In today’s post I’m sharing 10 more unique maps of feeling states to which people gave the name Sadness or something similar. Again, see if you can imagine what each unique state might have felt like to the person mapping it. How similar or different does each seem to be compared to what you would find familiar within yourself?
Through my whole body; really heavy, very solid, firm, like putty, loosey goosey; body temp; gray, opaque, color is like a kneaded eraser; pulling me down, moving down, very weighted with gravity. It’s saying, “Fall into me.” It’s asking to be felt with surrender.
Connects to me through my belly button, and it pulls me down from the waist down, just kind of cuts me in half and pulls me down; mostly on the outside of my body. (The strength of it is, it’s grounded, wakes you up to the present, there’s really no escaping it. It’s very present.)
People I care about who I see suffering in a way. It’s sad to be able to see it all, the duality of life, the beauty and the pain, and how easy it is for people to get stuck in these patterns that aren’t even our own, not really thinking for ourselves, (or thinking too much for ourselves). The sadness is living in the paradox. It’s living in the truth, too. It’s sad to me that I can’t handle knowing what’s going on in the world because it’s too intense. It’s sad living in a world I don’t even want to know about because the destruction is too great. There’s beauty too, but it’s hard to hold on to it when the destruction is so great.
Like water, pouring down, I can feel it come down the whole body like rain, continually; not sure if it comes from above or comes from the top of my body, runs through me on the inside and about a foot on the outside too; cool; clear gray and white, transparent; the biggest quality is it just continues to go, and not a light rain, more like a pouring down, but not with a hard sound, more of a soft sound, but there’s quite a bit of water; like when you see water pouring down against a pane of glass, like buckets; it goes down my body and especially pulls down on my heart and continues to just pour down. It just gathers around my feet. I feel tired.
There’s just this heaviness and sense of giving up. I feel beaten by life. This feeling of, I don’t have any strength.
In my gut; an energy, heavy; scalding; colorless, transparent; movement is trying to erupt up and out; held in by something at throat; a wailing protest, other voice, group, non-human. The movement is very active.
It wants to be expressed, let out, relieved, released. It doesn’t want to be contained. It’s sad around loss. It’s sad around lost/missed opportunity. I think it’s sad around limitations. Son growing and leaving. Death of loved ones.
In the back sides of my lungs, between my ribs, heavy and achy. Chilly and warm at the same time. The muscle – teeth-chattering sensation that extends from my back into the rest of my body. But the actual tactile temperature is lukewarm. Like a heavy fog. A dark, charcoal gray, pretty soupy, like pea soup fog. Would be able to just barely see through it in me, like 98% opaque. Moves like labored, heavy breathing, like the oxygen bag things, with that kind of resistance, and about that pace. Sound is wailing deep sobs, my voice.
Hard to see out of it. It’s heavy. I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. Sometimes there’s a definite origin, almost always in the past, and sometimes just pangs. I feel like it could swallow me up whole, and I couldn’t get out.
Hopeless, lost. I don’t have anything. Therefore I don’t want to be. I long for comfort. And comfort comes from being loved. Parallel belief: I can’t be loved. My experience of time slows down. Everything seems to take longer to do.
A kind of blue, maybe bluish green, dark thing in the pit of my stomach. A sense of resignation associated with it. Kind of like Aghast in substance, like a little doughy, glowing thing. It just sort of sits there and feels sad. Cold, not cold-cold, but colder than any of the others. It has inertia, so if I move around it sort of sloughs around. Sound of a sigh, with a half-sob, my voice. For some reason I associate it with looking off to the side. Like it’s trying to find a way to not be itself, but it can’t, but it still looks.
“Well, that’s that. This pretty much sucks.” It can even verge into despair and desolation. Gets heavier and darker.
In my heart. Intense heaviness, crushing inward like a black hole, about the size of a ball of pie crust, could mold it with two hands. Black, outer surface is indented as if molded by hand. A very dense clay,oily, like plasticine but pitch black. Intense cold. [Sobbing… intense, had to stop for a few minutes.] Much bigger, actually, like a basketball, extremely dense, extremely cold, intensely black as if you are peering into the maw of infinite sorrow. No sound. Steady gravity.
About all the pain – my parents’ & others’ as well as my own. There is too much pain, too much fear, too much grief, too much loss, too much devastation. Too much for any human to bear. I cannot bear it.
A heavy gas. Warm. Greenish black, translucent. Flowing in a slow circle, down the front and up the back. Sound of sad, instrumental music. Strongest and thickest in the throat and heart. There is a pulsing, sometimes in the heart, sometimes in the throat. Makes it hard to talk.
It’s asking a question: “How can there be such a self-defeating part of me?” It just doesn’t feel right.
Blackness, all around and through me, about a foot outside, perfect oval; so intensely black it is as if nothing else exists, cannot see beyond it; total silence; total stillness; a substance which is a pure absorber, with no density of its own, like dark energy or pure, empty space; super-cold, but not dense enough to feel that coldness, more of a shadow of cold.
I am sad. I don’t really know why, though. This is just how it is. But I guess I wish things were different.
It hurts inside my heart. A deep, black hole, an endless space of sadness. I feel it grow throughout my body, and I stop breathing. No air there, just darkness. No temperature. It’s a place that just exists, not hot or cold, not either/or, just a place. Black, but you can see the depth of it. It moves. You can see the energy of the depth of it. Like space, but there aren’t any starts. A space inside my heart that is infinitely big. Movement is like you’re in a spaceship going through a black hole, but you’re not in a spaceship. An empty silence.
What the fuck am I doing? I have no answers. It’s deep, like space. It’s not just my sadness, it’s the world’s sadness. I’m not alone in the sadness. I only let myself look at this when I know my partner is planning to be with someone. In exploring this, I find there is still hope, because if I don’t have hope, I don’t have anything.
Heart, pain. Solid, soft ball, size of grapefruit, texture of rose petal, heavy, pendulous like a water balloon, moist, feverishly hot, deep red. Sound is a deep, throbbing hum. There’s some power in it that stabilizes things. The hum is a vibration of an energy in and through it. The energy may extend out beyond the ball.
Loss of love; I long for your love. I grieve its loss. I can see I will never have the love I want. I am not safe. Safety is necessary for love. I am fed – that is ok. But my deeper needs are not met.
Making Sense of Diversity
As you can see, it is very difficult to discern any kind of reliable pattern. We can see a preponderance of dark colors and downward movement or force, but there are exceptions even to these, and overall what stands out is how unique each map is, each one different from all the others.
This suggests that our names for feeling states may not correspond to the qualities of actual experience. Our semantic assignment to inner experience is one thing, but our experiences themselves seems to be something much more complex, diverse, and nuanced than could ever be captured in the categorical labels of ordinary language.
If you learn nothing else from this website, I hope you take this away. Another person’s inner experience is like an alternate universe from your own. Even if you find yourself using matching words to describe your respective experiences, each of your experiences is likely to be worlds different. Each of us is a mystery to the other, and holding that truth in mind has the capacity to turn any interaction into a wondrous adventure.
If you choose to take up this work and learn to facilitate others, I can tell you that in the experience of encountering time and time again how divergent your expectations are from the actuality of someone’s mapping, you will quickly learn to check your expectations at the door. This person for whom you have the privilege to facilitate is a grand, unknown territory to you. Bring your most spacious curiosity to the work, and you will find great joy and effectiveness in your offering.