I know I know – you just hate when you have to admit that yes, it’s true, you get angry, you feel jealous and you get scared. Me too! Part of me thinks (clue) that I should (another clue) be way beyond that. As someone devoted to a spiritual life and a sacred practice I shouldn’t (one more clue) be reacting to life in such a destructive way.
But here’s the good news. When you react in those ‘oh, not so spiritual’ ways, you get to see where you’re still stuck. You get to see what’s still holding you back from an even more enlightened experience of life. You get an up close and personal look at where you’re still hooked into the game. You get a mirror reflection of your innards and see where they’re still attached so you can begin the next layer of your spiritual surgery.
“Spiritual progress is like a detoxification. Things have to come up in order to be released.” – Marianne Williamson
Our resistance and denial when these emotions surface is what actually holds us back. As we hide behind the truth of our reactions to life we miss a huge opportunity for our evolution and growth.
“We are tied to what we hate or fear.” – Swami Prabhavananda
Part of being ‘tied’ to what we hate or fear comes from our identification with the emotion. We say “I’m angry” or “I hate such and such or so and so”. The deeper truth is that the “I” and the “feeling” are separate. There is I and then there is anger. When we stop identifying with the feelings of anger, jealousy, fear and hatred, we create that little tiny space where compassion, love, understanding and curiosity can enter. If you are not angry – if there is you and then there is anger – whoa Nelly – this starts to change everything.
Give it a try. The next time you feel one of those, I wish I wasn’t feeling this way emotions, here’s your steps.
- Feel it. Don’t deny it. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening. Don’t resist it.
- Say out loud or in your head: “There’s anger”
- Go on to say: “I am noticing, that anger is present.”
- Take some deep breaths (usually about 90 seconds) and it will be gone.
After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you will try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little.” – Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind Beginners Mind