Transforming & Releasing Life's Hardest Emotions
Let's get one thing straight. Not one single thing will ever stay exactly the same. Not a mountain. Not your spouse. Not your job. Not your face. Not even your memory of life itself. Everything is changing, degenerating, and evolving. This is a fact of life in a human body with a human mind. How fast it all appears and disappears is a matter of perspective.
We say, "Of course! Everybody knows that!" So, why is it so painful to allow a change that is happening with or without us? It all stems from an expectation and desire for stability. We would like our youth to always show on our face. We would like to have our loved ones with us always. We'd like to know our trust is sacred and
that we will not be betrayed. But, alas, things change. People disappoint us. People
move on, people die, and things get lost and destroyed. This is a truth of human existence.
Are you stuck with disappointment, anger, and frustration that you couldn't keep
things the way they were? Regretful at what you didn't do to prevent something
from happening? To what end may you be forcing things backward, living in the
past, fearful of moving on? The desperate feelings of pain, stress, and grief come
from holding onto something you cannot hold. What's done is done. If you cannot
physically glue this thing back together like a broken dish, can you accept?
The structure of a sitting meditation gives us a place to go when we are ready to grow from the experience of our feelings. For if we do not learn from our feelings, are they just there to spin us around and confuse us? To torture us? If we do not get some separation between an emotion and the thoughts and attachments that led us there, we will not find peace. Sitting still to observe the mind gives you an opportunity to clear your emotional space without the clutter of so many thoughts and emotions going on at once.
Meditating on the nature of our most intense emotions gives us an insight into how
feelings arise from our expectations of how we want things to be, instead of accepting things as they are. This is not to say that we should accept abuse, or to avoid feeling angry, sad, frustrated, or empty. Give yourself permission to be human! Honor your shadowy side by allowing yourself a safe space to feel and to express yourself to a friend, counselor, teacher, or through art, poetry, or music.
When we sit through a clearing of our mind, an extraordinary thing happens! We start to accept the connections between our thoughts and the emotions that result from those thoughts. In fact, when you think so-and-so makes you jealous, angry, sad, etc, it is really the associated thoughts and attachment to expectations that bring up the feelings, not the actual person! You'll find that most of the time, your most intense thoughts and worries AFTER the fact are brought up by-- you guessed it-- your own mind.
Sitting still to find out what is actually going can help you to distinguish between your emotional responses versus what is actually happening. What makes us anger. What makes us sad. What makes us uneasy. And finally, what gives us peace.