Sometimes I sit in meditation, overwhelmed by an emotion. Usually it stems from my ingrained triggers, the ones that I repeatedly work with in my everyday life. At times I get pieces of insights into those triggers and it’s awesome – a part of them dissolves. There is newfound space. It is that space that enables me to notice the behavioral pattern before reacting to it, thus permitting me to choose an intentional action.

Other times I sit there completely overwhelmed, wanting to scream; to cry; to crawl out of my skin; to smash my face on the floor; or to get up and climb right in to bed to forget the world (and myself). These are the moments where exercing equanimity is most important. To observe the feeling and where it comes from. To resist moving. To detach oneself.

Clearly this is easier said than done. Tonight when I was struggling with emotion I realized that I wasn’t focusing on my bodily sensations, as the Vipassana technique teaches. I was engulfed in my fury. So I brought myself back to my elbow, which is where I was at before the anger started. The tingling sensations associated with my experience of scanning familiarily arose once more and a paradoxical thought came: “oh sensation. I may be a whirlwind of colours and thoughts and emotions; but sensation is always there, tingling away.”

This thought strikes me as comical and paradoxical now – though it wasn’t at the time – certainly because Goenkaji’s teachings are based on the changing nature of mind and matter. He repeatedly emphasizes that everything is constantly changing; arising and passing away; especially sensation. In that moment where I experienced agitation of the mind, sensation seemed permanent to me. A familiar feeling to go back to. To rely on when everything else is chaos. That is part of why I find comfort in meditation.

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