Menu Choices: Feeling Open or Closed
Updated: Jul 2
~ Try this...Think of a time you were very anxious about something. Remember that feeling as clearly as you can. Really hang out with that feeling. Do you feel more open or closed?
Do you feel the anxiety more on your left side or your right side? If in neither side closer to your feet or your head. Be curious about it. Do you feel more open or closed?
Dr. Jud Brewer came up with this exercise to avoid any of the meditation nomenclatures while describing a classic, thousands of years old, meditation concept(at least I think it is?). Most people I’ve asked say closed when thinking of anxiety or anger or even any type of excitement. Most people feel open when feeling curious, or calm, peaceful, or joyous. What I get from Dr. Judd is that by simply changing your mental state you can almost instantaneously feel more relaxed and at peace. Even while doing very exciting things. One of his Ted Talks starts with him feeling a sort of synchronicity while doing an intense dangerous downhill bike ride. This is also known as flow(more soon...)
These ideas have really sent me down the interesting path of wondering if peace and joy are I prefer to excitement and intensity.
This is also directly related to “be curious” part of the Attention Investment Cycle(more here) I’ve sort of stolen from therapists and Dr. Jud. After “feeling the urge” whatever urge that is, “be curious” allows a person to instantly feel more open, feel more relaxed, and feel less controlled by whatever urge was taking over their thoughts.
Now, I also gather that Dr. Jud refers to the idea of being open or closed as choices on a menu. If you imagine your sitting at a table and the menu gives you the choice of feeling more open or more closed, I’ve learned that I’ll take open every time. This leads to the question I've been pondering:
“Will I choose peace over excitement every time?” more on that soon..
Wondering if your open/closed at any time of the day is a nifty trick and I’m finding it to be surprisingly powerful. My roomate and I like to get in debates and once one of us starts spiraling into anger the other will ask, "are your feeling open, or closed?" Who knows, maybe it’s one of those placebo things that I’m making up and works on me because I think it works. But it is fascinating how many people have the same answers for the open/closed exercise.