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January 04, 2007

Comments

Desiree

Yes change never comes over night. All good things take time!

Andy

Glad you got so much from the talk. Remember, forgetting to use the technique provides us with real knowledge of why the technique is so valuable and fuels us to use it more. Rather like touching a hot pan real knowledge shows us not to touch it not intellectual agreement.

Sally

Hi Simon
I was at the same talk (in fact I made the teas!) and NIck is a very down to earth bloke who just happens to be enlightened.I am currently reading his latest book "Essays in Truth" which is a great read.
You must let me know when you attend Sainsbury's so I can avoid you! But more seriously Eckhart talks about our reactions to a situation like this where our reaction is way out of proportion to the stimulus,as being the Pain Body. This is accumulated pain gathered over a lifetime plus a collective pain as a race or whatever. The advice is much the same as NIck's ....to be with the pain/emotion and really look at it and feel it. It takes practice but it really does work....in time it doesn't matter so much if someone pushes in front.....shame they are in such a rush as they miss so much!
Sally

Andy

Note also that when you feel emotion(anger) for someone pushing in front of you do you really think that anger comes from that event? It comes from the stored emotion associated with similar events so what you disolve by watching is all that stored past in you.

The Advanced Soul

Hi Simon, thanks for the post on my site and I enjoyed the first post I read. Just noticing that you didn't enjoy the feeling at the checkout is the start of something wonderful to happen. Eventually, if you persist, you will pinpoint why you do that.

I too have these moments of anger popup. I was reading The Art of Happiness and the Dalai Lama talked about anger, how it's like insanity. You totally lose control of yourself and everything done in anger you wish you hadn't done. After reading that chapter I had a new look on it all. Thanks for the insightful post and I'd be happy to exchange links with you. How would you like your link to look?

Greg

Forgetful God

I'd have to agree with you here..."lessons" and "practices" are all well and good right until you come face to face with an emotion you don't like. Like with the supermarket line...you were feeling fine until someone got in front of you. why? A lot of "reasons"...you were "first", they are being "rude", etc. All of it comes down to the same thing though...

(1) Do you really have any reason to be in a hurry? (Time doesn't matter...so it won't really make a difference if this person goes first anyway...the thoughts/lessons here are the reason for the experience happening in the first place.)
(2) This person is "You" being pushy and impatient in another "reality" (it's all you, right?)...so "they" are going to go home and continue to live their life with the underlying knowledge that they are (a) going too fast and without regard for "themself" (you as another reflection) and with (b) a deep down (and often denied) feeling of guilt.

Basically, not reacting to this makes you aware of all the lessons that lie within the experience (like those mentioned above). It doesn't hurt you...you are in no rush anyway (you're eternal and time will always do what it has to). In Reacting you are simply trying to avoid the lessons...not just your lessons but the lessons you see in this other reflection of yourself). I guess the only time we get "upset" by something is when the experience is something other than what we think we "want". It isn't until we let go of what we "want to happen" and just accept what IS happening that the emotion changes and becomes relaxed patience and curiousity (there are a lot of lessons when you're just watching and not participating). The problem with having a "practice" for doing this is that a "practice" is still a step-by-step form of control over the situation...if you can't "remember" it then you're pretty much screwed. (and often you'll convince yourself you don't remember these practices JUST so that you can fall back into the reaction and escape the lessons....Yes, your mind is really THAT tricky. It can get out of almost anything). I can relate to you here (and on most other things)...I look at the world on a daily basis and marvel at the reflections of myself that just don't care (and don't want to see that they don't care)...there is no "step-by-step" method to deal with this (because all the lessons are different)....there is only one answer. Be Yourself.

We talk about this on my blog a lot, but being "yourself" is really the only way to let go of what you "think you want to happen". An eternal "nothingness" has no preferences or "needs"...and thus, no reason to get upset.
Relax, Pay Attention, and Be Yourself...one step.

