Emotional turmoil begins with an initial perception — a sight, sound, thought — which gives rise to a feeling of comfort or discomfort. This is the subtlest stage of getting hooked. Energetically there is a perceptible pull; it’s like wanting to scratch an itch. We don’t have to be advanced meditators to catch this. This initial tug of “for” or “against” is the first place we can remain as steady as a log. Just experience the tug and relax into the restlessness of the energy, without fanning this ember with thoughts. If we stay present with the rawness of our direct experience, emotional energy can move through us without getting stuck. Of course, this isn’t easy and takes practice.