Welcome back, my name is Nejra, and in today’s practice, we will be exploring awareness of emotions. So setting the intention to be more attuned with what feelings are present for us at this very moment.
As we take a seat to meditate, cultivating a sense of greater intimacy with our emotional landscape.
Allowing whatever arises to be there, observing it through curious eyes, non judgmentally. And as best as we can, non-identifying ourselves to the current emotional state, as we are not our emotions.
Softening our resistance to, and avoidance of, emotional discomfort. Remembering that this is your practice. So if at any time you feel that emotions arise that are too uncomfortable for you to continue, you always have the option to anchor yourself to the breath, to move your posture, or even pause the meditation. It is your practice and your choice.
So to begin, settling ourselves into a comfortable sitting position, on a straight-backed chair, or a mat, a rug on the floor with the bottom supported by cushions. If sitting on a chair, allowing the feet to be flat on the floor, with uncrossed legs, sitting away from the back of the chair, so that the spine supports our intention to be awake and aware.
Taking time to play around with the posture to find what feels right. Nurturing our needs and attending to what that may be. Taking time to reconnect with our emotional state.
Gathering attention to the quality of the breath. So observing, is the breath shallow or deep? Short or long?
Bringing curiosity to how the body is breathing. Noticing where we feel the sensation of breath most vividly now and centering our attention there.
Now, allowing your attention to shift from the breath and the body to the sense of hearing, this miraculous sense.
Hearing the sound of the breath, the sound of my voice. And at a certain point, allowing attention to shift from the changing patterns of sensations and sounds, and letting it expand this time into thinking.
The realm of thought. Listening to the stream of thoughts. Not identifying, not giving in to the narrative. Simply observing thoughts, as they come and go. Ebb and flow, like soft clouds on a vast blue sky.
Looking at them now, not from them. Perhaps placing a label: judging, thinking, planning, ruminating, daydreaming. Recognizing thoughts as passing events.
And if you do get caught up in them, remembering that there is no perfect meditation, it is perfectly normal for thoughts to grab our attention.
As soon as we recognize that we are off into the future, simply, escorting the attention back, this time perhaps zooming into the heart space.
Gathering all the attention now to focus on our heart. And taking a deep breath in, as the chest fills up with air, a softening, acceptance. And as you exhale, a letting go, a release.
Perhaps a hand on the heart is what we need, feeling into the heartbeat. The warmth of the hand on the heart.
Breathing into the hand, observing the chest expand, and the falling away on the out-breath.
And whenever we feel ready, turning towards and asking ourselves “What am I feeling at this moment?” Leaning into the emotion that is present inside the body, exploring the weight, or lightness, perhaps a shape or color of the emotion. Investigating with curiosity, is there an echo inside the body?
Turning towards that area and perhaps imagining that we could send the breath there. And breathing from the emotional echo in the body, through it. To allow it to be here. As it is. Allowing the gentle, rhythmic motion of the breath to soothe the body.
So now, if it feels right, gently bringing emotions center stage of awareness. We may find that joy is here, or sadness, gratitude, longing, maybe worry, loneliness, boredom, or perhaps happiness.
Practicing labeling the emotion, repeating the label a few times and with an exhalation letting it go, releasing, non-identifying. Whatever may be present for us now, as best as we can, allowing our conscious awareness to hold it all. In silence, in wisdom.
And if at any point we feel overwhelmed, or have gotten lost in thought, or in emotions that we don’t want to deal with at this moment, remembering the choice, to come back to the breath, to the anchors of the body, feet on the floor, or contact with the chair. Returning to sit with the emotion that arises, breathing in unity with it.
Moment by moment by moment, knowing, feeling, what is in your heart. Perhaps softening by saying to ourselves “It is okay, this is how I feel right now, let me feel this.” Practicing giving our strongest emotion a name. Repeating the label two or three times, in a loving, gentle voice. And coming anchoring back to the breath.
Becoming aware of the rising of belly on the in-breath, and falling away on the out-breath. Perhaps imagining that there is a balloon in the belly. And every time we breathe in, noticing the balloon inflating . Every time we breathe out, noticing the balloon deflating
Whenever we notice that our attention has drifted off and is becoming caught up in sensations, thoughts, or emotions. We may choose to acknowledge where the mind has gone. And after a moment, gently escorting the focus of your awareness back to your breathing. Coming back and anchoring yourself once again with this in-breath and this out-breath.
It’s okay and natural for thoughts to enter into our awareness, and for our attention to follow them. And each time, no matter how many times this happens, we keep bringing our attention back to our breath.
Practicing flexing the mindfulness muscle, time and time again, every time a chance to be letting go. Staying in touch with sensations in the body as we sit. And at a certain point, opening the awareness to whatever presents itself to us at the moment. Perhaps, imagining a wave of breath flowing from the tips of the toes to the top of the head. And all the way back down again.
Being present to the totality of the experience of just being in this moment. Allowing it all to unfold. As we observe. Being spacious with whatever arises. Sitting in stillness.
Perhaps reconnecting your hand on the heart. Breathing into the sensations present. Perhaps contemplating how can we express ourselves and our emotions more authentically, honoring whatever is true for us. Practicing a new, more honest relationship with our emotions with less avoidance and a wider perspective. Perhaps also inviting a sense of compassion, love, and kindness towards ourselves. And when we are ready, connecting to the ground through our sit bones. Connecting the anchor where our feet are in contact with the floor.
Earthing ourselves. Inviting the body to move in whichever way it feels like. Taking the time, there is no rush.
The Awareness of Emotions Meditation is complete.
Thank you for practicing with me.
In the next session, we will be exploring bringing our awareness into all aspects of our present moment experience in the Open Awareness meditation, that is also sometimes called Choiceless awareness.
See you in the next practice.
”We may find that joy is here, or sadness, gratitude, longing, maybe worry loneliness, boredom, happiness.
Practicing labeling the emotion, repeating the label a few times and with an exhalation letting it go, releasing, non-identifying.