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Living with it

What does it mean, especially when it comes to painful feelings?

People often say, just live with the feeling, don't run away from it, etc. But how is that possible? When I experience a negative and painful emotion, like jealousy or hatred, is it not reasonable to try and 'run away' from it? What does it even mean to live with the feeling, especially when it hurts like hell? We dont normally try and live with a toothache.

So my question is, Is that really good advice, connected to Buddhism at all (and not just a new agey thing)?
42bodhi

Comments

  • I'd say from how you word it, its more of a self help thing.
    A buddhist approach would be more in the realm of ' be aware of the feelings, their origin, their nature, and how they are really not connected to you.'





  • Sorry @how I dont get it. Are you saying I should do nothing when I experience emotional pain? What exactly am I gaining from this?
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran
    edited September 2013
    You know I've been pretty depressed for the past couple of days probably because I forgot to take my sertaline. Reading the post by @how made me remember that the awareness that lies underneath isn't depressed and so I stopped grabbing and struggling to be rid of it and just let it be. Consequently it got a lot less and very bearable on its own.
    DandelionFullCirclelobstercvalue
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    IMO it does not mean to "wallow" in it. It means to reflect on it and not to "rebel against" it. Pain is an inevitable part of life, you can't get away from it no matter how much running you do. All you do when you run away is refuse to look at it, but it's still there when you refuse to look at it. Refusing to look at it does not make it go away.

    In order to be free of it, you have to let it close to you so you can look at it, see it and understand it, to "discern it as it actually is". Figuratively speaking, you have to look at it "under a microscope" so to speak. But to do that, you have to be standing next to it in order to look through the eyepiece. If all you do is run out of the room and shut the door, you can't even see it. If you can't even see it, you will never be able to understand it. If you don't understand it, you can never be free of it.
    "Monks, these eight worldly conditions spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. Which eight? Gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. These are the eight worldly conditions that spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions.

    "For an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person there arise pain. For a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones there also arise pain."

    So what difference, what distinction, what distinguishing factor is there between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person?"

    The Blessed One said, "...Pain... arises for an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person. He does not reflect, 'Pain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He does not discern it as it actually is. His mind remains consumed with the pain.

    He welcomes the arisen pleasure and rebels against the arisen pain. As he is thus engaged in welcoming & rebelling (AKA Running away), he is not released from birth, aging, or death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, or despairs. He is not released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

    "Now, Pain arises for a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones. He reflects, 'Pain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He discerns it as it actually is.

    His mind does not remain consumed with the pain.

    "He does not welcome the arisen pleasure, or rebel against the arisen pain. As he thus abandons welcoming & rebelling, he is released from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

    "This is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person."
    To "live with it" in a Buddhist sense, means to "abandon rebelling" of it, reflect on it and understand it.
    Gain/loss, status/disgrace, censure/praise, pleasure/pain: these conditions among human beings are inconstant, impermanent, subject to change. Knowing this, the wise person, mindful, ponders these changing conditions. Desirable things don't charm the mind, undesirable ones bring no resistance. His welcoming & rebelling are scattered, gone to their end, do not exist. Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state, he discerns rightly, has gone, beyond becoming, to the Further Shore.


    MaryAnne42bodhiKundoJeffrey
  • When we consider a hurtful emotion like jealousy or anger, an approach that can be useful is to make room for it. We tend to think of these experiences as things that are very tight, closed in and all encompassing.

    A way to give it space, is to visualize a humongous, large room, (even a castle room if you like) on the inside of your head, then take this emotion and place it in the middle of the floor. Since you are not angry or jealous all the time, it is only a small part of the room and so it only represents a small area in the middle of the room. With enough space, it can become something that is a living thing. Then observe how you relate to it. Make note, almost like a scientific experiment, of how you interact with the emotion. Do you feed it to become stronger? Do you correct it to shrink? Pretty soon, you can get the feeling that you don't need to extinguish it. It gets bigger, but then it shrinks. There is no need to "get it out of you". No need to obliterate it. Become an observer of it. Watch it and get to understand it.

    Another approach that can be useful, is to surf it like a wave on the ocean. Learn how to ride with the wave, working with it rather than trying to control it or make it disappear.

    This is acceptance and stopping a struggle that is going on inside of you. Good luck with it and I hope you find some peace.
    DandelionMaryAnneJeffrey

  • What has worked for me is to:

    1. acknowledge the feelings. (I'm feeling jealous; I'm feeling angry; I'm feeling guilty; I'm feeling hurt, etc)

    Then start asking yourself questions and give yourself time to answer them honestly.
    Remember, no one else can hear you inside your head: ;)

    2. WHY am I feeling jealous? Why am I feeling angry? Why am I feeling guilty? Etc.

    Once you can answer these Whys fearlessly, with pure honestly, you will find that most of the time you are feeling this way more because of your own perceptions and/or expectations, than what anyone else is actually *Doing* to you...

