Stop telling yourself stupid stories

Swami Shankarananda at Vajreshwari temple, India
Swamiji at Vajreshwari temple, India

11th August 2010

Every Wednesday evening before Shiva Process Swamiji would speak to us about how to maximise the experience of Shakti. These talks range from teachings on Kashmir Shaivism to Self-inquiry, from meditation to mantra, and from downward shifts to upward shifts.

I want to speak briefly about one of my favourite topics, the A-Statement, the humble A-Statement. There are many reasons why the A-Statement is effective. Sometimes I think it is the great unsung hero. It makes us present.

To make an A-Statement is to be aware of present feeling, to label it and to state it. And I make many A-Statements a day. When we make an A-Statement we go inside and ask, ‘what’s going on here, what’s the feeling?’ and make A-Statement.  

When you become aware of negativity you will notice two elements within you. First there is the feeling. Second, there’s the story that underlies it which produces the bad feeling. The story takes you deeper and deeper into bad feeling. You dwell on it and remember all the horrors. You think and think and think and while you’re doing that you’re feeling is going down, down, and down. But instead if you examine the feeling and then make the A-statement you are freed from the story and you just work with the feeling. 

The feeling may be angry, it may be scared, it may be sad or depressed, but it’s just a feeling and you can handle it. The thing that you can’t handle is the endless story telling that produces it. So, if you become present to whatever the feeling is, you already have had a shift. If you move away from the story and be with the feeling and then you are just with it. You don’t have to even try to get out of it, you just be with it. Already you’re in a better space because it’s more real, because that is what is present, that’s what you are feeling. 

There’s never been a human being who didn’t get angry, didn’t get scared, or didn’t get sad. Every human being who’s ever faced life has gone through these different moods; it’s perfectly horrible but also okay at the same time. It won’t kill you because it’s only your own feelings. It’s not the communists, it’s not the fascists, it’s not what you think it is, it’s not the white people, the black people, the brown people, the yellow people, the red people. It is none of that, it’s your own feeling and it won’t kill you.

It is good to just sit with feeling, because it will teach you endurance. To endure is a great yogic quality. I believe that if you simply endure, hang in there long enough the whole world will come to you. That is all you have to do.

The world is so horrified by feelings that everyone wants to get drunk, or get stoned, or do anything to divert it, or change it and so on. And to stand and just be with it is all right. And then even if you try to maintain that feeling you won’t be able to because it will shift. It will change, but first you have to sit with it, be with it and then make the A-statement.

To sit still like a great yogi when your breast is heaving with rage, burning your body, or you experience a horrible depression, with its blackness permeating every cell, or feel terror running through your body, that is a great yoga in itself.

Sit with it, don’t be afraid, it is only your own feeling. 

And when you stop telling yourself the stories that create the feeling, the feeling will change, and it will go. It is there because you are telling yourself stupid, false and idiotic stories. So, stop telling the stories and just be with the feeling, that’s my statement for tonight. Thank you very much. 

For more information on Shiva Process go here.