Meditation can often calm the mind and body and help us connect with our inner wisdom and strength. But that isn’t always the case. Don’t be surprised if, while you’re meditating, an old, upsetting memory or uncomfortable feeling bubbles up. You might begin to feel anxious or stressed and wonder why these thoughts are invading your peaceful mediation! Your first tendency might be to push the thoughts and feelings right back down. Breathe that urge away. This is normal.
Remember, we’re wired for negativity. The mind naturally recycles old experiences. Random thoughts can trigger old feelings. You might not be able to connect specific thoughts with the feelings that bubble up — and you don’t have to. When these old, negative feelings come up, give yourself permission to observe the thoughts and feelings, without judging them. Simply acknowledge what is happening and move through the experience with compassion for yourself. (After all, you are just human.) Then, release it. Your breath is a natural way to release. Notice where you feel the tension in your body and let it go with your breath. Sometimes you may be tearful — and that’s normal too. Let the tears flow.
These experiences provide helpful ways to release what no longer serves you. You may gain insight or wisdom in these moments. It is within your power to turn these meditations from a feeling of discomfort to a feeling of being free. And what an unexpected gift that can be.