Everyone experiences emotion. Some people freely express emotions and you can see the raw energy out in the open for all to see. Others keep a lock on their emotions and few if any ever know what they’re feeling. Emotions are a natural state and expression in a healthy way is natural and good for our well being. Some of us carry anger or rage, others are resentful or hold grudges, and others feel sadness, hurt or guilt or even depression. Emotions can come to the surface during meditation and unlike thoughts can sometimes be more difficult to let go.
Our emotional ups and downs are interesting to watch.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you were with your girlfriend at a party and noticed she was taking quite a bit of time talking to this other guy. She seemed so excited to meet him and seemed entranced by every word he said. She even held his hand at one point. You said something to her, she got angry at you, you got angry back and you stormed off leaving her at the party. You went home with a mix of feelings from anger, rage, jealousy betrayal, sadness, rejection; you felt out of control… you were so angry… how could she do this?
The next day you get a call. It’s your girlfriend. She didn’t understand why you got so angry. The guy she was talking to was her cousin from Toronto; she hadn’t seen him for about 2 years since he went away to Australia. She was so excited to see him again and was going to introduce you to him; but you stormed off.
How would you feel now? Silly, stupid, embarrassed?
There are a couple of things to note here.
- Emotions are usually triggered by events in our lives, our thoughts, our beliefs and other emotions.
- Emotions are temporary and quite often can be changed by re-directing our thoughts, understanding our beliefs or recognizing how one emotion can trigger others.
One way to practice meditation is to allow yourself to take two roles while you meditate. One is the role of yourself going through all your experiences; the “I” or “me” as you call yourself. The other is the role of the observer which means you pretend you are looking down on your body. You become the observer of your thoughts, your breath and your emotions. As the observer there is no judgement. An emotion comes up and the observer part of you says, there’s the feeling of anger. While meditating you can sit and observe the anger in yourself, how it feels in your body and what thoughts and beliefs it may trigger in you.
By being aware of our emotions and observing how they move through your mind and body is a good practice. As the observer you gain a new perspective and recognize that your emotions are within your control. Emotions come though you based on events, life circumstances or beliefs and conditioning. Learning to manage your emotions can significantly improve the quality of your life.
Next in this series of basic principles is Meditation and our Ego…