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In this lesson, I talk about how to deal with what comes up for you as you meditate.

As you sit and try to stay with the present, you’ll notice things come up: stress, anxiety, fears, discomfort, random thoughts, train of thoughts that go on for awhile. Try to refrain from criticizing yourself about how you practice and what arises.

Instead, try to be friendly with yourself and whatever comes up. Develop an openness to whatever comes up, a curiosity about what it is, as if you’re seeing it for the first time.

Approach whatever comes up as a way of getting to know yourself. Don’t be the person who gets to know other people by judging and criticizing them … instead, be friendly, ask questions, be curious, and accept whatever is there as just what is.

Whatever arises, commit to trying to stay with it, even if it’s difficult. Just stay, like a good friend who is there for another friend, who is just listening without judgment, who is just there with love. Train your mind to stay, to keep staying, and train your mind gently. Have a gentle, compassionate, friendly approach to yourself, instead of harsh and critical. Don’t try to avoid anything, stop anything, push anything away — just stay with it gently. Be unconditional in your love and friendliness to whatever arises, without judging as “good” or “bad”.

Make friends with yourself, which can take time – be willing to see whatever is inside you, and not run from it.


Please complete this exercise:

  1. Beginner & Advanced: Start a mindfulness journal. It can be a text document, a Google Doc, a paper notebook, it doesn’t matter. Each day, after you meditate, write a short reflection about how it went. What did you learn? What are you struggling with? What came up for you and how did you deal with it? This will be a powerful tool for solidifying your learning. We’ll have other exercises in future lessons for things to reflect on in your journal.