Mar. 30th, 2011

midwestbuddha: (silence)
Negative emotional states cannot be directly transformed from negative to positive. They must be transformed to a neutral state first. Calm yourself…
--The Dalai Lama

Like me, have you ever wondered how it is that even after some unhappy, stressful situations have passed, you still get upset about them? And yet, with others it seems you can let them go much more easily. What’s the difference?

Sometimes I think we have the impression that feelings just dissipate, like smoke—that it’s simply a matter of letting enough time go by before we no longer are upset by the past. But, in fact, our feelings take work on our part to be returned to a calm state and kept there. Certainly the passing of time and gathering of wisdom in the interim helps—but wouldn’t it be better if we could cause this to happen when we needed to, instead of letting our feelings control us?

Astrologer Eric Francis says:

“Imagine yourself breaking down boundaries inside your mind, then burning them as fuel. The feeling is akin to opening up space inside yourself, and turning the devices once used to hold back energy into energy. Do that once or twice and you’ll see just how much mojo you’re working with.”

If you can follow the logic that our feelings begin with our thoughts, perhaps a visualization I’ve been using for a few years may help. To see how this works, ask yourself if you can recall a time when you were feeling happy with the world, and then saw or heard something that triggered a negative memory of the past or worry about the future. Suddenly you were plunged into an unhappy state—when just a short time ago you were blissful.

Imagine your thoughts as cars on a train. When you come to a railway crossing you have two choices—you can watch and wait until the train passes…or you can jump onto the train. This is what happens when we allow our feelings to be led by our thoughts. But, as all trains pass, so do bad memories and worries. All we must do is employ prajna (clear-seeing) to notice the train…and then decide to allow it to pass instead of getting aboard!

Have you ever had the experience of someone apologizing to you or praising you after a long period of strife with them…and then realized that by the time this momentous, longed-for thing occurred it just didn’t matter? This is evidence that our natural state of being is love and forgiveness. And it also signals that we have let the train pass.

Too often, we rush ahead and try to force ourselves to feel positive. But what would happen if you tried to cross the railroad track with the train still on it? I don’t know about you, but one of the most difficult challenges I face is waiting for things.

Still, could it be that in this one act there is more powerful mojo than meets the eye? There’s only one way to know.

Wait.

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