Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gateway to Compassion

I had an interesting article in my inbox this morning. Its theme is related, I think, to some issues I have written about here before. To loosely paraphrase, it talks about valuing and fully experiencing your own feelings as a gateway to compassion. I think this is a nice counterpart to the question of aparigraha, letting go. Paradoxically, it is sometimes harder to let our feelings go because we repress them and refuse to fully experience them, or because we belittle them and somehow do not think we have the right to feel so strongly about what may seem to be relatively minor issues. However, many yogis have found - and this holds true in my experience as well - that by fully experiencing a negative emotion without repression or judgment, that emotion then lessens and becomes more bearable. In addition, remaining open and compassionate to ourselves and our own pain, allows us to approach the world with a heart that is open and loving in the face of suffering. The Buddha said, "Life is suffering," but he also offered an alternative. And the beautiful thing about suffering is that it is universal, it is what brings all beings together in mutual understanding.

This is kind of an accidental blog entry for me! I hope it gives you something to think about.



BFLY-LOLI said...

I couldn't help getting distracted by the link that you have posted. It seemed so interesting. I really like it. It is so true and well said.
It is definitely true that being aware of others sorrow and pain allows us to have a better perspective about our own sorrow and difficulties.
And,I think it is very important to always be thankful for everything.

However, it is not easy NOT to suppress feelings or feel disparaging, sometimes. It is true that by feeling this way, we wont be able to help ourselves nor others.
Letting go our pain is the best to do. I think once we live through it, we learn from it and eventually ''get over it''.

Well, I think all of us differ in how we handle that. Personally, I am still developing my approaches!!!!
I find it difficult sometimes not to blame my self for few issues that I encounter, or feel bad about something. However, I usually end up going through it just fine. I believe it is just a matter of time, don't u think so?
But, I do think that probably some feelings would always be there. It might be possible to handle them, but some will always be there, and you just have to cope with them. Don't you think so? (I hope that I am making sense)
Do you it is always possible to approach that positive methods the writer was talking about? Moreover, do you think it is possible to actually go thought things in life without at least passing some sort of judgments or having slight repression?

P.S. I have been writing all this on like 3 parts during the day. I couldn't finish it at once (you could guess why!), so excuse me if my ideas seem so scattered.

dragonfly said...

It is true that there are a lot of approaches to dealing with difficult emotions and experiences. Yoga provides us with a certain set of guidelines, similar to those encountered in Buddhism and some other spiritual practices as well. These are not necessarily the only path, but they do work very well for me and a lot of other people I know. However, these types of traditions are known as "practices" for a reason. They are not easy to follow and require constant repetition and refinement to get good at them.

When I first started practicing yoga, I couldn't have understood how allowing myself to experience negative experiences fully could be helpful. In fact, I wasn't aware of my experiences of these feelings. Now I am getting better at it, though not perfect at it by any means. I do think through my experiences that it is possible to approach life in this positive manner, without repression, if you stick with the practices. I think it may be possible, but is extremely difficult, to go through life without judgment. I think rare people are able to do this, very spiritual, perhaps enlightened people.

I would like to borrow a metaphor, which is not mine, but unfortunately I cannot remember what book it comes from so I can't cite it correctly. Perhaps another reader knows. The idea is that all your thoughts and emotions are like a movie playing on a screen. Through meditation and other similar practices, you can become aware of the part of you that is always there, like the screen, constant and unchanging despite the movie playing. You are not the feelings. You are not the movie. You are the screen - whatever it is that is constant and infinite and unchangeable.

When you understand this fully, you can begin to experience the movie fully without it affecting you, and then... just let it go.