Uncertainty & Strong Emotions

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Taken from inside the Notre Dame Basilica. Sometimes uncertainty / anxiety blurs our focus until we can allow the thoughts to pass by.  

A week of uncertainty and anxiety.  The feeling that something is coming and unfortunately there is nothing we can do.  We anticipate it, go over it in our minds, allow the story to circulate inside. Sometimes the story is so strong that even while sitting in meditation the thought simply returns over the breath. It can feel frustrating and overwhelming at the same time. So where does it leave us.

This type of energy can direct us in a lot of ways. Frustration at being unable to focus on the breath during sitting meditation and even through the day allowing the storyline to develop time and again. Anxious. Depending on the story line anxiety can be a default. That deep sense of foreboding that stews within manifesting in physical form. It hits me in the form of upset stomachs and a general feeling of restlessness.

A further sign of of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.  – Pema Chodron

The important thing to remember about these intense, overwhelming feelings or thoughts, is that they too shall pass.  Looking back at the little successes we celebrate we can see that even spending any time on these intense thoughts are small successes even if they continue to come back. The benefit of being able to sit and meditate and perhaps practice throughout the day is going to make these strong feelings feel less so. I can look back on how emotions used to impact me and the intensity of the storylines I could develop in my head. And now look at how these intense emotions don’t have the same effect.  They grasp at whatever they can yet the mind is resilient. The practice works. We can let it in and swirl around and yet it doesn’t have the same ability to hold on. Let the emotions and storylines arise and be comfortable that through practice they won’t have the same effect.

Learning from these moments can be one of the most profound experiences in our practice. Looking into the anxiety and uncomfortableness and seeing that we will be alright. The thoughts may creep in over and over again but we continue to practice and see that we don’t have to allow uncertainty and fear to drive our thoughts. Either way we will be alright.

Keep breathing. Keep meditating and remember that when these events occur and we are able to look deeply into them we will emerge on the other side a little bit stronger in dealing with it the next time.


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