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Making Friends With Intensity
by Stewart Blackburn

A curious thing that happens frequently is how we shy away from intensity as though it can harm us. Intensity seems to overwhelm us and threaten to suffocate us or even destroy us. It blocks our vision of everything else and clutches our focus with a fierce grip until it's finally ready to release us. And it is conflated with pain to the degree that we are afraid of how deeply it can hurt us. Yet, when looked at more closely, intensity actually does none of those things. It's just big.

Pain, for example, can be viewed as simply a combination of fear and intensity. When the fear is coaxed into releasing and all that remains is intensity of sensation, other sensations like euphoria and peace can also be present at the same time. Many spiritual practitioners, kinky folk, and sports enthusiasts know this well.

So much of life is intense--love, heartbreak, excitement, failure, great joy to name a few--that to resist it is to resist life itself. To numb ourselves even a little bit not only reduces intensity but also closes us off to ourselves, putting us into a cage we call "safety."

We sacrifice a measure of freedom when we retreat from our fear of intensity. Thus, much of the work we do to heal ourselves is simply coming to terms with the intensity of our experiences. Once we decide that we are strong enough to face the intensity, the feeling can be fully felt and released. But getting over the fear of the intensity is the first step. That is often encountered as being overwhelmed.

The feeling of being "overwhelmed" is a very unpleasant sensation. It is scary for many people and they work hard to not be overwhelmed. Part of this feeling is a sense that we are no longer in control of the situation, we have been overpowered, and dangerous things can happen as a result. Another part is the fear of the unfamiliar, and in particular, the dauntingly huge experience to be faced beyond our comfort level. But the sensation of overwhelm is simply the marker that we have come to the limit of our tolerance for intensity. If we can recognize that our feelings can't hurt us, only resisting them can, then we can gently coax ourselves to feel more and more, allow the intensity to just be, and leave the feeling of overwhelm behind. And facing a fear is largely a matter of facing the intensity of our fear. It is a willingness to acknowledge that, yes, we are afraid but we will go on anyway.

However, intensity is not only a natural fact of life, it is one of the most valuable tools we have. Just as we can reduce the intensity of any situation by relaxing and intentionally turning down our response to anything, much like turning down the volume dial on a radio, we can also intensify our feelings to suit our needs.

When we go about trying to manifest something into our lives, the intensity of our desire--the motivation--is critical. Emotional intensity is the engine of creation. Even the intensity of our everyday vibration influences the constant creation of our reality. That's why a general attitude of gratitude and joy makes such a difference in life.

The magical practice of The Great Rite where a group of people amplify the sexual energy of a copulating couple is an example of intentionally intensifying the energy for manifestation. Chanting, dancing, drumming can all be used in the same way. Nevertheless, one can intensify the energy with one's will just as easily. It merely takes some practice.

The ability to intentionally intensify our feelings is dependent on our willingness to experience the strong emotions that we have been hiding from that haven't yet been processed. As we move into our power for manifesting and other psychic work, we need to be willing to feel all our deepest feelings regardless of their intensities. Otherwise, we are shutting down our ability to feel and manipulate these energies. Our mastery of the inner strengths relies on this free flow of our mental and emotional energies. And this powerful flow is intense!

Making friends with intensity means embracing it without reservation. It is asserting our influence over it in much the same way that one partner leads in a dance. Yet it is also letting it lead us as we follow the intensity of our dreams and the inner drives for self-expression, love, and meaning. Intensity shows us what is most important to us and what areas of life are calling to us.

There is no inherent reason to resist intensity. Its value to us suggests that we actively seek it out so that we can handle more and more of it. As we learn to manipulate energy we want to become comfortable with the big energies that are a part of being a human. Learning to work with all the powerful forces within us is a big part of becoming whole. We are clearly much more than the beings that we have been taught we are. As a step towards this claiming of our true nature, let us fully accept the intensity within which we live and thrive!

Copyright 2019 Stewart Blackburn

Stewart Blackburn is the author of It's Time to Come Home: With Kindness and Compassion, We Come Back to Ourselves. His website is:; email:

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