You know those moments when you’re so deep into your tunnel vision reality that depression or anxiety is all you know, and there seems to be no way out? Those moments are crucial turning points in one’s life when used properly, as they can inspire deeper connection with one’s true Self, compassion for others’ suffering, and a new direction to take your life in. There are a few ways to alleviate and better understand intense experiences when they arise. Each time it will be a little easier to handle that decade-long depression or that consistently returning traumatic memory. Bentinho Massaro
It is generally easy to rest as Presence when things are feeling relatively good, or relatively bad. However, when things get really intense, when a catalyst is strong and distraction seems like an unstoppable force, it can feel challenging to find the unshakable peace that is felt as the okayness that underlies all forms of Existence.
Lesson 24 attempts to help you find peace in the midst of deeply disturbing experiences and physical and emotional roller coaster rides, by giving you 11 concise ways to approach intense experiences.
11 Methods to Deal with Intense Experiences
Ever experience profound depression? Anxiety? Mind-numbing stress? Suicidal loneliness? House-wrecking frustration and anger? Unsolvable jealousy? Relationship break-ups? Haunting memories? Physical pain? Utter and total hopelessness, meaninglessness, and despondency? Going through a “dark night of the soul”?
We all do from time to time. This lesson is all about learning to approach these catalytic experiences, so that with some practice, you can turn the intense experiences into well-utilized catalysts that lead to transformation and liberation, rather than to stuck, misunderstood, and depressive energies.
I will give you 11 powerful methods, based on my own direct experience with intense experiences of all kinds, that for me have proved useful at one point or another in the midst of my most intense moments with life’s catalysts.
Method 1: Understanding that it has purpose, and being okay with it
When an intense experience strikes you down (seemingly), what can be extremely helpful and can prevent you from interpreting it in a negative way, is to remind yourself of the fact that you are swimming in an ocean of Intelligent-Presence-Love-Energy.
It is okay if you don’t feel intelligently loved at that time, you can still remember that somehow—deep down and behind all the appearances—there is an intelligent awareness driving these experiences into your field of consciousness for a reason.
There is, in other words, a valuable purpose behind your catalytic experiences, as well as your suffering-response to those catalytic experiences.
You will find that when you take a 2 to 5 second break from being focused on your painful thoughts, emotions, and sensations (you can always do this, no matter what your mind suggests) you can remind yourself that what you see is not just randomly painful or purposeless, but actually has a beneficial purpose that has yet to be brought to the light by you/for you. Suddenly, you can rest more easily with the intense burning away of old conditioning.
If it helps, remember that in the past, challenging experiences have always led you to greater clarity as to who you truly are, especially in the recent years or months since you’ve started using your catalysts more efficiently and consciously.
Since there has always been guidance driving your challenges, why would it be any different this time around?
Know that there is purpose behind your intense experiences, and rest in this knowledge confidently.
Method 2: Seeing intense experiences as God / Love / Presence / Consciousness
When an intense experience arises, develop the habit of defining it, interpreting it, and seeing it as God, as Love, as Light, as Presence, as Energy, as Consciousness, as The One expressing itself, as Inseparable from Creation, as Well-Being, as Bliss, as Joy, as Power in form, and so on. Use whatever angle or name resonates most deeply for you.
At first, it might feel intellectual or just imagined, or like you are pretending, but you will find that this simple practice—over time—will build upon itself and deeply increase your ability to experience your intense experiences as being Presence-Energy. Not just appearing in Presence-Consciousness as an object, but actually consisting of Peace, of Bliss, of Love, of Light.
When you start being able to sense, feel, and see your intense experiences AS your well-being, AS your happiness, and AS your power made manifest, then your ease will also be seen as an intense experience; they will become one and the same thing.
At this point, intense experiences, and detachment from your intense experiences, will start to exist simultaneously.
You will be able to fully experience your emotional turmoil, while at the same time feeling that it’s not who you are, even though it is made out of the substance that created all of creation. As such, you will be able to sense the aliveness, the vibration of Love / Bliss / Creation itself, in the appearance of your intense experiences.
