Tag Archives: emotions
There are many roles with which we commonly identify ourselves with. As a child, adolescent, youth, father, mother, husband, wife, elder person, healthy, sick, wealthy, powerful, enlightened and so on. But in reality these are just thoughts about us.
Any thought that we have about our self, irrespective of its nature, is only a thought. It cannot be our true self as the truth of our self is not a thought but the source of it.
There is something within us that is greater than our thoughts, mind and body but is aware of the thoughts, mind, body, beliefs and everything that presents itself as reality to the five senses. Any thought, feeling or emotion is therefore an inadequate description of our true self.
The true self is not the mind, body, heart, soul, truth, god or anything that can be named. It is simply beyond definition. It is easier to get caught in appearances rather than take a step back and see that we are beyond all that we think or perceive.
The truth of who we really are is completely independent of any concept of who we truly are whether it is being ignorant or enlightened, rich or poor, healthy or sick, and so on. Truth is free from everything and the only thing that blocks us from enjoying this freedom is attachment to a thought about who we are! This attachment is what prevents us from the realization of who we really are.
An image may arise in our mind, a sensation may appear in our body, an emotion might captivate us. All these are objects which come and go, are born and die, appear and disappear. But the truth about who we are does not come and go. It is an ever present reality.
Infinite consciousness without focus upon a specific activity is our true reality. It is the consciousness from which all of life springs. The purpose of spirituality is to see beyond our roles and dramas to the transcendent truth.
It is our common experience to note that we have numerous ‘I’s. The I of I want, the I of I sang a song, the I of I am an engineer, or I am thinking. But beyond desires, actiivities and physical characteristics there is another I that is basic. This I gives rise to the subjective sense of our existence like our self image, physical charecteristics, emotions and social category. When we speak about the self it is these categories that we refer to but they are not the origin of our sense of personal existence. The most basic I is something different.
As we introspect deeper to find the origin of our subjectivity we find that the search for I leaves the regular ideas of personhood behind and takes us closer to awareness. Awareness is something apart from, and different from, all that of which we are aware – thoughts, emotions, images, sensations, desires and memory. Awareness is the ground in which the mind’s contents manifest themselves; they appear in it and disappear once again. The objects of awareness — sensations, thoughts, memories, images and emotions — are constantly changing and superseding each other. In contrast, awareness continues independent of any specific mental contents.
Awareness cannot itself be observed, it is not an object, not a thing. Indeed, it is featureless, lacking form, texture, color, spatial dimensions. These characteristics indicate that awareness is of a different nature than the contents of the mind; it goes beyond sensation, emotions, ideation, memory. Awareness is at a different level, it is prior to contents, more fundamental. Awareness has no intrinsic content, no form, no surface characteristics — it is unlike everything else we experience, unlike objects, sensations, emotions, thoughts, or memories.
A group of travelers forded a river. Afterwards, to make sure everyone had crossed safely, the leader counted the group but omitted himself from the count. Each member did the same and they arrived at the conclusion that one of them was missing. The group then spent many unhappy hours searching the river until, finally, a passerby suggested that each person count their own self, as well. The travelers were overjoyed to find that no one was missing and all proceeded on their way.
Like the travellers, we often neglect to notice the one that counts. Until we do it we do not know our true self the timeless and eternal awareness we are.
Bliss happens when we are connected to our natural state of love. Bliss feels so good, but what is it that prevents us from feeling this consistently?
The instability that our thoughts and emotions create which block our sense of bliss. Our thoughts feed our emotions. If we are thinking repeatedly life is hard and difficult, then emotionally, we can feel sad or even depressed. Alternatively if we keep thinking that life is wonderful we can feel happy and full of joy. When we are caught up in the cycle ossilating between negative and positive thoughts we experience the duality of life. That is the opposing nature of things: pleasure and pain, right and wrong, joy and grief, for example.
Duality engages us in a life constantly dancing between opposite forces, such as feeling happy and sad. When we feel happy, we feel good, and when we feel sad, we usually strive to make ourselves feel happy again. The dance between opposing forces usually involves struggle and/or pain. It is when we learn to go beyond thought into a space of calm and stillness that we experience bliss.
Thoughts are like clouds that hide the sun, or like waves that make it impossible to see the bottom of the lake. When the mind becomes calm and there are no thoughts, we can see things that our thoughts and our constant mental activity hide. WE become aware of our real essence, the consciousness that is beyond the mind
The main requirement for this spiritual consciousness to manifest is a silent mind – when the restlessness of the mind disappears.
A time comes in your life when you finally get…when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out…ENOUGH1 Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening.
You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon.
You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are…and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.
You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.
Your stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you – or didn’t do for you – and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.
You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and everything isn’t always about you.
So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties…and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.
You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.
You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix.
You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not you job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.
You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.
You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drinking more water, and take more time to exercise.
You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.
You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.
More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.
You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms.
You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.
You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people…and you lean not to always take it personally.
You learn that nobody’s punishing you and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.
You lean that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.
You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than you heart’s desire.
