So to emphasize, the goal is NOT to make difficult feelings go away. It is our goal to try and increase our capacity to experience and bear intense emotions, without being swept away by them. When I practice this with my patients, we focus on learning to be present with difficult emotions by imagining that we welcome the feelings in, befriend them, allow them to be just as they are. This is often quite the opposite of people’s initial inclination, which is to turn away from these feelings. While at first this may seem quite difficult, most people are surprised that it is a relief not to put so much energy into making the feelings go away. They realize that by befriending and turning their attention toward their difficult emotions they are NOT swallowed up by them; in fact, they often experience some sense of ease. I like to use the scene from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, when Dorothy meets the “great and terrible Oz”, to illustrate a point. All along, the wizard has been built up to be some scary, giant monster. When toward the end of the movie the curtain is pulled back, Dorothy discovers that ,in fact, the wizard is just a small, meek, ordinary man. So it often is with our feelings. We go to great lengths to avoid our anger, sadness, and fears. However, when we actually allow ourselves to be present to those emotions, we are surprised to realize that we can handle them and bear them. They are no longer so scary to us.