Method 3: It’s only temporary
When intense triggers arise, your attention may be dragged into a tunnel-vision reality from which there seems to be no escape. As a result, you may start to have doom-like thoughts such as, “What if I will always feels like this?” and, “I’ll be devastated for life if this person leaves me for good; I will never again find someone as good as this person.”
These doom / lack-based thoughts only increase the tension and struggle your body-mind is going through, and they don’t make “resting in the face of intense experiences” any easier, per se. These thoughts are based in not perceiving the bigger picture; in not seeing that they are relative, temporary experiences.
So, when you find yourself dealing with doom-thoughts, try to counter them by considering the bigger picture and remembering that everything is temporary. Find peace in that knowledge.
For example: You have probably experienced similar challenges in the past, but they have always led to something else that was good—usually better, depending on your cultivated attitude—but in general, challenges for most people move on to newer, better, more relevant things.
You weren’t sad permanently; there were clear skies after the storms. Remind yourself of these past resolutions of your intense experiences, and find a deep abiding peace in those memories so you can rest easy, while simply letting the intense experiences be, without applying doom-meanings to them.
Note: In Self-Realization teachings, it is often believed or suggested that one should “stick with the emotion as it is and not try to relieve oneself of its intensity.” While this can be a temporarily profound way to discover that your freedom is not dependent on changing your emotions, overall I would say that, when you have truly intense experiences, it is the result of over-thinking, of over-elaborating, and of having too many lack-thoughts arise at the same time. As such, I recommend easing your vibration, because in a lower state of frequency, you have very little access to higher ways of seeing. And those higher ways of seeing can help you resolve the lack-beliefs that are firing up your mental, physical, and emotional body so greatly in moments of intense challenge.
I am not saying to avoid the thoughts you’re having. However, I do recommend you give yourself as many glimpses of spaciousness and joy as you can in such extreme scenarios, so you can generate a space of clarity from which to adequately investigate the lack belief. Without clarity, you’re not going to get to more clarity. You need to follow the trail of clarity upwards, instead of following the lack-based emotional beliefs downwards.
Method 4: Throw your towel in the ring
When nothing seems to lead you to clarity, when nothing seems to work, when you feel absolutely stuck and despondent, consider this: You have nothing left to lose and nothing to win. You might as well throw in the towel and say, “F*ck it, I’m done. Have me.”
Basically, you’re saying to life, “Thy will is my will,” or “Thy will be done.” It’s the classical surrender story, but it can work powerfully in certain scenarios.
Simply, upon recognition of your stuckness—seeing that there is no hope for resolution—you decide the best (and only) alternative is to go with the flow; to let the roller coaster ride have you completely as it will, and to cease resisting its turns and its ups and downs.
You stop arguing with what’s happening. You give your ideas and thoughts about how things should appear back to life, back to Source, back to that Higher Consciousness, that Greater Self, and you surrender and trust that somehow, this flow will lead you somewhere you cannot yet perceive.
Method 5: Fully enter the physical and emotional sensations; don’t reject them
What can be helpful during times of intense emotional distress is to simply take a moment for yourself, breathe, and place your full attention on—or into—the feelings that arise.
Notice the sensations with as much detail and finesse as you can. See how they move, notice when new variants are generated, and perhaps discover where they originate from. Follow them through until one disappears into clarity or nothingness or emptiness, and see how it makes space for perhaps another emotion to flare up and run its course.
Observe, but don’t judge or interpret the thoughts that react to the feelings. Watch as they arise, latch onto the feelings, detach, and disappear. Have no opinion about any of it; simply remain aloof, as rested in Presence-Consciousness as you can.
When you are fully present to a feeling, this takes away the energy of the automatic unconscious or semi-conscious mind, which tends to latch onto the thoughts that flare up in response to the emotions, creating a vicious cycle that becomes habituated.
When we bring conscious and detached attention to these thoughts and emotions, even in extreme times, we can usually greatly diminish, clear up, or even completely resolve our mental and emotional distress.
Try it out. If this one does not work well for you yet—most likely due to identification with thoughts and emotions, rather than the ability and desire to truly “rest it out,” so to speak—then it will increase the stress-energy on your body. You might experience this as a burning in the solar plexus, for example. It’s okay if there is a little bit of this temporarily, but if it continues, and there seems to be no end in sight—if there is no clarity or ease that results from placing your conscious attention on the feelings—then try one of the other methods instead.
