So often when we are in the middle of a negative state of mind, or difficult feelings, we forget that we have any way to change what is happening. When you are in the grip of any kind of strong sensation it can be very easy to be consumed by it. We feel like we are it, in it, totally surrounded by it.
But this is only a perception; when we meditate we learn that there are other perspectives available, and we get to experience the same kinds of strong sensations but with a bit of distance between us and the feelings. We get to observe the sensation rather than become it. But it is incredibly easy to lose sight of this and get carried along by thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
A couple of days ago I was doing a fairly monotonous chore and my mind was chattering away. After a while I found myself wondering when all the chatter was going to stop. Suddenly it occurred to me that I was just letting this happen. I realised I wasn’t doing anything about it, I was just listening to the unskilful mental chatter and wasn’t intervening at all. I remembered that what would be the more useful thing to do was to cultivate something more skillful, so I did.