“The two parts of genuine acceptance —seeing clearly and holding our experience with compassion—are as interdependent as the two wings of a great bird. Together, they enable us to fly and be free.” Tara Brach, PHD
Meditating On Our Emotions: The Two Wings*
Our mediation practice can transform our reactivity towards our emotions. Two essential ingredients are needed: Seeing clearly and compassion. Oh yes, and a good dose of patience.
- Find your meditation seat. Settle in. For a few minutes, rest in your breath.
- Now, invite a recent experience that evokes a mild to moderate level of emotion: e.g., feeling criticized or the opposite, being praised. Usually there is a story we tell ourselves about this event. Briefly, notice the story and tone of thoughts.
- Then, as Pema Chodron suggests, “drop the story” and get in touch with the underlying body sensations. Observe with curiosity, and without judging. Is there tension, heat, expansion or something else? Stay with your breath and feel, allow the sensations to change and move. When the story lines returns, notice the thoughts, let them go, and return the focus of your meditation on the sensations of emotion.
- After about 5 minutes, let the practice go. Look around, and then settle back into meditation on your breath. Let be.
For more guidance on working with emotions through meditation I suggest two books by Pema Chodron:
How to Meditate: A Practical Guide To Making Friends with Your Mind
Taking the Leap: Feeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears
~ Martha Whitney