Being in the moment can give you a wonderful break from yourself, but many people have the mistaken belief that they have to forcibly override what they are feeling in order to be in the moment. Today, you'll learn why noticing what you're feeling is a very important part of being in the moment.
With One-Moment Meditation, you are learning how to release whatever you are feeling and just focus on your breath. This practice of letting go is a common meditation instruction. The purpose of it is to help you become more present.
Unfortunately, this might lead you to feel guilty for feeling things you think are not spiritual. You might be tempted to overlook your real feelings in order to attain some "idea" of peacefulness or "in-the-momentness."
If you overlook how you are feeling in order to "get into the moment," you will probably just dump those feelings in the basement of your mind, and then have to sort them out later—when they are quite dusty and hard to access. Or you might try to dump them in someone else's yard, and then you start having problems later with your neighbor.
There is nothing wrong with how you are feeling now. You are not "bad" at meditating if you are feeling angry, hurt, annoyed, exasperated or needy. You must first make peace with how you are right now—even if it isn't peaceful—before you can experience anything more peaceful.
This is true even if you're feeling fed up with peacefulness. When you're having a really hard day, all this talk about peacefulness might really be annoying. It might just make you aware of how unpeaceful you are, and that might be even more annoying. You might even be so overwhelmed by some problem in your life that you want to say, "To heck with the moment"—or even something stronger.
You can't really get away from the moment. You are in the moment even when that moment doesn't feel peaceful. You are in the moment even when you're angry or sad or suffering. The moment is so big that it can handle you—however you are. It's just that sometimes you don't realize it as much as you could.
So even though the intention of meditation is to let go of yourself, you just can't get there without you. In fact, how you are feeling is actually a very good entry point to the moment. When you're feeling, the door is open.
Before you attempt any form of meditation, you should check in with how you are feeling. Of course, it helps if you can maintain a willingness and openness to feeling something different. Being in the moment means you are open to what is happening in this moment—but you also know that everything could be completely different in this moment.
After you've noticed how you're feeling, be ready to feel something else. Be ready for your feeling to change for no apparent reason. One moment you might be sad or angry, and the next moment, you might be quite happy.
If you get in the habit of checking in with your feelings, and avoid getting stuck in your feelings, then whatever you are feeling will give way to greater peacefulness sooner or later. This transition will happen organically. You won't have to force it.
If you do sometimes feel fed up with meditation, just notice and accept that feeling...and then do a moment of meditation.
Today, before you meditate, take a moment to notice and accept how you are feeling. Then try to greet the next moment with an open mind.
Martin Boroson is a playful, practical new voice in the next wave of meditation teachers. Author of One-Moment Meditation: Stillness for People on the Go, he lectures on the benefits of a meditative mind for decision-making and leadership. Marty studied philosophy at Yale, earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and is a formal student of Zen. Visit his website for One-Moment Meditation® help and resources, tweet him at @takeamoment or find him on Facebook.
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Published on April 19, 2010