The ability to name was God's gift to Adam. It was his "job" to name and identify all the creatures in creation. We have continued that tradition not only in the sciences but in our daily lives.
Names tell us something about the "other". Moses needed to know God's name at the Burning Bush. And Jews do not pronounce the revealed name of God in Hebrew, the tetragrammaton YHVH because of its spiritual power.
In fact the Name [know has Ha'Shem to some Orthodox Jews, which means 'the Name'] was only pronounced by the High Priest in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. Supposedly he entered with a rope around his body, in case he would die in the encounter with God.
When you know someone or something's name, you possess some of its essence. You have obtained an element of control, an element of knowledge. You have become empowered to face and deal with the "other".
When it comes to our emotional states, we very often react to them without knowing their name. We fear their power over us to such an extent that we fail to name them as they arise in our consciousness.
One of the characteristics of mindfulness meditation is to develop an inner silent voice. While observing the in and outflow of the breath, thoughts and feelings that arrive on their own to our awareness are observed. We recognize that we are the witness of those thoughts and feelings. We are not them.
In fact we are capable of naming them. "I am having anxious feelings about….., I'm having feelings of being worried about….., I am having feelings of fear about….." Then return gently to the breath. The naming of that feeling, the witnessing of the named emotional experience, defuses it.
It is also important to name the feeling as something you are experiencing rather than something you are. To have the feeling separates it from your essence. You are not afraid, you are having feelings of fear. The use of naming, of language is important. It can lead to a more serene and productive approach to your emotional life.
We will clearly return to the emotion later, hopefully after the meditation is complete. But having named it allows us to deal with it in a nonreactive manner. We acknowledge it by name. We do not attempt to reject it, ignore it, avoid it or numb ourselves from it.
We gain strength by being able to face the terror by name and move forward. Hopefully by naming what frightens or upsets us we can apply some rational approach to dealing with it as well.
This process is known as mindfully witnessing our mind's state of being. It is a powerful personal tool for healing.