It is hard to be completely open to everybody and everything without turning into a doormat. Early in life we learn to label events, people, and places as good or bad, right or wrong, helpful or hurtful. As we strive to live a perfect life we end up closing our hearts and minds to new perceptions and experiences. In order to build up our character and status (ego) we things outside of ourselves to identify with. People that you consider like minded become your friends, while everyone else you kept at bay. The more we identify with thoughts, emotions, experiences and material objects the more enemies we gain. It is easy to become judgmental and to lose sight of the beauty that every spirit holds.
In our society we often use the words "feeling" and "emotion" interchangeably even though we should be aware of their different meanings. Feelings are part of our automatic response to physical sensations which leads to thoughts of awareness. Emotions involve moods anger, desire or joy and are produced in response to physical sensations and thoughts of attachment and identity. Developing the ability to become aware of our feelings allows us to be less reactive to the emotions we experience.
It is an important step to be aware of feeling because awareness unlocks the conditioning of our hearts. We are conditioned to believe that pleasant sensations will bring us happiness; that belief leads us to unhealthy attachments that end up cause rigidity and painful losses . We are also conditioned to react to unpleasant sensations with anger, fear and aversion because of our belief that doing so will make us happy. A neutral feeling often un-noticed but it can lead to an aversion to actives that induce them. For instance boredom is a neutral feeling that makes meditation undesirable or difficult. Instead of sitting still and clearing our thoughts our mind searches for something more exciting. The of dance of running after pleasure and avoiding unpleasantries and neutral feeling keeps looks like a chasing the wind and can lead to a constant state of stress and discontent.
Increasing mindfulness is the cure for this condition. Simply being aware of the present moment whether things are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral will de-conditioning these patterns of reactivity. These concepts are new to me and the only method I know to achieve mindfulness is by practicing meditation. Meditation helps build your ability to focus and build awareness with an open heart. Simply being aware, accepting the present unconditionally, gives you the ability to see from new and fresh perspectives (free from baggage).
When you've lived with a foggy perspective so long, the process of awareness can seem stressful in the beginning. If you believe in our heart that you are the nicest person that you've ever meet and you become aware of you rudeness it can be hard to deal with. It can also be overwhelming to identify yourself as a depressed loner with sociopathic tendency and to soundly realize that you have a lot of love in your heart. A lot of time we identify with what traits that make us feel respectable and safe. Becoming aware of our facades can shake our beliefs systems. There we are in a whole new world with out the crutch that we once considered the best part of ourselves.
If you have started meditating but find yourself bored, stressed or insecure...hold on it gets better. Meditation will help you recognize the feeling you experience and will break your false identifications. You'll begin to see actions and events as just an experience that is happening rather than "my experience" or "me." This awareness of how we react creates the possibility of responding to feeling with more flexibility and appropriateness for each situation rather than simply reacting based on past conditioning.
Instructions for Mindfulness of Feelings- Mental Monday
Introduction to Mindfulness- Mental Monday
Pleasure Is Meaningless- Spiritual Sunday