I’ve just finished instructing two IST courses in California and come away with a realisation I’d love to share with you.

It’s always such a privilege to see people dive deep into their internal world, learn to navigate spaces of consciousness, feel and release buried emotions, and have enlightening experiences of who they are beneath their protection mechanisms.

However, something I see repeatedly in myself and others is a difficulty with actually being inside an inner experience.

Moving towards the source

In IST sessions, the direction is to go inside spaces and emotions – whether it’s fear, grief or rage – in order to get to the source of the emotional imprint or trauma and release the charge held within it.

In my experience, there seem to be two main reasons why people find it challenging to move inside an experience. This state is something which may have come naturally when you were young, but sooner or later you learn things like ‘anger is not acceptable’ and ‘crying is just for babies’. The other reason is that you carry deep imprints or traumas inside that were difficult to process at the time, so they become encapsulated and therefore not easy to access.

Again and again in an IST session I hear my client say, ‘I’m feeling so much rage’ or ‘There is so much grief here’, but when I ask them whether they are actually inside or just looking at it from the outside, the answer is invariably, ‘Oh, I’m outside’.

So much worse from the outside

Charged emotions seem so much more intense and daunting from the outside – like an impossible task. They can seem like a horrendously destructive force or a pit of despair that never seems to end. But when INSIDE them, the experience is inevitably different.

Reaction drops, force flows

oceanIt’s not like it all becomes rainbows and puppy dogs, but the fear around feeling the emotion drops and it often opens up into the simplicity of a space or force. Destructive rage becomes a potent force of life that can move through and invigorate you. Endless grief becomes an ocean which you can spread into and not feel overwhelmed by.

This points to the fact that it’s often the reaction to the emotion that is worse than the emotion itself.

This is most noticeable when rage or violence is concerned. We tend to have such big charges about not letting our violence out – it might hurt people! it could do damage! what will people think? I could be rejected! or worse, imprisoned! But more often than not, even in a safe context like an IST session, we rarely let ourselves really feel it.

Suppressed rage

Suppressed rage can be extremely damaging – it’s got to come out somehow, so it will erupt or lash out at times. However, by letting yourself actually move into the experience, the psychological accessories and judgements drop, and you can connect with and feel the pure force behind the rage. Allowing this to move through your body rather than be contained in a tiny space can feel incredibly enlivening.

Riding the wave

In many ways it’s a lot like being in the ocean and seeing a massive wave coming towards you. Instead of trying to battle it or build a dam to contain it – you ride it, surrender to it, let it carry you. It can actually be really fun!

Forces bring aliveness!

tornadoSometimes I have this vision of humans as being an amalgamation of different forces, some of them delicate, others more like twisters or lightning. Our little ego or personality does all it can to contain/manage/suppress/restrict them. But they are there to flow – they are what makes us feel alive, open and able to achieve great things. It’s the difference between struggling along on one cylinder or blazing on all eight.

Creating openings in relationships

IST is a wonderful training ground for learning how to be inside your experience and enter these forces in a way that lets them flow. Using this know-how in your daily interactions can then lessen the complications and deepen the richness of your relationships with others. So often you might tell a loved one you are hurt, but you are actually feeling and passing the anger that’s a protective mechanism over the top of it. The next time you’re trying to communicate your hurt or vulnerability, check in to see, ‘Am I actually in it and feeling it right now?’

Others feel you when you’re in it

One of the most beautiful things about really being IN your internal experience is that it makes it so much easier for others to feel you. If you feel misunderstood or not seen by others, it’s very likely you’re not embodying your internal experience. In my experience, when I do this people around me feel it and often respond in a way where I feel seen and accepted just how I am in that moment. That is real intimacy and connection, both with myself and others.


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