Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dealing with negative thoughts and emotions

When we are in emotional turmoil thoughts can go around and around in our head. They become so persistent that we cannot sleep or concentrate on any other job. The emotions that accompany them threaten to overwhelm us. In the worst times we become quite dysfunctional and mentally unwell.

For example, perhaps we lost a job or broke up with our partner. Beliefs about ourselves that have their origins in childhood may arise, such as "I am not good enough", "there is something wrong with me", "I am stupid", or "I am unlovable". And with each of these beliefs comes wave after wave of emotion, such as sadness, anger, shame and guilt. The emotion reinforces the belief and the belief reinforces the emotion.

Not surprisingly we find these emotions and beliefs uncomfortable and we regard them as negative, and something to get rid of. So we resist them, try to push them away, suppress them. This might work for awhile, until something else happens, and those old beliefs are arising again and along with them come all of those "negative" emotions.

We want to know how can we deal with these negative thoughts and emotions and be rid of them forever?

Properly understood, all experiences are signposts to guide us back to our inherent wholeness. We take such emotions and beliefs to be "negative" only when we misunderstand their role and lack the skills to welcome them and receive their messages. 

When we truly welcome and observe all emotional experiences, all thoughts and beliefs, we cease to mistakenly identify with them and learn to recognise that they truly are just passing through. 

In so much as I am sad in this moment I can also be happy. I have emotions, but I am not my emotions. I can observe my emotions pass through, and I can enquire into them, discover a belief that is accompanying them, explore the belief, discover all the messages they are bringing me. I can also invoke and welcome the opposite belief and emotion, so I know that none of it is permanent.

Be drawn to the practices and wisdom teachings that help you to learn to meet and greet whatever arises. Learn to be curious about the felt sense in the body of any emotion and to watch it pass through. Learn to recognise the temporary nature of all movements of the mind, and how to remain at ease in every situation. Recognise that no thought or emotion is truly a negative experience, they just are, and they all have a valuable message that will show you the way home to your inherent wholeness.

The practices we are given in iRest®, whether as Yoga Nidra or meditation, establish a safe place to practice and develop our skills in meeting all that arises. It nurtures us to be open and welcoming and always at ease in every situation. These are ancient teachings that cross many cultures as the poem by Rumi below attests. But in iRest they are packaged to be accessible to us in our modern world.
Translation by Coleman Barks. Image from www.yearofjoys.com


  1. Beautiful post Tina - you write so well here - very clear and heartfelt and understanding. Thank you.
    Hope to see you soon at an iRest Retreat!
    Love Neal xx

  2. Thank you Neal. Hope to see you soon too.!