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?