Good post,

A Forgetful God

People in the Sun

Easier said than done, but like someone else commented, knowing the way you feel in the supermarket is wrong is a good start. Personally, I'm far from where I'd like to be, but at least there's no road rage, less silly need for respect, and less fear.

A Forgetful God

Labeling anything as "wrong" is only going to make you dwell on that feeling even more. Judging anything brings your attention to it...which is another reason we get so frustrated about our feelings (we don't like them). To get past the feeling you must also stop judging it...accept it as something that DOES exist...it is neither good nor bad, it simply is. Choice has to be made without bias.

People in the Sun

True.

Secret Simon

Thanks for all your comments and welcome to new visitors Advanced Soul and People In The Sun! There's a lot of material here - I'll try to respond to some of it...

The idea of the Pain Body didn't really resonate with me when I read Tolle's Practising The Power Of Now, but it certainly makes sense to me now. The emotion feels like it's powerful enough to have substance. Thanks for mentioning it Sally. Thanks, too, to Advanced Soul for mentioning that book by the Dalai Lama. It sounds like I should get hold of a copy.

I take Forgetful God's point about the importance of 'being yourself'. The trouble is that when the emotions 'take over', 'being myself' is like being transformed into a raging maniac - or a self-pitying depressive. I know that's not the *real* me, but that's the way I appear to myself while it's happening. I find it useful, therefore, to have a technique to address the situation, and Nick Roach and Eckhart Tolle provide some possibilities.

Once again, I take FG's point about having to *remember* the practice, which is why it's important that it should be as simple as possible. That way, we are more likely to remember it when the emotions are raging. With regard to this, I recently received an email from Nick Roach about this post. I'll share part of it here.

First of all, he remarks that I've described his teaching correctly (much to my relief!) He then refers to what I said about having to *go on* using such techniques if you want to make a difference to the way you see the world. Nick says: "Absolutely right. For me it was the dying need to escape from the emotional pain that seemed almost constant that kept me going, but that is the bottom line.. to keep doing it. One of my own quotes is The Three Steps to Enlightenment (perhaps I mentioned it in the talk): 1) Be aware of where you are and of what you are feeling. 2) Start Now. 3) Keep doing it."

Techniques don't come much simpler than that: "a practice" and "being yourself" rolled into one.

Andy

Excellent post Simon. Its a joy to see Nick's direct words cut through everything.

Sally

Great to see Nick's imput.....the secret here I guess is to "keep doing it". Not to beat yourself up when you notice the power of the emotion you feel. That is part of the practice.
Celebrate the fact that you are awakened enough to see yourself reacting like a "raging maniac" or a "self pitying depressive"and know it is not the real you. The world is full of people who don't see that at all!
Noticing is enough as that shows you are aware. Sprituality should never become another stick to beat yourself up with. Be aware of the feelings as they come up but don't judge them. If you are drawn into it one time let it go and see what happens ....the next time you will be more prepared.

Battlerocker

Thanks for dropping by my site, and thanks for leaving a link to yours. You have a very nice and interesting blog. I'm glad to have found it.

Sunflower Optimism

I see this whole problem of unwarrented rage as one of reaction. We react without thinking, to something that annoys us. What I try a lot of time is the "put yourself in their shoes" technique. Maybe the person pushing ahead of me at the supermarket has an appointment to make, or a sick child at home, or something else that caused them to forge ahead of me. If that doesn't seem likely, then I use the "it's not that big a deal to me" technique. Will it really change my life if I get out 10 minutes later? Is it worth getting upset about, raising my blood pressure and letting all those nasty cortisols loose? If the person seems particularly mean and unapologetic, I have my "ace in the hole" technique - as my SIL likes to say, God squares all! Call it God, the power of the universe, karma, whatever - it will all even out eventually, even if I am not aware of it.

Of course my techniques are not all perfected and I do fall into that harrumphing, foot tapping annoyed anger sometimes. But we stumble and pick ourselves up next time. We're only human ;-)

Secret Simon

Thanks for these comments.

