Wisdom Arises Through Understanding

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Emotions - The Way Out

As human beings we experience various types emotions throughout the day. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes sad, sometimes joyful, sometimes blur etc. 

On one level, when we are unconscious, we act according to our emotions and that in turn fuel more of such actions that bring about the emotions. For example, whenever there is a feeling of fear or anxiety, some tend to eat or cry or go exercise to escape from the emotions and hopefully other pleasant emotions will be experienced. So in a way, we are led by our emotions.
I notice that about myself when there is no awareness, things can spiral downwards very easily with non beneficial consequences. A month ago I got a parking ticket and I did not pay it immediately. It remained as a nagging thoughts so 2 days ago I decided to go online and made the payment, feeling rather pleased with myself. Then I went out to run some errands and parked my car in a housing area. When I came back in 45mins time, I saw I had another summon flapping on my windscreen and the amount was RM100. Arghhhhhh :(

The first thing I notice was anger arising and thoughts of self accusation and poor me run through the mind. I sat in the car observing the gamut of emotions and thoughts and when there was relatively some calm, I decided that I will go over to MBPJ and just settle it. While driving there, I kept making the wrong turn eventhough WAZE was guiding me. That is when, I noticed that there were anxiety on finding the place, the embarrassment if people found out and anger and frustration for not being careful. 

I stopped the car as I know the mind was experiencing wrong attitude and view hence its suffering under the view that I am not a good person because I have broken the law. When this is seen, the emotions settled down and I went into the parking to find a spot to park and lo behold someone infront of me, just pulled out. The whole process of making payment was quick. But I notice, what slowed me down me was the fact that I was reacting with aversion to what had happened hence creativity in finding solution was automatically out of the window.

Hence, its not the situation that makes me angry, more true is the thoughts and views that I am believing in that are making the anger/emotion arise. If there is no awareness, I would be lamenting that what happened to me is bad luck or I am being punish for something I did wrong. Its very liberating when emotions are not seen as the enemy but as a friend that encourages us to be aware so that it finally wisdom shows another way of living. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Waiting For Life To Happen

Am I living my life or is my life being lived?
As 2013 comes to a close, it is indeed a time for me to ponder and reflect.

I must admit, many a times I am not here .... Meaning that I am lost in thought, thinking of the past or planning for the future, worrying about stuff and reacting to things that happen in my space. This clearly indicate that there is a lot of times that my life is being lived by all the old patterns and conditions that made up this life.

What does all this means? All I know for now is that I am still following old conditions as oppose to being aware of them. Somehow, old conditions seems to be like a comfortable old shirt that I have worn for years and though it's torn, faded and tattered, I still prefer it because I know how it feels when I slip into it. Basically, just looking for comfort zone instead of being aware of what is happening.

What is it like when I am living my life? It's one that is conscious of what is being experienced, knowing clearly what is happening, knowing the emotions, thoughts that goes thru the mind, the desires to take action so that I can feel better. This seemed like being passive but this is most active because constantly there something to be aware off. It's about knowing what is making this 'being' tick.

In a way, I can make my own life really miserable when I just go about it like a headless chicken. So tomorrow is another day and this moment now is just a new moment. Let's get back on the horse of being conscious!! Happy New Year !!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Being True

How true are we to ourselves ?? In this world, everyone of us wants to be loved and to belong. I was shocked to read in a recent book by Dr Brene Brown titled The Gifts of Imperfection, Love and Belonging are actually on the opposite continuum. Many a times, when we want to belong, we will do what it takes to ensure we are accepted by the friend/partner/ family/colleagues etc. We perceive that when we act, think, look, talk like what is deemed appropriate, then we will belong and be loved. However, many a times, we will have a dilemma where we know the way that is seen as "correct", so as we can fit in, is not something that feels right in our gut. So the question is do we go against the norm or follow the norm?. There are many instances in families, community, schools and workplace, that we will "sell out" so that we can belong and do not rock the boat. We easily sacrifice what is authentic within thinking that is not what is called for to be loved.

Recently, I was observing the mind, speech patterns and action and realised that many a times, I could not act or express authentically even to my own self. For example, I am feeling tired out and wanting to rest but when a phone call comes, I will proceed to chat and support the person eventhough what was real for me is to rest. I was afraid I would offend the other person. So when the person asked if I can chat ... I said YES when I could have said Not Now.

However, there is another component of being authentic and true that was highlighted to me by a friend. He said in the Buddha's teaching, there must be wisdom to know when to act and what is the appropriate way and time to express. I understood what he was getting at. So I realised that with awareness and wisdom, we can recognise what we need to be authentic about and how and when to express it is also important for the good of all.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Holding Presence

Recently I am coming more and more into the realization that when we hold presence for what is happening in our inner world or for someone else, something beautiful comes out of it.

I used to think that being silent and just listening is holding presence but that is not entirely it because  many a times, there are still a lot of chattering in the mind and I was thinking of how to respond, what can I say next etc.

