Buddhism and Meditation

Working With Difficult Emotion


Last week the Milton Keynes Meditation Association were looking a difficult emotions.

We asked: “What Upsets Us?”

Do we feel threatened? Are we overly tender or is a genuine need not being fulfilled?
Are our expectations reasonable or achievable?

Some of the answers we came up with included:

inconsiderate people, lack of empathy in others, anger, lack of awareness, ignorance, lack of tolerance, people not listening to us, bad manners – just getting behind the wheel of a car!

We Remembered Ways We Work With Difficulty:

developing empathy, seeing our part in it, not dwelling on diffiuclt communication or “over thinking” things, trying to see the bigger picturing, smiling, being aware that peoples responses arise on many conditions (it’s not all about us), finding the grain of truth in criticsm and using it for the good.

We Looked at Some Buddhist Responses to Difficulty:

Using The 4 Right Efforts –

Cultivate un-arisen wholesome states
Maintain wholesome states once arisen
Prevent unwholesome states from arising
Once arisen – abandon unwholesome states

Skills from Meditation

Cultivate the opposite
Consider the result of going with it – “how will I become if I keep doing this?”
Do we enjoy feeling like this? Is it pleasant or painful? Do we have a perverse sense of enjoyment from this state – intoxication with the energy or anger (a peak experience) or the ego of self righteous indignation?
Reflect on the impermanence of how we feel now – It will change
Just let go – Sky Like Mind
Go deeper – “why do I feel like this – what is really behind this?”
Surrender to a higher power – Go for Refuge (mantra, prayer, ask for guidance)

Cultivating Patient Forbearance from Shantideva – The Bodhicharyavatra (Entry to the Path of the Bodhisattvas)

– be like a block of wood (forbearance/ suppression)
– merit from worship of the Buddhas, generosity and good conduct …hatred destroys it all
– there is no evil equal to hatred and no spiritual practice equal to forbearance
– the mind can find no peace or pleasure while the dart of hatred is in the heart
– even friends shrink from the angry one, he may give but he is not honoured
– whatever evil deeds there are arise from the power of conditions, nothing arises independently under it’s own power. A person does not get angry having decided “I will get angry”

Ill-will, anger and hatred considered more damaging spiritually than craving as it separated us from other beings – those we might be able to help.

Craving, desire, attachment are spiritual hindrances but considered less damaging to a Bodhisattva – although these states may be the basis for hatred and anger (not getting our own way).

Why not listen to Padmavajra’s talk on Shantideva & Cultivating Metta: Love Your Enemy