The Mindfulness Blog

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Good Times, Bad Times

Continuing the theme of drawing upon memorable songs, as inspiration for blog pieces addressing various aspects of my experience with mindfulness and meditation, I finally get around to a song by Led Zeppelin that was part of their amazing first album-- an album that inspired me (and many others) to take up the air-guitar!

What a fantastic band. What an incredible lead guitar riff-- and what a tremendous set up for a piece devoted to a question I am often asked: Is it a good idea to meditate when we are struggling with a particularly difficult thought or emotion? Others may offer contrary advice, but for me, the answer is an unqualified "yes".

Meditation is easy enough when we're thinking straight and feeling good (and BTW, I don't think there is a particular time of day that is best). But-- to the question raised above-- what if we're not sure about something that we're having difficulty sorting out, or what if we're feeling particularly sad (or mad, or choose any other emotion)? Can we learn to acknowledge the thought or emotion, be curious about it, then let it pass?

That's a skill that mindfulness can help us develop-- and it's the kind of muscle memory that regular meditation can help us build. Denial won't get us there. Justification won't get us there. Wallowing in self-pity certainly won't get us there. All those reactions only lead us to cling, or hold on-- in some sense, to became the very thought or emotion that we want to get away from, in the first place.

Good times? Can do. Bad times? Try some brain-training-- the kind that comes with mindfulness and a regular meditation practice.


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