Sally - A very useful take on things as usual! Thank you. You and Sunflower both stress the importance of not beating ourselves up over this.

And Sunflower - I agree that the approach you suggest - basically using logic to argue yourself out of your reaction - is a good common-sense one to use. I really should try it more often. Thanks for reminding me. But if the emotion is too powerful to 'listen to reason', possibly because you are tapping into previously suppressed emotion inside you - what Eckhart Tolle calls the Pain Body - then Nick Roach's technique for 'dissolving the emotion' is useful. Indeed, Nick suggests that the situation may have arisen specifically to give you the *opportunity* to release that emotion. Often people find that they get the same old annoying situations over and over again in their lives. Maybe there's a reason for that.

Battlerocker - Welcome and do call again! I shall be keeping an eye on your site too (though I'm worried about your blender).

Sunflower Optimism

Simon, you said:

"Often people find that they get the same old annoying situations over and over again in their lives. Maybe there's a reason for that."

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! We are creatures of habit. If someone cuts in front of me, I will be annoyed, each and every time. This does not necessarily mean that there is a deeper, hidden emotion to be faced. What I must change is my reaction to this annoyance. I like Nick Roach's approach in his email to you- basically to look at one's self objectively - a surefire way to circumvent that reactive anger.

Of course, sometimes there is something "hidden" that need to be faced. But I find when I have something like that brewing I am in more of a constant black mood, not triggered by one thing specifically, but annoyed by everything in general.

Actually, rereading your comment I'm wondering - did you mean that these annoying situations are thrown at us over and over again by the cosmos until we learn to deal reasonably with them?

Secret Simon

Just at this moment, I'm not too sure what the cosmos is up to, Sunflower! I do feel, though, that there are times in our lives when the same sort of problems seem to be coming up so often that it appears to be more than just coincidence. And maybe it's worth us paying attention to that instead of just instinctively getting annoyed or complaining all the time.

As I said before, I do agree that it can be effective sometimes to reason ourselves out of our negative emotions. In the early years of my chronic illness, for instance, I found it useful to 'reframe': to adjust my expectations of life in line with my change in circumstance. This was a way of using logic to deal with some of the emotions which the illness raised. In the same sort of way, we can tell ourselves that there's no point in getting upset if someone pushes in front of us in a supermarket queue if we're not really in a hurry!

This sort of approach is great insofar as it works - as indeed are any other steps we can take to improve the situation which provoked the emotion. Yet emotion may remain nevertheless - and, especially if it is out of proportion to what has happened, it may be linked to deep-seated emotions which have previously been suppressed. In which case, it helps to allow ourselves to *feel* that emotion, instead of simply suppressing it again. Nick's technique is a way to do that without also feeding the emotion, so that eventually - he tells us - it will be dissolved.

Secret Simon

Just to add one more thing, Sunflower. You mention Nick's approach being 'to look at one's self objectively' but I don't think he means that in an analytical way, more to observe ourselves and let ourselves be, without getting sucked into an internal dialog about why we are feeling this way.

Sunflower Optimism

Ok, I'll give Mr. Nick a try then! I meant an objective way like he does - kind of standing outside one's self and observing - but not getting "involved" so to speak.

Will have to add lots of books to my already tottering stack.

Secret Simon

That CD of Nick's I mentioned is pretty good, Sunflower, so you can always just start a stack of CDs as well. There are other techniques for shifting emotions but Nick's is the most powerful I've come across - for me, that is. At least, I'm back to using his technique again and *something's* happening...

Cara Fletcher

How to deal with difficult emotions?I think this question has too many answers.And the people has their own way and this is the way things should be.

Secret Simon

Yes. I always say 'whatever works for you, do it!' and this is as true in this area of life as in any other. A more recent post has dealt with the Quantum Light Breath technique for releasing emotions and I shall be looking at other approaches in the future.

