When we are charged with negative emotion and resist experiencing the emotion fully we are unable to process it and let it go. Any unprocessed emotion then becomes part of who we think we are and we identify with that emotion which then becomes part of the “all about me” story.
If, however, we manage to remain mindful and present we have no need to get into the stories of “my anger” or “my pain”. Resistance endorses and empowers unwanted aspects of ourselves, whereas mindfulness accepts, acknowledges, understands and labels the feeling in a detached present moment manner. This neutralises the power of the unwanted emotion and it does not become part of “my story”.
The moment we feel an uncomfortable charge of emotions our body is telling us it’s time to get out of our head and put our full attention onto our body. By putting our attention on the way the emotion is manifesting in our body we are acknowledging it and accepting it. This allows us to process it and release it without judging the experience.
Music offers us a beautiful way of engaging our body whilst experiencing emotion. This is an excerpt from Dr. Tamara Russell’s book Mindfulness in Motion. Although she does not mention movement in this procedure feel free to move to the music as long as it does not hamper your focus.
Pick any piece of music that moves you. If it triggers emotion (positive or negative) it will work.
Play the music and focus your attention on your body concentrating mainly on the torso. Locate an area where you are experiencing a change in sensation and stay engaged with your body and movement of sensation.
Be alert to any ways in which your mind tries to move you away from or toward the emotion. Are you avoiding it or attached to it? Don’t judge or fight any movement. Allow it to happen. Remember though, we need to experience the emotion in order to let it go. We don’t need unwanted emotions as part of “our story”.
Recommended time is 5 to 10 minutes.
Another version using music is from Meditation the Complete Guide. It is a form of meditative movement or dance but I must warn you that although it can bring a lot of joy it can also produce some disturbing emotions. The authors of Meditation the Complete Guide actually do not recommend it for people with heart conditions or epilepsy.
Put aside about 30 minutes. Pick music with a strong repetitive beat that you enjoy moving to.
The idea is to move to the music, engage body awareness, sense the emotions and express them through the movement.
There’s no need to be overly energetic. Just go with your body as you feel the effects of the music flow in and around you. Use unplanned movement. Be spontaneous and place no importance on skill or execution. Just flow and be. Your attention is on your body and the affect the emotions are having on it. Emotions will surface and as they do express them through movement. It’s as simple as that.
I actually love this one. I’m pretty sure a lot of you have indulged in listening to and or dancing to music as a means of letting go. Don’t underestimate the value of this practice it is fun and the results can be awesome.