This last week I became aware of some very physical feelings of anxiety and sadness, and I wasn't sure why I was feeling this way. I thought I would meditate on it a bit and perhaps figure out where it was coming from. But that didn't help, and as much as I tried to name the feelings, I couldn't figure out what it was about. Then I read something in Raphael Cushnir's book "Setting your Heart on Fire", about this very topic which really struck me.
He says we should not attempt to figure out what the feelings are, as much as allow the feeling to fully express itself. Trying to understand it can get in the way of feeling the emotions. He suggests simply putting your attention where you feel the emotion and paying attention to it - how it feels and moves within you. He says that emotions pass when you let yourself feel them. When you do not let yourself feel them, they cannot escape. Most of us have mechanisms to distract ourselves from these uncomfortable emotions (perhaps by overthinking and intellectualizing the emotion), and that in fact traps the emotion in us and it is unable to pass. He has a quote later in the book which sums it up nicely "What you resist, persists". How unfortunate, but true!