Developing Intuition: Part I:
Recovering Our Feelings

This lesson is about restoring feeling on the most basic level. It begins with breathing.

I've written about correct breathing elsewhere on the Beyond the Rainbow site. It's a basic simple thing that people forget. We all think we know how to breathe, but many of us don't.

Observe yourself breathing. Are your abdomen and solar plexus going in or out when you inhale? If they're going in, aren't moving at all, or your breathing is shallow you're breathing incorrectly.

Correct breathing involves the abdomen and diaphragm expanding to allow themselves to be filled with air; they contract in order to push air out. Try this for a moment. You may feel a little light-headed at first because you're getting more oxygen.

You're also feeling more.

This is how babies breathe, and they feel as deeply as they breathe. As we get older, we learn that feeling means sometimes feeling pain. Those who are important to us tell us that pain isn't good, so we try not to feel it. In suppressing pain, we take the first step away from our inner guidance.

Pain Isn't Bad

That doesn't mean suffering is worthy or that pain makes us good people. I'm not advocating experiencing a lot of pain, only enough to let us know we're headed away from happiness.

If you take a bite of something you don't enjoy, the unpleasant taste tells you to stop eating it. You don't, unless you're in a setting where you have to clean your plate.

Every negative feeling is intended to tell you to stop doing what's causing it. Instead of suppressing the feeling, we need to learn to let it guide us. If you go for a job interview and something doesn't feel good about the situation, don't take the job. If you look at a house for sale, and you feel reluctant to buy it for reasons you can't express, don't buy it. If the thought of spending the rest of your life with Mr. X makes you feel as if you can't breathe, take a deep breath and say "No."

The ability to welcome feelings that hurt, to learn what they're telling you, and to listen, doesn't develop overnight. However, once you've got it, not only will find a new and true direction for your life, you'll discover another benefit.

When you don't allow the negative feelings, you also disallow a depth of positive feeling. Once you let yourself feel the negative, more positive feelings will fill you and guide you, too.

A Few Simple Steps

Exercise #1: Breathing Practice

Rhodochrosite, a stone whose color ranges from orange to pink, can help you to restore correct breathing. In chakra balancing it relates to the solar plexus area. When it's placed there it helps to release the emotional stresses, which inhibit breathing.

When I was learning to drive in New York City my teacher used to take me to practice on the FDR Drive. For those unfamiliar with it, this roadway seems to attract many drivers with death wishes or homicidal urges.

My attention was both on the road and on trying to suppress my terror. My instructor looked over at me and said, "Breathe."

After that, when I was going to a driving lesson, I taped a rhodochrosite to my solar plexus. (If you like this idea be sure to use the special tape sold in drugstores that doesn't tear your skin away when you remove it.) It helped me to breathe more deeply. This reduced my anxiety and made me a better driver.

I recommend rhodochrosite for breathing exercises. Place it on the solar plexus, and be aware of it rising and falling as you breathe.

Do this as a solo exercise once a day for about five minutes. You can also do the exercise as a warm-up for general meditation. You may also want to do this whenever you feel emotional tension building.

Exercise #2: Handling Upsets

When you get upset, notice what happens. Do you tense up? Stop breathing or start hyperventilating? Most people do, and I suspect that the general constriction of the solar plexus that reduces the oxygen supply intensifies anger, because people begin to feel as if they're fighting for their lives, and they literally are.

You may not always be in situations where you can lie down with rhodochrosite on your solar plexus, but you can apply the deep breathing method. You can also ask yourself, "What is this feeling telling me?" You may not get an answer immediately, but here's a clue that may help:

In the case of anger especially, whenever we feel angry with someone else, the source is usually anger at ourselves. If, for example, you feel your boss isn't being respectful of you, ask yourself how respectful you are of yourself.

Practice appreciating your negative feelings as guides. You'll find that much of their unpleasant charge dissipates.

Exercise #3: Practice Feeling Good

Often we're so busy avoiding negative feelings that we don't take the opportunity to fully appreciate the opportunities for feeling good. Stop to enjoy a sunset. Watch your children play. Take some time to be with your companion animal. Listen to your favorite music. Remember happy moments. Write down everything for which you're grateful.

The more you shift your attention to things that make you feel good, the more opportunities for feeling good will come to you.

Additional Resources

The Solar Plexus: Feeling Good

Going with the Flow


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