Moksha Mantra

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Clarifying emotions; meditate on emotions

Clarifying emotions is a simple technique by which you will be able to effectively recognise what emotion you are feeling.

There are times when putting a name to what you are feeling can be difficult.

The technique will help you notice the body sensations associated with the emotion and thus, develop a familiarity with your emotional state.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you recognising your emotions…

1. Settle into a comfortable meditation procedure.

2. Breathe normally, and bring your attention to your emotions. Try to notice, even if faintly, if you are feeling anything.

3. Once you detect an emotion, try to label it. Some of the possibilities could be: joy, anger, fear, sadness, love, shame, embarrassment, pride, guilt etc.

4. If you are not able to clearly identify an emotion, it is OK to guess and label it accordingly. Stay basic and simple with the labelling.

5. The emotion that you are feeling, keep labelling it every 5 seconds or so. So, if you are feeling happiness, you would label it thus “happiness… happiness… happiness”. With each label, you feel the sensation of “happiness” in your body.

6. There may be times when you feel more than one emotion. You may either focus on just one emotion or stack the labels. For instance, if you are feeling both sadness and guilt, you may label them as “sadness and guilt”.

7. You may continue labelling the emotions for as long as you want.

Repeat this practice for at least 10 minutes daily for a month to gain benefits.

In the Vipassana practice of Buddhism, meditating on emotions is an age-old technique. The technique mentioned above is a simplified version of a practice by American Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young.

The main purpose of the practice is not to get perfectly accurate labels, but to get a hold on emotions that you are feeling. Anxiety and terror may have two distinctly different meanings in the English language. But for this exercise, they both are simply labeled as fear.

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