1.10 Summary - audio

“Reflecting on the practices of mindfulness”

Audio: Talk- Summary - Ross (3 min)

How To Manage Meditation Difficulties

The first rule is to expect bad feelings to arise.
What comes up is not an obstacle to practice if you can maintain your emotional equilibrium. If sadness or grief or self-doubt arises, recognize that you’re suffering in that very moment and offer yourself good will with the same phrases you’ve been using all along. Try not to get absorbed in the story line. Be good to yourself because you’re feeling pain. Don’t try to push away bad feelings. Every moment is an opportunity to practice that, no matter what you’re feeling.

The second rule is to maintain balance.
If you find that the feelings coming up are too strong, you don’t have to become more ardent in your meditation practice. Don’t fall into the trap of intensifying meditation to fight intensely uncomfortable feelings. That’s combat, not self-friendliness, and it’ll only make you feel worse. Perhaps you should back off and give yourself kindness in a different, less introspective way, such as having dinner with friends or taking a trip to the beach. If you feel emotionally numb, that’s a sure sign you should back off and be good to yourself in another way.

The third rule is to apply mindfulness.
If it makes sense to stick with your meditation, you can always switch to using your breath or another anchor (sound, touch) . Remember, however, to saturate your mindful­ness practice with affection. Try labeling the emotion (“Ah, aversion; “Ah, anger”). If you linger with the emotion, a tightly held emotion behind it may release, such as anger behind guilt or fear behind anger. When labeling is not enough, locate the sensation of the emotion in your body, perhaps in your abdomen, chest, or throat, and describe the feeling tone (“unpleasant”). Then give yourself more self-friendliness.

As a wise person once said, “Attend to your sensitivity—a flower cannot be opened with a hammer.”

Source- The Mindful path to self compassion. by Christopher K. Germer, Phd

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