Hello my fellow human Beings:
Ever notice how when feelings of anger, hatred or resentment boil up in us they take over our perspective?
When we are engulfed in these negative feelings we can feel consumed by them. Our focus narrows, like we have blinders on. We become centred on ourselves (our pain, our hurt, our suffering). We lash out at others whom we assume caused our pain and we can exaggerate their shortcomings, actions or inactions. Our creativity diminishes as we only see a narrowed horizon. We become lost in a me-centred bubble looking out on a dark-shadowed world.
It is at times like these that we must remember to re-engage our meditation practice. Taking the time in the middle of the grip of these negative emotions to pause, take a few deep, conscious breaths, and then focus our attention on the awareness of our breath will help us detangle from their stronghold over us. Once the negative turmoil has subsided a bit, we can continue to practice our breath awareness meditation and then our insight meditation to help us re-connect to our True Selves, our Source and observe our reptilian brain’s work. We can be mindful of our feelings, thoughts, actions and reactions in a more objective manner. We can also be mindful of our interaction with others and our reactions to their words and deeds. We may then be able to understand that they may be going through a situation that is bringing up negative emotions in themselves, which they are expressing to or towards you. (Or at least we may be able to empathize with them.) With practice, we can learn to manage our feelings and thoughts, rather than letting our primitive brains control us, and then we can take more appropriate, more compassionate actions forward.
Karen Armstrong, a religious scholar, author and winner of the TED Prize for the work on the ‘Charter of Compassion” has written a book entitled, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, where she reminds us of the important step of bringing mindfulness into our daily lives so that we don’t let the primitive, reptilian brain rule our lives. She writes:
“Mindfulness is [a] form of meditation that we perform as we go about our daily lives, and is designed to give us more control over our minds so that we can reverse ingrained tendencies and cultivate new ones. … we have to learn to use our mental energies more kindly and productively. …In mindfulness we mentally stand back and observe our behavior while we are engaged in the normal process of living in order to discover more about the way we interact with people, what makes us angry and unhappy, how to analyze our experiences, and how to pay attention to the present moment. Mindfulness is not meant to make us morbidly self-conscious, scrupulous, or guilty; we are not supposed to pounce aggressively on the negative feelings that course through our minds. Its purpose is simply to help us channel them more creatively.”
So let’s remember the importance of our meditation practice as a step towards leading a more mindful, more connected, and more fulsome life. Find time daily, and especially when negative emotions rise, to PAUSE, BREATHE, be still and become connected. Be mindful, be compassionate and live an abundant life.