I’ve heard a lot of people say over the years that they can’t meditate. The problem lies not with them; but, with the explanation that they have gotten for meditation. Meditation is, in fact, so simple and instinctual that you can’t not meditate.
To meditate all you need to do is let yourself relax and allow your mind to wander. Simple. Easy. You probably can think of plenty of times, such as when you’re driving, that your mind starts to just drift and wander aimlessly and all kinds of random thoughts pop into your mind.
To understand why this is beneficial it helps to understand what the mind is doing when its wandering. There are pretty much four answers: Creative Problem Solving, Rational Analysis, Memory Consolidation and Venting.
The one that we’re most interested here is venting. When you feel emotions, consciously or unconsciously, your mind has to process them and determine whether they are worthwhile. A lot of things in life bring up multiple responses and the conscious mind can only really process one thing at a time. Even when you make a choice about how to feel and act in a situation there are often other, discarded emotions that need to be processed and released.
To enter a venting state, all you have to do is just observe the ongoing process of your mind. Allow thoughts, feelings and imaginings to arise. And, this is important, do not resist anything. This is the big one that people trip up on. Some emotions come up that they find objectionable and they start to think it means something about them. It doesn’t. Your mind digests vast quantities of information and some of it is waste that needs to be eliminated. Just like with digesting food the process of elimination is often… unappealing. But, it’s necessary and nothing to be ashamed of.
Judging your thoughts and feelings here is perhaps best thought of as being mentally and emotionally constipated. A calm, relaxed and detached attitude just allows the various, unpleasant and unwanted thoughts and feelings to naturally dissipate and frees up the mind for creative problem solving and rational analysis.
In meditation the mind will tend to start with immediate stressors and then move on to old perceptions that were never properly vented. A lot of old emotions can and will come up when starting a meditation practice. Good! It may not always feel good; but, it is. Your mind is eliminating old, often unpleasant, feelings that it’s held on to. They’re coming up because you don’t need them. They’re coming up because instead of repressing, your mind is letting them go. You don’t have to try to let them go, just like you don’t have to try to make your colon do it’s job. The internal systems which control the venting process run instinctively, not rationally.
If you notice yourself resisting what comes up while meditating, just remember that the fact that you’re done with it is why it’s coming up. Conscious resistance to these emotions is essentially your conscious mind saying, “Hey, I don’t need that thought or feeling!” and trying to shove it down (mental constipation) while your unconscious mind is saying, “I know, that’s why I’m getting rid of it!” (natural and healthy elimination.)
Or, to be blunt, when you meditate, crap is going to come up. You’re going to know its crap. Let your mind take the dump it needs to take so that you don’t feel backed up with crap anymore.
It’s entirely possible, likely even, that if you’ve been living a stressful life that your mind is so backed up that you don’t even consciously know how bad it really is and you won’t really grasp it until your free of it. When it’s functioning properly, the mind is actually quite good at blocking out distractions and if signals that you need to release old emotions are habitually ignored and viewed as an unimportant distraction, then it’s likely you don’t even know consciously just how much unnecessary old pain and stress you’ve been carrying. (I
Once you allow your mind to dissipate accumulated stress responses, your mood and ability to handle stress are improved. You’re ability to think rationally and creatively is improved since your mind is no longer burdened with the accumulated detritus of the past. And, of course, with accumulated stress diminished, your physical health improves as well since body and mind are an interconnected system. There are countless medical conditions that are caused or aggravated by stress and simply by allowing your body and mind the chance to naturally vent, you address all of them to some extent or another.
And, this should be obvious, the more stress you’re under or that you’ve endured through past unpleasant or traumatic experiences, the more important taking the time to actively meditate becomes to your physical and emotional health and well being. We’ve all got things that we know we need to let go of for our own good. Now you know how easy it is to actually do. It’s not a thing that can be forced, only allowed, just like using the restroom. Even if you know you’re constipated, you can’t rush it, it happens when it happens. Just let it come naturally in its own time. Just sit quietly, preferably upright so you don’t fall asleep, and let the natural venting process occur.
See, it’s simple and easy to understand how and why this is of so much value, so long as you’ve got someone who can actually explain it properly.
Now, for the “advanced” version of emotional release using meditation… If we think of all the backed up emotions as “emotional constipation” then, perhaps, you may find that you need an “emotional laxative” to help you process things smoothly. Often, the reason that things haven’t been processed properly and released and why they keep bothering us is because they bother us… They’re unpleasant, painful or we’ve been taught that it’s wrong to feel that way.
The thing is that one of the big rules of the mind is “What you resist will persist.” Fighting your emotions keeps them stuck… You’re putting your attention on those things that you don’t want and actually reinforcing them in the mind.
So, if you’ve been having trouble with judgment and the “emotional constipation” that it causes and you’re having trouble with simply allowing the emotions to arise and to pass; then, the answer is simple, express gratitude for the emotion.
One of the best ways to trigger emotional release and allow your mind to naturally vent is to simply enter a state of heightened gratitude and express gratitude for every thought and feeling that arises. Start by thinking of things that you already love and appreciate. Just bring up one thing after another that you already appreciate and express gratitude. The more you express gratitude the more you will feel gratitude and the easier it is to hold onto and return to that feeling of gratitude as other thoughts and feelings come up.
If at any point the emotions that you’re feeling become too intense… Simply return to things that you already appreciate for a while and move back and forth between them. They will inevitably pass in time so long as you allow them to simply flow.
Even the advanced version is pretty simple, isn’t it?
If you start practicing meditation and you find that you have some issues with “emotional constipation” that you can’t seem to get past, that you’re having trouble judging your feelings instead of letting go and allowing or if you have something specific that is so painful to you that you can’t detach enough to just let it pass; I can help. Hypnotic desensitization works on this same process. In hypnosis, I would guide you to a deep state of relaxation, guide you to access feelings and memories of calm, safety and security and then, from that place of deep calm, access the old memories while reminding you that its just a memory and that by letting it come up you are letting it go. It’s shocking how quickly this can work to bring relief.
In other words, having a strong, confident and reassuring voice which can help keep you focused where you need to focus and tell you that, “It’s alright… Just let it come and let it pass… It’s already in the process of passing… It’s OK… It’s only a memory… You’re safe now…” can be immensely helpful when processing old emotions. If you’re struggling; there’s no need to make things harder on yourself by doing things alone.
Have a great day and thanks for reading!