Meditation is a way to rest of your mind and let your conscious mind and subconscious mind communicate during the process. During the meditating process, it is not unusual to find out more about what the reality is like by uncovering your biases and reducing your ego. For the question of whether you should meditate when you are sad, the simple question is yes, because getting to know more about the true reasons of what you are sad are only going to help you as knowing the reality is probably the first time for solving a problem, especially a difficult one. But I definitely understand why this question of whether to meditate when feeling sad is such a common question. Let’s explore that in a deeper way.
Human’s Tendency to Avoid Revisiting Pain
First of all, let me tell you why the question of whether to mediate when sad is such a popular question. Because for those who have some meditation experience, they know that they will see “videos” in their mind playing the painful moments that caused them to be sad when they meditate. During meditating, it is natural that there will be some ideas and thoughts that flow into the conscious mind from the subconscious mind and those thoughts would likely be related to things that you have been thinking about that causes you that sadness in the first place. As a result, for people who actually have some meditation experience, some may think that the revisiting of those painful moment would hurt them. Some don’t care about whether revisiting the painful moment would hurt them or not, they just simply want to avoid further pain.
Facing the Reality is the First Step for Solving Problems
However, if you think about your own experience, don’t we learn the most when we reflect on our failure? As Ray Dalio, a very famous and successful investor at Bridgewater, says in his book Principles, “being a hyper-realist” is his first principle for success. If we are being rational and not letting our emotional control our action, it is actually very obvious that seeing the truth more clearly can only make things better.
There are a few main causes for sadness. Let’s assume your current sadness is caused by some mistakes that you have made, for example: making a bad decision at work, saying something bad to your loved ones, treating your friend badly. In those cases, if you are not afraid to meditate and get your mind clear enough to find out more about the reasons for your mistakes, you can hardly find out the actual root causes of these mistakes. Once you have identified your root causes, which are usually weaknesses that are related to the way your mind works, you would have a chance to improve your approach to prevent the same mistake.
There are some types of sadness that are caused by some events, especially unfortunate ones like car accidents and passing away of someone in your family. Although there are no use in finding out the root cause of the accident, making your mind clear helps you be more rational. A rational person should always be thinking about the question that is the central theme of the ancient Greek philosophy Stocism. The question is: what is under your control and what is not. In most of those unfortunate accidents or events, there are a lot of things that are outside our control and a rational person should understand that there are just things that we can’t control and we have to be okay with that. All we can do is do well in things that are under our control.
We can also feel sad if we are consistently being under stress. In these cases, meditation really helps. With a clear mind after meditation, you can more easily identity the root cause of the stress that is causing you pain. Sometimes, we are not completely clear that things like a mean boss or a bad coworker can cause us stress especially if we are too used to it. When our mind are clear, we can have a better chance to find out the source of our stress.
Long Walk Works Well for Me as My Meditation Method
For those of you who are currently sad but don’t practice meditation. Don’t worry as meditation can happen in different forms. Although I practice mantra meditation myself, I find myself enjoy having long walk as my way of meditation even more. You can meditate by doing any simple and, usually but not necessarily, repeating task that you can assign to your mind to do as a part time job. For me, a 45 plus minute walk is perfect for reseting my mind. I also get physically more fit as a bonus benefit. There is of course some benefit for doing mantra meditation and breath meditation as they can usually reset your mind in a shorter period of time and you don’t have to worry about the weather as you would for taking a long walk. Anyway, I would strongly recommend you to use long walks as your form of meditation. That is not just for when you are feeling sad. Having any form of meditation as your daily routine is very valuable.
Being Alone at Home is a Bad Option
As someone who practices meditation, I know that we can’t completely control our thoughts. That’s what have been described as the “monkey mind” that wants to be busy and think about something. As mentioned earlier, taking a long walk is a great form of meditation. On the other hand, being alone at home when you are sad can cause your monkey mind even more out of control. So, even if the weather is bad that you can’t take a long walk, simply walking around in the supermarket or things of that nature can help you feel much better than having all those random thoughts attack you when you are alone at home. Those of you who are experience in meditating may be the exceptions.
In conclusion, meditating when you are sad is usually a good idea. For those of you who are not experience in mediating, taking a long walk can be your best option to achieve the same effect of doing a more typical form of meditation.