2021-10-25-Emotions (1 of 5) Relaxing with Emotions
3:08PM Oct 25, 2021
So I begin these five part series on mindfulness of emotions. And the structure of these five talks will be, the first one will be about relaxation. The second about recognition, the third, about respect, the fourth about restoration, and the fifth about release. And all these ways are ways of aspects of mindfulness that ways to practice mindfulness, ways of mind ways that mindfulness practices us. Just to be to set careful attention to what's happening, tends to evoke or bring about these kinds of relationships to our emotional life. And that's for today, it's to relax. So, one of the remarkable things about mindfulness meditation is that you're allowed to have your emotions, in many places in public life, work are there places, sometimes if we have very strong emotions and feelings, I maybe isn't so appropriate to show them. If we get angry at someone at work at our boss, for example, maybe we want to be a little careful how we express it, or sent me No, I remembered I was a relatively new parent, there were some times where I felt angry, what was going on with the children. But I could see that it was mostly my own inner struggles, not really about them. And so I found it best not to express the anger. And, you know, sometimes I even left the room and came back a few minutes later when I'd cooled down. So there's many places you know, in some, some families, some cultures, the idea of expressing emotions is not really so welcome. And it might feel that, you know, that you have to kind of keep it in check. It's something internal that we process, but not something we're allowed to talk about even in mindfulness meditation, you are allowed to have any emotional state that you have, you're allowed to feel, whatever feelings that are there. And partly, especially when we're doing mindfulness in meditation. Meditation is a wonderful laboratory for investigating, getting to know and understanding our inner emotional life. And that laboratory works best if we allow ourselves to feel whatever emotions are present, as if met a meditation is like this special time where you're allowed to feel anything at all. You could have murderous rage. And as long as you stay in your meditation that you don't move and, you know, go out to hit anyone, just don't move. Don't speak, then at to discover what it's like to let the anger course through you, and relax with it. Relax around it. I'm very fond of the idea that the word emotion comes kind of from a Latin root. And the motion means movement. And the E means out, moving out. And all emotions are processes. They are not things. They are things that are in process, the ways in which we process our lives, the ways in which we respond to life, the ways in which we understand what's happening in life, the ways in which we express ourselves. They're very important part of our life. Some of them are afflictive, some of them are suffering producing, and some of them are not. Some of them are actually part of the the wonderfulness of life, the joy, the happiness, the well being. That beautiful feelings that can arise are the non afflictive ones, sometimes called Beautiful emotional states. And there's a very interesting phenomenon that the afflictive emotional states come with tension come with stress come with some kind of contraction or tightness, some kind of directedness that we kind of lose a certain kind of freedom and peacefulness. Sometimes the directedness and the power of afflictive emotions can be seductive. The power that can feel it comes with anger for example or that or the the allure and the promise So of
lust can be quite, you know, quite compelling. But if you're mindful, deeply mindful, this is why meditation is such a good place for this, you can feel how it's also afflictive, how it's also stressful to have it. And so, the idea of relaxing around the afflictive emotions, begins to settle some of that stress some of that tension. And the other hand, the non afflictive emotions, in their essence, or in their kind of, in their simplest form, before we react to them, or, or have agendas, or what to do with them, just in and of themselves, tend to be nourishing, tend to be comforting, tend to be warm, tend to be comfortable, tend to have a nice feeling to it. And there, if we relax, the simple aspect of these non afflictive emotions, they tend to be more space for them to grow into the end to be able to have be more open and, and more settled in a nice way exceptive their positive emotions to beautiful emotional states, if we're attached to them, if we're clinging to them, then then they don't necessarily grow, when we relax, they, because what we might be relaxing, is the extra fuel we're giving them by our agendas, our attachments, our desires are what we're, you know, we're trying to feed it and pump it up. And so as we meditate, that pumping them up, might relax. And so your person might feel like now they're much less emotional. And in fact, they might be less emotional and expressive way. But