Many people struggle to cultivate positive emotions in meditation, because the task feels forced or insincere. How can I practice lovingkindness when I don’t feel it in my body? How can I cultivate happiness if there’s also fear, anger, or sadness present?
For me, it is very often the case that pleasant and unpleasant feelings arise together. Rather than waiting for a moment when things are only pleasant to deem it “sincere” to practice lovingkindness, I have changed my definition of what sincerity means.
It is sincere to cultivate well-being, even in the presence of pain. Not only sincere, but also deeply supportive. It is in painful moments when we need kindness most. And not a kindness that rejects pain, but a kindness that allows for pain, and heartache, and everything.
So what’s the message here? We can choose our beliefs. We can see ourselves and the world however we want. Just “being with things as they are” is only part of a picture which also includes evaluating how things are and deciding what’s actually working!
What do you want to be true? What reality supports your well-being and that of others? Are you being motivated by kindness or avoidance? Each moment will probably hold a different answer to these questions, so this isn’t a matter to be settled, so much as an inquiry in which to continually engage.