Using the experience of her mother’s recent death, Trudy talks about ways to practice with emotional reactivity and pure strong emotion.
This 2008 recording is originally from the Insight Meditation Society.
Everything Comes to an End
Trudy begins this talk by reflecting on her mothers recent death. As absolutely painful as it is to lose someone we love, especially a parent, it is a fact of life. Everything comes to an end. All relationships will end, and we will end, whether we are prepared or not. Having a practice is necessary to our lives so that we have ways to navigate this impending end. Trudy shares a poem that represents the way her mother felt before she passed away:
“I thought to live two centuries or three; yet here comes death to me; a child of 88.”
A Bridge To The Other Shore (11:38)
Trudy introduces us to the RAIN acronym. RAIN consists of recognizing, accepting, investigating, and non-identification. We can utilize the tools of RAIN when feeling a difficult emotion such as grief. It is normal to revert to old, bad habits when we are consumed by sudden and painful emotions. However, the practices of RAIN can help us to both realize these patterns and separate us from the pain that we feel.
“These four practices can be used sequentially as steps to help deal with the difficult emotions. But they’re also a living spiral of awakening, where you can cycle from one step back to the other and each time around you have actually developed more mindfulness and more metta” – Trudy Goodman
To hear more on emotions, mindfulness and metta, check out Ep. 437 of Metta Hour
Compassion and Willingness (22:10)
Perception is often what gets in the way of allowing emotions to simply be there. Our thoughts and perceptions almost immediately begin rapid-firing what the emotion means and whether it is good or bad. Yet, an emotion is never inherently good or bad, it is just something we feel. When we give ourselves compassion and have a willingness to accept our emotions, we often can move on from them rather quickly.
“That shift really is the difference between heaven and hell, between struggle or freedom. And it happens when we allow ourselves to embrace what is arising in the moment instead of living in the shadow of the more, better, different.” – Trudy Goodman
Looking Deeply (41:01)
Being present with our emotions allows us to look deeply into their root cause. We can investigate why we may be feeling a certain way and uncover the real emotion behind our reactions. Looking deeply at ourselves also helps us connect more to metta and the universal connection of all beings. Knowing that we are human and that all humans suffer can also help us with non-identification. Suffering comes and goes, we do not need to own it.