Illustration Credit: Peaceful in the Thick of It All by Mali Fischer
We often try to rid ourselves of emotions we don’t want to feel—such as anger or sadness—using coping mechanisms that can lead to addiction or obsessive behaviors. Meditation teacher Josh Korda uses insights from contemporary psychology, traditional Buddhism, and his own personal experience with addiction to work with people navigating the ups and downs of their emotional and spiritual lives. Korda is the presiding teacher at Dharma Punx NYC in New York. He spoke with S&H about healthy ways to feel negative emotions, maladaptive coping mechanisms, and pursuing authentic goals.
Q: You’ve said “a lot of meditation and spiritual practice boils down to people allowing themselves to feel all of their emotions safely.”
Josh Korda: Many people prioritize experiencing positive emotions. Other emotions—like anger, fear, doubt, sadness, or grief—are seen as signs that you’re doing something wrong or that you aren’t spiritually evolved. Many spiritual practitioners have this idea that you should be able to uproot negative emotions.
I believe that the goal is to create a safe container wh …
Sam Mowe is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. His interviews have also appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and The Sun. He is also the editor of Lineages, a publication of the Garrison Institute. Sam is a regular contributor to Spirituality & Health.