Method 6: Stop thinking for a full minute, several times in a row
When really, really tired of suffering, some people can instantly stop their train of thought for a period of time. This usually requires some practice, but sometimes even the requirement of practice can be rendered redundant by the sheer will of the adept.
Try this out and see if it works for you. Simply commit all your energy to stopping your thought-stream.
It’s okay if some thoughts come up here and there, but bring your attention, with great desire, to the total stillness of Being, or to the depths of Infinity, or to the endless emptiness underneath Existence, or to the darkness of deep sleep, or to whatever focal point represents a certain type of “nothingness, spaciousness, or blankness” to you.
Bring all of your consciousness into that motionless, silent, neutral point of the universe, and hold this for about a minute. Full stop. Maintain that as long as you can; resist all other temptations. Know that it’s not worth it to get distracted from your focus on the nothingness, the clear slate, the blank canvas.
Then repeat as required, until you find very little to no mental and emotional ties anymore to the ridiculous lack-thought-stream that triggered this cascading state of panic, anxiety, or depression.
Method 7: Get out of the specifics
What trips people up are the specifics of certain scenarios. When we get lost in a downward spiral into a hole of depression, or any other intense experience or state of mind, it is usually because we’re too focused on tiny little temporary, meaningless, blown-out-of-proportion specifics which, in that moment, seem to fill up our entire world and mean everything to us. Life and death even.
In other words: We are simply blinding ourselves with too many details. The solution is to get out of those details. Escape the state of mind that is overly-focused on the specifics of your life’s scenario.
Gratitude and appreciation are amazing energetic tools to release yourself from pretty much any type of energetic conundrum or contraction. The difficulty for most people lies in getting back to a state where gratitude and appreciation, and therefore excitement and joy for being alive, are accessible.
So, how do you shift yourself into gratitude, appreciation, joy, and excitement?
Answer: Be more general in what you focus on.
This simply means that, instead of emphasizing the details of an event, you start to mention to yourself things that are good about life—things that are more general in nature; more big-picture types of things.
For example: Instead of focusing on how that one person has betrayed you to your core, and constantly grinding over all the details that took place, take a deep breath, relax for 2 to 5 seconds, and start to notice things that are more general about life.
Things such as the lovely structure and presence of the trees outside; the brightness of the sunlight that is pouring into your window; the fact that so many who are close to you are still alive to share this human experience with you; the fact that there are a trillion stars out there for you to explore some day, in some way; the fact that you can go and see a movie if you want to; the fact that the intelligence in your body is effortlessly managing your breathing; the fact that you have a big paycheck coming in tomorrow; the fact that you still have your two legs, two arms, and all your fingers; the fact that you are aware of yourself to the extent that you are; the fact that you have found this Academy and have made new friends; the fact that there is endless abundance for everyone, simply waiting to be tapped into; the fact that you’re a great painter, artist, poet, communicator, writer, hiker, climber, swimmer, lawyer, or whatever it is you are good at. Focus on the infinite possibilities out there (read: in here); on the abundance of love in this world and in other potential worlds; on the abundance of good people; on the abundance of opportunity in your life, and so on.
If you do this for a couple of minutes in a row (similar to “Method 6: Stop thinking for a minute”), you will notice that your consciousness will no longer be bound by the mind-trap. You will feel more aligned with the universal truths of Existence; you will feel more aligned with who you are and what you came here to do (love, enjoy, learn, expand, share, and so on).
In this way, you will step outside of the “lack box” and into the power of your Presence-Energy.
Method 8: Do something else entirely; distract yourself
Sometimes I have found it helpful to just distract myself. This may sound counter-intuitive or even “wrong,” but in some cases, it’s simply a good, healthy solution.
In general, we don’t wish to avoid things (I agree), but when things get really intense and destructive, it’s better to get out of that spiral. Going to a movie, doing sports, painting, writing, calling a friend, helping someone out, etc., are all good ways to get out of that spiral and to once again notice things about life that are more general, gaining a broader, more expansive perspective.
