The Counter-Intuitive Approach to Less Emotional Suffering | Rohini Ross
The Counter-Intuitive Approach to Less Emotional Suffering

The Counter-Intuitive Approach to Less Emotional Suffering

I used to think that less suffering would come from managing my thinking so I could create a nicer experience for myself. I believed that if I could avoid negative thoughts then I wouldn’t have negative emotions. I did not realize how much work this would be, nor did I see how the pressure of constantly trying to control my thoughts would create more suffering rather than less.


I discovered the easier way to live in a nicer feeling more of the time was paradoxical. Instead of me trying to create a good feeling, what I noticed is that if I left my thoughts and feelings alone, meaning I did not judge my experience, no matter what it was, as wrong or bad, my negative feelings moved through me more quickly and with less impact. Rather than trying to block myself off from feelings I didn’t like, I discovered being open to my feelings created less suffering.


Previously, I was afraid to do this. I thought my negative emotions would engulf me and take over. Relaxing into them seemed like a crazy thing to do. They felt too intense and too scary for me to open up to them and soften around them. I saw any negative emotional experience as something to fight against. It was a signal that there was a problem. I needed to do something about it. The problem was something faulty with me, and if I could fix myself then the negative emotional experiences would stop.


But when I learned that negative feelings are simply the effect of a thought storm that will pass, the temporary nature of the experience helped me to see my resilience. Now I see the misunderstanding in thinking that my negative emotional experience meant something about me. I recognize that all emotional experiences are normal. They do not mean anything about who we are. They are simply indicators about the quality of my thoughts and my state of mind. Seeing things helped me to relax.


Seeing the impersonal nature of my emotional experience helped me to see my feelings don’t mean anything about me. They are all normal and they are all transitory. This made it easier for me to stay open and not contract even when I am experiencing upsetting feelings. At first, it was a novel experience for me to not fight what I was feeling. It felt counter-intuitive, but with experience, I saw that emotional energy moves through me as a storm moves through the sky. By allowing and not judging the experience it comes and goes more gracefully.


This helped me to see that there is no managing needed when it comes to my emotional experience. The natural intelligence of how the body-mind system works is far more capable of working things out than I am. I can simply allow myself to be open and let the natural intelligence inside of me do what it knows how to do which is to bring me back to peace and well-being inside of myself. Thoughts settle by themselves. This takes even more pressure off! Now there is nothing to do even when our thoughts do get unsettled. This is even more reassuring!


Seeing this helped me to be with my emotional experience in a whole new way. Of course, I can sometimes forget all of this, but for the most part, even when I am having uncomfortable feelings, my understanding helps me to be with the experience in a way where I don’t panic, and I know not to get really involved with my thinking when it is stirred up. It might be very compelling, but I have the sense to not think about the disturbing thoughts, to try to change them, or add on to them. Instead, I let them be. I am gentle with myself when they are present. I do what occurs to me to take care of myself, and eventually, the thoughts are gone. My feelings stabilize. My mood lifts. I get back my clarity and perspective, and I am back in a good feeling again.


The simplicity of learning how to be with my emotional experience in this way has been life-changing for me. I used to be incapacitated by my emotional experience and my low moods. I would get sick frequently and spend time in bed each month unable to function. The stress and toil of dealing with my low moods and the accompanying feelings felt too much for me. It definitely felt like there was something wrong with me.


Now I see the difficulty was not my emotional experience. It was how I was relating to it. It was my judgments against myself that made it hard, and it was exhausting because I was trying to manage it and control it. Letting that effort go and just being with what is, is so much easier.


I hope you can see the normalcy of your emotional experience whatever it is. Recognizing that feelings are transitory because thoughts are transitory will hopefully allow you to stay open to your experience and allow it to move through you so you can feel your resilience and the natural buoyancy of your mood. It works the same way for everyone. Thoughts come and go. Emotions come and go. Mood goes up and down. AND there is an innate intelligence inside of each one of us that is designed to move us toward peace and equilibrium.


We can work against it and focus on negative thoughts and keep bringing them to life by resisting them or gathering evidence to support them, but no matter how much we do that, our natural design is for thoughts to flow when we allow them. The allowing became easier for me when I understood the design.


It felt paradoxical to me that by allowing my emotions to be and not trying to change them resulted in less suffering. It was the opposite of what I expected. And it gave me more inner freedom. Rather than me being consumed by managing my experience and overwhelmed by emotions, my human experience felt lighter and easier to be with.


Wishing you a lighter experience with your humanness. May you see how to allow the intelligence behind the human design to do the work for you so you have more freedom to enjoy your life and live it with an open heart.


Rohini Ross is excited to present The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks with the original students of Sydney Banks in Santa Monica, CA starting October 2018. She is passionate about helping people wake up to their true nature. She is a transformative coach and trainer, and author of Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1). She has an international coaching practice helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. You can follow Rohini on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, watch her Vlogs with her husband, Angus Ross, and subscribe to her weekly blog on her website,


  • Nancy Sullivan

    15.10.2018 at 08:44 Reply

    Thank you, Rohini – reading this is the perfect way to start my week! #CounterIntuitiveRocks

    • Rohini

      15.10.2018 at 09:03 Reply

      So glad you enjoyed the reminder!

  • Betty Beau Cherniak

    17.10.2018 at 18:00 Reply

    I have been trying to get the hang of this but it’s tricky. I also realized I was trying to manage my thoughts/ feelings and that was an impossible task. So just acknowledge the thoughts/ feelings without getting involved with them in any way and they move on? Enabling us to connect with our innate wisdom?

    • Rohini

      18.10.2018 at 14:01 Reply

      Hi Betty, Yes, that is it. We have an innate intelligence inside of us that moves us towards wellbeing. Our natural state is peace. We simply learn how to get better at riding out the feelings. Love, Rohini

  • Sierrah A.

    21.02.2019 at 18:21 Reply

    It’s like you wrote this post about me! Thanks for sharing, now I don’t feel so alone in my experience. I’m finally realizing all I need to do is allow the thoughts and feelings to come and not do anything about them.

    • Rohini

      25.02.2019 at 17:23 Reply

      Hi Sierrah, Thanks for letting me know the post resonated with you. So glad you see that you can allow the thoughts and feelings to come and go without having to react to them.

  • Diane Dunn

    30.09.2019 at 01:39 Reply

    Your post resonated with me Rohini, currently in a low depressive/mood. Negative And anxious thoughts screaming at me, I’ve felt tossed about like a small boat in a hurricane. I feel ashamed of my thoughts which are sometimes about the love I have for my husband who is my rock, I see they are just the story but struggle because I’m in there, he’s in there and it feels so true. I’m also spending too much time in bed exhausted & hoping the thoughts will go away

    • Rohini

      02.10.2019 at 11:47 Reply

      Hi Diane,

      Sorry to hear you are feeling tossed about in this way. And sorry to hear you are feeling ashamed. I can assure you that what you share sounds completely normal and human — nothing to be ashamed of! You may know in your head that your thoughts are a story, but it sounds like you don’t know it in a way that allows you to not identify with them. This is normal too. Be gentle and kind to yourself when you are gripped in this way. And know that you are not your thoughts and your feelings. You are far greater than just that. See if you can feel beyond that to the fullness of who you are. Sending love, Rohini

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