April 27, 2021
“Dealing with Difficult Emotions” Meditation
Part of being human is dealing with difficult emotions. In this meditation, Travis guides you to bring loving awareness to your troubled feelings in a healing way.
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “Dare to Awaken Podcast.”]
Welcome to the Dealing With Difficult Emotions meditation. Please find a comfortable seat and rest your hands wherever it feels right. Allow the eyes to gently close. Take a deep inhale through the nose and release a big exhale out the mouth. Good. Let’s repeat that a few more times. Take a deep inhale and out the mouth exhale. Let it go. Inhale all the way down to the bottoms of the lungs and exhale. Let it all go. One more time. Take an even deeper inhale, and then on the exhale, sigh out any unwanted tension, stress, let it go. Now allow the breath to just move in its own gentle way. And let’s drop the chin down towards the chest, and then bring your right ear by your right shoulder, just feeling the left side of your neck releasing.
So often we carry so much tension in this region of our neck and upper back and shoulders. Good. And then taking your time, bring the chin back towards the chest and then move your left ear towards your left shoulder, now stretching the right side of the neck. And then maybe allow the head to sway from shoulder to shoulder, just releasing more and more of that tension out of the area of your neck.
Beautiful. Now allow the head to come back up so your whole spine is straight and erect, sitting up tall but at ease, being relaxed. And then choosing a situation in your life right now that is causing difficult emotions. What is the situation? What is this event? And then beginning to bring awareness to the difficult emotions that surround this event. And if it’s helpful, you can always breathe deeper. You can always release more breath back out the mouth. The breath can be a powerful mechanism and catalyst to helping us move and to navigate these difficult emotions. So if that feels right for you at any point, feel free to breathe deeper. Feel free to sigh out the mouth. You can almost think of your breath as a safety valve to help you release this built-up tension and stress any time that you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Continuing to stay with this event, this situation, and these troubled emotions. Continuing to breathe and to let these emotions be. Whatever is there – anger, rage, fear, worry, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, grief – just let the emotions be. These are all natural. Natural emotions woven into the very fabric of human experience. And then begin to name the emotion or the feeling that is most present for you right now. If it’s grief, just name it. “Grief, grief, grief.” If it’s anger, name it. “Anger, anger, anger.” And you could say it silently or you can say it out loud, whatever feels right. As you continue to name it, notice how you become the witness, the one who knows, the one who sees this deeper dimension we call our natural loving awareness. Keep softly naming the emotion that’s present for you.
Good. Now, if this emotion had a home or a center, a place in your body, where might it be? For some of us, it might be the chest, the heart. Others of us, it might be the belly. Notice where this emotion resides, its epicenter is located. And if you can, place a hand there. Continue to softly name it. Name the feeling, with your hand of compassion over its center. The part of you that knows how to heal. The part of you that knows how to move through difficulty with grace and nobility.
Beautiful. Feel free to keep your hand as is. Or if you like, if it’s more comfortable, you can return your hand to where it feels right on your lap or your knee. And then now begin to invite the emotion to become stronger. Sometimes this can feel almost counter-intuitive because we want to suppress it. We want to stuff it back inside. We want to run away from it. But without suppressing it in any way, invite this emotion to become stronger, to expand, to increase in its nature. Let it open and let it begin to fill your entire body. Let it keep expanding even beyond your body into the room and the space around you. Continuing to increase, let it fill the whole entire sky. Let it be as big as it needs to be.
Notice as the emotion continues to expand, what happens to it? At first, it might intensify, but over time as it keeps expanding, you might notice a softening or a dissolving. It might feel like a strong storm that came but then moved on. Anything that comes will also go. Anything that arises will also pass away. Anything that has a beginning also has an end. Anything that comes and goes doesn’t define who you really are. Who you really are is that natural loving awareness.
Sometimes the initial emotion that was felt at the beginning begins to pass, only to become replaced by another difficult emotion. You could start out feeling anger and then this turns into hurt or grief. Allow these energies to take their shape, but notice yourself less and less reactive to it, less and less entangled with it. Remember these emotions that come and go don’t define you. You are like an empty vast spacious sky. These difficult emotions are simply weather patterns just passing through.
Some feelings may come in waves, appearing and disappearing many times over and over. Moments where you might feel overwhelmed and moments where you might feel peace. This is okay. Let the waves, if they come and go, just do their thing and know that you have the power, you have the strength and the capacity to allow this change to arise and to fade away. Do not push anything away, but also do not hold or cling on to anything. Trust that you are supported by the universe. And very often these difficult emotions, they come to teach us. If only we would listen. If only we would honor them.
See if you can continue to open yourself up to your deepest inner vulnerabilities. It’s natural to feel raw, to feel open, to feel exposed when doing this work, but know it’s within your vulnerabilities that your greatest power resides. The compassionate, liberated, and awakened heart. Take a last big inhale through the nose and the big sigh out the mouth. Let it all go.
As you’re ready, slowly open the eyes. And return to this meditation as often as you like. Thank you for your practice.