Mike


Re someone pushing in the queue at the supermarket:

I had the same thing a few years ago. I broke down the process of what was happening.

I worked out that I was angry because the person was making ME wait longer! (That's my ego) and they are using up MY precious time. Well that's my ego again. Why is my time precious? Because, say I'm missing my favourite TV programme... ... breaking it down makes it easier to understand what's going on, and it can also embarrass us!

Compassion also helped me with the queue jumping situation. There is always a reason for why someone does something, the universe has made them do it, i.e. pre-determinism, fate, their childhood, nurture versus nature or whatever.

Maybe that person is getting something for their pregnant wife, or maybe their wife died yesterday and they are going through a "I hate the world get out of my way and I'll do as I please" mood.

I mean we can never know the reason. We are all a-holes sometimes, but what happens if a stranger only sees us at THAT time! Say if we are an a-hole for 5 minutes every year (And that's if we're doing well!), if a stranger sees us for just those 5 minutes, then they might think we are an a-hole ALL year! This point reminds me not to judge others (particularly strangers) based on the "bad" actions (Note there isn't really good or bad in terms of non-judgmentalism)!


The other thing is to use a Buddhist technique which sees the person who is annoying you as a "wish fulfilling jewel", in that they are giving you a precious jewel in the form of a test of your patience. It is a perfect opportunity to cultivate patience.

I know it sounds like this technique will infuriate you more, but then that in itself is creating another opportunity to practice patience.


In fact this is another reminder to me that a simple thing like someone pushing in a queue has enormous amounts of spiritual development hidden within it, actually an infinite amount.

So this can make things like that a true gem.


Also not convinced that "being yourself" is useful until you have removed the ego layers and masks, otherwise "yourself" with the ego layers on is like a spoilt child throwing a tantrum! If you're enlightened or very advanced then "being yourself" of course is excellent!

So I try to "be myself" until I feel like I'm reacting "badly", and then I can look non-judgmentally at the situation and work through the issues (e.g. emotions / ego) in order to help me remove more layers through understanding and wisdom of that situation.


Also interesting about forgetting techniques. It's ok to forget, just pick it up next time, I guess that's why it's called spiritual "practise". Each successive time you will forget less and less. But don't judge your forgetfulness or this is adding feelings of guilt and frustration which just makes everything worse, so just forget forgetting.

Liara Covert

Considering the theme you mention, you may also be interested in a set of CDs by Marianne Williamson called Handling Fear. She discusses ways of examining and working through anger based on a Course in Miracles by the Foundation for Inner Peace.

Simon

Hi Mike - Welcome to the blog! Thanks for your excellent contribution and I hope you'll call again.

Supermarkets provide an excellent opportunity for spiritual development, I think: all those people, all that potential for petty squabbling and spontaneous acts of kindness. When I grab my trolley and go through the doors, it's like I'm entering a church!

All these techniques for keeping our egos in check are great, I think, but we need to understand that if they don't work, that's OK. If we get angry, we get angry. That's not a problem - as long as we don't go round killing people! Because part of the anger we're feeling may not be because of the present situation itself but because it is tapping into (and bringing up) anger which has previously been suppressed. That anger has to be experienced and thereby released at some stage. Perhaps now is as good a time as any...

So on that point I disagree with you, Mike. I think we should always be ourselves - even if we're throwing a tantrum. Otherwise we're just suppressing more emotions which will give us problems in the future.

Simon

Liara - Great to hear from you again. Thanks for mentioning those CDs - I'll look into them.

Guilty Secret

Hi Simon,

I didn't get around to reading this when you posted it, but I'm really glad I came back to it.

These ideas are really interesting. It feels to me like an extension of and idea I read in Thich Nhat Hanh about dealing with anger: that you should treat it like a stomach ache, in that it needs to be taken care of.

Thanks,

Guilty

Secret Simon

I'm glad you found this interesting, GS, and thanks for mentioning Thich Nhat Hanh's ideas about anger. I should look into those too.

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