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Being subtle in feeling

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

One thing that came drifting to the forefront during a recent meditation was that I needed to work on being a bit more subtle in my emotional life. I have noticed in the past that while I can be reasonably diplomatic, in my emotional life I’m not very refined. A lot of the stuff I feel is rather coarse — fear, anxiety, pride, hubris, lust occasionally, anger occasionally. I’m at root not a very complicated man.

I was talking about this to a Buddhist friend, and he first told me that the mind is like gold, coarse when impure and pliable and workable and subtle when refined and pure, and he advised me to first look at my defilements and why I should feel what I term coarse emotions, and when I had made some gains there, to try to increase my emotional sensitivity by being mindfully aware of the many smaller emotions that we encounter during the day, and not to discard them but express them in a suitable fashion.

It seems like a good recipe for making friends with one’s more subtle emotions, what do you think?

personBunks

Comments

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Emotions seem to me to be coarse by their nature - rough wind and wave on the surface of the dark ocean of the mind. The subtle currents that move in the depths I would not characterize as emotions at all - those currents have no name. Perhaps that is just semantic quibbling, but what word exists that can give form to true subtleties? Words are nearly as coarse as emotions.

    In meditation we sink into the depths, and hope that when we rise from our cushion of sand we will not rise quite to the storm tossed surface, but remain somewhat lower and in quieter waters where wind and wave are felt more as feeble echoes than as elemental forces of our nature.

    Just blathering.

    ShoshinKerome
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    One approach with subtly of feelings is through a deliberate meditative or contemplative screening of where the process of dependent origination applies to the origins of any feeling.
    Few components of a feeling can be more subtly explored than through a retrospective exploration into their true origins followed by a watchfulness of those contact points to give you the most heads up possible for how you'd like to respond to their next visit.

    Warning..Use sparingly. Can result in mental myopic tunnel vision.

    ShoshinBunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @how said:

    Warning..Use sparingly. Can result in mental myopic tunnel vision.

    Now you tell me ;)

    how
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    what do you think?

    I feel we should be gentle and kind.

    Surprisingly our most intense emotions, by utilising them, can be evened out to a degree For example hating inaction to love doing the right thing. Lusting for Buddha hoodiness. That sort of Tantra ... <3

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    Emotions seem to me to be coarse by their nature. The subtle currents that move in the depths I would not characterize as emotions at all - those currents have no name. Perhaps that is just semantic quibbling, but what word exists that can give form to true subtleties? Words are nearly as coarse as emotions.

    That is maybe true, that emotions are quite big and coarse by nature and what I am talking about is more about reactions to the inner world. I find that there are a lot of smaller reactions that I never give voice to, for instance when I’m talking to someone I can have a subtle feeling, a judgment, and a reaction before I make a diplomatic answer.

    I find that a lot of these inner reactions have to do with judging and ridiculing things that people do. It’s not very nice of me, and I ruthlessly suppress it, but the impulse is there to scoff and make derisory remarks in the quiet of my own mind sometimes. Then I make up something diplomatic and say that instead.

    lobsterFosdick
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited April 22

    @Kerome

    Ruthlessly suppressing the inner reactions that we don't like is a pretty effective way of actually giving them the momentum to later return with a vengeance when the conditions that created them return.

    Ruthlessly accepting the right of your inner reactions to their own birth, life and inevitable unfed demise, if met with unreserved love, will instead just dissolve much of their potential momentum that would otherwise guest us with repeat performances.

    My apologies for once again suffering from a firm grasp of the obvious if your ''I ruthlessly suppress it" comment was just a joke.

    ShoshinlobsterKeromeFrogpond
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    No no it wasn’t a joke, but it’s a problem, if your initial thought is to say something snarky or derisory then you’re going to hurt people, maybe people you love. So not giving voice to these reactions when they happen occasionally seems to be a better option, even if it builds up an inner momentum for these emotive streams.

    Frogpond
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I have occasions currently, living under one roof with another individual, to have such impulses, because his life philosophy differs from mine. So yes, sometimes, I recognise that I have to steer my thoughts in alternate directions.
    But I don't allow an inner momentum to build.
    Focusing on breathing helps, as does inwardly chanting something benevolent, both for one's merit, and that of the 'subject'...

    Frogpond
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