This time on the BHNN Guest Podcast, Trudy Goodman offers wisdom on how to use mindfulness when working with difficult emotions.
Ministering to Ourselves
Trudy begins by sharing a line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth about suffering. Essentially, this line is a plea to a doctor to end suffering, to which the doctor replies that only we can heal ourselves from this sort of pain. Trudy says this is the good and bad news of mindfulness. We, and we alone, have the ultimate power to do inner work and make positive changes. It is a challenge to rely on ourselves. However, spiritual and emotional matters must be healed from within.
To dive deeper into this subject check out: Healing at the Edge Ep. 34 – Working with Deep Emotion, Trauma and Addiction
The RAIN Acronym (8:28)
Evolving our mindfulness practice can help us navigate difficult emotions. Trudy shares the 4 foundational steps we can use to help us along our journey of healing. Remembering the acronym RAIN can be useful when reflecting on these principles of the mind-body relationship. R stands for recognizing, A stands for allowing/accepting, I stands for investigating/intimacy, and N is for non-identification with the experience. To get started, Trudy invites us to look within and recognize our feelings.
“This is sometimes not so easy, to recognize what we’re feeling. Often our feelings are hidden under repetitive thought loops that are kind of our minds’ way of protecting or defending against feelings that might seem hard to bear. But actually, it is more painful to be caught in the looping, obsessive, repetitive thinking than to simply take a breath and let that attention drop down and sense what the feeling is under them.” —Trudy Goodman
Allowance, Not Resistance (19:40)
Trudy shares how integral it is to accept and allow whatever feelings arise. The more we resist a feeling, the worse it takes hold of us. Have you ever experienced trying to fight against a wave, versus allowing it to carry you? This concept is quite similar. Offering ourselves acceptance to feel whatever we are feeling, is a gracious act of self-love and it hastens the process of working with our pain.
“Resistance actually connects us more to the thing that we are wishing would go away…the more we resist the more power it gains.” —Trudy Goodman
In episode 327 of Mindrolling, you can learn more about investigating your emotions: Uncovering Afflictive Emotions with Joseph Goldstein and Noah Markus
Emotions as Weather (47:30)
Trudy shares a moment she had with a teacher during her divorce. She explains being held compassionately, and being told “weather”. By this, her teacher meant that emotions are fleeting. Much like the rain that comes in heavy and always passes, our feelings will also come and go. In this regard, impermanence is very soothing. If we experience our emotions with the awareness of transience, we can allow ourselves to feel without identifying.