When emotions and feelings come up that are difficult to handle (during everyday life as well as meditation) it can be tempting to push them away and suppress them. After all, who wants to experience the discomfort of negative emotions such as anger, fear, shame, etc.? But allowing yourself to really experience and get to know the essence of the negative emotions as well as the positive ones is a way of detaching yourself from them and the hold that they may have over you.
One of the techniques I have learnt for dealing with emotions and feelings that ‘spike up’ is to RAIN on them…
Recognise: what the feeling or emotion is. Name it. Sometimes this is fairly easy to do, as you know you feel angry or sad, or that you are planning or remembering. Sometimes I find it difficult though – I name it (if I can), only for another emotion to pop up underneath it…this is fine and expected, sometimes emotions can mask other, deeper ones. You need to keep naming until you feel comfortable with where you have got to.
Accept: honour and accept the feeling. Don’t push it down, but feel it and sit with the discomfiture (I know only too well how hard this can be, and it can take a lot of practice).
Investigate: how it makes you feel – where do you feel it in your body, what does it feel like physically, does anything else happen when it comes up? This will help you recognise it for future reference.
Non-attach: finally, step back and detach from the feeling. Realise that we are not our thoughts and feelings and they don’t need to define us.
I may not have got the above entirely right, but the general premise is there. By honouring and accepting our feelings and emotions for what they are, positive or negative, we become more adept at detaching from them and releasing old patterns that can keep us stuck in a negative groove. Everyone has positive and negative thoughts and feelings, but you can learn (if you choose) to let go of them.
Until tomorrow, love and detachment, sm x