Emotional Upkeep

Previously, I said:

You’ll also need to keep meditating a little bit even once you’ve worked through all your stored emotions and achieved all the benefits I’ve promised from meditation, to keep up with incoming emotions. The amount you have to do this will decrease drastically once you learn the techniques from Part II, though.

Once you’ve worked through all, or even most, of your emotions, it’s very easy to convince yourself to stop meditating. Of course you don’t want to spend more time meditating than is actually necessary to bring you benefits, but it’s very easy to stop while you still have emotions to work through. A good test of if you have more emotional shit to process is, “have I processed through anything, or gotten hung up on any emotions in the past hour?” If yes, keep meditating.

A friend of a friend I would have been very close with if we’d met before she killed herself, went to a meditation retreat, developed a lot of skill in working through her emotions, and then, as far as I can tell, stopped meditating and let her emotional pain build up over time. Then she killed herself because she was in too much emotional pain.

I have stopped meditating because I thought I’d finished working through all my shit, about five times. The last two because I thought the skills in Part II would eliminate the need for meditation–no, they just reduce it. Every time, I had to start doing a maintenance amount of meditation again to process incoming emotions as they came in.

Really, the answer to the question of how long you need to meditate to keep up with incoming emotions varies, and there’s no definitive time. Do exactly as much as you need to. But if you’ve already processed through your existing emotions and are just keeping up with new ones, I suspect that an hour a day is about right if you don’t have the skills covered in Part II of this blog, and thirty minutes a day is about right if you do. My current practice, now that I’m high willpower and totally depression free, is to go between 4-14 days without meditating, then do however much I need to (typically 2-7 hours in one hour sessions with breaks between).

Note that the main point of the skills in Part II isn’t to reduce the amount of time you have to spend meditating, it’s that there are some emotions you will not be able to process until you’re acting towards your true self’s values.

Next post: Part II: Doing What You Want

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