I was away in a workshop and in it I was paired up with another person and all I had to do was allow the person to speak and I just listen...... In the first practice, all I notice was I was so self conscious and I hardly could be present to what the person was expressing and at the same time wanting to give an empathic answer.... And hoping it will be right....it was very stressful and I did not feel connected to the other person at all.

In another practice, I set the intention of just being present and let nature takes its course, this time the experience was very different. I could just sit silently and pay attention. There was no discomfort or urgency to respond. And when I made a response, there were not many words needed. The feeling of being connected did not require much words to express. I noticed the person who I was holding presence for looked relaxed and I am guessing she felt safe emotionally too. I just felt gratified when she mentioned that she felt empathized.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

When Everything Is Enough

Everyone of us have experiences in every moment of our lives and how conscious we are will determines whether we react or respond to an experience. Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting a few loved ones in my home and I find myself spending a lot of time preparing meals and ensuring that they are comfortable. Though I was enjoying it, I did not realized that at a certain point I was overextending myself and not taking care of myself. Of course not far behind was feeling of tiredness and anger . The interesting thing is, emotions are our warning light so to speak but it is so easily forgotten and instead we wallow in it and start to make others wrong for whatever reason. The more unconscious, the more drama and thoughts will snowball to labeling self as inadequate, not enough, unworthy etc.

As I was sharing this with a friend, it dawned upon me that even when in such throngs of wallowing, if there is a just a spark of wisdom, a person can actually just realize that what is happening in their life at the moment, is just as it is. In other words, everything is just enough. If I can only be this able to handle myself..... It's enough. If  I need to cry a bit, it's also enough. If I need to take a break, it is also enough. Recognizing this will bring peace back because constantly, when we are feeling lousy/uncaring/unpleasant, we do not allow ourselves to feel that and we try to fix it because it is deemed that all these emotions are indication we are not enough. In actual case, it does not. The awareness of the emotions is actually telling us we are enough. This is for me a paradoxical learning journey that needs constant reminder.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Insanity of Wrong Ideas

In a recent retreat that I was helping out with, the theme was "Ideas Attract Situations" and it was interesting to just see how each idea propel us in a certain direction hence attracting the situation. Just today when I had the idea that I am not loved, immediately feelings of sadness and thoughts that gather evidence that "i am not loved" started to sprout.  Hence started the insanity or the drama of wanting to be loved. While being aware of what is happening in the mind, there was awareness that the conditioning is such that, this was the experience that is being experienced.

I notice and also reflected that this drama can be played out in many ways in our lives like :-
a. I could go all out and do pleasing things to others so that they will appreciate and love me
b. I could ask another person to validate that they love me.... which is a strategy that is used very often in movies. But if the person do not validate and invalidate instead .... the drama will get bigger and worse
c. I could do weird actions like scolding the other person and nit pick in the hope that the other person will see the follies of their way and love me for being so wise ..... but this is definitely a strategy that brings about more negative response and the chances of getting what I want will be lower :D
d. I could give the person the silent treatment until the person acknowledges me or concede defeat.... again this is the cold war strategies which most women are familiar with....and result is also not good

So, I decided to take a different route of just being with the drama in the mind and watching the mental states when it believes the story. The question that popped up was that, what is the deeper underlying idea that is not being known so far to have caused this situation. Is there an idea of wanting to be special ? worthy or unworthy ? to be important ? wanting to win ? righteous ? dissatisfaction ?

From a discussion with B, I realise that aversion of something or greed of something is like the glue that is feeding the feelings. But what I was not recognising is that an idea has taken root so it must run its course as in its just nature... But the fact that I wish to fix the situation to my advantage, the ability to just be awake to the situation was not there.... hence drama continues. But once awaken, drama stops as mind recognises that its just nature.

Friday, February 24, 2012

In Love with What ?

I read some time ago of how support groups are formed so that people who suffered similar diseases could get together and support each other but there were cases where the support group itself became a means for a person to perpetuate their condition.

There was a woman who was in a support group for an illness and as she got better, the leader of the support group told her that she is now cured and need no longer be in the support group. She got very upset and accused them of being unsupportive and mean. However, what has actually happened is that she was going around wearing a sort of invisible badge telling everyone that she is suffering from a disease and hence deserved to be given attention and preference. So if she was cured, she would no longer enjoy the attention and preference. So, in this case, it was clearly that she was in love with the illness that she could not live without it though her initial plan was to be cured of it.

Now, how often do we hold on to certain beliefs or ideas for dear life and defend it to death ? I have been doing that many a times unconsciously where I defend some ideas or belief and later realising that it was unnecessary as it create additional stress in my life. I felt rather foolish later. Like the movie title "Rebel without a cause". Come to think of it, it was rather funny, when I realised that I defended a belief because I did not know what else to believe. So its also a case of familiarity breeds ignorance.

So, I have been observing what triggers me and observe what is the belief that is underlining it. Its interesting for me to observe that when I believe something, all actions are to support it.