hopefully, as we settle and allow for the emotions to be there in their simplicity, we actually feel them more fully, they become more exquisite, they become more embodied more opening to a deeper sensitivity to what's happening, that can't be there. If we're spending a lot of time celebrating our joy or, or indulging in emotional pleasures they do in meditation is to neither indulge nor push away, neither celebrate, nor condemn, neither before emotions, or against them. And so when we relax around emotions, one of the things we're relaxing is this ways in which we get caught up in them. Indulging getting involved jumping on board, justifying them holding on, or resisting and pushing away or condemning or being angry or feeling shame or embarrassment, where there's all these kind of secondary reactivities we have. It's those secondary reactions, that we learn to relax. And one of the ways to relax is to, if we can feel the emotional, the the physical expression of our emotions. It's sometimes been said that all emotions have a physical expression to physical corollary, that's part of it. And that without having some physical basis for feeling our emotions, we might not know what the emotion actually is. So whether that's always true or not, I can't tell you. But certainly I found that that's, you know, predominantly truth regularly very true. And I make it a regular practice when I feel some emotions or especially in meditation, to find a location where it is in the body. So I might feel fear in my belly at tightening or butterflies there. I might feel some kind of aversion, little bit and tightening in the face and upwelling kind of tightening in the NetBackup by neck.
I might feel a love as a kind of warmth and warmth in my heart area, or a softness in my in my cheeks that might come along in easing up attention in my eyes. So there's all kinds of all kinds of little subtle changes that happen in the body. And part of that may be is because emotions are meant to help us engage and be actively involved in life. So they're kind of in some ways Adjusting the body for some new way of being. And so but that one new way of being might not be healthy for us, it might be misplaced, it might be the wrong, you know, it might not be a healthy way of relating to what's happening. So finding out where the emotion is in the body, and, and then you to breathe with that area, feel it and sense it and see if there's any tension, or any tightening in that place that can relax. If it's easy to relax it, relax the tension, soften it, if it's not easy to do the tension itself, maybe it's possible to relax around it to soften around it. Sometimes the resistance we have to fear might be that where we can relax, we can necessarily relax the fear or something like that, whatever it might be. And, or maybe it's just kind of a softness around it. A softness of the comes maybe in allowing ourselves to feel what we're feeling. And okay, okay, I'm just here with this is what's happening now, I'm here with it. Now I'm meditating, I'm not going to cause any problems in the world without feeling. So this is the time to just allow for it and be mindful of it. And sometimes it's my partner possible to relax the tension or tightening around emotions. But if we simply breathe with it, and allow it to be there, accompany it with our breathing, it kind of removes some, it has attention, removing some maybe even subconscious way in which we're reacting to the emotions presence, and just shifting our focus to breathing rather than feeling. But breathing through it. So we're not ignoring it can sometimes allow something to settle and relax. And if it's afflictive emotions, they might dissipate. If it's something beautiful, a beautiful emotion and there's no extra attachment B overlay on top of it, then you might find something delicious happens with those, they might grow and swell and expand through the body in some nice way. Or they may tweak my transform into something that's a different emotion or a mind state mood that has maybe a little different, kind of a wonderful, though a different expression. That's not what you were feeling first, but now it's something something very different. That's beautiful. So the theme for the hearing today is relaxing with your emotions, relaxing through your emotions around your emotions, and the more you can do so physically, if you have a physical location for it, I think the more effective this is going to be. But I'd encourage you through today, next 24 hours, to when you have a strong enough emotion that you feel it. Practice relaxation, and see what happens in the wake of that relaxation. And if you have the opportunity to meditate or just stand still close your eyes sit down close your eyes and do this relaxation in a kind of this kind of attentive way meditative way, all the better and, and developing the skill of this kind of relaxation will help a lot with the further deepening our relationship to emotions that the we'll talk about these next days. So thank you. May you enjoy your emotional life thing