Writing our blog has created some emotions for me today. I've been excited, frustrated, agitated, curious, and confused - all around the simple act of writing a few words!
I think my experience reflects how most of us go about our days. We ride unceasing waves of emotion coloring our perceptions, suffusing the world with a particular tone. As we move through our busy days, this emotional landscape can be subliminal, unrecognized by us. Sometimes we’re surprised by an emotion’s surfacing, almost unbeknownst to us.
Often that arising can feel like an ambush. Where did that come from? Maybe anger shows up and you notice it in the edge of your voice or in the tightening of your neck muscles.Sometimes, we miss the simple sense of feeling some positive emotion like gratitude.
Focusing on mindfulness of emotions allows us to peel the onion a bit to see some of the constant ebb and flow of different feelings. The more we notice emotions without judging them, we create the opportunity to recognize them for what they are -fleeting sensations that show up, exist for a period of time, and then cease. We begin to notice their transience.
And that observing allows us to become a bit more open, less attached to a particular emotion, whether “good” or “bad.” We might begin to shift our self perceptions from “I’m a sad person” to “In this moment, this is what sadness feels like.”
There are specific tools we can use to enhance our skills in riding the waves of our emotions.
One technique can be summed up with the acronym RAIN. When we become aware of the presence of an emotion we can follow these four steps:
RECOGNITION - Acknowledge the emotion; Here is Joy.
ACCEPTANCE -Allow it to be, don’t judge it. Just ride the wave.
INVESTIGATION - What happens when this emotion arises? Where does the emotion take you? Tight belly, racing heartbeat, flood of thoughts, sense of peace? Can you separate the thoughts and emotions? Does one emotion lead to other emotions? Investigation does not mean pondering why we are feeling that emotion, or moving off on a thought train about the emotion or a situation related to the emotion...
NAMING/NONIDENTIFICATION - “Fear, joy, anger, frustration, boredom, contentment”; we are temporarily experiencing this emotion. We are feeling anger; we are not an angry person. The emotions will pass and new emotions will arise, the way that weather changes. We have the capacity to be with and experience it all.
Come join us in the practice of sitting with RAIN.
This Week’s Gatherings
Monday 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM Trumbull Library 33 Quality Street Trumbull
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford (made possible by a grant from Bankwell)
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library 151 Main Street, New Canaan
Wednesday7:30 PM Trumbull Recovery Group- Grace Episcopal 5958 Main St. Trumbull
CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible.
May we all grow with the benefit of rain,
Your friends at CMP