November 15


Today's Quotation:

If we face our unpleasant feelings with care, affection, and nonviolence, we can transform them into a kind of energy that is healthy and has the capacity to nourish us.  By the work of mindful observation, our unpleasant feelings can illuminate so much for us, offering us insight and understanding into ourselves and society.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Today's Meditation:

More often than not, we're taught to "banish" unpleasant feelings, because of course, they make us feel bad.  So let's get rid of them, get them out of our lives and out of our minds and out of our hearts so that we can live healthy, positive, pleasant lives.

But what if there's something to learn from those unpleasant feelings?  What if the fear that we're feeling has a deeper message?  What if the discomfort we have when we're in the presence of a particular person has something to teach us about our own prejudices, biases, or instinct?  Ignoring the feeling and trying to push it away will do nothing to help us to learn whatever it is that the feeling is trying to teach us.

It would be much like going to a class and disliking the content, and thus never reading the text because we didn't like it.  We may avoid more unpleasant feelings of dislike by avoiding the text, but what have we learned?  Of course, we've learned nothing, and we've made an obvious choice to learn nothing.

Unpleasant feelings can be a part of who we are.  When they're caused by something specific, they can be a part of us for as long as that something is a part of our lives.  But what can we learn from them?  How can we face those feelings and accept them and actually learn to care for them, no matter how unpleasant they are?  Until we find out how we can do so, we may be losing some of the most important lessons of our lives by trying to banish the unpleasant feelings just to feel a bit better in the moment.

Questions to ponder:

1.  How can we learn to observe our feelings objectively and learn from them?

2.  Is learning from our unpleasant feelings the same as holding on to them?

3.  Have you ever thought about carefully observing your feelings before?

For further thought:

We all have within us a deep sense of what we need, and what is right and true for us.  To access this we need to pay attention to our feelings and our intuition.  We need to learn to listen deeply to ourselves and to trust what we hear.  And we need to risk acting on what we feel to be true.  Even if we make mistakes, we must do this in order to learn and grow.

Shakti Gawain

more thoughts and ideas on feelings



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