Meditation Therapy For Personal And Global Healing
I'd like to share with you some of the meditation therapy practices which have had profoundly healing effects, both in my personal healing and also for my clients in WellBeing Alignment Sessions.
To give you an example of when they come in handy, have you ever had a personal interaction or even just watched the news and suddenly felt resistance toward someone? It might take the form of judgment, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, grief, or even a heightened experience of feeling self-conscious.
I’ve come to realize that even though it can seem like the other person
is causing the intense reaction within us, they are actually only
triggering what was ALREADY here inside. Our lives constantly mirror
back to us our own beliefs about ourselves. More about this here.
of feeling intensely painful emotions for most of my life and not
knowing what to do with them, I’ve investigated numerous emotional
Through the years, a variety of very effective meditation
therapy practices have gradually become part of my daily life, culled from what I’ve
learned from many spiritual teachers, especially Bruce Tift, Adyashanti, and Jeff Foster.
You can use these meditation therapy practices in any situation where you:
feel at odds with another person or yourself
experience a reaction to an occurrence or event
feel uncomfortable emotions and aren’t sure why
have a physical or mental condition you feel resistant towards
feel “off” in any way
About These Meditation Therapy Practices
You can use these meditation therapy practices both as sitting meditations as well as living meditations – practices to do while engaged in your daily experiences.
When you do these meditation therapy practices, you don’t need to do all of them or in any specific order. However, I encourage you to try all of the suggestions to get a feel for them. Then you’ll naturally gravitate toward doing some of the practices more than others.
Your own inner guidance will draw you to what is best for you at the time you do the practice. You’ll be most drawn to the steps you’re ready for first. Then later, as things begin to open within you, you’ll naturally be drawn to whatever is the next step for you.
Take time with each meditation therapy practice, at least 10 or more minutes, rather than rushing through it.
These are all simple practices, but don't underestimate their power. Each one has its own benefits if done deeply.
Remember, these are experiential exercises, not mental exercises. Focus on your FELT experience, rather than the thoughts ABOUT your experience.
Some of the meditation therapy practices may seem to contradict each other. This is because they are each offered as different “roadways” to the same “city,” so to speak. What applies to one route could be opposite to what applies to another route, even though they both point to the same destination.
At first, it will probably be easier to focus if you do these practices with eyes closed. Then after you get used to them, you'll be able to do them in the midst of your life, while you're doing other things.
Here we go!
Meditation Therapy Practices For Daily Life Situations That Bring Up Uncomfortable Emotions
1. Let it be.
Take a moment and let the troubling situation and / or person you are interacting with be exactly as it / they are. Why? Because they ARE as they are.
This doesn’t mean you necessarily LIKE what is happening. If you feel reactive toward someone else or yourself, let your feelings of resistance to what is happening be as it is also, including anger, fear, disgust, sadness, anxiety, self-judgment or whatever is here.
If you feel a strong resistance to letting the other person (or yourself) be as they / you are, then let THAT be as it is also. Just see it. Watch your thoughts and feelings and just notice them as they are.
2. Let go of labels and the story of what happened.
Not that either of those is wrong. But just for right now, decline to label your feelings (such as anger, fear, judgment, sadness, anxiety and etc.). Just let what you are experiencing be unnamed. Later you can name it all if you wish, but for right now, let that go.
Your mind will also want to re-run your experience of what happened. Don’t make yourself wrong if this occurs. Just choose to focus on the other experiential practices on this page.
Referring to our minds is a strong habit for all of us so don’t be surprised if your attention goes back to thoughts. Just notice that and then come back to your breathing, or the feelings in your body.
Shift your attention to your breathing. Notice that you don’t have to DO breathing. It happens by itself. Relax into this fact: your body is taking care of itself, without any conscious “doing” required on your part.
With your attention, be IN the body as it breathes. Stay there for a few minutes, watching within as your body breathes in and out naturally.
