Being Mindful of Thoughts and Emotions
One of the biggest reasons we suffer is because of the mind states that arise and form. These guests may come at any time. The guest could be greed, aversion, hatred, irritation, confusion, anger, frustration and so on. When we practice mindfulness of emotions we are able to weaken the guests just by simply recognizing the emotion that has arisen in the mind. Notice the thoughts that are appearing in the mind. When strong emotions arise thoughts can become the gasoline fueling and feeding the strength of the emotion that has arisen. Sometimes we become lost in thought; “He or she did this, they should have done that. They make me so angry.” This only agitates the mind more and brings about more reactivity. So as soon as we become aware and notice the thought label it as thought without judgement. Try not to follow the thought and getting lost in it. Just name it ‘thought’ and place your attention elsewhere. It could commonly be your breath. It could be bringing awareness of how the emotion makes the body feel. Is there tightness, pulling, heat, heaviness. If you are having problems trying to name the way it makes the body feel just name it sensation. You could place your attention on what is happening now. Defilements are the guest that visit us. Defilements can be very reactive. We act before we even know we are acting. These defilements have been conditioned from a young age. We can mistake these defilements as who we are because they are so automatic.
If we don’t notice or become mindful of the defilements that have been conditioned we can sort of act on auto pilot. Because we are not aware of the defilements or thoughts our emotions can kind of take over the show. Being mindful we can think before we act and know when difficult mind states have arien. Some of the emotions that arise can be difficult to sit with. But we must not have fear. Fear will only hold us back from freedom. When difficult emotions do arise and they are really strong try taking a walk. You can also talk to your defilements or emotions. For example “I know anger has arisen in the mind. I am here for my anger”.
We can train our mind by first noticing the defilements then after we have noticed the defilement relax and don't become reactive to it. Except its presents. Don’t try to fight it. Next don’t act on the defilements whether it be anger, depression, impatience so on. When you take action you don’t want it to come from a mind state of anger, impatience, or irritation. When you act you want to act from a more balanced place in the mind. After non-action try to come to an understanding. Know that the emotion is impermanent just as everything else is and it does not define you. Mindfulness helps bring this understanding to us. We should never run from our emotions. The resistance will not help, but will only make things worse. Be with the guest that comes to visit. Become aware of all that is happening in the mind. Notice when the mind becomes lost in thought, or when a certain emotion has come about. Practicing this way will slowly take the power from the defilements and you may notice the guest do not show up as much.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Thoughts and Emotions (Their Impact on Us)
Thoughts and emotions drive our behavior. When you are not aware you could be acting on auto pilot. Mindfulness helps us to notice our states of mind and come back to a more balanced state. Becoming aware give you the option to choose how you act instead of the reactivity taking over. Respond rather than react.
Tip for mindfulness (R.A.I.N)
- Recognize: Notice the emotion that aries.
- Accept: Accept its presents. Do not fight it or push it away. Be with the emotion.
- Investigate: Ask yourself how this emotion feelings in the body, what is the mind thinking, whats it like to be human feeling this emotion.
- Non-identification: Don't take things personally. Disentangle yourself from the emotion. The emotion is not you.
Thank you for reading my article. I hope it brought some light to you. Please make comments. It would be good for questions and any information others want to add. Again thank you for reading. Please check out some of the other articles I have if you enjoyed this one.