Running away from ‘negative’ emotions

Since we experience them so often, many of us think that we know exactly what emotions are. Generally, we put emotions into different categories and label them either as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.

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When the ‘positive’ label is applied, we try to do our best to sustain the emotion, and if we cannot sustain it permanently, then at least we try to experience it as often as we can. However, when the ‘negative’ label is attached to it, we try to push it away, numb it away in any possible ways. We just want to get rid of it.

Many seekers believe that liberation is swimming in a constant, permanent state of peace or happiness. This is a huge and unrealistic expectation. If there would be only peace all the time it would stop being peaceful! Peace does not exist without its opposite. Peace can be noticed only in comparison to something else, which is labelled as ‘un-peaceful’.

There is no constant everlasting love or happiness, because after some time bathing in love without experiencing its opposite, love would fade away. Sadness and happiness depend on each other. Without the one the other cannot be experienced. But sadness and happiness are not problematic by themselves. They do not contain any innate characteristics or attributes. What creates dissatisfaction is the wish that the so called ‘pleasant’ things should last forever and no ‘unpleasant’ emotion should arise ever again, and if it still does, it should disappear as soon as possible.

Many seekers talk about accepting everything that arises in this moment, while they are still striving for having a constant state of peace and love. So you want to accept everything, EXCEPT fear, anger, hatred, sadness, frustration, grief…

Liberation is not about stopping being human and not experiencing half of the emotions. Quite the contrary. Liberation is about encompassing ALL aspects of humanness, embracing ALL emotions.

But almost all of us are in a constant run. We are almost always in an escape-mode, hoping for evading this moment, an escape from life, an escape from humanness.

We are attaching mental labels to the experiencing; ‘this is bad’, ‘painful’, ‘sadness’, ‘I don’t want it’, and then we run.

Liberation is about STOPPING RUNNING and ESCAPING. Fear is not fearful. Sadness is not ‘bad’ or ‘sad’. Pain is not what we think it is. Anger is not angry, only mental labels suggest otherwise. But this cannot be seen while we are in a constant run.

‘Negative’, ‘bad’, ‘sad’ are just mental labels attached to the pure sensation.
But the sensation itself is completely neutral.

So stop running and observe what you REALLY are running away from.
The so called ‘negative’ emotions are not what you think they are.

You are running away from ‘yourself’. You are running away from all the stories that you believed ‘yourself’ to be.

But behind all stories, is there really a ‘you’ that could run away from anything, or is there only running?

Then why run?

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Resistance in the service of ‘me’

325.3There is an almost constant resistance against whatever arises in this moment. Every time when there is arguing with what IS, the illusion of the ‘I’ is not seen only as an illusion – as a mere mirage in the desert – but it is mistaken to be ‘real’; it is believed that there is a ‘me’ that does not like what IS, and wants it to change. The motto of the mirage could be: “No matter what is, but ‘I’ resist”.

Resistance is in the service of the illusion of ‘me’. Without resistance the mirage of the self would evaporate. The ‘I’ can only ‘exist’ in opposition to something else that is labelled as not ‘me’.

Therefore, resistance serves a very important task – to keep the illusion of ‘me’ intact. The ‘me’ needs boundaries in which it can be contained. On the ‘physical level’ this container is believed to be the body. On the ‘mental level’, the container is resistance itself.

When there is resistance, two seeming objects are manifested: ‘me’ and ‘you’ or ‘the rest of the world’, with an imaginary dividing line in between the two. The line itself is ‘made of’ opposition and comparison.

Because the ‘I’ defines itself by either comparison – “I am taller than you”, “I am smarter than you”, “I am less fortunate than you”, or by opposition“nobody loves me”, “the whole world is against me”, “I am right and you are wrong” or “you are my enemy”.

Without comparison and opposition there is no ‘me’.
In order for the mirage to be activated, resistance is needed.
Because all resistance is against something.

When there is an ‘against’ (opposition), then there is a ‘me’ that is against – or is opposed to – ‘this and that’. So there is a dividing line, a seeming separation between two objects, ‘me’ and the rest of the world.

The resistance itself ‘creates’ the illusion of separation.

If there was not resistance, there would be total acceptance. In acceptance there are no borders or dividing lines. There are no edges where ‘I’ ends and the world or the other ‘starts’, because there is nothing that could be in opposition to ‘something else’.

So, in order to keep the illusion going, resistance is essential. That is the ‘reason’ why there is an almost constant, subtle resistant there all the time.

Resistance is essential for the sustenance of the apparent ‘self’.
Without being in opposition to something ‘I’ would not be.

Resisting resistance

No matter what we do, no matter what are our life circumstances, how content or happy we are, there is an almost constant underlying resistance to what is here and now, in this moment.

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I often get questions about what to do with this basic resistance, how to accept things as they are, or if we cannot accept what is here and now, then how can we accept the resistance itself.

Let’s say, I am on my way to a meeting, but I am late. Thoughts arise “I shouldn’t be late, I don’t want to be late” – so there is an arguing (meaning resistance) against what IS. (Let’s call this arguing as resistance #1.) When these arising thoughts are believed, associated emotions arise, like contraction in the body.

If the contraction in the body is labelled as ‘unpleasant’, accompanying thoughts can appear “I don’t want to feel this way” – thus another layer of resistance has just emerged (resistance #2).

Now, I want to get rid of the felt bodily sensation that is labelled as ‘unpleasant’ by all means (which is the result of resistance #1). What is missed here is that trying to manipulate the felt sensation creates a new overlay of resistance (resistance #2).

When this is seen, a thought might come up “I should accept the whole situation then” – but with a hidden, underlying expectation that by accepting the situation the discomfort of the whole resistance would go away.

However, when there is an effort to accept something, it means that what is resisted is labelled as a ‘bad thing’. Otherwise, there would be no need for accepting it. As a result, the situation has become ‘bad’, but not because it has an inherent quality of badness, but rather because the label ‘bad’ is not seen only as a mental label attached to the current experience, but rather it is believed that the mental label ‘this is bad’ has a one-to-one correspondence with ‘reality’.

So the labelling ‘this is bad’ comes first, and when it is mistaken with ‘reality’, we try to cover it up (layer over) by enforcing acceptance – which is a disguised form of resistance – on top of resistance 1. How could acceptance then be possible?

By forcing acceptance, what was intended to get rid of is reinforced because the label was BELIEVED to be ‘real’. By forcing acceptance, the resistance becomes even stronger.

But if the belief “I shouldn’t feel this way” is questioned, meaning that it is seen that the ‘thing’ itself – in this case the felt sensation in the body – is totally neutral, it does not have any innate attributes and only thought labels suggest otherwise; then the seeming ‘badness’ of the felt sensation goes away, because it is not mistaken to be ‘real’ any more.

When the label is seen through, NOTHING has to be done, not even accepting, because it has ALREADY been ACCEPTED.

Acceptance cannot be achieved.
Acceptance is not an action.
Acceptance is non-resistance.
Resisting something is an action.

Acceptance is to STOP resisting, thus to stop acting.
But even stopping resistance is not an action.
Rather it is the result of seeing thought labels only as arising thoughts and not mistaking them with ‘reality’— and then acceptance emerges naturally, by itself, without any effort.