At first you may notice that most of your breathing occurs in the upper body, particularly in the chest area.
For deeper grounding and strength, shift your breathing to the belly, observing the belly moving in and out with each breath.
4. Tune into grounding and support.
If you’re sitting down, feel the feeling of being supported by the chair or surface you are sitting on. Or if you’re standing, feel the ground supporting you under your feet.
Tune into how it FEELS to be supported, even while intense feelings may be arising within you.
Rest into the feeling sense of being supported for this meditation therapy practice. Notice a sense of security, (even if it is only mild) knowing that on this physical body level you are being supported. Tune into that feeling of support.
5. Embody the emotional sensations within.
Shift attention to your body and notice where it feels tight or uncomfortable within, such as in your torso or anywhere in your body. The sensation can range from a mildly uncomfortable tightness all the way up to full on panic as if your life is in danger.
Even though it can feel like allowing the feeling is going to harm you, notice that as you gradually allow the sensation to be here, that it actually isn’t threatening, and doesn’t actually hurt you. Granted, it may not be fun to feel it, but it actually isn’t hurting you. (More about this below.)
As you notice these energies, have the intention to let them be exactly as they are without trying to change them in any way.
For this meditation therapy practice, stay in your body. If you go up into thought, don’t make yourself wrong, but just notice this and come back into the body, being with what you are experiencing.
6. When really intense energies such as rage or panic arise, cycle through more than one of these meditation therapy practices.
Doing this practice can help you experience overwhelming feelings gradually, honoring what you can handle at the time.
Any of the meditation therapy practices on this page are suitable for this, but I especially recommend cycling your attention through the following three areas a few times, giving each one at least a few minutes of your attention each time:
feel the feelings and the uncomfortable, tight ways they manifest in your body, but allowing them to be as they are
See that the sensations are made out of yourself, just as your foot or hand are made up out of the life force of your body.
As you allow them to be as they are, bring kindness, compassion and a
sense of warmth to the energies that feel tight – the sweet, innocent
These uncomfortable sensations are like hurt
children who are knocking on your door, asking to be accepted into the
warmth of your home. Welcome these energies back home, into your heart,
into your being, exactly as they are.
They are literally disowned aspects of ourselves. All they need is our love for profound inner child healing.
to these uncomfortable sensations in the body, either silently or out
loud. Speak from the heart, from your true sense of caring about
yourself. Your dialogue might be along these lines:
“I welcome you home, here, within me, within the warmth of my Being.
I’m here with you and I’m not going away.
I care about you just as you are.
You are welcome to be here exactly as you are.
I’m not trying to fix, change or even ‘heal’ you.
I’m just here with you, loving you as you are.
Let’s experience this together.”
Breathe the uncomfortable energies into your heart. When I say “heart” I’m not so much referring to the physical heart, although it can include that. Mostly I’m referring to the warm caring feeling within you.
As my teacher Adyashanti has described this, there is a feeling quality of letting the love within you lean forward (metaphorically) INTO the hurt feelings, permeating and embracing them and welcoming them Home, into you.
Try to stay with this meditation therapy practice for as long as you can.
If you’re having trouble tuning into a felt sense of love for these aspects of yourself, click here.
8. Surrender into the sensation.
You will probably notice a tendency to pull up and out of an intense emotional feeling. If you notice this, experiment with letting yourself fall into the feeling sensation, surrendering into it, even if for just a few moments.
This meditation therapy practice involves a willingness to let go of the struggle, which can take the form of resisting “what is” or trying to change it. Just for a moment, let all that relax, and relax INTO the sensation in your body.
You may find it helpful to toggle back and forth between allowing yourself to pull up and out of the feeling, then surrendering into it.
It can also be helpful to say within, “Maybe I can let go a LITTLE more right now.” Notice that by having that intention, there IS at least a little letting go. This way you're not putting pressure on yourself that you “should” be able to surrender into the intensity all at once.
