October 2, 2010

Confused Buddhist

One of the practices of Zen is to be mindful of our emotions. Not to hold on to them, but not deny them either.

What do I do if I can't even tell what emotion it is I'm feeling through all the confusion?

There are no words to describe what's going on in my body right now in reaction to an emotionally disturbing event. It's a weird mix of fear, disappointment, insecurity, pain, freedom, relief, disbelief, grief, compassion, hope, and defensiveness.

As I try to be mindful, and just let the feelings be, I don't have any clue what to do with them. They hover there, can't sit still, hopping all over the place.

I would levitate on my pillow if they moved underneath me.

I don't want to them to go away necessarily, but I do have the desire to understand them. Perhaps, this is a positive experience for me to practice not having to even understand the emotions, simply to let them be.

I've never had this experience before. Usually when I feel an emotion, it's clearly one or two things, easy to identify, easy to park on an imaginary platform 5 feet away and meditate on. Maybe this huge mess of emotions is a sign of growth, and an opportunity to have compassion for myself and what I feel. Perhaps it's a sign that I am no longer using self-created mind tricks to divide up my emotions into little categories so I can control them, that my practice of being in the in between places has an effect.

Or maybe this way of looking at my confusion is just another way to convince myself that right now is OK. Maybe right now I'm not OK, and that's simply how it is. Until I'm OK again, I need to be, and let myself be uneasy and emotional, so I can have compassion for others when it's their turn to experience something like this.

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