Day 22 of 30: Noticing “Positive” Emotion

If emotions are messages, as we have been exploring the last several days, then some of the messages are “Pay attention because there are things happening that are contributing to meeting needs that are important to you.”

You have needs for understanding, affection, connection, respect, belonging, community, and many others.  When these needs are being satisfied in some ways, your feelings let you know.  It is as important to know when things that you value are being supported as it is to be aware when they are not.

Meditation develops your skills for pausing, noticing, and choosing.  When you sense that you are feeling positive sensations, pause, notice, and choose to savor them.  ‘Savoring’ is an intentional focus on the felt sense of the pleasurable feelings.  A warmth, a relaxation, a tingle, a lightness.  Whatever it is.  Wherever it is in your body.

So often, our culture teaches us that when a need is being met, to move right on to working on something else.  That was true for me earlier in my adult life – when I achieved a goal, it was the perfect time to move on to working on the next goal.  Now, I pause, I savor the feelings, and I take time to celebrate.

It is okay to feel good.  Noticing when you feel good is pleasurable.  It builds resilience, because having rich memories of positive sensations can bolster you during challenging times.  It is motivating.  Knowing clearly what it feels like to be of service, to be understood, to grow, to demonstrate competency, to be appreciated, et cetera – awareness of these sensations can bring energy for making choices intended to bring more of them into your life.

For today

The invitation to you is to do a little prep before your meditation practice today.   If you’re up for it, think of a recent experience in which you felt pride.

  1. Once you have selected one recent experience of pride, set your timer and then practice calm focus meditation until you notice your concentration deepens.
  2. When you notice a shift into a more calm focused state, please direct your awareness to remembering the recent experience in which you felt pride.  Imagine it in as much detail as possible until the feelings of pride arise in you now.
  3. As you notice the feelings of pride, first say “Hello” to them.  Welcome them.  Silently ask the feelings, “What do you have to tell me?”
  4. After greeting the pride, rest your attention on your bodily sensations for a few minutes.  Savor them.  Where do you feel them in your body?  What are the felt senses of these feelings?  Do you notice any shift in the feelings over time as you pay attention to them?
  5. After sitting with these feelings for a few minutes, please turn your attention to watching your thoughts.  Please don’t give any one thought energy by pursuing it.  A thought arises, notice it, and then let it go.  Today, the invitation is to notice any patterns in your thoughts associated with feeling pride.  Notice if certain themes arise multiple times.  For example, is there a theme of “It is wrong to feel pride.  I should stop.”?  Do you notice any themes of comparision to others in your thoughts?  Either better than or not as good as someone else?  Do you notice thoughts of unworthiness?  Do you have any challenges resting with your pride?  Do thoughts of past mistakes and failures arise too?
  6. After a few minutes observing your thoughts, the invitation is to direct your thoughts by asking yourself a few times: “What is this pride trying to tell me?  What is its important message?”  Sit with that questions for a bit.  The general message of pride is competency and effort that leads to accomplishment, such as the form of “I accomplished ____ .”  Try filling in the blank specifically for this recent experience.  “I accomplished  _____ .”  Then one more time, only this time adding why you wanted it.  “I accomplished _____ because it contributed to my needs for _______ .”  (Example:  “I accomplished writing this article because it contributed to my need for contribution.”).
  7. As time permits, once you have completed the explorations above, return to resting your awareness on the felt sensations of your belly while breathing.

Practicing being with the sensations and thoughts associated with pleasant emotions, in a setting in which you have complete control over the scenario and duration, can increase the likelihood that you notice and savor them in your life. In relationships, noticing when you feel good is one source of bringing appreciation to the way a romantic partner, a friend, a family member, or a community member contributes to your life.  That noticing can be the start of sharing specific acknowledgement & appreciation with them.

If you’d like, please offer what you learned about the experience of positive emotion and your relationship to it in today’s practice by sharing in the comments below.  Please raise awareness of this content by sharing it using the social media icons adjacent to it.  Please reach out to me if I can support you.

See you tomorrow!

Best wishes,


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The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each as been sent
as a guide from beyond.