Emotional immunity in a troubled time – Ken O’Donnell

16 Sep, 2021
Woman in cross-legged position meditating over rocks in nature

There are numerous studies that show the importance of psychological balance and mental health in guaranteeing a better physical immune response. This includes the state of our emotions. After more than 45 years of meditation practice, I have a very clear idea of how the regular practice of meditation helps me create a better mental and emotional balance.

There are a couple of things that I can do to bolster my emotional immunity, or in other words, strengthen my inner resilience.

  • The first tool is to better understand the spiritual dimension of our existence. I am a spiritual being going through this human experience. I play my role in this play of life. I cannot control the roles of anyone else. I know that my inner nature is one of peace and that it is very easy to forget this with everything that is going on.
  • The second tool to develop inner strength is to practice meditating on my spiritual nature to bring out the qualities that I need to face whatever comes up. There is so much going on in the world around that it is so easy to get caught up in situations and relationships. This can end up making me extremely vulnerable emotionally.
  • With unclear thinking and uncontrolled feelings, emotions can overwhelm me. If that happens, it is no use trying to numb myself against whatever I am feeling through temporary escapes. I still would get stuck in the present without seeing the bigger picture. The best thing to do is to look at provocative situations as a detached observer. This means amplifying my vision to include the influence of the past as well as the possibilities of the future. This helps me to mindfully accept the present.

I imagine the whole situation happening on the stage of a theatre. I am sitting in the back row looking at my performance. Then it is easier to accept whatever is going on, and to make appropriate changes. With this practice, I can emerge stronger and more resilient. If I allow it, anyone or anything can take me away from my sense of peace and well-being. That is the key idea. I can always choose what to think and feel, however others are behaving and no matter what others are doing or saying. It is not they who jump into my head and create my thoughts and feelings. I am always the author of them.

If I can manage my emotions in a positive way, I will be able to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, and avoid possible conflict. It will help me to build stronger relationships at home and at work. It is all about being able to manage the self so that impulsive feelings and behaviour come gradually under control.

It is about being aware of the impact of my emotional state on others and the world. Through self-knowledge and the practice of meditation, I will be able to create more strength and resilience in my life.

Ken O’Donnell – The Daily Guardian, 14 August 2021. Ken O’Donnell is an author and the director of Brahma Kumaris’ services in South America.

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