Wade into feelings


There's an old beautiful spiritual, Wade in the Water which referred to liberation from enslavement; while many assumed it was a reference to the exodus from Egypt, it was moreover an instruction to fugitive slaves to leave dry land which, while easy to run on, lead one to be quickly captured. Instead, the fugitive was instructed to head into the water as a means of escape. 

The spiritual is not an instruction to bide one's time in hopes of passive salvation or divine intervention, it's an encouragement to move towards freedom by giving up what's familiar and pushing onto the difficult path of freedom.

Wading can also serve as an analogy for working with emotions, feelings and moods: Rather than staying up in our heads, where the thoughts created by our moods can so easily entrap us, we seek release by lowering our awareness into the body, 'wading' into often turbulent physical expression of our emotions. How does it work?

"Witness:" what is occurring at the present moment without identifying. If emotional states don't arise, we can summon them by asking ourselves "how does it feel?" "what needs to be felt?" 

"ADmit:" all that's felt in the abdomen, chest and throat without resistance or commentary, allowing sensations that arise to unfold freely.

"Ease:" all that arises to deter us from contacting our emotions: the locked jaw, the tight forehead, the shallow, rapid breath, the antagonistic thoughts and external distractions and on.

When we move into body of emotions, we bring with us compassion and determination, we leave behind impatience and self-judgement. We also drop the tendency to take anything personally, knowing that we all work with the same color palette: excitement, guilt, relief, shame, pleasure, fear, embarrassment.

As we wade through our feelings, gradually the waters become calmer, and we arrive where we're safe; turning away from the busyness of the world and the false shelters of greed and accumulation, we choose instead the 'other shore' of inner peace.