Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Listening within

A lot of time in meditation is spent listening to our emotions. Emotions manifest as sensations in the body (muscular tension, restless movement, patterns of breathing) and as thoughts in the mind (usually simple, repetitive thoughts).

When listening to emotions, it's not so important to believe or argue with the verbal story our emotions are telling us. We can just be open to what we feel in our bodies.

Much of the time we try to manipulate the world around us in order to manage our emotions. We only want to have pleasant emotions and avoid the unpleasant ones. But in this listening, we don't have preferences. Whatever arises is listened to.

Another approach with emotions is to try and use them, as if they were tools. So people might try to use anger to effect change in the world, or use love to win the affection of others. Just as we exhaust the natural resources of the planet to feed our insatiable appetite for consumption, we treat our own emotions as a resource to be used for our own benefit, without thinking of where all this energy comes from.

But what if emotions aren't tools? What if they have their own story to tell us? What if we stop trying to use our emotions, and stop trying to prevent them, and just listen to what they have to say?