Author Topic: Why is it recommended to allow ourselves to fully experience negative emotions?  (Read 1043 times)

Ja192827

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When I experience a negative emotion, I have the tendency to try to think of something else, telling myself to "be tough and not to worry about it."  For example, if I experience an awkward social interaction, I replay it in my mind over and over again. It seems that if I allow myself to feel the embarrassment instead of blocking it out, it would just serve to make myself feel bad. 

On the other hand, those who practice meditation teach that one should lean into their emotions and fully experience them whether they be positive or negative.  Can I ask why this is?  It seems fully experiencing our negative emotions serves nothing but to feel their pain. Who wants to feel pain?  But then again, if I force myself to think of other things instead of fully experiencing the emotion, maybe the negative emotion will simply come back, but even stronger?  Maybe if I were to allow myself to fully feel the embarrassment of the past social situation, my mind would be less likely to dwell on the memory in the future?  Does breathing into our negative emotional states make them less likely to keep on coming back?  Maybe fully allowing ourselves to experience our negative emotions is more painful in the present moment, but in the long run, maybe by doing so, there is less pain overall?  Thanks in advance.

rogp99

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Because the goal is to overcome, not to avoid an unavoidable scene (eye), sound, taste, smell, feeling or "idea" (something arises from your mind).

The problem is to fully live with your negative experience you need a stock of calmness, ready for use.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 05:34:04 PM by rogp99 »

Ja192827

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So will the bad feeling be less likely to return in the future of I allow myself to fully experience it initially?

Attachless

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By allowing the "negative" emotion fully into your awareness, not resisting it and accepting it, it becomes integrated and looses it`s power over you. Only when we resist it are we bound to be driven by it, controlled by it, impacted by it.

It`s the same with thoughts. Take thoughts as an example: a bad thought is there. Neither pressing it away nor denying it does good, just letting it be there does the trick. We don`t have to particilarily engage in that bad thought, we just let it be there. The thought, like the emotion, sooner or later will pass. We can choose whether we resist it (and hence be affected and influenced by it), or accept it. If there is fear, feel the fear. Don`t resist. If there is pain, feel the pain, don`t resist.

Generally, resistance tends to create tension (in the body as well as in the mind), so whatever we resist brings tension - whether that`s a good or bad thing. So it`s not about things being good or bad (as we label them), but rather - as a meditator - to learn, step by step, to not resist anything that comes into your consciousness (feelings, thoughts, etc.) - hence you won`t hold on to anythings, because you allow everything (which is in a constant flow and movement) to just pass and do it`s stuff.

Only by accepting what is and not resisting what is can we come to a place where we come to "truth", or "truthfulness" of this particular moment to moment experience that we are having. And only by that can we come to the depth of things, and not by being against how things are.

For example, instead of, when walking up to let`s say a stranger or a girl or anything that would create fear in you, instead of wanting that fear to go away, resisting it, "thinking it away" etc., it`s -although counterintuitively- the best to just feel the fear totally, accept it as being there and move along. By accepting it, it looses its grip, it`s power, it is fully integrated into consciousness and is not resisted against.

If you feel depressed, you can allow to feel that feeling of depression and hence allow it to move through your body, instead of getting stuck by resisting it. I mean, this is something that one has to come to terms with by oneself, it`s a learning experience, at some point you`ll just notice how resisting ANYTHING will get you into trouble and tension - whether a "good" or "bad" thing.

Then it is not about having good or bad experiences, but about living in resistance or non-resistance, acceptance or non-acceptance, whether that which is resisted/accepted is so called good or bad. BUT one practice starts off with dealing with "good" and "bad" stuff, until you notice that what makes something good or bad is your judgement of it, and what REALLY makes stuff good or bad is your level of acceptance or resistance toward it - whether it being good or bad.

Hence meditation is a path of letting be, of living in truthfulness with whatever arises in our human experience. What we deny we become slave of, in one way or another. What we accept, looses it`s power.

The tendency of escapism may eventually change to confrontism. And it`s healing.  :-)
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

Ja192827

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Your post was very helpful and cleared a lot of things up for me. Thank you so much.

Ja192827

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Because the goal is to overcome, not to avoid an unavoidable scene (eye), sound, taste, smell, feeling or "idea" (something arises from your mind).

I like that term, a stock of calmness, thanks for your comment.

The problem is to fully live with your negative experience you need a stock of calmness, ready for use.