Adaptation Practice

Find and tame emotion

These notes are only for those already engaged in the practice. Please do not share them with other people.

Finding and taming emotion

Starting mainly with mild, brief emotional flare ups, whenever you catch yourself affected by upsetting, disturbing emotion – speaking, behaving or thinking emotionally – open yourself to it physically and emotionally.

Try to bear the emotion. Try to bear how it makes you feel. Let it be in you. Give it houseroom. Do not refuse it or reject it.

Do not express it.

Do not suppress it.

Do not turn away from it or distract yourself from it.

Do not try to numb yourself to it with alcohol or recreational drugs. If already taking prescribed medication you are strongly advised not to try to stop it rapidly. You will almost certainly be able to stop it in due course, particularly when a good amount of inner strength has developed in you to be able to cope. Even then, the problems of withdrawal can be so severe that you should have expert advice on how to reduce and stop taking it.

Keep your eyes open, open the hands and chest. When physically open like this, metaphorically, the heart is open, that is, your heart will be open emotionally.

Try to be open to the physical presence of the emotion in the midriff. Search for the emotion there. What is there, in the body now?

Try to bear the emotion willingly. Try to bear together the moods and feelings it gives rise to.

Say ‘Yes’ to the emotion as you bow from the waist.

Whether aware of something in the body or not, address the emotion with respect and say to it, ‘Please fill me up. Do whatever you will to me.’

Develop and cultivate an attitude of acceptance of emotion, an attitude that is the opposite of what you have probably been doing all your life.

Do not make the mistake of trying to name or label emotion, moods and feelings. Feel them. Taste them. Savour them. Do not think about them at all.

None of this can be done in front of other people. If sitting you can bend down and touch your ankle (as if scratching it), keeping your eyes and hands open. If standing, do the same by bending down and touching the side of your knee. And say ‘Yes’ silently as you pay attention to what is in the body.