Thursday, October 27, 2011

to-be-with-our-suffering

Buddha heartfully stoned
Picture "Buddha heartfully stoned" kindly  provided by h.koppdelaney

There is a lot of good reasons to care about one's emotions, health, peace of mind, productivity to name a few.  Emotions are the fuel to getting things done, however they can also bring you down,  bring about ill health if not attended too.

Gawler and Bedford indicate that there is two aspects of an emotion, the story, and the experience.  The first part is the story, the cognitive or thinking part the second is the experience, the feeling part. Most people stay with the cognitive part and avoid the feeling part because the feeling may be overwhelming, uncomfortable or may be a sign of weakness (in Aussie slang being a whoosy!)

We tend to repeat the story over and over in our heads, analyzing it from as many angles as possible, continuously fueling the feeling part without even realizing it.  We don't spend enough time paying attention to the feeling part in terms of what is happening to our body, because we are so caught up in thinking about it repeatedly!  Think of all the brain cycles caught up in this useless loop!

Gawler and Bedford say that paying attention to the experience or the feeling part transforms the emotion, I think that is quite powerful...To have strategy to diffuse the negative emotions by paying attention to what is happening to your body opens up many possibilities, so that we can curb our response more appropriately...an arrow of steel can be healed, but an arrow of a hurtful word may never be resolved in a life time...

To close I would like to quote an interesting section from Gawler and Bedford book "Meditation an In-depth Guide":
Mindfulness of emotions is a bit like an alchemical process, only it works! The torso of the body is made up of the throat, chest and abdomen, is the "crucible" By bringing attention to this crucible and allowing intense feelings to be experienced, a process of emotional transformation is initiated.  Out of vulnerability can grow courage and confidence. When we sit with uncomfortable emotions (lead), the emotions gradually unwind and are transformed; they become opportunities for developing spirtual virtues (gold).  The catalyst in this emotional transformation is compassion.  "Com" means with, "passion" means suffering. Compassion means "to be with our suffering" and not to avoid or run away from our vulnerable, soft center.



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