Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What happens when emotion arises during the breathing practice?

Q: While I am doing the breathing, especially in the evening before retiring, I experience waves of emotional material coming up. Sometimes it is mild and breathing settles back into regular rhythm rather quickly and sometimes the waves- tears,sobbing, writhing and holding myself ebb and flow for the entire 15 minutes. Should I be stopping to experience the full arising of the fear, anger and grief as they come- often all mixed together and then resume the breathing or do I do it all as one continuous process? I am on day 10 and things are really moving but I am unclear on how to work with the emotional content while I am doing the 15 minute breathing sessions.

A: Be with your experience as it is. Manipulating it in any way does not help. Be with the emotional content as it arises. If the surfacing emotion stops your ability to breathe - then be with this. The intent of the breathing practice is to bring this emotional content into your awareness so you may be with it without condition. So do not force the emotion aside so you may carry on breathing - this then defeats the intent.