    Most times the other person isn't actually doing anything to purposely hurt you, or make you jealous or angry. Most of the time. So then you need to work on your own feelings, and learn to see things more clearly and without negative emotions creeping in so often.
    However, IF you should determine that another person is actually manipulating you, through situations and circumstances, trying to make you jealous, feel guilty, or whatever, then it's time to critically assess the reasons you have this person in your life at all. Sometimes, in the case of family members, there may not be much choice about them being in your life, but then it's a matter of being aware and alert to their manipulations and seeing them for what they are...

    Have compassion for yourself, though!
    Learn to accept all emotions as existing, there is nothing inherently "wrong" with negative emotions in themselves... it's the way you acknowledge, assess and then "let them go" that counts.

    Eventually, I imagine as one becomes more and more compassionate, mature, self-assured, and dare I say it- more "Buddha-like" - these emotions will seem much less extreme and less frequent.

    Do they ever disappear completely?
    Well I'll let you know if I ever get to that point! :)



    PS: Remember the old saying;
    We only get treated the way we allow others to treat us...

    42bodhilobsterVastmind
  • @seeker242 poses an interesting question.

    Do we have to understand pain to be free of it? Or is there some magical solution to pain where we don't have to bear to witness our pain up close?

    At the moment pain arises we must understand that pain is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change. This way, the mind is not consumed with pain.

    Thanks for the teaching, @seeker242.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    No matter what feeling I'm having, I still always find it helpful to remember they are temporary. If you have feelings that are lasting hours, or days, or longer, you are doing something to feed them and allow them to continue. Something causes that, and refuses to acknowledge it and deal with it isn't going to help. Neither is running away, you end up like a dog chasing his tail. Name, acknowledge, accept. If you can do something about it, then do it. We can control how we feel far more often than we are usually willing to accept. It's easier to blame someone else, or some external event for our feelings than to accept them as ours.
    42bodhiMaryAnnelobsterVastmind
  • betaboybetaboy Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Thanks, guys,girls.

    the pain lasts days, and it just comes out of nowhere, catches you unawares. I am not feeding it, trying to get rid of it. Doesnt work.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Unless there is some underlying mental health issue, feelings don't just happen to use and last for days unless we are doing something to continue them. We contribute to our continuing feelings of unhappiness, jealousy, anger, rage, lust, and so on just as we do our feelings of excitement, happiness, contentment and so on. We aren't victims of our emotions. We are in total control of them (excepting health/mental health issues of course) and we can, at any time, choose to change our thoughts, change our behavior, change what we are doing to change how we feel. It's pretty hard to spend days feeling jealous or angry if you fill those days with other activities that bring about positive feelings.
    lobsterVastmind
  • I understand. I can't explain it properly. I am not saying I am feeling it every minute. But when it comes, it comes like a wave all at once, catches me unawares, and I am almost paralyzed. I can almost feel the physical effect in the chest area. I know it is my fault, not blaming anyone. It is my ego which is responsible, I admit that. But I can't seem to destroy my ego, hence the pain persists. The suffering is unbearable.
  • strong winds can never break bamboo trees. neither can a sledge hammer break a piece of cotton ball. why? because they absorb and go with the blow. its like using the whole force of a blow from an opponent against him. one doesnt counter or block such blow instead he goes with the motion of the blow and uses that force against his opponent. in other words, using the blow of life on us more as an advantagen for us rather than a disadvantage. :thumbsup:
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    It could be then that you may benefit from therapy/counseling to learn how to manage your feelings. What you describe almost sounds like an anxiety attack.
    Kundo
  • ysmael said:

    strong winds can never break bamboo trees. neither can a sledge hammer break a piece of cotton ball. why? because they absorb and go with the blow. its like using the whole force of a blow from an opponent against him. one doesnt counter or block such blow instead he goes with the motion of the blow and uses that force against his opponent. in other words, using the blow of life on us more as an advantagen for us rather than a disadvantage. :thumbsup:

    The art of fighting without fighting, is that it? How?
  • yes. exactly my friend. you didnt run away. you didnt retreat. youre not even a coward. you simply, bent where the wind blows. you did not resist. you faced all the challenges of life head high, shoulder straight up and with both feet always feeling the ground that you walk on. :thumbsup:
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    betaboy said:

    What does it mean, especially when it comes to painful feelings?

    People often say, just live with the feeling, don't run away from it, etc. But how is that possible? When I experience a negative and painful emotion, like jealousy or hatred, is it not reasonable to try and 'run away' from it? What does it even mean to live with the feeling, especially when it hurts like hell? We dont normally try and live with a toothache.

    No, it isn't reasonable to run away from it because it is inside you... It also isn't reasonable to just live with it either. Recognize it for what it is and it should really take care of itself.

    It's almost like jumping at our shadow... When we see it is just our shadow, we can have a good laugh at our own expense. We don't have to live with it because we can transform the feeling simply by shining a light on it.
    So my question is, Is that really good advice, connected to Buddhism at all (and not just a new agey thing)?
    I honestly think Buddha would have you use these feelings as tools for awakening. Maybe instead of fighting these painful emotions we should stand our ground and try to understand the feelings by showing them compassion.





