The best way to learn to harness your emotions is to get really intimate with them and actually sink into the feelings as they occur. This can take many forms, it can be a full ritual or simply 10 seconds taken to yourself to savor a moment.

When you’re practicing this kind of meditation, you’re simply focusing on being an observer. Any time you notice yourself having an emotional experience, simply take the time to stop and really take note of how it feels. The goal is to turn inward and fully experience an emotion so that later on you can recall the emotion and use that memory to recreate the feeling for use in your magic.

Do this in whatever way suits you and the emotion you’re focusing on. For unpleasant emotions like anger, frustration, or disgust try not to prolong the exercise. Allow the emotion to persist for its natural duration and then when it starts to wane, let it. With more pleasant emotions such as happiness, success, pride, love, safety, or comfort feel free to prolong those emotional states if you can. This is actually an excellent way to begin learning to harness your emotions, learning to prolong them gives you ample opportunity to practice emotional control.

For heavier emotions like sadness or depression, the natural instinct is to do one of two things. Either we run away from them and find any possible way to numb out with distractions, vices, or denial, or we get sucked into the emotional vortex and allow despair to swallow us whole. This is often accompanied by self-loathing and a sense that the entire world is against us. Avoid both of these scenarios like the plague. When you notice yourself succumbing to either of these tendencies, pausing to tune into your emotions can actually help immensely. Pause, sink into the emotion but silence your thoughts. Focus deeply on just feeling, see it as a kind of listening. You’re listening to your feelings rather than allowing your natural instinct to take over and derail you. Allow the feeling to speak to you, what is it trying to tell you?

You may find, especially with the more uncomfortable feeling states like anger and depression, while focusing in on the feeling state itself that it dissipates very quickly. If this happens, it’s ok! Remember, feelings are a means of communication between your body, your subconscious, and you. If the feeling peters out or abruptly stops, that means that it did its job! You paused, listened, and got the message about whatever it was trying to communicate. That makes this practice particularly effective for people who struggle with these emotions, learning to pause and turn inward rather than ignoring or numbing the emotion can lead to far more control over your emotional state and greater understanding about your inner world.

A final note on this process, I highly recommend journaling about your experiences in this practice. Not only will it allow you to look back on your experimentation later for review but you will very likely deepen your exploration and crystalize the thoughts and concepts that you had in your mediation.