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Sitting with diffcult emotions

TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran
edited June 2016 in Meditation

So as those of you who have been around a while know I was diagnosed thirteen years ago with paranoid schizophrenia after a particularly heavy drug binge. I regularly see a psychiatrist and a community mental health nurse as part of my treatment though I have been doing so well I only see the psychiatrist every six months.

I had a couple of good meditation sessions today including a particularly good session of metta meditation. I came and sat down at the computer today to surf for a while when an overwhelming feeling of fear came over me. Thinking of the Buddha's example of when he was assailed by the forces of Mara on the night of his enlightement I decided rather than to medicate, I'd meditate instead.

I lay on my bed in the reclining Buddha pose, mindfully breathed and gently labelled the experience fear, fear. I did this for around thirty five minutes knowing it was a conditioned phenomenon and would pass. It worked as I lay there it slowly began to dissipate and passed. I can still feel it lingering at the edges of my conciousness but its easily bearable.

One up for Buddhism and a minor saving on the NHS drug bill as I didn't have to use any of my emergency meds.

Just wondering about other peoples experiences of sitting with difficult emotions?

lobsterBunksyagrFosdickfedericapegembaraShoshinDeformedchrispche

Comments

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited June 2016

    @Lonely_Traveller said:

    Just wondering about other peoples experiences of sitting with difficult emotions?

    I often find it easier to sit with physical pain than to sit with difficult emotions. Sometimes I can show compassion to myself and others fairly easily when sitting in meditation. Other days I am Queen Bitch to every sentient being around and then I berate myself, feel worse and so on and so on.

    I don't have a definite method of sitting with difficult emotions and that is why my results are so scattered/varied. Kudos to you my friend for recognising and consciously choosing to sit and observe. That's pretty awesome :smiley:

    _ /\ _

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Wow! Hats off to you. I struggle with difficult emotions. I still tend to do something else to distract myself rather than sitting with them......

    Kundo
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Kudos to you, @Lonely_Traveller. With my history, I'm expecting emotions to come to the surface, and uh, sometimes they are quite potent - not unlike a volcano, but with the knowledge of Buddha and everything Buddha, and this awesome on-line sangha, I get by incredibly well. <3

    lobsterBunksTraveller
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    @Lonely_Traveller I have not gotten quite good at this type of observation yet. When I have an overwhelming moment like this I find it easier to just "go to my happy place," as they say. The distraction is immediately helpful, but in the long run I know it's just a form of escapism. You're an inspiration to me!

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited June 2016

    @Lonely_Traveller said: I lay on my bed in the reclining Buddha pose, mindfully breathed and gently labelled the experience fear, fear. I did this for around thirty five minutes knowing it was a conditioned phenomenon and would pass.

    Good for you for sticking with it. I find this kind of simple labelling very useful.
    "This too shall pass" is also a phrase I find useful, it's easy to forget that when stuck in a particular mood.

    lobsterTraveller
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @dhammachick said:

    I often find it easier to sit with physical pain than to sit with difficult emotions. Sometimes I can show compassion to myself and others fairly easily when sitting in meditation. Other days I am Queen Bitch to every sentient being around and then I berate myself, feel worse and so on and so on.

    Indeed. <3
    Looking for the seat of the emotion in the body is a good way to uncover its nature.
    Is it in the gut? Stomach? Heart? Chest? Does it feel like a weight? A lightness or giddiness?

    What if we are unpleasant, angry, fearful or crazy or in my case a wer-lobster? :3 We are partly karmic monkeys, animals. Trigged by hormones, patterns, learned loops and lack of chocolate, love or frozen dairy. Or perhaps food intolerance or the never ending cycle of sentient stressors ...

    I never berate my pal Her Unholiness Mara Lucifer for being devilish. I would certainly not berate the worst person or myself to make them feel bad about being bad ass. Berating the bad just adds. You are bad. Pah! Completely normal. Though try not to drown any kittens (lobster top tip).

    Forgiving is the plan.

    So send metta to the physical/emotion. Pain is lovable. Strange, sometimes hard to metta pulse - but true ...

    TravellerKundo
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran
    edited June 2016

    Yes @lobster I agree. Its important to have an attitude of metta - radical, non-judgemental acceptance to whatever arises at the sense gates. Though I find this easier to do on the cushion than out in the world with the over abundance of sensory stimulation. Ahh well, more practice needed.

    Thanks for the input folks.

    lobster
  • @Lonely_Traveller said:

    Just wondering about other peoples experiences of sitting with difficult emotions?

    It's really tough for me, because I keep feeling he need to do something - anything - to do something about the fear, and then I get fidgety. Thanks for writing about your experience. I have lots of anxiety very often, and can become paralyzed by fear. One moment, I can feel perfectly fine, and in the next I can be completely spaced out, removed from my immediate experience. Even that can trigger another fear, like "am I a bad friend/partner/etc". Incredibly self-centric on my part.

    RuddyDuck9
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    @Deformed YES. and then, if you're anything like me... you make yourself feel guilty for making this all about you... blah. the vicious cycle of life without pause. I've been taking more deep breaths than ever recently.

    Deformed
  • @RuddyDuck9 said:
    @Deformed YES. and then, if you're anything like me... you make yourself feel guilty for making this all about you... blah. the vicious cycle of life without pause. I've been taking more deep breaths than ever recently.

    Indeed! I am very good at that too. Thanks.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 2016

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    @Deformed YES. and then, if you're anything like me... you make yourself feel guilty for making this all about you... blah. the vicious cycle of life without pause. I've been taking more deep breaths than ever recently.

    Tee Hee.
    Existence is dukkha? Who would have guessed? Maybe the Buddha ... :p

    Deep breaths? Returning to a physical anchor, good plan. <3

    Secondary dukkha as in 'some bad arising' followed by regret, chastisment, self loathing, 'why am I so hopeless?' etc can be the first to go with practice. In other words, break the loop of lifetimes worth of conflicted recycling.

    You may be 'bad' but please, 'Don't have a cow'.

    RuddyDuck9
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