Method 9: Reach out to the teaching, the teacher, and the community
Watch a YouTube video. This has been surprisingly effective for myself in the past and for many people in the present. When you need a boost of clarity, when you need to be plugged back into your true nature, simply watch one of my YouTube videos, or the video of someone you resonate most with, generally speaking.
Now, here is the thing: During your intense experience or depression or dark night of the soul, you may not be able to feel what resonates and what doesn’t, so watch a video of something that usually resonates for you. Force yourself to take this one small act of kindness toward yourself. Watch a whole session in the Trinfinity Academy Library for example, or on YouTube, and let me do the work for you. Simply relax and listen; allow me to gradually uplift your energy, uproot your fears and frustrations, and transform your energy for you.
Make it easy on yourself. Use what is offered. I have gone through all the intense periods and dark nights of the soul in my life so that I can be of most effective use to you, in your times of great need. It would be a disservice to yourself, and to me, if you did not make full use of that when it is relevant and helpful to do so. 🙂
Don’t feel like you always have to do it yourself. Reach out.
On that same note, learn to reach out to a teacher, facilitator, or community member, as their supporting presence can be of service, as well.
Method 10: Remember who you truly are
Sometimes when we get into a funk or a depression, we have simply forgotten who we are, what we are, what we came here for, where we came from, and the power that we have at our command as a valid, worthy, full-fledged portion of the Infinite Creator.
We have fallen from our Creator’s seat, from our space of remembrance. So, the solution is to simply remember that you are beyond all this, bigger than all this, more powerful than what your attitude and behavior is reflective of right now.
Remember the times when you felt all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving, all-capable, and remember how good it felt to know in that state that you were being truly yourself, connected to Spirit.
Remember this and embrace it again, desire it, crave it, and know it to be already so. Know it to be already true. Know that you can wish anything away, or into existence, at the snap of your finger. Creation is here to respond to your heart’s every true wish, but your vibrational attitude has to be in alignment with who you truly are. So, remember who you are and make the agreement to stay true to that and act like that.
Feel and act and behave like a peaceful, doubtless God, not a victim of a linear reality. This does not mean to control your environment; rather, it simply means to remember that you have infinite power and possibilities at your disposal. That you ARE The One Infinite Creator and you are worthy of letting endless bliss and relief flood your system, regardless of what your circumstances or mental definitions may suggest.
Remember who you are, and all petty-mindedness will be absorbed into your light; never to be seen again in that way—never to fool you again in that way. You have conquered it by remembering your true nature; your infinite nature. You have outshone your depression with the light of truth.
Remember that you truly belong to Infinity—not to the human mind. You are here to create, not to beg.
Method 11: What does it want you to see?
If you find you have the space for this in your intense period of challenge, you can ask yourself these questions: “How is this serving me? What does it want me to become aware of? What is this challenge showing me? What beliefs have I been holding onto that it wants me to notice—beliefs that are no longer in alignment with who I truly am? What have I not been doing that I actually feel like doing? How have I suppressed my true Self recently? What direction in life is my Higher Self asking me to look into and take action on?”
As I investigate what I want myself to do, believe, or see differently, or when I take action on that which I have not yet taken action on, due to fears and hesitancy, I have often found that the pain starts to soften (and often dissolve completely) as soon as I truly resolve to make that change. As soon as I see what its purpose is, the catalyst itself leaves me alone because it has, indeed, served its purpose, now that I have become aware of its purpose.
The Empowerment teaching will give you more specific tools for this type of investigation, but you can start doing it intuitively now, because that is all you need, really.
Quick-Fix Breathing Technique (QFBT)
As an additional aid to alleviate the body’s stress levels during your more intense experiences, you can apply the following breathing technique in conjunction with one of the ways described in this lesson above.
I designed this technique for use during times when your body and/or mind is under intense stress, or otherwise higher-than-usual energetic discomfort or imbalance. This technique may help when, for example, you’re experiencing energies such as anger, anxiety, a burning solar plexus, ungrounded jitteriness (as if you drank way too much coffee), panic, fear, adrenaline rushes (overactive adrenals), or when you feel you can’t stop thinking about something and it’s becoming cyclic and unhealthy (compulsive or suicidal), or when you’re experiencing uncommon energetic releases, as a result of spiritual awakening or transformation.