  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Excellent opportunity to sit with things:

    After happiness comes suffering.
    After suffering arises happiness.
    For beings happiness and suffering
    Revolve like a wheel.
    —Nagarjuna

    What is the noble truth of the source of suffering? It is craving [which produces] re-existence [as a being in samsara], and which is accompanied by passionate desire, and which is total delight with [or attachment to] this and that.
    —The Buddha


    The master Milarepa sings of the essential and profound meaning of the six perfections, applying them in meditation:

    Apart from renunciation of grasping at self
    There is no separate giving.
    Beyond renunciation of deceiving
    There is no separate discipline.
    Apart from fearlessness in the true meaning
    There is no separate patience.
    Apart from being inseparable from the meditation
    There is no separate diligence.
    Apart from dwelling in the natural state,
    There is no separate contemplation.
    Apart from realization of the ultimate meaning,
    There is no separate wisdom.
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    Well, I have to say, in all honesty my first reaction was "FFS, get over it". But I _DO_ get what you're saying. I go through this at least three times a week. My painful feelings, hurt and massive amounts of anger do no good for me. I have limited time left in this world and I don't want my daughter to remember her mother as someone who was always angry and moody.

    We pretty much DO have to suck it up and deal with it though. Running away or repressing the feelings only hurt us, they don't change the situation, they can't physically hurt the object we have allowed to upset us. And really, that's the crux of the issue, _WE_ are responsible for how we feel. No one holds a gun to our heads telling us we have to feel one way or another (even if we attend a religious institute and have someone tell us over and over to hate this or that, or love this or that, or that this sect is trying to kill us etc etc).

    I am dying. I cannot use my anger to cure myself or hurt the disease. Yes it's very unfair. But what can I do? I cannot stop it, only (maybe) slow it down. So for the time I have left, I do have to "live with it", and I will. On my terms. I choose not to be angry. I choose to spend my remaining time making something of my life.

    So essentially, yes - live with it. Don't let it run your life.

    In metta,
    Raven
  • Woah93Woah93 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    What works for me is forgetting the label you put on feelings. Notice that when sadness hits you you immediately tag it with "sadness". Same thing with every other emotion. Right at the moment when you catch yourself avoiding or thinking "oh here it goes I feel crap again" ask yourself, what exactly does "crappy" or "sad" feel like? No description or association but WHAT does it feel like in that moment? Just analyze it and if you struggle, analyze the struggle, moment by moment and watch how it changes and fluctuates and continue to breathe into it, you may find that the better you tune into that feeling the less threatening and painful it becomes.

    This way you transform your moods from a "problem" which needs fixing to just another direct experience. Pure sensory input. Instead of struggling to find out WHY you feel this way you just EXPERIENCE feeling this way and get to know it.
    Jeffrey
  • @dhammachick what do u mean you're dying? You mean like we are all dying every minute, that should make us forget the little pains?
  • Two things to mention. First, from a journal entry I wrote last year:
    There are certain days that come when I seem overly influenced by the weather—though I am sure there are other factors at work too. On days like these, I’m not particularly sad, just in a peculiar, quiet mood. "Melancholy" is too strong a word for it—in fact, I don’t know if there is a word that approximates this feeling. However, I no longer see the need to resist these moments when they arise—as if I were something separate from the weather. Today it is a grey day with occasional rain, and I am simply an extension of the weather: today, I too am gray. And like all weather, it passes and changes.
    And from Leon Wieseltier's book, Kaddish:
    One is never happy once and for all and never unhappy once and for all. As long as one lives, there is no fixity. We know no definitive days. Melancholy has no more than a partial basis in reality, and the same is true of joy.
    Jeffrey
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited September 2013
    betaboy said:

    @dhammachick what do u mean you're dying? You mean like we are all dying every minute, that should make us forget the little pains?

    @betaboy I mean I have a terminal illness and am suffering in pain regularly (that I've mentioned in other threads).

  • betaboy said:

    @dhammachick what do u mean you're dying? You mean like we are all dying every minute, that should make us forget the little pains?

    @betaboy I mean I have a terminal illness and am suffering in pain regularly (that I've mentioned in other threads).

    Sorry, I didnt know. I came back to this forum only recently (even though I registered long time ago), not been reading much here.

    Again, deeply sorry for what's happened.
  • A little update. this is prpbably what I meant:
    jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teachings/view-daily-quote/20090531.php
    FullCircle
  • betaboy said:

    What does it mean, especially when it comes to painful feelings?

    People often say, just live with the feeling, don't run away from it, etc. But how is that possible? When I experience a negative and painful emotion, like jealousy or hatred, is it not reasonable to try and 'run away' from it? What does it even mean to live with the feeling, especially when it hurts like hell? We dont normally try and live with a toothache.

    So my question is, Is that really good advice, connected to Buddhism at all (and not just a new agey thing)?

    Don't run away does not means apathy. Don't run away means one has to overcome the problem, as in developing metta to overcome jealousy or hatred. Why should we allow life to hurt us like hell?
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