9. DECIDE to feel what is present within you.
For this meditation therapy practice, simply decide to let yourself feel the emotions within you. Sometimes we try different techniques to heal feelings but underneath all that is a desire to make the feeling just go away.
For healing, we have to consciously decide to simply feel it as it is. When you do, even if for just a few moments, you can discover that it won’t actually hurt you and that the feeling will eventually pass on its own.
10. Give up trying to heal, fix, or get rid of uncomfortable feelings within you.
Any of that is like telling your hurt child within, “You are not acceptable as you are and I want you to go away,” or “If you change, THEN I’ll love you, but I don’t love you as you are.”
Even the desire to “heal” an uncomfortable sensation can actually be a disguised form of “I want you to go away” which keeps us dividing from ourselves. This is the very thing that caused the painful feeling in the first place – believing that our very being is unacceptable in some way
Obviously, that perspective only intensifies inner pain.
If you do feel a strong desire to make the sensation go away, notice that desire is yet another hurt child. It is an aspect of self-attack and self-rejection. Don’t make this wrong. Just see it.
See the tendency to want the intense feelings to go away and don’t even try to change that. Tune into the feeling sense of the resistance and allow it to be here as it is, but declining to form a story around it.
In this meditation therapy practice, simply be the Awareness which sees all of what you are experiencing.
11. Bring your hands to the place on your body where you feel emotional intensity.
Most of the time these sensations are experienced in the main energy centers of the body – the chakras – particularly the throat, heart, solar plexus, and the sacral chakra, just below the navel.
You might experience tightness, discomfort or tension in other areas of the body also, such as the forehead, neck, back, shoulders, or anywhere in the body.
In this meditation therapy practice, as you bring your hands to this area of tightness, you are literally touching a hurt child within. Convey love through your hands to these sensations, the same way you would touch your own sweet child.
12. Notice you are ABLE to let uncomfortable feeling sensations and energies be here without them harming you.
A good portion of our intense feelings which get triggered and uncovered in present time originated in infancy or early childhood.
As children we were overwhelmed with intense emotions, with no understanding of what was happening. In these cases an inner intelligence within us right away began developing strategies to try to not feel what we feel.
Most of us are quite accustomed to trying to distract ourselves from feeling intense feelings because we believe we will be harmed if we allow ourselves to feel them.
We ASSUME this is the case and will continue to assume this is true until we actually experience it isn’t.
Check within your actual present-time experience:
“Is this feeling sensation actually hurting me?”
“Is my life in danger when I feel this feeling?”
“Is there any actual threat to my well-being here right now?”
For this meditation therapy practice, when you recognize that you aren’t actually in any danger by allowing yourself to feel your feelings, rest in that realization. Feel THAT truth in your body and being.
13. Notice that your uncomfortable feelings don’t define who you are.
Let’s say you’re in a situation where you feel abandoned and there is an intensity in your heart, solar plexus, gut or other areas. If you let the sensations simply be here and you don’t refer to your thoughts, there is no story or interpretation about being “bad” or not good enough or lovable enough.
By staying with the sensations in you and not listening to the story your mind makes up about them, you will see that whatever is going on with the person you feel abandoned by has NOTHING to do with you. Their actions are about their own wounds and growth path.
If we don’t make up a story about what is going on, in this present moment there are simply sensations present. And these sensations are feel-able and don’t actually harm us.
None of them are a statement about who or what you are. All feelings, thoughts and experiences are passing phenomena which appear in you and then disappear, in a continuing parade of experience.
14. Discover the truth of your Being.
You, pure Beingness are what is always here, remaining unchanged while all your experiences move through you.
Ask within, “What is it that is aware of these feeling sensations in my body?” As you ask this, don’t ask your mind. Instead, use the question as a pointer. Let it point your attention to NOTICING what is aware of these feelings.
