If I ever give the impression that meditation is easy, it’s not. It’s a practice. Like everything we do. It takes persistent effort. Meditation is simple. Not easy. I experienced a lot of negative emotions along the way. In the beginning it triggered memories for me that were too much for me to deal with. I was learning to fully experience emotions that I had previously numbed out with drugs and/or alcohol. I felt completely overwhelmed by all the shit that was going on in my mind. My meditation practice seemed to be making things worse for me rather than better.
It was suggested to me that I approach my mind like a messy closet. Rather than slamming it closed, I pull a few things out at a time and then put them away neatly and close the door. Coming back at another time. And so on.
So that’s what I did.
Little by little (baby steps), I was able to look at it all. Little by little I was able to get my closet organized. I tossed what I didn’t need and kept what I did. I’m sure I kept things that I really could have tossed, but I just wasn’t quite ready to let them go. I think the letting go is an ongoing process.
The thing is, I had to feel EVERY bit of it along the way and for someone who had found a way to be numb for a lifetime, it was HARD. I sat with sadness. I sat with fear. I sat with anger. I sat with it all. And I lived. Not only did I live, I learned so much through that difficult process. I learned that it’s ok to experience unpleasant emotions and that they are just that. Nothing more. Nothing less. I learned that I can stay present with whatever I’m experiencing and I don’t have to shut down or numb out.
Nobody makes it into their adult life without pain and some sort of suffering. That pain has to be acknowledged and dealt with. Of that I am sure.
If you find yourself struggling with difficult emotions in your own meditation practice, just know that it does get better.