You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.
Finally, with courage in you heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
Most of us only experience the very upper layer of the vastness that the ocean is. This layer is the one that is most susceptible to atmospheric changes. The ocean surface may be relatively undisturbed on a calm day, yet when huge waves are whipped up by a storm it becomes a powerful force to reckon with. But as you travel beneath the surface the influences of the changing weather patterns decrease and greater stability can be experienced. At sufficient depths one remains unmoved by the ongoing turbulence on the surface.
This analogy can be used to describe the dynamics of the mind. The mental forms of perceptions, feelings, emotions, and thoughts that come and go can be compared to the ocean waves that spontaneously form at the surface, persist for a while, and then dissipate back to that vast reservoir from which they arose,
Meditation is often mistakenly considered as a means of “escaping” the turbulence of mental forms by somehow suppressing or cutting ourselves off from the existence of these “waves” that have a tendency to toss us about and continually knock us off balance
But meditation is about developing a different relation with the mental forms that continuously arise in our mind – “our” perceptions, feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Rather than suppressing them, or denying them, its about learning to not cling to them and to not infuse them with a sense of a permanent independent identity that is against their very nature. In the process of letting go and loosening our tendency to grasp at and identify with the “surface” activity of “things,” we begin to develop a stronger awareness of the formless depth which is the basis for such activity. We begin to develop a better appreciation for the relation between the personal and the universal – between the form and formless.
Meditation involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. That is, being open to the way things are in each moment without trying to manipulate or change the experience—without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. It is to realize that thoughts, emotions and feelings are just waves on the surface of the ocean, . By doing this become aware and alive to life as it unfolds in the present through thoughts, feelings and perceptions..
To test this, try to be silent for 5 seconds. In those 5 seconds everything disappears which isn’t real to you, including your thoughts. But we are so identified with and amazed by our thoughts, that it doesn’t occur to us that our thoughts are not our thoughts at all.
If you do not identify with your mind but just live as if thoughts were guests who come to visit you, you can learn to deal with them and stand above them. If you receive guests, would you let them take over your entire household? That is exactly what we do.
Thoughts meander where they will, carrying our passive attention along with them. Like water running down a mountain stream, thoughts running on autopilot travel through the spaces of perception, randomly triggering associative links within our vast storehouse of memory. By itself, such associative thought is harmless. However, our tendency to believe in, act upon, and drift away with such undirected thought keeps us operating in an automatic mode. Lulled into an inner passivity by our daydreams and thought streams, we lose contact with the world of actual perceptions, of real life.
Once we realise that thoughts & emotions are not us, just things happening to us, we are taking a huge, positive step towards freedom. The more you let go of them as they occur, the less power they have over us, and the more they start to disappear. The more they disappear, the calmer our life becomes, and the more you become our true self.
Identification is what gives thoughts and emotions the power to take you over – because you believe they are who you are. Awareness that frees you from identification with any thought or emotional form it separates you from the thought or emotion. When you become aware of a thought or emotion in this way, you see these thoughts and emotions are not you. They becomes forms that you are simply aware of. This removes your identification with them, and they weaken and disappear by themselves. Once you lose your identification with thought and emotional forms you feel the inner peace that is within the awareness of what you are.
Why is non-judgment an important practice? Non-judgemental approach means to make a conscious effort not to be critical of the actions or thoughts of others. The practice of non-judgment is essential to purify and deprogram the mind just like by eating clean, healthy food, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine we can detoxify the physical body. There is a distinction between judgment and discernment. Discernment simply is perceiving the way things are. Judgment is what we add to discernment of how things or people are and how we think they ought to be. So, in judgment, there’s an element of dissatisfaction with the way things are and a desire to have things be the way we want them to be. Left to itself, the brain will automatically judge things as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, important or unimportant, urgent or non-urgent and so on. This happens so fast that our experiences are automatically colored right when we get to them. Practicing non-judgement is to silence the mind by stopping the constant flow of thoughts analysing and evaluating everything and everyone we meet, ourselves included. When the mind is clear, we can see new possibilities, transcend perceived limits, and live a life of greater ease, joy and love. The key here is to bring awareness to the moments of our lives. Be aware when the brain is automatically judging a situation or a person, and we can pause and get some perspective. In this way we create a sort of “space” between ourselves and the thought so that we’re not so caught up in it. Labeling judgements as judgements can be useful. When we notice ourselves judging we can just say the word “judging” quietly to ourselves. When we name our experience we again create a small gap that gives us a sense of freedom. Was this judgment just something that popped in my mind? Is there another way I can see this? A practice of non-judgment helps us to avoid a lot of the suffering we experience on a daily basis. Some kinds of judgment are both good and necessarily practical. What I have tried to highlight are those kinds of judgment that are founded on either hatred, prejudice, rigid categorization, unsubstantiated generalization, or any act of making a ‘final judgment’ that closes the heart to another living being. It is not easy to reserve judgement and no one is entirely able to do so, but it is something we can strive for and put into practise as diligently as possible.