Jeffrey R. Rubin examines the troubles that arise when meditative practices of detachment, like those in Buddhism, are decontextualized and used to further repress our emotions. He recommends another kind of engaged reflection called emancipatory meditation.
Emancipatory meditation – which involves intimacy with oneself – is an extraordinarily vital and alive activity in which one attends to whatever one is experiencing without any preconceived conclusions about it and without trying to get rid of it. To return to the example of the meditator who was undergoing a painful divorce: In emancipatory meditation, he would be more interested in truly experiencing and learning from his sadness, loneliness and fear, rather than anesthetizing himself or getting rid of his feelings by prematurely detaching from them.
We need to investigate the content and meaning of what we become aware of in meditation instead of attempting to transcend it or reduce it to what we already believe based on Buddhism, psychotherapy or any doctrine. Practicing meditation in an emancipatory way could be a powerful ally in our efforts in the 21st century to live with greater awareness and sanity, intimacy and passion.