November 27, 2014

How to Experience Bliss (When all you Know is Pain).

Anna Chapman Article photo

Something startling has come to my attention: I’ve recently come in contact with the idea that I don’t know how to truly feel bliss.

Ive battled long and hard with discomfort, pain and sadness.

I’ve been able to see the lost, abandoned, lonely spaces within and learned that I have two options:

1. Feel them deeply, or

2. Numb and block them out at all costs.

After practicing option two for almost my whole life, Ive come to the conclusion that in trying to avoid painful feelings, all I am doing is prolonging the pain and that my best bet is to sit down, take a deep breath and allow whatever is coming up to be there.

But what about feelings of joy, euphoria and bliss?

Why is it that we search and pray for these feelings only to grasp on and worry they will leave the moment we experience them? Why do we put ourselves through so much effort to dive deeply into the pain of life, and then flippantly disregard life’s goodness?

In exploring this idea, I realized that sometimes I get so caught up in the chase for a perfect life that I mindlessly miss the gifts along the way. People say life is about the journey, not the destination.

I think it’s high time we start cherishing the blissful check points along the way.

I have been having a beautiful month; life has been flowing effortlessly and the inevitable dips in the road have felt more manageable and less maddening, my gratitude journal has never been so alive and joyous. I am literally overflowing with blessings and love from my tear ducts.

One day, as I was sitting in this brilliant energy, my fight or flight response kicked in and I felt the need to call every person I know to tell them just how amazing life can be! As I started gearing up to blast out all of this goodness by Email, Facebook, phone, text, even a Singing Telegram, I realized that I wasn’t saving anything for me… I wasn’t taking time to sit in the goodness, to enjoy my bliss.

When I took a moment to feel this warm blissfulness, I felt my heart beating so deeply that it was as if my whole body had merged into one heartbeat.

As I settled into the inquiry, I found some really lovely things start to ignite within me. Not only can I explore the deep, dark, scary parts of myself with compassion and curiosity, I can also explore the wonderful, bright, loving parts with that same curiosity.

In doing so, it doesn’t have to be a quick fleeting feeling, but an exercise in connecting with my true nature, and the essence of love.

So I sat with my breath and let the feelings flutter through me as I did the following 3 steps:

1. Light a candle to set the mood, turn off all over head lights. Find a comfortable seat and hold one hand on your belly, one hand on your heart. Breath deeply and relax into this warm, comforting happy energy. Tune in with colors, shapes and explore what it is your are experiencing. If your mind comes in to try to take your attention away, gently tell it to be quiet for a few minutes as you would a child. Focus on the breath.

2. Take out a paper and a pen and start writing about these sensations. Be curious about what is happening in your body, try not to label anything as fact (there is no right answer). Keep breathing and feel the buzz of energy in your heart center.

3. Lay down and hold your belly, notice how quiet your mind is. Allow your body to be fully supported by the earth below you. Let go of any expectations of how you think this should feel. Just be with exactly what is there and delight in its juicy goodness. Embrace the idea that this calm, supported, sweet feeling is getting you closer and closer to your true essence. To your soul.

Part of the human experience is to learn. As babies we learn how our bodies work, we learn how to talk and write and read. As we grow up we learn a profession, we learn how to be in relationship and how to be in community.

But what we don’t always realize is that we are learning about who we are every moment of everyday.

I think sometimes I tune out this learning, I tune out what my body is saying. The best teacher we could ever imagine for is living within us, waiting to teach us that which, deep down, we have been holding on to for all of time.

For me, I think it’s time to start listening to the teacher within my heart, to continue to learn and explore the inner workings of myself without clinging to an idea of what I have to be or what that should look like.

We all came into the world perfect. As a society, it might be a good time to spend a little more energy within, so that we can heal the world through what we put out.

And right now, I’m putting out pure bliss.




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Author: Anna Chapman

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Kathy Carlisle 

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