Containing the Emotions

Here we apply the principle that defines our way of practice in the clearest and most direct way. Now we begin to learn not to react and allow one of our habits to come to life again but to rest in awareness so that it creates a space and, rather than react, do nothing. Here lies the key to change right here in these moments before the self rises and expresses itself through an established habit. That space is called the Dharmic environment and it is this environment that we need to nurture and bring to our life over and over again. When we can stay in this space before we react, we can begin to open and become steadily more familiar with that self-created world and get to understand what makes it what it is. Through a willingness to contain the emotional thrust and be alive to the mental thoughts and pictures that we create around the event, the path of insight begins to unfold. With awareness that allows you to contain the emotional habit, learn to carry that physical emotional reaction that will hit you in the lower part of your body that we call the hara or emotional seat of being, and to open to that spacious environment with clarity and to become ever more intimate and familiar with the world you are creating around that habit.

By training ourselves in this way, clear seeing begins to arise as to the reasons why we are the way we are. With the Dharmic mind of clear seeing and insightful penetration, we learn through intimacy to make friends with the habit, which almost certainly is born of conflict and reaction, so our attachment to the habit begins to fade and fall away. Through containing the thrust of the emotion and, in time, through letting go of the thing it is grasping at, the emotion will turn back into its true nature before it was appropriated by the self and its world of ignorance and non-understanding, and you will be free of the bondage that has been your master for so long.

The key is non-doing. Learn to bear with and stay with the emotional thrust that gives life to the habit and attachment; through that non-doing the world that we create will begin to go into change. By bringing the qualities of awareness’ mirror-like nature of seeing, non-attachment and non-involvement, we allow the world to play itself out through containment on the stage of awareness without giving it the life-blood of emotional reaction.

With the fading of our attachment to those habits we’ve been caught by for so long, we begin to become free. So when life’s challenges unfold in their unremitting way we will have not only the inner strength that we have gained through containment and bearing with, but discover that we no longer need the things that we had to defend ourselves with because those things no longer bother us. When someone says something to you that in the past would have made you put up your defences, this will now pass through you without affecting your emotional wellbeing. You will now be able to reflect back to the time when you were on this retreat and learned the Dharmic principle of dealing with the fire you discovered, and rather than do something to it to make it go out, instead stood guard over it and allowed it to burn itself out, leaving no residue. Then you will have seen how you’ve taken that Dharmic mind of non-doing into your life and found the freedom you’ve always desired.

Read the rest of the teaching in this PDF

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