Practicing Presence with Your Emotions

I have a lot of respect for the work of Eckhart Tolle. Part of the genius of his best selling book, The Power of Now, is that he keeps it simple. This is extremely helpful in a world where seekers often wander off the path to inner peace by filling up their heads with massive amounts of confusing information. It can become difficult to quiet your mind when you have so many spiritual teachings to think about.

One of Eckhart Tolle’s principle teachings is the practice of being present with your emotions. When you bring your presence (another name for conscious awareness) to a feeling and become completely accepting, that emotion can be transmuted and quickly dissolves.

This is quite a magical method to quickly change how you feel emotionally.

However my experience is that this is not usually an effective practice for beginners. In order to go completely into the emotion you must suspend belief in any of the thoughts you have while there. Suspending belief in one’s own thoughts is generally not a skill someone has unless they have practiced meditation for a while or learned to control their attention.

When you are deep in emotion thoughts and interpretations are often pushed through your mind that align and support the emotions. If you believe these thoughts and interpretations, it will amplify your existing emotions instead of lessen them. When this happens you will no longer be practicing “presence” as Ekhardt Tolle calls it.

This kind of effect takes one in the exact opposite direction from the emotional healing they were intending. There are many tools and techniques to gain emotional mastery and personal freedom. Each one, when misused can work against a person instead of for them. In the same way a scalpel or a medication can either heal you or harm you depending on how it is used.

To avoid this near enemy of practicing emotional presence it is prudent to develop a meditation practice or gain mastery over your attention. These are some of the ways to become an observer to your thoughts. By being an observer you can suspend your beliefs and avoid downward emotional spirals.

Being present with your emotions is a tremendously transformative practice. However like all great techniques, there is a near enemy when misunderstood, or misused by someone that is not prepared.

To make the greatest leaps forward on your Pathway To Happiness, first crawl, then walk, learn to run, ride a bike, then take flying lessons.

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

Rene Descartes
French mathematician & philosopher (1596 – 1650)