Welcoming or Wallowing?

A white cat resting with a paw over its eyes

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the difference between welcoming what arises and wallowing in what arises.


This welcoming stuff is not a perfect science. Please keep in mind that my words I share around it are not what-to-do, but are pointing you in a general direction.


A most important feature of welcoming is curiosity.


Curious means you don’t know. You’re as dumb as possible about what’s occurring. “What even is this?”, you wonder as you swim into the sensations you’re feeling. “What am I finding? What is here?” You’re exploring it with curiosity, not to label or name it, but for the sake of exploring.


Welcoming with curiosity is before labels and before knowing. You aren’t welcoming “depression”. That would be knowing. You’re just welcoming this, pre-label, before memories and ideas.


Wallowing, on the other hand, feels smart. It feels like you’re wallowing in something you know. You’re wallowing in some thing. It’s not dumb or curious, it’s wallowing in depression or pain or anxiety.


Wallowing feels like milking it; almost going into it with an agenda to be in some known space, rather than exploring.


Welcoming is “I don’t know what this is and there’s nothing to do with it.”
Wallowing is something like “I know what this is and I’m going to sit in it.”


Welcoming is being like an alien. Dumb and new and curious, swimming in life itself. It’s saying yes to what you discover.


Someone recently told me they thought they were welcoming emotion. They told me how they stayed in bed for 3 whole days and just let themselves sleep off their depression.


Is that welcoming or wallowing? I don’t know, but if you know ahead of time that it’s “depression” and that it might take three days to sleep off, that’s not very dumb or curious.


Maybe this isn’t depression, what do you know?


Maybe it feels as if it lingers for 30 days or 30 seconds. How could one possibly know?


Welcome what’s arising and you will discover what is wanting to be seen. Wallow in what you think is arising and you’ll confirm your theory.


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