Our focus for this week is working on mindfulness of our emotions and thoughts. Even though we would like to eradicate our negative thoughts and emotions, it is best to be with what occurs without judgment. Pushing thoughts and emotions away do nothing but make them stronger. What we resist persists.
Here we watch the thoughts and feelings. I know for myself that once I started practicing mindfulness, I could actually feel the feelings instead of nothing knowing what it was I was feeling. Having this awareness with both brought me to a healthier place in my life. I still have my moments of dis-ease be it physical, mental or emotional, but I know that it is all temporary. Mindfulness also helps me to not be overwhelmed by the occurrences of life, be it my own or in the world.
Sometimes we need to make space for an emotion that arises. It’s honoring to one’s self to do so if needed. We are never pushing the emotions away, we invite them in, we feel them and then let them be.
Sharon mentions here the practice of RAIN and to use it with one strong emotion that you had arise today. I personally use Tara Brach’s version of RAIN. We RECOGNIZE it and it doesn’t matter if it is joy or fear. Then we ACCEPT this emotion as we realize it is temporary. After this, we INVESTIGATE, where is this emotion felt within the body and if any other emotions are felt with it. Finally, we NURTURE ourselves with what do we need in this moment. Sharon uses NON-IDENTIFICATION which shows us that this is a temporary, conditioned experience and that it does not define who we are.
In this video teaching I did some time ago, I share how to do this RAIN practice.
In the practice for today, we are doing more mental noting. When the thought or emotion arises see if you can make a mental note of what the experience is in the moment without judgment. This could be “thinking” as an example. Then, we say this mental note word 3-4 times, like so, thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking. If it’s an emotion, same idea. Sadness, sadness, sadness, sadness. Here we are not trying to solve our feelings or push them away, just noting them. Can I recognize what is going on within me?
Once we do, we return to the breath.
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”.