Process of our Mind
In this process it is incidental when we travel, what path we follow, or with whom. What really matters in a journey of this type is how open we are to new experiences and to growth. To accentuate this predisposition, we can do something very simple. Many people believe that in meditation the ideal is to distance oneself from emotions. Most meditation techniques use something abstract, a word or an image, or physical, the breath, the heartbeat as the focus centered on a point. The implicit or sometimes even explicit deduction is that in meditation there is no place for emotion. This is partly true.
We feel a lot of emotions: anger, fear, greed, envy, anxiety, excitement, affliction, exaltation, bitterness, impatience, restlessness, sadness, hysteria, delight, presumption, boredom, sorrow, disappointment, sympathy, rejoicing, desire, joy, diversion. They may be pleasant or unpleasant but, in any case, they distract us by making it difficult for us to reach the calmness necessary for the state of meditation. On the other hand, feelings such as patience and serenity can be positive. There is a zen meditation technique called shikan-taza that uses a particular emotion as part of its focus.
In this technique the consciousness is left to rest in a feeling, the feeling of an expectant gratitude. The expectant part is the hope that we will fully experience our true nature, open and silent, serene and joyful, full of light. Gratitude, of course, is for experiencing it. Since we know that this is our true nature, that we will experience it, and that all we have to do is sit quietly, there is no rush, tension or anxiety, there is only serene patience and expectant gratitude, combined with an awakened consciousness.
When one chooses to turn expectant gratitude into a part of meditation, interesting things happen. It is incredible and frightening how easy it is, even for people who are not particularly pessimistic, to move from expectant gratitude to premonitory pessimism. Many of us carry something, which must almost always be dormant, that tells us that it is not right to anticipate the generosity of the universe.
Meditating in expectant gratitude is an exercise in trust with which we can discover that the absence of conscious mental distrust is not necessarily the same as the presence of real trust. It is curious that choosing to experience a strong and deliberate presence of loving trust can provoke a restless and vague alarm in our unconscious mind. Most of us unconsciously accept that we have to fight for what we want and find it difficult to believe that there is something wonderful about us. If we integrate in our practice the feeling of expectant gratitude we will have the possibility of changing the unconscious habit of looking with suspicion at the universe.
It would also be said that we believe in a kind of primitive magic according to which if we are seen desperately anxious and needy, and if we make a hard effort and it hurts a lot, something would be good for us. We believe we can bribe the Universe, or others, to treat us well. Clearly, as far as the Universe is concerned, it is superstition, and as far as other people are concerned, it is, at best, unsafe. While this is the result of our reactions to the experience of life, the projection of our attitude towards the universe, we do not have to live with it all our life. It is just another habit and, as we know, habits can be changed.
We must not forget that we have the ability to feel any emotion at any time. Denying or suppressing an emotion we feel can hurt us, but, on the other hand, we should not be slaves to our feelings. We must observe the present emotions and analyze if they are based on what is happening to us or if it is just a habit. If it is a habit, there are dozens of books on techniques and countless therapists who can help us change it. If, on the other hand, the emotion is based on a current circumstance, we have the option of changing our responses to such a situation, and we may need help with that.
It's not about suppressing emotions. When we do, they form a toxic residue, crumbling our psyches and creating corrupt places. What is desirable is to learn to react to things in a way that does not imply repression and means to understand ourselves and others better. This understanding naturally leads to the reordering of emotions. It is possible to achieve this change even though it can be very difficult and we have to resort to professional help.
Since the ability to feel any emotion is something that is latent in us, many times, if we are not completely absorbed by another feeling, we can experience a concrete emotion simply by focusing our attention on a part of our Psyche. If we think terrifying things, we will begin to feel fear, if we think things that make us angry, we will begin to feel angry, if we think pleasant things, we will begin to feel happy. Feelings are, to a greater extent than we imagine, a matter of choice, of choosing what we want to think. Habits are choices made while we are asleep.
When we prepare to meditate, focus and calm ourselves, we can go further and choose to feel an expectant gratitude as we practice. This can be part of almost every meditation technique.
Although it seems like an obvious choice, we barely make it. We have in us something called resistance that we are going to consider carefully.
A lot of hugs..