Why Your Anger Isn’t the Problem

I’ve had a lot of requests for more information about how to use mindfulness to deal with intense emotions, such as anger.

This is a tricky topic, because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to use mindfulness to suppress or somehow get rid of your anger.

Not only is this kind of approach counterproductive, it completely misses the point of applying mindful awareness to these sorts of situations!

In this blog post I try to clarify these issues for you and give you some practical advice on how to work with things like anger.


Don’t Mess with the Breath
(if you want to develop Mindfulness)

One of the things that often comes up for people during meditation, is the difficulty of just allowing the breath to be however it is while simply observing it. There’s a strong tendency to mess with the breath somehow, especially because it often seems to change, all by itself, when you’re observing it. One minute, it might be nice and smooth, and then the next minute, it turns all choppy or raspy, and you think, ‘hey, what happened! I want my breath to stay nice and smooth!”

But, if you can resist the urge to monkey with your breath when you notice it changing in this way, it’s a golden opportunity to catch a glimpse of something really important and fundamental.


The Promises and Perils of Guided Meditations

I love guided meditations.

They’re an excellent instructional tool because they can teach you the detailed mechanics of a meditation practice in real time, while you’re doing the meditation.

You don’t need to keep a bunch of meditation instructions in your head while simultaneously trying to learn a new skill.

And so, while you’re learning, you’re able to pay better attention in the moment to what you’re supposed to be doing during the meditation.

Guided meditations are also really great for giving beginners a taste of what a given meditation is like, because they really lower the barrier to entry. They make it relatively easy for someone who hasn’t done much or any meditation before to actually experience what it’s like to do the practice.

But, there’s a dark side to them.