I personally experience that when emotions are unexpressed in me, my mind is often more active. It’s like the mental field is trying to keep me busy and safe from going into how I feel. I can find it hard to sleep when this happens and I find my yoga is more restless and unfocused. Until I listen and acknowledge what’s there; until I voice/breathe out with the truth of my anger or have a good cry or whatever is needed, I cannot settle or sustain a connected sense of presence.
Meditation is a way we might seek this presence, this inner peace, a stilling of the mind, an openness, a sense of calm.
However without acknowledging and processing emotions present, we cannot fully deepen as we are holding off from a part of our experience; judging and seeing it as unwanted.
We need to learn to feel safe enough to go toward our emotional experience. To be deeply honest with ourself about it. To go inside it and truely be with how we are feeling in a welcoming, inclusive and loving way.
Embodied practices like yoga/tai chi etc provide a pathway to listen inwardly through movement and sensation. Yoga has been proven as one of the most affective ways to release and heal trauma.
Our body holds all our emotions and is often a doorway to our emotional experience. Body practices are the most powerful way to learn to be alive to our feelings while staying anchored and connected in the here and now reality of our breath and body. With this anchor we learn to gain the ability to emotionally regulate and stabilise. When we know we can regain stability from a flood of feelings, we are more willing to let our emotions flow, as we know we are safe enough to have them.
Along with attending compassionately and safely to our emotion, we are practicing to remain steady in reality; connected and alive in an embodied state.
If we are simply seeking peace off in some transcendent realm/practice, it will not necessarily translate into everyday life when we step off our meditation cushion. We might lack the bridge to bring that peace with us as we move through our day, as we brush our teeth or attend to the children, or speak to the supermarket check out operator.
Spirituality and personal growth is not about the end goal of not having negative emotions, it’s about learning how not to judge or resist our natural human emotional aliveness.
Increasing calmness and serenity is more a byproduct of this, as our emotions become more harmonised and settled.