Being with difficult emotions
I have been privileged to have spent the day with fellow beings as we all experience a range of emotions, but how can mindfulness practice help us be with these parts of our human experience?
The RAIN acronym comes to mind as something I use, especially when it comes to those emotions I resist and don’t like.
R: is for recognising what emotion/s is currently visiting me. Giving it a name or label is really helpful as it activated the cortex part of the brain which enables us to be less reactive. So name it to tame it! Many of us struggle to have language to name our emotions so google emotion/ feeling charts and names and use these to help the process. Remember to be a “friendly scientist”of your experience exploring what is here with kindness, friendliness and curiosity.
A: is for allow or accept. This doesn’t mean you like it, want it or are inviting it to move it’s furniture in, it just means you are dropping the struggle with reality and what is already here emotionally. You may like to say to yourself well this is how it is right now. Also acknowledging that if it is a difficult emotion that it is difficult and unpleasant for you I use “ouch” this is really hurting. Giving ourselves some compassion for the pain we are feeling like we would a dear friend is also important….may I be kind to myself.
I: means investigate the emotion in the body (not analysis in the mind as this is tricky territory and can send us in circles!) the body is always present so this is where we need to get to know our emotions. Something like this…..friendly scientist investigates where do I feel this emotions in the body? is is hard or soft, heavy or light, moving or still, hot or cold? yeah weird I know but be curious and keep investigating. Use the breath to make space and soften around where you feel it the most, maybe even ask what it needs, what it needs to hear maybe place a soothing hand on it like you would do with a sore bit.
N: not me or mine….ok so how many emotions have you already had today? well I’ve had heaps, the good news about that is none of them even the yuck ones stay for ever! As I saw recently on fb this too shall pass, like a kidney stone but it will pass! So emotions are visitors, they are transient, thy don’t belong to me or make me who I am. I can watch them arrive and leave again. Noticing when you are not feeling in pain is also an important thing to notice.