The Princess and the Pea

By Jelila

For The Bali Times

SEMINYAK ~ Are you sensitive? Do you feel overwhelmed? Are physical feelings ok? Discover how to appreciate physical sensations without being overwhelmed by them, and feel more comfortable, here.

In the charming Princess and The Pea fairy story, a peasant girl is invited to sleep on a bed of 20 of the finest, softest down mattresses you could ever imagine. Unbeknown to her, a dried pea is concealed beneath the mattresses. All night she tosses and turns and cannot sleep, announcing in the morning that “that was the worst night’s sleep I ever had! This bed is so lumpy!” As she says this, those present realize that she is not a mere peasant girl, but truly a princess.

This romantic story communicates the value of sensitivity and refinement – the degree of subtlety with which we are able to perceive things, which transforms us from peasant to royalty – though it can make us suffer. Try this easy meditation now to discover your own level. Simply imagine or feel the scene, or hear the sounds.

You are Alice in Wonderland, a little girl sitting at the tea table with the Mad Hatter, who is pouring tea, wearing white gloves. You ask him a question and he raises three cards, tapping them with a wand, as you point to choose one. He then produces many smaller cards, and some black and white blocks, which he shuffles dexterously in the air, displaying them. Next, you are looking deep inside the teapot. Inside you see many particles of tea, big and small, sloshing around, and you marvel at what you see and discover inside. Continue being shown particles big and small and whatever is inside, for as long as you wish. When ready, gently return to the room, bringing what you have learned.

How Does Your Mind Work?

Did you know that we all think differently? Most people are visual thinkers, seeing images in their minds. Some are aural, hearing thoughts as spoken words. Some are kinetic, experiencing thought as feelings and some are synergistic, using a combination. Which are you?  Try this test. Imagine you are at a swimming pool. Notice what you are wearing. Notice the people. Notice the weather. Notice the water. Now gently return and write your impressions, noting which are visual, sound or feeling. Or maybe you had all of those? This gives you a clue to your usual mode of thinking. Interestingly, if we are aural thinkers, hearing spoken thoughts, we can be very disturbed by the sounds of others, because they disrupt our own thought patterns. Sounds can prevent our very thinking process, which is uncomfortable as we cannot then hear our own thoughts in order to decide what to do next. Whereas one who processes thought as a stream of movie images is less likely to be disturbed by sounds.

Case Study – Over-Sensitivity

Tim came to me having problems with dissociation – feeling he was disconnected from his life. “I am very sensitive,” he said. It transpired that he felt so sensitized that he had withdrawn from any more sensory input and was hiding from himself and others. This is an extreme case, but many of us do feel overwhelmed at times by the senses – the loud sounds of traffic, bright lights or colors, the stench of a drain, the cacophony of music or TV from next door. I guided Tim to embrace and release some beliefs, below, to enable him to come out of his shell, connect and express himself more, and to feel more comfortable. You can try them too:

This process releases negative subconscious beliefs. Feel that your feet are connected to the ground. Invite all of yourself to be present. Say aloud:

I choose to believe “It is not ok to be sensitive.”

I love myself when I believe “It is not ok to be sensitive.”

And I embrace it; I surrender.

As the new information settles in your magnetic field, you may feel momentarily woozy. Take it slowly, rest afterwards, drink water.

Other Beliefs:

I feel overwhelmed.

I’m afraid I am too much to be here.

It’s all too much.

I am afraid of my own greatness, or not.

I don’t fit in or belong here.

I must be different, difficult in order to survive.

I’m afraid of sensation, or not.

I feel uncomfortable here.

It is not safe to feel; feeling means suffering.

I am not perfectly harmonized within.

I am afraid of my interference, or not.

I am afraid my child is disturbed.

I am not my own master or boss.

Do Adjust Your Sets!

Fascinatingly, the degree to which we experience things is entirely under our own control, and is a function of how we present information to ourselves. Our mind does this for us, in accordance with our habitual processes; however, this can be adjusted and chosen according to preference, similar to adjusting your TV set.

Our degrees of sensing various aspects of life – the brightness, contrast, color, volume, position, of our thoughts, visions, sounds and feelings – are known as modalities. We have preferred modalities, ones which are naturally comfortable, and those that we dislike.

Relax and imagine a wonderful experience in your life that you have enjoyed, as you notice the answers to these questions and write them down: How close is the scene? Color or black and white? Position? (i.e., left, right, down, up, etc.) Brightness? Is it moving and if so how, how? How does it feel? How are the sounds? Any other aspects you notice? You have just written down and discovered your personal modalities of enjoyment, the ways in which you prefer to perceive things. Now think of a horrible experience and ask the same questions to record your modalities of non-enjoyment. Finally, imagine the horrible scene and gradually convert the modalities of that scene into your enjoyment modalities. How does it feel? You may find that you start to enjoy it.

Next issue: Overcoming Smoking and Other Addictions

Jelila is practicing at Wellbeing Spa, 66B Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak. Tel: +62 (0)361 735573. If you have a question you would like help with in this column, please write to Jelila at

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