Should You Meditate if You Are Angry or Upset?

Nothing seems farther from our minds than meditating when everything is going wrong, we're distressed, and peace feels far away. How can I meditate at a time like this, you ask? It is interesting how we often neglect to do what will benefit us the most at the time when we need it the most. Yes, of course, you should meditate when you are feeling angry or agitated. Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth has much to say on this subject.

Path The first step to a successful meditation when you are angry is to identify the anger or agitation. This is where the all-important meditation practice of mindfulness can help. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a mindfulness pioneer, defines it like this, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Rather than getting angry that you are angry, simply acknowledge the feeling—put your finger on it. For example, Eckhart Tolle explains about understanding the difference between, “I am angry,” and “Right now, there is anger.” This mindfulness can help you transition from the first statement to the last one. The anger you are experiencing is not you and is not a part of you, it is just there in your experience. Tolle describes seeing the emotion with a space around it, a cushion so to speak. In this way, you can see that the emotion does not have to permeate your being unless you let it.

Remember also that you are almost never upset for the reason you think you are. Use the feeling to dig deeper. What is underlying the anger? During your meditation, explore this. Is there a disappointment in childhood, a painful experience of abandonment, or some trauma or abuse at the root of your current anger? Another insight pointed out by Tolle is, “One of the most common ego-repair mechanisms is anger, which causes a temporary but huge ego inflation.” Are you upset because someone bested you, belittled you, or poked you in a vulnerable and sensitive spot? If so, focus on a mantra like, “I am. I am. I am,” during your meditation to re-connect with the vast, loving energy of the universe. This can help remind you of what you truly are–the essence of all there is–and thereby show you what you are not—the ego, the voice in the head incessantly thinking and chattering.

Another tip on meditating while angry that Tolle provides is nonresistance. He recounts a story of when he was counseling a woman who was angry about abuse her father had inflicted on her. He said to her, “There is nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment this is what you feel. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain…is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?” As the saying goes, what we resist, persists. Use a meditation session to simply accept and stop resisting whatever emotion you are feeling. 

Remember that meditation does not always have to be the same old experience of “thinking about nothing” or focusing on a spot on the white wall. Make it what you need it to be. In this way, you can be feeling anger or agitation as you go into a meditation—because they don't all have to be loving kindness practices or communing with God. If you are experiencing anger, then do an “anger meditation” focusing on the things mentioned above. The chances are good that your anger will dissipate quicker than you know.

 ~ Jillian Avey,


Meditation Techniques for Stress Relief #2

What do Americans need more than stress relief? With our busy days, it seems we are always working harder to just keep up. Meditation can help relieve some of that stress in just a few minutes a day. 

This is the second in a series of stress relief techniques through meditation. Please come back – or better yet, subscribe – to learn more through the weeks.

Petalsinpool2 Stress Relief Technique #2 – Guided Meditation

Guided meditations, like imagery meditations mentioned in Stress Relief Technique #1, are great for stress relief because any anticipation or anxiety you feel going into the session is often eased knowing that you yourself will not be responsible for directing the meditation. Less mental discipline is required. Guided meditations can be done in person with a meditation group, coach, minister, etc. Today, many guided meditations are done by listening to CDs that can be purchased in a variety of places. Your meditation guide will tell you how to breathe, where to focus your energies, and where to go behind your closed eyes. All you have to do is sit up straight, breathe, and listen! It doesn't get any easier.

 ~ Jillian Avey,


More Information/Sources:


Posture for Meditation

To get the most from your meditation, it is important to use the correct posture and positioning. Good posture is important because it allows for better energy flow and circulation in the body. When your posture is completely upright with your back straight, your lungs are more open and able to take those all-important breaths that are crucial for getting into a proper meditation mindset. So make sure that you keep your shoulders rolled back, your chin up, and your pelvis slightly tilted forward. If you are sitting on a cushion, try having the front of the cushion tilt a bit more forward than the back does—this will help you sit with appropriate meditation posture.

The traditional meditation pose or posture that you commonly see is called Vairochana’s posture. There are 7 features to this important pose:

  • Your legs should be crossed in front of you. says, “This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desirous attachment.”
  • There are two different positions for your hands: 
    1. Hands on legs: Let your arms drop to your side and place your hands where they fall when placing them on your legs from this position. The palms can face down or up depending on the type of energy you desire. Palms-up is a welcoming posture. Palms-down is a more closed, inward position.
    2. Hands folded: Alternately, place your right hand in your left with your palms facing upwards. The tips of your thumbs should barely be touching and slightly raised. Allow your hands to rest about 4 fingers below your belly button on your stomach. says, “This helps us to develop good concentration. The right hand symbolizes method and the left hand symbolizes wisdom–the two together symbolize the union of method and wisdom. The two thumbs at the level of the navel symbolize the blazing of inner fire.”
  • Posture - buddhaYour back, again, should be straight and upright without being strained or tense. “This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely,” writes
  • While your chin is slightly tucked as a part of your upright posture – creating a little space between your first and second vertebrae – also be sure to relax your jaw but keep the tip of your tongue touching the back of your front teeth. Apparently, this helps to prevent excessive salivation and/or cotton mouth during the meditation.
  • To help prevent mental excitement, says, keep your gaze pointed down a bit (whether your eyes are opened or closed).
  • While this step differs depending on the style of meditation you practice, the traditional Vairochana’s posture involves having your eyes neither completely closed or completely open. It is suggested to just look down and let your eyes get fuzzy. Closed eyes can lead to drowsiness, while fully open eyes can allow in too much distraction and mental stimulation.
  • The final step in the traditional Vairochana meditation pose is to keep your shoulders and elbows from not being pressed into your body to allow for good ventilation and air circulation.

While it might not seem terribly important how you sit or breathe or any of that tedious stuff, all of these little details can greatly effect the quality of your meditation. Doing an awesome meditation is much like an athlete preparing to compete. When every last detail is just so, there are no distractions so your attention can be completely on the meditation. An athlete does their pre-game ritual to better ensure they'll be competing “in the zone,” as Michael Jordan used to call it. The same applies to meditation—if you want to get into the zone, create the right conditions for success.

~ Jillian Avey,



more than one type of meditation