Then check to see if this which notices the feelings is disturbed or changed by the feelings in any way.
noticing that this that is conscious of the feelings isn’t hurt by them
is a doorway into the true, always present reality of Being.
Beingness is looking through your eyes right now. Take a moment now to
simply notice the alive, loving, awake, aware, peaceful Presence which
is looking out of your eyes.
15. Bring attention to the person you’re reacting to in the news or in your daily life.
In this meditation therapy practice, we begin to shift attention to the other person(s) involved in the situation which triggered / uncovered our feelings.
In this moment, once again, have the intention to let this person and the situation which triggers uncomfortable feelings in you all be exactly as it is – every single detail of it as you perceive it.
Silently say to the person that triggers reaction in you “May you be at peace.” Even if there is a part of you that resists saying it, still say it.
This can immediately open up a bridge, or more accurately a middle, neutral “ground” between you and this “other” person. Even if if it is only slight at first, you can begin to sense at least a slight letting go within you which happens automatically.
In truth, there is no “you” and no “other” as separate entities. There only appears to be when we identify with our thoughts rather than the actual experience of Being here in this present moment.
As you silently say “May you be at peace” to whoever has triggered your hurts, this quietens the mind, at least temporarily. It literally stops it for a few moments.
If we don’t refer to any thought, there are no divisions between us and anyone else. As a result, there is a feeling of a bridge opening up between us. Then even the bridge can melt into a field of spacious aliveness – an entirely different, peaceful realm of existence where there are no polarities.
There is just Being.
“Never oppose anything or anyone. Instead, choose to express and manifest what is true for you.”
Questions And Answers About These Meditation Therapy Practices
Relationships and other circumstances that initially feel like “no win” situations can open up into a field of unlimited possibilities which weren’t accessible before. Or, a clear path to moving on from the relationship with love may open up.
In places where we may be identified with and attached to our beliefs and inclined to judge others who don’t agree with us, a neutral, open space of acceptance and new possibilities can be uncovered.
Initially these meditation therapy practices primarily focus on YOUR healing, but you’ll notice that by doing them you will find more capacity and openness within yourself to be loving with others as well.
Meditation Therapy Practice As A Way Of Life – Uncovering Love Within Ourselves And The World
For these meditation therapy practices to be effective, they need to be
more than just a one time practice or something to do occasionally.
Rather, some form of it needs to be practiced in our daily lives.
you get used to doing it, you’ll find that you can do it in the midst
of your daily life, not just when you’re sitting alone in your home.
need to accept the fact that for the rest of our lives, uncomfortable
feelings will arise. As long as we distract ourselves or try to deny
these inner feelings, we are divided from ourselves and create immense
suffering for ourselves and others.
While this meditation therapy
is initially a practice of deep love for ourselves, ultimately, it is
also for everyone in our lives and the whole world.
practicing it regularly, you’ll find you can be far more patient and
kind with others, which has a ripple effect throughout this whole plane
of existence. Your gift of love to yourself is given to the entire world
at the same time.
On the human level you may still have your views and another person will have theirs. But there is also a feeling of mutuality, respect and common Beingness which is the field that our beliefs arise IN.
From this perspective we still may feel moved to demonstrate or get involved in very direct ways with the issues of the day, but now they come from love rather than reactivity.
It is only from love that we can truly be effective in the world. If we try to bring about harmony while working from divisiveness and polarity within ourselves, we only bring more of that into the world.
And the world and all its inhabitants, which includes us, really needs our love. If we have any hope of healing this world we all share, it has to begin by us finding love within ourselves.
True spiritual healing of the heart only occurs when we wake up to the reality of the conscious, loving Beingness we already are, which already IS loving.
As we bring kindness to what hurts within us, then and only then can we truly bring real heartfelt kindness to others. This love is here to guide us moment by moment in all our relationships and activities of daily life.
I highly recommend the book, Already Free by Bruce Tift, for more understanding about how our inner wounds came to be and encouragement to be with them with love.
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