Whether you’re a fan of the ‘There is no’ Jedi Code, or the ‘yet’ code, the relationship between emotion and peace is a core Jedi concept. Jedi are human and have emotions, but they can also make us unbalanced, subjective, and cause suffering. Yet, it is not the emotions themselves that cause these difficulties, but our thoughts about the emotions. We feel anger, and the judge ourselves for it. We get excited about something, then shame ourselves for whether or not that thing is ‘cool’ or ‘appropriate’. We become sad, and wish we weren’t.
The beauty of meditation is that it can remind us of the most important thing about emotion: it will pass. Our feelings arise, and then, with time, they dissipate, floating downstream like a leaf dropped in a clear river. By judging our emotions, or grasping at them, we hold onto them too tightly, and prolong the negative effects of strong feeling, instead of just observing or enjoying them as they occur. The longer we ignore, avoid, or repress our feelings, the more intense and difficult they become.
Here is a mediation to find the peace in your emotions.
Get comfy. Close your eyes, or let them rest, unfocused, on something pleasing.
Take a nice deep breath. Feel the coolness of the air in your nose, in your lungs. Start to let the tension drain down out of your body, your shoulders, your face. Continue to breathe naturally and peacefully.
Imagine you are sitting or standing on the bed of a low river. The sky is clear, the sun warm on your face, the light breeze bringing you the scent of pine and earth. The water is cool, rushing around you. As thoughts and emotions arise, the current may become stronger, threatening to wash you away. Take a deep breath, and, breathing out, let the emotion wash away with the current, flowing out of you or around you downstream and out of sight.
Thoughts rise, and pass. Emotions rise, and pass. You remain solid, cool, observant, but immovable. When you catch yourself engaging with your emotions, with your thoughts, with your distractions, don’t judge yourself or tense up. Just notice them, acknowledge them; be curious about them, but from a distance, like examining some familiar but new object in your hand. Then let them float away on the surface of the currents, like leaves on the water.
Remain here as long as you choose, basking in this quiet, nonjudgemental space you’ve created for yourself. Remember what it feels like to observe this stream of emotions without getting caught in the rapids. No need to run, or avoid; just witness what arises, and release it. Observe happiness without leaping with joy, anger without reacting to it, exhaustion without annoyance or longing for a nap.
When you are ready, open your eyes. Take another few deep breaths to bring yourself fully back to the here and now. Stretch carefully as you get up, flexing your fingers, toes, and face. Whenever you need that serene, non-reactive space, remember what it felt like to be in that river, with emotion washing through you instead of getting stuck or reacting to them, and allow your emotions to rise, and pass.
If you meditate better with sound or visuals, try this to go along with this meditation: