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The Paradox of Trying to Feel and Not Feel


We spend our lives toggling between trying to feel, and the other times trying not to feel. We can feel an experience, then want more of that feeling. When we have reached the peak of this feeling, we are meant to let go. When we try to hold onto this feeling, it turns into an attachment. The absence of this feeling can produce anxiety and nervousness— our self anticipating the next time we can have this feeling. An imbalance happens in relation with this feeling.


We may already recognize common ways to keep a feeling going— caffeine, sugar, salt, alcohol, nicotine. It can also be any activity where there is the hope of stimulation or arousal— including well-known addictions such as gambling and sex. Less ‘taboo’ activities may be shopping, engaging in a sport, reading, or looking at the news, videos, or social media. For some of us, there’s an insatiable need for wealth, power, recognition, information, or control.


Wanting more because somehow what we are experiencing is not enough.

We can start by asking why we want more, and noticing if the pattern is physical, mental, or emotional. Perhaps there is something we are trying not to feel. When we try not to feel a sensation that is present, we can exert a significant amount of energy to suppress it and control it. Over time, it becomes exhausting to keep up with this constant effort.


Could it be that a chasing, holding-onto feeling is mixed up with a universal need? Connection. Safety. Joy. Self-worth.

We can begin to sort our feelings and separate them from any entanglements. Recognizing in your body, mind, and emotions when:


You’ve done enough. You don’t need to do anymore. It is time to rest.


You’ve experienced enough. Let it go. Let it integrate.


You have enough. You don't need to receive or take anymore.


You are enough. Accept yourself as you are in the present moment, with loving understanding. Then see what next unfolds.


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