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Suffering Is Optional: Meeting Emotions with an Awakened Heart

A 3-part Webinar Series with Gail Brenner

Recorded on April 29, May 6, & May 13, 2018. Cost $49.

View on Demand

Do you find yourself caught in the grip of emotions? Awakening to our true nature invites the untangling of long-held conditioned habits that make up the sense of the separate self. This includes our experience of emotions and the stories we tell ourselves about these emotions.

In this webinar, we will bring attention to this tender part of our experience. We’ll explore the nature of emotions and how they get conditioned, the fear of turning to our emotional experience and ways we resist, and offer practical tools for meeting emotions with openness, love, and understanding.

Each 90-minute session will include:

  • Guided meditation;
  • A discussion of the session’s topic;
  • Q & A with participants; and
  • A handout with practices, insights, and experiments to work with on your own in the week between sessions.

We’ll celebrate freedom from the personal identity and the ease that comes with deeply accepting what is.

Unexamined emotions leave us feeling separate and divided. Seen through the eyes of awakened awareness, emotions are a doorway into embodying our essential aliveness beyond time and space.

Gail BrennerBy training, Gail Brenner is a licensed Ph.D. psychologist with over 20 years of experience offering psychotherapy. Her work as a therapist invites people to return to their essential wholeness, to shed false identities and realize the truth of who they are. Problems are seen as opportunities; the illusion of the separate self as a doorway to enduring happiness. Stories are seen through and emotions are met with the deepest acceptance.

Gail received her B.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University and her Ph.D. from Temple University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Florida and a clinical internship at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, CA. Gail has special expertise working with older adults and their families, bringing clear seeing and compassion to the transitions of aging, death, and dying. As a member of the clinical faculty at University of California, San Francisco, she has helped physicians develop communication skills and learn to address psychosocial issues with their patients. Gail has authored numerous published articles on coping with stress and chronic medical illness. She has also consulted with staff of assisted living and skilled nursing facilities about aging, dementia, and caregiving and has given presentations to the community at large on these topics.

More information can be found on: http://gailbrenner.com

tv_demand-iconAll the sessions will be recorded and available on demand so you may view at anytime. Check your email for details. Once you signup for the course on our website you will need to also register with zoom. Have any questions? Read our FAQ for webinar support.

Course Description:

April 29: Emotions in the Body

We’ll begin by investigating exactly what an emotion is. If you label an experience as “sadness,” “fear,” or “anger,” if you’re experiencing emotional pain, what is actually happening in your mind and body? It helps to become an expert in how emotions appear in you. In this session:

  • You will take the courageous step of turning your attention toward your experience so you can get familiar with the direct experience of emotions;
  • We will explore how emotions are held in the body.
  • We will look into the biology of emotion so you know what’s happening in your brain, body, and nervous system when you feel an emotion; and
  • We will practice deep, conscious breathing as a way into your direct experience.

Duration: 90 mins


May 6: How do you resist emotions? Let me count the ways.

As humans, we have come up with myriad ways to resist turning toward our feelings. This resistance is at the root of addictions, compulsive behaviors, and any uneasiness we experience. We’re afraid we’ll get lost in pain forever or fearful that we won’t be able to survive what we discover. In this session:

  • We’ll uncover the fears you have about directly experiencing emotions;
  • You’ll be invited to reflect within so you can clearly see how you avoid, ignore, or hide from your emotions;
  • You’ll come to understand how not moving in the face of emotion is an essential choice on the path of awakening; and
  • We’ll continue to explore emotions in the physical body as a way to move through resistance. The more we create the space to welcome physical sensations, the more the deep layers of emotion are invited to come to awareness for liberation.

You’ll be offered experiments and reflections to support you to welcome emotions out of the shadows of fear and unconsciousness and befriend them with infinite openheartedness.

Duration: 90 mins


May 13: Untangling the story

The narrative you tell yourself in your mind about your feelings is a form of resistance that keeps you stuck. If you go to the core of any moment of psychological pain, you’ll find unexamined emotions. Together, we’ll honor stories from your past and other habitual thought patterns while looking into the nature of thoughts and thinking. In this session:

  • You’ll learn about the nature of thought. What is a thought? What keeps us stuck in our heads?
  • We’ll go over common repetitive thought patterns (judgments, comparisons, expectations, self-criticisms) so you can recognize them and explore to discover the underlying emotion; and
  • We will practice coming home to the openness that is already effortlessly at peace regardless of the emotions that are present.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to soften the attachment to the content of thoughts and meet emotions with the deepest acceptance. Then you’re open to realizing what is always true and present beyond all stories.

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