that keep us small? How do these identities require an unfriendly imaginary audience? And when we engage in this kind of “othering”, via imagining other people as the judge and jury, how do we project an unfriendly universe onto everyone in advance of any actual friction? Once we can see that all operating, how do we untangle these subtle layers so that we can experience more and more of life without being led by the question, “Do they like it?”
Today we are discussing what we could call living from truth. I had an experience not long back where a mentor of mine was asking me to say exactly what I wanted, and I noticed a freeze response. This opened up for me a new depth of experience around what it really can feel like to live from truth, as opposed to following the momentum of past conditioning and habits. Many of us say we want to be authentic or know our true nature, or the truth of reality, but what does that really mean? We’re kicking it off by getting into some teachings from Adyashanti, and of course diving into our own experiences and challenges in stepping into greater alignment with our inner truth.
We are talking with Dr. Gail Brenner, a clinical psychologist whose practice and teachings are unique because of her nondual perspective grounded in deep and practical truths about peace and happiness. She is the author of two books, The End of Self-Help, and Suffering is Optional. We are primarily discussing her most recent book, Suffering is Optional. You can find more on Gail’s work at www.gailbrenner.com