What is it that gets in the way of clear thinking? You might have the idea that it would be easy to think clearer if only you did not have all these intense emotions within you that seemed to be getting in the way of your thought processes:

  • “If only I was not so angry I would be able to deal with the person who said that awful thing to me”
  • “If only I wasn’t so anxious I could just relax and get down to my work”
  • “If only I was not so jealous I could enjoy my relationship more and with a clearer head”

In this scenario emotion and thought are set up against each other as adversaries within ourself, one pitted against the other.
Actually, the emotion only becomes an obstruction to clear thinking when we repress, deny or otherwise push it away from our conscious awareness and try and bury it within ourselves. When we do this our body becomes tense and armored, our mind becomes cloudy and foggy, and a gap appears between what we think, what we feel and what we do.
When we acknowledge and accept the emotions we feel without denying them, we will find that we tend to experience a clarifying of our thought process, and an inclination to act in ways that are congruent to that thinking:

  • “Because I feel angry with my friend for what they did, I am going to tell them about it, not violently and explosively, but calmly and clearly, because I know that what I am feeling is anger”
  • “I know that I am feeling anxious at work right now, and I understand why, accepting the way I feel I will now get on with what needs to be done”
  • “Jealousy is not a pleasant emotion to experience, but there is a reason for it that I think I need to talk through with my partner”

One of the primary ways that meditation can help you in a practical is to use it as a way to bring your thoughts and feelings into integration with each other. Simply to sit down and use awareness of your body and breathing to become more deeply aware of how you are feeling. As you sit with your body and breathing, you can even mentally describe to yourself (or even out loud) what the sensations are that you are feeling in your body, and what emotions these are connected to. You will be surprised if you do this regularly how quickly you can bring to your conscious awareness emotions that have been hidden from view to you for years. As they come into view, just focus on acknowledging them and experiencing them consciously. You will find that if you do this your head will start to feel clearer, and that you will be able to think and express yourself more clearly. Energy that was previously locked up in the repression and denial of emotion will become available to you for positive and appropriate self-expression.
A final point, as you do this exercise you may be surprised how much positive emotion and feeling you suppress. Excitement, joy, love, sensual and sexual feelings can be experienced by our ego as being as ‘dangerous’ as anger, jealousy and so forth. So it is not all about reconnecting to difficult emotion, it is also learning to feel positive emotions more deeply and enjoyably.

By Toby Ouvry, www.tobyouvry.com, Contributor of //LIVE SIMPLY//