Have an emotional freak out? No big deal. Thoughts are thoughts. Emotions are emotions. Come back to the breath. Come back to the practice. Come back to the present:
Usually, if you have mental chatter, you call it your thoughts. But if you have deeply involved emotional chatter, you give it special prestige. You think those thoughts deserve the special privilege of being called emotion. Somehow, in the realm of actual mind, things don’t work that way. Whatever arises is just thinking: thinking you’re horny, thinking you’re angry. As far as meditation practice is concerned, your thoughts are no longer regarded as VIPs, while you meditate. You think, you sit; you think, you sit; you think, you sit. You have thoughts, you have thoughts about thoughts. Let it happen that way. Call them thoughts.
From “Meditation: Touch and Go,” in Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery.
“The shamatha style of meditation is particularly recommended by the Buddha. It has been the way for beginning meditators for 2,500 years. To describe meditation we could use the phrase touch and go. You are in contact, you’re touching the experience of being there, actually being there-—and then you let go. That applies to awareness of your breath on the cushion and also beyond that, to your day-to-day living awareness. The point of touch and go is that there is a sense of feel. The point of touch is that there is a sense of existence, that you are who you are. When you sit on the cushion, you feel you are sitting on the cushion and that you actually exist. You are there, you are sitting; you are there, you are sitting. That’s the touch part. The go part is that you are there—and then you don’t hang on to it. You don’t sustain your sense of being, but you let go of even that. Touch and go…”
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