I used to be that overdramatic kid that would react to the slightest thing. It could be someone telling me I need to go brush my teeth and I’d fight back, saying they can’t tell me what to do (then again, my first word was no). As I got older, it didn’t get much better. Having all those toxic emotions (which stemmed from insecurity) so young, led to me making very poor choices on how to react later in life. But I’ll never forget when that all changed.
When I was 27, I was helping my soon-to-be ex-boyfriend at the time, move from Seattle to Houston. He had a temper far worse than mine, providing me with quite the emotionally abusive relationship (which it didn’t help that I was a fighter). Each time we’d stop for gas or for food, he was in a bad mood, he’d huff, puff, and ultimately, go dead quiet, staring at his drink as though he was plotting out a way to kill it. I quit asking what was going on because it didn’t do anything but make him more angry. Each time we’d get back in our respective trucks (me in the truck and him in the U-Haul, towing a car), I’d silently cheer that I got at least eight more hours of quiet time but didn’t think much past that.
About three days in, we stopped in Oklahoma City for dinner and then to find a hotel. We parked along the backside of Applebee’s and as I’m about to routinely get out of the truck with a heavy sigh, something told me to pause. I look up and I see my ex kicking the tire of his U-Haul, cursing. It was in that moment that I questioned what the point of getting angry was – what was the point of the unnecessary yelling? What did it solve, other than to make the yeller feel temporarily better? Watching this sight went from being frustrated that I’d have to deal with him again, to amused, embarrassed for him, and ultimately led to my decision that I do not have the energy to start a new state with him and that it was time to move on. Since that night, I have very rarely ever gotten that angry with anyone.
While I might have only been practicing meditation for a year (for the most part), the foundation of emotional balance was set in motion almost 11 years ago. It took me a while to come to complete peace with the world around me, letting go of things I can’t control and supporting all others through their struggles, realizing that more often than not, it’s not my issue to worry about. It’s brought me to a more balanced state. I believe daily meditation helps to re-affirm this.
I’ve read some posts online on how people have interpreted Day 3’s meditation practice – that you are to let emotions flow – it’s okay to get angry, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to laugh when no one else is. I do not disagree that we should authentically be ourselves but at the same time, do not do it out of the fact that you ARE ABLE to do it. I’ll explain.
Scenario #1: A man or woman continuously finds themselves in situations where they want to cry, reach out to someone who will listen, or want to tell someone how they feel because it’s impacting who they are as a being. They never do it because they don’t want to disturb another and thus, they are left in a situation of toxic build up. They use this meditation practice to help them unblock their feelings and find an outlet to let them out and restore balance. This makes complete sense to me.
Scenario #2: A man or woman uses this practice to reaffirm that they are allowed to display certain emotions (more often negative than not) and continue to do so because they feel validated. I can’t see how anyone who meditates could possibly have this reaffirmation but hey, I guess not everyone understands the true practice. Still, the fact that I saw this online was deeply disturbing to me.
I believe that what Deepak is trying to express (although I will agree, it wasn’t done well) is that we need to let ALL emotions flow through us in a positive manner. If you’re feeling angry, how can you turn that into a positive? If you’re feeling sad, how can you bring out the light within you? THAT part of the practice is hard because it’s never an easy thing to pull yourself out of a negative mood.
This Meditation Experience is all about feeling lighter. More often than not, your emotions are the root cause of 95% of all toxic build up that leads to poor eating habits and less exercise, which as we all know, spins into a negative cycle very quickly.
If you’re reading this and you feel at a loss for what to do because you ARE in that negative cycle, please first note to yourself that you’ve taken the first step by recognizing, and the second step by wanting to do something about it.
The third step will be the longest one, as it’s an incremental change. If you feel yourself getting angry over something, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s the source of my anger?
- Does this source directly impact my life? (Be objective on this one – don’t answer that from a place of emotion.)
- If this does or does not impact my life, what can I proactively do to put this behind me (hint – if this does not, walk away from it and keep mentally chanting there is nothing you can do. If it does – and not from a place of emotion – find a positive/peaceful way to settle it)?
- Then take a deep breath, close your eyes and either walk away or table the argument for when you feel more at peace and have time to think.
I understand this is super hard when you’re used to being angry and letting it all out. But what most forget is that letting it all out impacts absolutely everyone around you, causing hostility and avoidance, which only puts you deeper into a negative spiral of shame and guilt. See how this can become infectious?
I think regardless of our mental state in this world, it’s always a good reminder to find a mental balance that allows us to feel everything – negativity in moderation with an abundance of positive. This balance creates a new sense of well-being that flows through to the core of who we are – physically included. You will find yourself naturally eating better, working out more, potentially being more sociable with people who align with positive thinking. I promise you, it can be life-changing.