Awakening self compassion is often the greatest challenge people face on the spiritual path. ~Tara Brach
What’s the right way to deal with emotional pain during meditation? Often, difficult emotions arise in meditation when we least expect it. We don’t tend to welcome those feelings with open arms.
For most of us, the natural response to any sort of uncomfortable feelings is to tuck tail and move swiftly in the opposite direction.
But like your physical body, which uses pain to alert you when your body is injured or compromised, strong feelings and emotions are often signals. Your emotional body is traumatized or injured, and it needs your attention.
Of course, it isn’t easy to stay open in those moments. There are a lot of reasons for this.
First, our culture is addicted to distraction and stimulation. There are more ways than ever to distract ourselves from our pain.
Second, it’s not very sexy to experience vulnerability, confusion, and discomfort. In the West, we promote happiness, achievement, and a paradigm of success that tends to exclude the messy business of tending to our emotional and mental health. Ironically, this very attitude prevents a lot of us from healing and thriving.
Third, I don’t know anyone who really likes to sit with their emotional pain, stop struggling, and just feel it.
That’s where meditation can help you deal with painful emotions in a healthy way. It can help you cultivate a non-judgmental space of awareness in response to challenging emotions. Instead of labeling these feeling as bad or wrong, you can learn how to be with them just as they are. That’s a solid first step towards healing.
Meditation can also help you identify the thoughts that trigger painful emotions or memories. Often we unconsciously ruminate on the thoughts that re-trigger painful memories and feelings again and again. Making this process conscious helps you feel less helpless and gives you a sense of control. In time, you can better understand the source of these triggers and stop running from them.
Managing Grief and Emotional Pain During Meditation
In this episode of The OneMind Meditation Podcast, I interview licensed acupuncturist and meditation teacher Dave Eyerman. Dave has been a student of meditation for nearly twenty years and he currently leads weekly meditation groups at his holistic healing center.
In this interview, Dave and I explore what it really means to have a healthy relationship to the grief and emotional pain that can naturally arise in our experience when we meditate.
Struggling with challenging emotions is so human. All of us deal with it in one manner or another, and there are definitely more healthy ways to deal with it than other. Dave and I explore what it means to stop running from those feelings.
In this interview Dave Eyerman and I discuss:
- Why it’s fine to fall asleep in meditation
- Why there’s no such thing as a meditation master
- What it really means to let yourself be a human being when you meditate
- How Dave works with students who can’t quiet their minds
- Why it’s so hard to let yourself feel uncomfortable emotions
- How meditation can help you accept uncomfortable and painful feelings like grief
- How our culture trains us to think that we should always feel happy
- Dave’s advice for new meditators
- Clear And Now Healing
- Dave’s Meditation and Dharma talk recordings
- Dave’s Awareness School
- Dave’s Blog
- If you enjoyed this podcast, you may also like our Meditation for Life Mini Course
- Learn more about our free awareness meditation course, How To Free Your Mind & Discover Deep Peace
- Take a self-paced introduction to Meditation, explore the How To Meditate Core Training Program
- Leave us a rating & review on iTunes