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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: vedana

Bodhipaksa

Jan 06, 2014

Separating feelings and thoughts

White isolated zipperOne of the participants in our current 28 Day meditation challenge reported that she was experiencing stress because of a new job.

New jobs can be very challenging and bring up a lot of self doubt. I remember that well.

She talked about “feelings of inadequacy and uselessness,” and I could instantly see a practice that would help her deal with the challenges of her new job. The practice is to distinguish between feelings and thoughts.

From the perspective of Buddhist psychology, inadequacy and uselessness are not feelings. Actual feelings that we might experience in a challenging new job include anxiety, or fear, or confusion. “I am inadequate” and “I am useless” are …

Bodhipaksa

Nov 18, 2013

“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Rainer Maria Rilke

rilke_33A woman on the Triratna Buddhist Community’s Urban Retreat, which this year focused on the theme of cultivating lovingkindness, or metta, asked a question about how to deal with “strong emotion” — especially grief — that may arise during lovingkindness practice. For this person, grief tended to arise particularly while she was cultivating lovingkindness toward herself, and she wondered how to be honest with her experience but not dissolve into and become lost in it.

I offered her a few suggestions, which I’ll enlarge on here:

1. Stop considering grief as an emotion.

Is grief an emotion? Is “emotion” even a meaningful term, in the context of Buddhist practice?

Increasingly I find the …

Bodhipaksa

Jun 30, 2013

Even-mindedness and the two arrows (Day 79)

100 Days of LovingkindnessUpekkha, or even-minded love, is the fourth of the series of meditations we’re looking at in our 100 Days of Lovingkindness series.

As I discussed in the first post on upekkha, this word has several different meanings, although they’re all related.

There’s:

  • Even-mindedness where we are able to accept ups and downs (specifically, pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings) without being thrown off-balance.
  • Even-mindedness in the deep states of meditative absorption called jhana, where the mind is very stable and focused.
  • Even-mindedness as one of the four immeasurables (brahmaviharas), where we have even-minded love.
  • Even-mindedness as a synonym for the awakened state, or enlightenment, where greed, hatred, and delusion have been unrooted, and so
  • Rick Hanson PhD

    Jun 08, 2012

    How “mindfulness of liking” can enrich our lives

    Liking feels good, plus it encourages us to approach and engage the world rather than withdraw from it.

    Your brain continually tracks whether something is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. In essence, is it a carrot, a stick, or safely ignored? Naturally, we like – we enjoy – what’s pleasant, dislike what’s unpleasant, and wish what’s neutral would get pleasant pronto.

    Natural opioids – pleasure molecules – are released when you see things you like; on the other hand, disliking things can activate the neural networks of pain. Liking things feels good, so we approach them; disliking things feels bad, so we avoid them.

    We are hardwired to like some things, like the sweetness …

    Rick Hanson PhD

    Dec 13, 2011

    Be the body

    As a kid, I was really out of touch with my body. I hardly noticed it most of the time, and when I did, I prodded it like a mule to do a better job of hauling “me” – the head – around.

    This approach helped me soldier through some tough times. But there were costs. Many pleasures were numbed, or they flew over – actually, under – my head. I didn’t feel deeply engaged with life, like I was peering at the world through a hole in a fence. I pushed my body hard and didn’t take good care of it. When I spoke, I sounded out of touch …

    Bodhipaksa

    Dec 12, 2011

    How to deal with anger

    I don’t know if anger, rage, and frustration are getting more common, but it certainly seems like they are.

    As we find ourselves snarled in impossibly heavy traffic, overloaded with life’s complexities, dealing with technology that we think should work but sometimes doesn’t, and struggling to survive in a precarious and heartless economic system, it seems a lot of people live with hot coals of irritability burning inside them, and that these hot coals have more than ample opportunity to burst into the flames of anger, or to erupt as emotional explosions of rage.

    Techniques from meditation can help us to damp down the flames of our ill will.

    Stop, drop, and love

    If …

    Bodhipaksa

    Jan 27, 2011

    Transforming hurt and anger through self-compassion

    angry girlThe practice of self-compassion is a powerful tool for transforming our lives, freeing us from emotional ruts and unleashing a more joyful and creative approach to life.

    Anger can erupt at any time, especially in our crowded and fast-paced world. We’ve probably all had experiences like getting into a “flame war” in a discussion forum, or having a heated email exchange with a friend, or have found ourselves driving dangerously after being cut off, or becoming enraged while going round in circles in some company’s automated telephone menu.

    When properly handled, anger can be a useful and even a necessary emotion. Anger can help us get through to other people

    Bodhipaksa

    Jun 23, 2008

    Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “If one is estranged from oneself, then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others…”

    Anne Morrow LindberghLindbergh’s comment reminds me that being fully aware of others involves awareness of oneself. There’s nothing particularly mystical about this — it’s just a question of psychology and neurophysiology. And without this awareness of oneself, friendship is simply impossible.

    On a psychological level, next time you’re interacting with someone, pay attention to what’s happening on a gut level. You’ll notice that there are sensations in the body, mostly focused on the abdomen, that arise in response to the other person. In Buddhist terminology these are vedanas, which are often translated as “feelings.” Vedanas are not emotions, but are a basic response to perceptions. These responses are traditionally categorized as pleasurable, …