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6 Tips for Accessing the Emotions on the Cushion


This is an excerpt from the session on emotions on Monday (25th March 2024) where I give some tips about accessing the second field, the Emotions while meditating:

Closing your eyes, let's come to our main focus in this session, which is the field of emotions.

If I ask you, How are you feeling right now? Where do you look? Where do you look for the answer to that question? How am I feeling?

And don't worry if you're struggling to connect with your feelings. Lots of us struggle to do that. also in your meditation session, you are most likely not feeling super strong emotions. They're a little more subtle, so its good to have some tips to navigate in this field.

  1. Just as a help, a guide, it's good to look into the space of that bodily triangle we were flagging up earlier: between the shoulder blades at the back and across the front of the chest, down to the back and front of the pelvis. It's an upside-down, triangular wedge shape taking in your whole torso. This is often, not always, but often where we feel things. So have a look into that space. What am I feeling right now?

  2. Another tip in this field is to recognize that feelings are not things, but more like a wash of watercolour on a painting. Or a gradient from one colour to another computer screen. That is, they're a shifting field of different elements bleeding into one another. It's quite rare that we have just one strong emotion. So look at that whole area. And just see, these are my emotions right now. This is my emotional field. We don't have to give it a name, describe it. We can just put our awareness there. Simple.

  3. Another tip to help read the emotional field is to breathe. Breathe into that triangular space, that emotional body. As you breathe, more information will come. How am I feeling?

  4. Another tip is not to occlude, that is to say, ignore, emotions that are very familiar or that you do not like. So, for example, irritation, boredom, and anxiety. These are all emotions. Irritation is a subset of anger. Boredom is a subset of ignorance. Anxiety is a subset of fear. The classic emotions. So be with them. Acknowledge their presence. Let them be. Let them speak to you.

  5. Another tip. If we're getting too cerebral and thinking about our emotions too much it's to drop the chin, relax the jaw, and follow the attention down back into the chest and the belly. Just be with the emotions as they are, you don't have to describe them or put them into words.

  6. And then the final tip for navigating emotions is to become aware of how important they are. Of the four fields of phenomena, in some sense, emotions are the most important. Because it's in the field of emotions that we suffer and feel the end of suffering. So just cognizing how important they are starts to make them more accessible to awareness. They are our compass through life. We do everything to feel good in our emotional field and we do everything to avoid feeling bad in our emotional field. Just highlighting their importance brings them into sharper focus.

 if you're ready to bring your meditation to a close, it's bringing your hands to the centre of your torso. This is why we bring our hands in Anjali to the heart centre because that's the centre of the emotional field.

And just acknowledging And indeed, appreciating this very sensitive compass, the magnetic field in the centre of our being, we're making a small commitment to be very aware of it through the day, checking in with the central intelligence of the emotions, a great gift to yourself, but also to everybody around you.

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