We’re still working with emotions this week as we just about bring the week to a close. As we work with emotions more and more in our mindfulness meditation practice, we can tune in more quickly to what we are feeling.
In our practice for today, as we sit we come to a place of ease, then we bring up memory or encounter where it arises a happy feeling within us. We recognize where we feel it in the body and if it shifts and changes. Remember, we are observing the sensations and any thoughts that come into view. If we jump to the past or to the future, we remember to return to the breath and to the present moment.
We now do the same with a difficult emotion. Let it arise with the experience, feel it in the body, and any thoughts that go with it. Check the moments of other emotions that may be coupled with it. In all, you will see it changing, just like I spoke of yesterday. It is easy to be pulled into a story of our own creation around either the seeming positive or the seeming difficult emotion. Let go of the story and observe, pay attention and return to the breath.
In my practice, I first brought to mind a joyous memory of our grandchildren from Easter two years ago. I quickly remembered the egg on a spoon race we had and all the other outdoor fun in a picture perfect sunny day. Using this joyous feeling, I could feel my mouth turn to a smile, even a little chuckle was emitted. My chest was light and I sat up taller. Then, as if on cue, the emotion switched to a sad memory of a recent video conference with them and how much they wanted to see us and we wanted to see them, but sadly because of COVID and distance, it cannot occur. My chest grew heavy, my eyes started to tear up, and my arms longed to hug them.
My observation noted how I could be with the emotions as they were without writing a story of judgment about the current situation and how it should be different. Instead I found an appreciation for who they are and proceeded to send them a quick set of Metta (Loving-Kindness) phrases and also to myself.
Everything is always changing and I know we will have our joyous moments with them again!
Recommended reading for Week Three of the Challenge is pages 112 – 122 and pages 137– 144 in the second edition of the book, “Real Happiness”.