Tag Archives: anxiety

Working with Emotions in Spiritual Practice

Standard

So emotions are pretty complex and endless, but here are four of the big ones that are hard to deal with. Often these will arise in the midst of a meditation or prayer practice and many people of talked with feel that it makes it impossible to continue practicing. My attitude is the opposite. It’s great when this stuff comes up in spiritual practice because then we have a chance to work consciously with it! So here are a few ideas for how to proceed.

Sadness

Strategy: Feeling the pain, allowing tears while anchoring part of awareness in a refuge of peace, love, and joy.

Example Affirmation: I can let myself feel this sadness while still remembering the love and joy that possible in life.

Example Prayer: God, I cry out to you in my pain. My tears are my prayers to you. Please spread Your infinite compassion upon these hurt and tender places. Let me take refuge in your light in the midst of this darkness. Amen.

Anxiety/Panic

Strategy: Recognize the desire for certainty that gives rise to anxiety. Evaluate the likelihood and true badness of the worst case scenario. If the badness is less than death, then affirm one’s ability to cope with the worst case scenario. If the badness is death, affirm one’s acceptance of the small chance of death and willingness to continue even in spite of that possibility.

Example Affirmation: My greatest fears are unlikely to materialize, but I cannot be certain that they will not come to pass. I am comfortable with the unknown. If that which I fear should come to pass, I will handle it. No matter how difficult it might be, I am capable of rising to the challenge.

Example Prayer: God you are my courage. Strengthen my trust in you, and help me to surrender my desire to control that which is beyond controling. Please, Lord, grant me confidence in my ability to thrive and be at home in this human life with all its ups and downs. Help me to always remember that come what may, you are my strength and my guide, and with your help I will overcome all obstacles.

Shame

Strategy: Respectful witnessing with unconditional positive regard

Example Affirmation: I feel this sense of being lesser, this feeling of being put down and stepped on, I see this desire to hide and cover up this part of myself even from my own eyes. I will not let this part of me hide away because it is beautiful and deserves to be known and cherished.

Example Prayer: God, when You knitted me in my mother’s womb, nothing was hidden from you. You saw me then and now as Your perfect creation, made in Your own image. Help me to see myself as you made me, help me to see holiness and honour even within those places that now seem most wretched to me.

Anger

Strategy: Loving containment of destructive aspect, affirmation and expression of assertive aspect

Example Affirmation: I am strong enough to embrace this fury within without harming myself or others. I have a right to stand up for my own needs and desires and I will not let myself be pushed around by anybody.

Example Prayer: God, let my rage burn itself out in the safety of Your strong loving arms. Lend me Your power to nobly protect that which needs to be protected.

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