What is our true nature and why is it integral to our wellbeing?
I think that we know at heart what the core of our nature is about. It is what we are drawn to most, what we are drawn towards even when we are far away from our true nature, what binds us together, what all pleasant feelings emanate from. I think and there is plenty of evidence to support this...that at the core of all of us is Love. It is what we seek in our connections, it is what we seek to have for ourselves, it is what we crave, it is what we feel most deeply when it is lost.
So if our true nature is love, how is this connected to feelings of stress, anxiety or depression?
Because the flip side of the love coin is fear. Whenever we feel fear we are deciding to move away from our true nature and it doesn't feel good.
Examine any situation in which you have felt uncomfortable recently and look closely at what your actions were, what words you used to describe it, how you felt...somewhere in there, perhaps disguised as anger, or as hatred or as irritation there will be a fear at the core, a need that is not being met, a movement away from love.
It can be hard at first to see that fear may be at the heart of any uncomfortable feeling - we don't really like to acknowledge fear, far more agreeable to the ego is the idea that we are not afraid we are just really pissed off, we are not afraid we just really dislike someone...but the ego is just protecting us from the fact that actually - we feel fear.
Have a go at this exercise below and see where it leads you:
1) Write down in brief a situation where you felt uncomfortable for any reason
2) Name the emotions that you connect to this situation and write them down
3) Take each of those emotions and look at what fear could be connected to it - some of our biggest underlying fears are fear of death, fear of failure, fear of change, fear that everything will stay the same, fear of loss of identity...however there are hundreds more! Which might have been the underlying fear for you, even if you did not experience the emotion of fear at the time?
Here is an example:
I was deeply annoyed by a lady who cut me up in traffic the other day, she wasn't looking, she pulled straight out and didn't even acknowledge what she had done. I was pretty damn angry! When I look at this more deeply though I can see that my anger was born out of fear that I could have been harmed. I was afraid that I was not important enough for her to care about cutting me up and potentially hurting me, I was afraid that I would want to retaliate...there were actually lots of fears tied up in this one simple experience!!
So if everything we are comes down to choosing to either love or to fear in every situation how can we come to know more easily that love is the choice we really want to take deep down? How can we move out of fear without leaving ourselves more open to being hurt by our vulnerability? How can we learn to experience ourselves without fear?
The following exercise can be very useful:
1) Remember a time when you felt incredibly loved, when you felt love for another with a purity that meant that there was no other emotion in your mind or body other than love.
2) When this feeling is really strong inside you stand up and hold that feeling throughout your whole body, give it a colour or an image and spread that colour or image throughout every part of you.
3) Imagine another version of yourself standing right in front of you. Imagine that this you is the most loving version of you could ever envisage. This is far from you being a walk over, this is you being so loving to yourself as well as others that you know that there is no other possible outcome for this version of you than to feel the power of being loved and so secure in that love that you know you can give it to every single person and situation without being harmed.
4) When this image is really strong, literally step forward into this version of yourself and see how great it feels.
There are a thousand ways to come to know who you are, meditation, mindfulness, gratitude....the idea behind all of them is that we choose love over fear...the only thing you really need to do is make a conscious choice every time as to which it is that you want to express in every moment.
Just a small snippet of how many great things can come from your life when you learn to heal the gap between love and fear...and begin to overcome depression, stress and anxiety. If you want to learn more have a look at my website or join my Facebook Group Positive Potential and get Coaching and Advice from some amazing people for free.