Someone wrote me the following on Facebook:
Thank you so much for your thoughts, I connect with what I read and I was hoping you could help me understand the feeling of numbness I’ve been having. I have had many disappointments this past year and I lost my job but I don’t feel anything, I have been numb for sometime and I can’t figure out whether it is because I have reached a level of consciousness where I am in control of my thoughts or is it a self defense mechanism which is temporary? I get sad thoughts sometime for not having a job or anything that is mine but this thought is washed away by another thought that speaks: “You did not cause this, you are doing what you can to change things, what is the point anyways, I am so tired of fighting” followed by numbness.
And here is my response:
This is a good question. And really only you can tell if the numbness is a defense mechanism. The truth is whatever opens your Heart and awareness and quiets your mind. Does your Heart feel open when you are numb? Does your mind quiet down? If so you then can just rest in your Heart.
If the opposite is happening (your awareness contracts and your mind gets busy), that is a sign that it is not a movement into greater truth but something that is being avoided. This is not a bad thing. I often say thank God for all of our defense mechanisms. None of us would have survived this far without them!
But if it is a way of avoiding, then there also is the possibility of being curious about that. What is it like when you are numb? What are the sensations? Are they bad sensations or just sensations? What happens if you just shine your awareness on the numb feeling itself without trying to get rid of it or change it in anyway? Inquiring in this way can gradually uncover what is happening more fully. Again there is nothing wrong with a defense mechanism, but since it is happening, there is the possibility of finding out as much as you can about it.
I would also invite you to become very curious about exactly when the numbness arises. Does it come with the thought, “You did not cause this, You are doing what you can to change things.” or does it come more with the thought, “What is the point anyways?” And you can check your other thoughts also. And especially notice what is happening in your Heart when you are not thinking about your life at all, and just experiencing the moment as it is.
Again the truth is what opens or relaxes or softens your sense of being, your Heart. Each and every moment is a new opportunity to discover more about the truth. Even a contracted numb feeling is telling you something about the truth of your experience. When your Heart contracts it is working perfectly to tell you that your present moment thought, feeling or desire is not very true or important.
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