Saturday, 20 March 2010

How to cope with difficult emotions

This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges in life - how do you cope with difficult emotions? If you're feeling sad or confused, lonely or angry, what do you do? How do you handle it most effectively?

 I am going to show you a radically different way to how you would be advised from your average self-help guru or psychologist - but it 'works'.

Try this

1. Recognise the emotion is not your fault. Emotions arise from a combination of thoughts, actions, genes, the food you eat, the people around you - there are many different factors involved. Emotions are always arising and passing away, and there are always sad and happy emotions coming and going. The emotions are not controlled by you at all. You have no choice as to what emotion comes up in your awareness. If confusion is popping up in your awareness, confusion is popping up - that's your experience. Understand as deeply as you can, that emotions are not your fault. Emotions are neither good or bad idea. Emotions just exist, like the air around you just exists. It's the way things are.

 2. Observe what action arises. Just watch and see what happens. Maybe if you're feeling angry you may answer back to your partner, or walk out, or shout or whatever. Perhaps you'll just feel the emotion and see what happens next. Maybe nothing happens. No matter what happens, it doesn't really matter. Again, it is not your fault or responsibility. The emotion may create an action or may not - that's what emotions do. You don't need to control it because you don't control anything ultimately. Thoughts pop up, emotions pop up, and actions happen. Your action or inaction is neither good or bad - it is what it is.

3. That's it. You don't need to do anything else. The emotion will pass away like all emotions. Remember, you are not the thoughts or emotions or bodily sensations. You are the awareness that is aware of this all arising and passing away. Even if you forget that you're the awareness, you're still the awareness, so you don't have to remember the fact all the time. If your emotions leads you to do something you consider 'bad', that's not your fault - your conditioning caused the action. If you did something good, that's not your fault either - again, the action during and following the emotion was part of your conditioning too.

For example:
Right now, as I'm writing this blog post, there is the emotion of sadness present. However, I am aware of it. I didn't bring it on, and it will pass in its own time. The decision to write this blog was not mine - the thought arose in awareness, and the desire arose with that thought, and the action happened. Some thoughts arise about the fact that I'm doing it wrong and there may be a better way - that's just a thought in awareness too. All is happening by itself - I don't have to do anything at all. I am awareness itself - whole, complete and free.

Leave a comment if you feel moved to do so :)

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