In mindfulness practice we come to view the emotions as being a separate entity that is not the Self.
From your own life experience, you are aware that having an emotion can be either quite pleasurable, or feel like an experience in Hell such as anxiety, fear, jealousy, or doubt. Obviously, many face the gates to Hell on a daily basis, and do everything in their power to avoid the “condition.”
Therefore, we are wired to seek pleasurable experiences, while avoiding unpleasant experiences. Why? Because good experiences FEEL better than bad experiences.
To avoid pitfalls, we have to make goals and push forward. This is good! Goals ignite one’s deepest passions, and when we achieve, and win…we feel great! We celebrate, and others celebrate with us.
However, when we entertain expectations of ourselves or others, and we experience less than what we expected…then what happens? We become prisoners caged inside devastating emotions such as depression, disappointment, anger, frustration, self-pity, and anxiety.
Negative emotions perceived by the mind can make you feel like a loser, or Rational Mind will come to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, sad…until something else from the outside world comes along to change our emotional status. Perhaps someone compliments your appearance, and suddenly you feel good again.
When we identify with a negative emotion, the untrained mind will believe that it and emotion is the same thing.
For this reason, an untrained mind after a lifetime of living with perceived ups and downs, will easily believe that all happiness exists “outside” of oneself, and that you must “go out into the world” to GET that happiness.
Hence, the chain of cause and effect is in play, and in the wake of results, we constantly strive for experiences that give us a sense of pleasure, acceptance, achievement, and worthiness.
Yet, when good emotions are experienced, we don’t question these. We allow good experiences to be what they are, and we are conditioned to hang on to happy moments.
So, it is our negative emotional states that cause suffering. When we feel bad, we ask ourselves, “Why did this happen to me?” We call friends and tell them about all the bad things that have happened recently. In short, we seek opportunities outside of ourselves just to feel better, due to the subconscious belief that happiness exist outside of ourselves.
However, by obtaining awareness for all of our emotions, we come to realize that all negative emotions belong to deeply buried “stories of the mind.” In mindfulness, we learn that the emotion is the “ghost” of a hidden belief pattern.
The sooner you come to experience your emotional conditions as separate from your true and Absolute Nature, the emotions then become excellent “spiritual guides” that can lead you toward a higher level of Self-Realization.
From now on whenever you notice that you are experiencing a negative emotion, instead of finding a distraction, or repressing it, allow the emotion to be fully acknowledged. All mindfulness practices are experienced in the present moment, and inside a state of Loving-Kindness toward the self.
As the Observer, you come into Awareness of the emotion, accept it, and see it as separate from yourself.
In the present moment, the Observer can comfort the emotion, and then sit back and ask the emotion, “What are you trying to teach me?” “What is your story?” Accept the emotion with love and kindness. With this mindset, the emotion will lose its power.
MEDITATION PRACTICE: ALLOWING ALL EMOTION
The more experience you have in Stillness with this practice, you will have more success experiencing emotions as they occur in your day to day life.
* Come to notice your breath. Watch rise and fall, naturally. Notice that on deeper inhales, the simple process of breathing, expands the chest and Heart Center.
* When you are ready, bring your attention to your Heart Center as breath rises to this place in your body.
* Establish Peace there.
* Notice that in this present moment…you are well. You are peaceful. You are established in the peace of the present moment. Allow this.
* Now, allow all of your attention to rise to your Mind’s eye.
* Once you notice that your focus has shifted to this place between the brows, allow breath to comfort this place.
* As the Observer, from the mind’s eye, allow your thoughts to remember just one event today that triggered an emotion.
Here, in this safe place, begin to see the event unfold and play out in front of you. As the Witness of the “story,” the memory” has no control over you…you as the Observer watch this just as a scientist would review important data. See the event, and if you can, see yourself responding with the emotion that came into being at that time.
* See the emotion as separate from yourself. Look at the emotion…kindly see it for what it is. Allow it to be.
* Now ask it, why are you here? What do you want??
* If you dare, smile at the emotion. You…you are now in your Higher Wisdom and this is a new relationship with your Emotional Body.
* Just say Hello to the Emotion, say Hello Anxiety, it is I, why are here? What is there to learn???
The emotion may have an immediate response! It might tell you it is pissed off! Or that it feels trampled on, under appreciated….it wants something….normally to be heard, understood, loved as it is, and appreciated. Give it that.
* When you are ready…come back to breath. Allow breath to rise and fall for 3 full cycles.
* Then, gently come back into full consciousness of your mind, body and spirit, in the here, and now.
MELINDA JOHNSTON, M.MSC.
SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHER AND COACH, INTUITIVE HEALER, WELLNESS CONSULTANT, INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER, AUTHOR, AND PEACE ACTIVIST
AUTHOR OF PRACTICING PEACE GUIDEBOOK