Chapter 5

Meditating with Challenging Emotions

In This Chapter

arrow Treating your experience with kindness, care, and curiosity

arrow Picking up some tips for dealing with fear, anger, and sadness

arrow Loosening your stuck places, habitual patterns, and subconscious stories

Meditation tends to make you calmer, more spacious, and more relaxed — at least most of the time. When you follow your breath, repeat a mantra, or practice some other basic technique every day, your mind begins to settle down naturally while thoughts and feelings spontaneously bubble up and release like the fizz in a bottle of soda. The process is so relaxing that the folks in Transcendental Meditation call it unstressing.

When you meditate regularly for a period of time, however, you may find that certain emotions or states of mind keep coming back to distract or disturb you. Instead of dispersing, the same sexual fantasies, sad or fearful thoughts, or painful memories may keep playing in your awareness. Instead of watching the mist rising from the lake, you’ve begun your descent into the muddy and sometimes turbulent waters of your inner experience.

At first, you may be surprised, dismayed, or even frightened by what you ...

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