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Jaimal Yogis

“The wave knocked you down, and now you have the choice of how to react to that sensation.” – Jaimal Yogis
Photo: Kyler Vos


The Inertia

Editor’s Note: Enroll in Jaimal Yogis’ Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness to learn more about combatting negativity bias and other mindfulness practices. The Inertia readers get a 10% discount with code INERTIA10.


Dealing with difficult emotions is all about your mindset. Your mindset can be a result of, or even the foundation of, patterns in your life. And mindfulness — a practice that can help you develop the positive patterns that result in a positive mindset — can help you remember how to navigate difficult emotions. They may be difficult, but each one is an opportunity.

Every difficult emotion is actually an opportunity because it feels great when you break through it. When you see that it’s not permanent, or when you see that it’s not you. There’s almost no better feeling in the world than breaking through fear or breaking through a thing that’s been holding you back. In surfing, for example, this can result in realizing that wave is, by its very nature, water. It doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous, but it certainly gives some perspective of what you’re taking on.

Therefore, fear or anger are just energy. They’re the same energy that goes into love, just expressed in a different way. So, if you get to its essence, the wave is just water. All our waves are water.

How to Practice Flipping a Negative Emotion Into a Positive

Get in your meditation spaceship. You become aware of the breath, of course, and go back to a time where you felt small, afraid, frustrated, or heartbroken. Trigger the emotion, feeling what you were feeling in that bad memory. See what you were wearing, who were you with. Now let that produce a sensation in the body.

The wave knocked you down and now you have the choice of how to react to that sensation. Feel the sensation for 10 breaths. Granted, the sensation of memory is not going to be as strong as when you hit a really difficult emotion in real time, or an embarrassing, scary moment, or angry moment. But you can capture just enough to see that when an emotional wave comes, you can just recognize the sensation much like you’d feel a physical sensation. Sometimes just having that realization is enough to see how that sensation changes.

Now you’re in the practice of transforming that memory or that experience as it’s happening. You get to choose how you want to work with it. One choice is to do nothing and simply watch it pass. Another choice is to generate a positive wave around it.

Scientists have found that when you visualize, you’re actually taking your physical muscles through the process of your visualization. This is why athletes spend so much time visualizing themselves winning a race or making the game-winning play. Similarly, if you want to surf Pipe, watch videos of Pipe. Now visualize every step. Visualize yourself suiting up, grabbing your gear, paddling out. How does it look? How does it feel? How does it smell? See that first wave come toward you and see yourself dropping in. See yourself in the tube, see yourself coming out of it.

No matter the goal or the accomplishment, you can meditate on this in a repetitive way. If you go to that end goal, celebrate it and embrace the gratitude of how great it will feel to break through that.

That positive emotion can be the fuel that gets you through difficult times. If you do the visualization work, then take action steps.

Strictly speaking, that’s not mindfulness. But mindfulness can be the gateway to opening up those old memories and learning how to work with their emotions. Ask yourself, what are those memories? Where are those places I avoid navigating in order to take the next step towards where I want to be?

Editor’s Note: Enroll in Jaimal Yogis’ Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness to learn more about combatting negativity bias and other mindfulness practices. The Inertia readers get a 10% discount with code INERTIA10.

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