Most of us are pegged on the pleasure-pain continuum bobbing up and down the scale between hedonism and agony. We do not want to feel sadness, loneliness, and alienation; instead we want to feel happy, peaceful and content. Our instinct is to resist, get rid of, repress, dissociate or defensively do away with difficult emotions as they hurt. Yet these efforts to dispense with emotional distress are often clumsy and psychologically ineffective. As the pain we feel will return and and we can feel it deep in out bodyminds’ if we pay attention.
Another way, to deal with emotions, even disturbing ones might be to practice what the Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi says to “welcome them all!” By allowing difficult emotions to arise and by simultaneously training our capacity to tolerate distress, we can become equanimous in the face of any mental storm.