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Daily Connect: A Note On Feelings

One of the most profound insights my Buddhist practice has given me is space between my emotions and their meaning. For years I had approached my feelings as a gateway into the truth of reality. When I was up, the world was a magical, profound place, and when I was down, there was no end to the agony. This weekend I came across a paragraph in Mark Epstein's book, Open To Desire, that distilled a bit of the wisdom of not identifying with one's emotions so strongly. After all, if there's no space to allow ourselves leniency in who we are, we can never actually understand the freedom that comes from realizing how little it all means. Happy Tuesday loves.

"It has become a fundamental axiom of our culture that we have to 'take responsibility' for our emotions, just as we must for our physical health. But it is interesting that Freud's own strategy for working with emotions took exactly the opposite track. In his own way, Freud discovered anew what Buddhists have practiced for millennia, that the first step in healing our relationship to desire is seeing it as not self. In treating patients who were completely out of touch with the nature of their erotic strivings,Freud repeatedly instructed them in a fundamental truth about desire's nature. ' We are not responsible for our feelings,' he would tell them, emphasizing how important it was for them to change their emotional stance toward their desire. I remember hearing almost the same thing from Joseph Goldstein, my Buddhist meditation instructor, at one of my first retreats. 'It's not what is happening in our mind that matters,' he would say, 'it's how you relate to it.'"

As a small note, a full IDP series on Open to Desire starts next month, May 11th, and is available for Study at Home (podcast sent to your inbox to study at your leisure).

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Comments

I love the image. Can you

I love the image. Can you tell us about it?

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing this post. This concept has truly changed my life. I used to be a victim of my feelings, letting them take me to highs and lows I couldn't always put into perspective. Learning that I could step back from my feelings, drop the story, and just observe has allowed me to experience the joy and heartache (and everything in between) without it being the end of the world.

Your reminder came at a wonderful time too! I just wrote about a recent experience and how I had tried to change my feelings (and obviously failed) on my blog http://drinkingtodistraction.com/.

Thanks again!
Jenna

thank you jenna

for the kind words and your blog link. i've come across you before (i believe susan linked a blog that i read) and appreciate your voice and daily discovering of sanity (i'm right there with you). lani

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