Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by a strong emotion, I pretend I am just in a reaaaaallly long mental yoga pose. Warrior 10. It reminds me that whatever I am feeling will eventually pass. It can feel like it, but we don’t stay in half moon FOREVER, right? Rather than losing myself in the emotion, it instead becomes an opportunity to cultivate perseverance, strength, and understanding – just like the physical poses. It’s been a huge help. On a broad level, I feel more positive about difficult circumstances by looking at them as an important part of my practice. However, in full disclosure, at times these emotions can also really suck and seem to last far longer than I think I can handle. Mostly though, this technique serves as a source of light that can be just enough to carry me through and remind me of the bigger picture.
The RAIN technique Sharon explains on pp. 108-11 of Real Happiness has been really interesting to use this week. For those of you that don’t have the book, RAIN is an acronym for the four steps in dealing with an emotion mindfully: Recognizing what we are feeling, Accepting what comes up, Investigating the emotion, and Not identifying with the emotion. Instead of just hunkering down and waiting for an emotion to pass, I’ve been trying to explore it with these four steps. By coincidence (??) this week has been chock-full of emotions outside of my practice so I’ve had a lot of opportunity to work with this. I find this challenging but it’s helpful to have a framework to go by. Even if I can’t put a label on what it is I’m feeling, just the practice of stepping back to investigate helps me not get wrapped up in the story surrounding the emotion. I’ve noticed that the story is often worse than the emotion itself and it’s reassuring that whatever it is deep down doesn’t have to be as bad as I construct it to be.