'Mood swings' and my practice

'Mood swings' and my practice

by Headspace_HQ » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:46 pm

Question:

I'm experiencing something weird lately; very powerful mood swings. It's come to the level that I'm becoming tense when I feel a 'happy wave', because i know that misery will follow. Somehow I think it's linked with the meditation practice.

I would really love to hear your opinion about it and if you can give me any advice on how to handle. I'm really trying to remind myself of the blue sky analogy, yet in the dark places im getting somehow in the downfall its very hard.


Andy's answer:

It's important to say that there is no way of knowing whether the meditation is specifically related to the situation you describe, but based on my own experience and that of those who taught me, I would be very happy to offer a few thoughts.

There are several things which happen when we begin learning meditation. The first is that we become more aware of our thoughts and related emotions. This does not mean that we are experiencing more thoughts or emotions, simply that we are more aware of what has always been there. This can sometimes be quite a surprise and they can appear so clear that it is hard to believe that they existed without us previously knowing.

The second thing that can happen is that we start to overthink our thoughts and emotions. Because we are becoming more aware of them, we begin to react to them. We may get very taken in by them and get carried away in the ones that we like or, alternatively, we might find ourselves putting up a lot of resistance and wanting to get rid of certain thoughts. These two extremes are part of the one same dynamic. The risk of all this extra thinking is that we simply replace our usual thinking with thoughts abut the exercise, our mind, our thoughts and emotions. Sounds crazy I know, but we do it all the same. It's just habit. The mind is used to being busy and will latch on to anything.

The third thing to consider is that when we become more aware we start to let down our barriers. This often means that previously suppressed emotions start to arise in the mind. This doesn't only happen during the meditation period itself, but can happen at any time of the day. So it is not at all uncommon to experience quite random thoughts and, for some people, some seemingly volatile emotions, swinging from one extreme to the other. But this doesn't mean we are doing anything wrong and we needn't be concerned about this, as long as we remember the heart of the practice.

So, we are not looking to project our own idea of how we think the mind should appear, or to try and enforce or control the working of the mind in any way at all. We are simply providing a framework in which to see the mind more clearly, in which we can let down our defenses, let go of control, and allow the mind to unwind somewhat. So it really doesn't matter too much what the mind is doing. The important thing is that we don't get involved in what it is doing. We need simply to watch, to witness, to observe. When we do this, it naturally unwinds, it begins to soften and, over time, we discover a degree of clam and depth of clarity that we never thought possible.
 
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