I’ve been working on how to hold intensity in my experience, particularly in my body.
If I had to bet, I believe this is a key component across many fields:
Sexual orgasmic pleasure.
Holding anger at others.
Ability to access jhana states in meditation.
Whatever experience we cannot consciously experience gets repressed, diffused, or managed somehow. As Shinzen says, meditation is all about having a complete experience. A lot of trauma work, meditation challenges, and so on is around fully experiencing what we could not hold before and how to more fully live now. We could also say being mindful, conscious, aware, present.
Children don’t have the neurology or skills yet to process traumatic experiences which leads to all kinds of consequences. For example, my parents fighting was so intense for my child mind and also didn’t have resources or people to process with afterwards that as an adult, I’ve become a peace keeper. So much of my habits and perception and behavior is around dissipating, avoiding, de-escalating conflict. This has benefits and also obvious downsides.
Recently, I was doing a session with a friend. And I have this static image of my parents fighting. It’s behind a glass screen. I try to enter the scene. To make it live. To make it 3D and with color. I haven’t fully processed these experiences.
I do a side move. What is it about anger and fighting that’s so overwhelming? And it’s not really anger. It’s really about disagreeing with anyone on something that feels fraught or potentially a deep values or perception difference. I’m scared of being abandoned? Of the other person leaving me because we disagree on such a fundamental axiom?
But as I peer even deeper. Something bubbles up that really I’m scared of feeling disappointed. I’m scared the other person won’t see me, won’t feel me, won’t understand me and then will leave. Losing a person is terrible. But what I really don’t want to feel is the disappointment of losing faith in someone. In a relationship.
And I think back to my family and see that disagreements lead to fights which lead to unresolved scars. If there was no way to fight and heal then the best thing is to nip the root. The root of disagreeing in the first place.
Of course, disagreement is a fact of life. Relationships have to learn how to fight well. And perhaps most importantly, to not be able to share disagreements means not being fully in.
Paradoxically, the more willing and able to feel disappointment, the more deeper a relationship can be then.