SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to the notion of leveraging your inner world out of its momentary negative hell and back to ease and contentment? Can you share a personal story of a time you were able to do that? What practice helps you exercise your psychic musculature to develop a subtler awareness?
A very thoughtful and timely reading. I agree with the author that once the 'flood gates' are open they are very difficult to shut off. This makes it all the more important to learn to bring mindfulness into our body as soon as we can each day. I believe it begins with trying to wake peacefully and in a spirit of gratitude. Beginning each day with a reflection of gratitude and some gentle movement (walking or stretching) does wonders. Hydrating the body before drinking coffee or eating also helps to re-calibrate our body and mind. Pausing throughout the day is key!
When a loved one leaves for an indefinite period of time , even though part of me is glad that they are moving forward in life, a feeling of sadness and loss creeps upon my spirit. When I catch it at its inception with the realization that this is just a feeling, a universal feeling of self pity that isn't personal to me, it loses its strength and disappears.
The author is right. It is easier to stay out of negative emotions than to get out of them once you are in, or to leave a stream of negative emotion when it's small before it becomes a raging river. It is possible to leverage your inner world out of its momentary negative hell (which is dis-ease and dis-content) and go to ease and contentment. I used to be angry and judgmental often, and now I become angry and judgmental much less often, which has occurred by knowing that such negative emotions are not necessary, though I sometimes indulge in them anyway, by being more understanding and compassionate as a result of knowing that everything is temporary and will pass, by learning to be less attached to anything including to what I want, and by learning that we are one. Reminding myself of those truths helps me exercise the psychic musculature to move away from negative emotions.
Our minds are such interesting places. We really do have control over how we react. I find that pausing and breathing for a moment are such a huge help. And also to step outside myself for a moment. Am I being in compassion for the other and for myself? Is this reaction justified? When I pause, usually I realize my level of reaction, in the seldom moments of intense upset, are a bit overblown. When I breathe and sit in compassion for the other and myself, that feeling of upset often dissipates and I am back to more calm. I needed this reminder recently when having a political discussion. I allowed my emotions to take over and my sense of "justice" took over too. Then I paused and just said, "we need to stop for a minute. I need to breathe." The breathing and taking a moment to step into his shoes really helped. And we were able to resume the conversation in a more healthy way. i use this when driving too which is one of the few places my anger comes out ;) and usually when there is a merge with construction and people are being selfish. Now i stop, breathe and tell myself, "have compassion, maybe they are late or someone is sick or...."" :) It is a small thing, but it helps in the bigger moments too.[Hide Full Comment]
This thoughtful and helpful reading indeed hits home! I would venture to say that all of us have gone through momentary or prolonged negative emotions and feelings. That shows that we all are human beings. We also know that negative emotional outbursts drain our energy and the energy of the people who are associated with us. We are engulfed by the flood of negative emotions and cause harm to us and to others connected with us. We may feel powerful by throwing arrows of anger towards others. But it is surely a sign of inner weakness and ignorance.
When we get out of the raging river of anger and reflect on our harming behavior, we feel bad and remorseful. However, if we do not work on ourselves, we resort to the same habitual negative patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. So how can we wise up and do not react unwisely? The how question is as important as the why question. Why do we get angry, anxious, fearful and obnoxious? And how can we improve ourselves?
Anger or anxiety or depression are reactive ways of dealing with an external stimulus something outside of us, an event or a person or a situation to which we react. We are not mindful of what is the impact of the outer stimulus on us. We instantly and impulsively react. Such reactive patterns become habitual. When we pause, take long and deep breaths, we respond appropriately, mindfully and wisely. We create an inner space that gives us an insight into understanding the situation and our own reactive behaviors.
I have been practicing mindfulness to do the inner work. I am also helping others to cultivate mindfulness skills. Mindfulness takes me to the being zone from the un-mindfulness doing zone.There is a way of moving from darkness to light.We do not have to be victims of our own creations.
May we be free from the bondage we create and do not become means of hurting ourselves and others!
Jagdish P Dave
Discipline, strength and totally taking my mind to a "new/different/Heavenward place" are key for me. For I know the plans God has for me are NOT for evil. Acting out on "momentary Hell" would be powered/inspired by the "evil one". "Think on these things ... whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy ... think on these things. Whatever you have learned, received, heard or seen from Me, put these things into practice. And The God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9.
"I can do all things thru Him Who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13