You might want to sit or lie down the first couple of times you do this, since some people experience a little bit of light-headedness as a result of the unusually deep inhalation, which takes in more oxygen than our brains are used to.
If this feeling of slight dizziness occurs, you will find it usually disappears 5 to 10 seconds into holding the inhaled air, as the body quickly assimilates the higher dose of oxygen and prana (quasi-physical air-energy) and uses it to balance the body’s accumulated stress-energy.
One full cycle consists of two 30-second breathing cycles:
- Inhale for 5 seconds:
Inhale as deep as you can without inducing pain or discomfort.
- Hold it for 15 seconds:
Be aware of the empty space inside your chest while you count to 15.
- Exhale for 5 seconds:
At the end of your natural exhalation, exhale slightly more than you normally would, without inducing pain or discomfort.
- Hold the exhaled state for 5 seconds:
Feel the emptiness / stillness at the heart of your Self / Body / the Universe.
Repeat steps 1 through 4 once more—for a total of two times—to complete the 1-minute Quick-Fix Breathing cycle.
Here is a summarized version:
- Inhale for 5 seconds, deeply.
- Hold your breath for 15 seconds (+ chest-space-awareness).
- Exhale for 5 seconds, deeply.
- Hold the exhaled state for 5 seconds (+ Emptiness feeling).
Feel free to slightly adjust the times for each stage if you find the suggested durations uncomfortable. Eventually, try doubling the times for each of the steps.
After you have completed two 30-second sub-cycles, return to your normal—but now pleasantly more relaxed and aligned—breathing cycles.
Repeat the 1-minute QFBT cycle a couple more times, if needed, until the disturbing energies feel neutralized, grounded, purified, or emptied out enough for you to focus again on something you desire to focus on.
In general, I would say one or two full cycles should be enough to soothe the energy by at least 80%. This should suffice for you to feel undistracted enough to recognize what was never distracted anyway: Your Present Self.
Feel free to continue repeating the cycle, perhaps to get the bodily stress down to 0%, if that is your goal, for some reason. However, I recommend not to use this technique more than five times in a row without a 20-minute break, as it is designed for a specific purpose: to take the pressure off quickly.
Although the Quick-Fix Breathing Technique is designed specifically to take the majority of the pressure off your body-mind system in times of intensely disturbing bodily contractions or energetic imbalances, you can apply it to more common, everyday, mild imbalances as well, if you so desire.
Using the QFBT outside of intense experiences does not create negative side-effects, and will only add to your health and centeredness overall. However, limit using this technique to, say, a few times a day, to keep its special purpose and application intact (for when you’re feeling out of control 🙂 ).
At its heart, the intention behind the QFBT is not so much to get rid of uncomfortable feelings; the intention is to realign yourself by neutralizing highly distracting, energetic distortions that feel unhealthy or borderline dangerous. After having relaxed the most intense portion of this misaligned energy, you may more effortlessly feel your natural state of Pure Being return.
To honor its purpose, I recommend that every time you use the QFBT—whether used during intense or mild imbalances—you follow it up immediately by recognizing that the Beingness you feel now, after having applied the QFBT, was in reality, just as unwaveringly present throughout the intense energetic fluctuations… just as the sun remains lovingly present during a solar flare.
You can also recognize throughout the different stages of the QFBT (especially the 15-second retained inhalation period) that Presence, or Beingness, is perfectly present and awake (conscious) in that moment.
In this way, you avoid becoming addicted to this technique as a way to quick-fix your way out of every energetic discomfort, just to feel better. Rather, this technique—and the discomfort!—should be used as an opportunity to come to clearer recognition of the unchanging brilliance of Presence-Consciousness.
- Read or listen to this lesson’s contents at least one more time before you continue with the next lesson.
- While this lesson may not be relevant to you right now, make a commitment to yourself, that the next time something triggers you, whether mildly or extremely, you will refer to this list of methods and apply whichever one feels most resonant. Or, try a couple of them and see what happens. You could even try all of them!
Consider sharing your experiences with this lesson in the corresponding Enlightenment I, Lesson 24 Study Group, and/or ask other members for their input and tips.