What is hard about being present…
Research seems to indicate that when we develop this basic embodied presence, we are integrating brain functions and naturally down regulating emotional re-activity. We are able to align more with present moment reality- what is actually happening now versus what we think is happening now. What is called for right now, versus fight/flight/freeze patterns that take over when we are triggered. This also allows us to be more intentional, to steer our ship where we want it to go, not get thrown off course again and again.
What is hard about being present in this way is that the door to the unconscious or subconscious is more porous. We are aware of more than usual and can be overwhelmed and flooded by unprocessed past material. This is where the crying comes in for instance- you are crying for past hurts and losses, it is a form of release and catharsis and healing actually. Ideally we let it happen, we feel it through and out, we are then more at peace with our feelings and our past experiences, and ready for new and different experiences too.
Yet a lot of us, are afraid of these feelings- afraid to be taken over by them, stuck in them, defined by them. Oddly we are attached to some of them too, they are part of our story of self and we aren’t quite sure of who we would be without them. They come up to consciousness and we reflexively stuff them back away. This is where a rigid concentration practice can be a distorted meditation practice- you are using the practice to hide rather than heal.
With this said, such suppression (conscious or unconsciously initiated) can serve a person if they don’t have the capacity, context, or support to feel it directly right now, or the experience triggers them into a highly reactive or disassociated state. Sometimes this unconscious blocking is actually a survival mechanism. When we see the blocking and make a conscious decision “I can’t go here right now”- that can be a skillful, mindful response.
Natasha Korshak is a long-time teacher and trainer of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and MBSR, and has been working in the field of integrative health and wellness her entire professional career. She is a graduate of the Interfaith Theological Seminary and an ordained Interfaith Minister specializing in contemplative practice, grief processing, and spiritual direction. Her study and training of mind/body/spirit methods is extensive and she has learned from many of the pioneers in their discipline. As the founder and director of the Sol Center she is well regarded for her depth, warmth, authenticity, and the smile in her voice.