transforming anger, fear, lust

transforming anger, fear, lust

some deeply embedded emotions can really stir the mind: anger, fear, deep frustrations, craving for immediate gratification

the peaceful state is one of detachment, where the mind isn't moved to obsessive thoughts or actions by craving, anger, fear,

—the buddha experienced the harmful machinations of his cousin, devadatta, by giving a forceful set of teachings

this doesn't mean that the buddha doesn't feel anything.

—his ability to strongly chastise inappropriate behavior in his followers. he felt the disappointment and used it appropriately.


unskillful acts occur when we try to externalize internal states:

—we lash out of anger, trying to get the energy out of the body

—we attach to people or things out of craving or fear


when we don't act out, we may lash out internally, at the energy itself, becoming frustrated with ourselves, self-lacerating.


or we may dissociate, go into unaware fantasies to escape.


as per ajahns sucitto and sundara, emotions can be felt & transformed into skillful qualities to give rise to wisdom, compassion, energy which can fuel the path.


seemingly positive drives—sex, careerism—are worth investigating.

they're asked by us to carry a tremendous enormous amount of fulfillment, raised up as the highest experiences.

—when we don't achieve enlightenment we feel really let down.


part of transforming anger and fear and lust is holding back on the initial urge to act out on or suppress the energies.

—like a river that's damned overflowing its banks

—the way we hold back is important. we're not denying that we're feeling anger or fear or lust.


when overwhelmed by the energy, we might need to disarm it with a thought that shocks it into submission:

—reflections on how we felt the last time we acted out (seeing the drawbacks of addictions, how they waste our time).

—skillful samvega.


we clear away the sticky narratives, getting down to stuff that's more primary, the felt hurts and hungers

—we're uncovering both energies an older stories beneath the stories

—what older, unrelated feelings arise?


the practice of body mindfulness throughout our days creates a bridge towards the feelings below stories:

the body as a dynamic experience, not something we're encased in, but something we're infused with, that very much infuses the mind.

thoughts are not separate from the body.


we can sense from where in the body thoughts and emotions arise.

—the energy shifts around, our faces flush, our stomachs tighten

we can use our template of the body when we're calm & breathing as a template against which to see emotions arising


1st process, meet the energy: the analogy of a wild elephant being calmed by a peaceful one: don't send people to tame it, allow peaceful elephant out to meet it, bring it food, keep it company, eventually the wild elephant can be brought into safe interaction with other beings

—similarly we don't try to argue or shame ourselves for the energy

—we bring the peace in the body around it, to contain the energy

—as we sense the emotional currents as they begin to arise, we learn to stand outside of it, not push it out.


2nd process, watch it arise and pass. we don't climb inside stories; we watch the mind's energy rise, the mind's inclination to collapse around impulses and urges.

we don't allow the spotlight of the mind to shrink around the lead actor, losing awareness of the other actors on the stage.

—the buddha on devadatta: "Whoever might think of polluting the ocean with a pot of poison, couldn't succeed, for the mass of water is great."

—it's not about specific people and things, its the mental energy we focus on (ie the emotive current might be a sense of outrage)


if the energy overwhelms the mind, we can practice transfusing anger or lust into safer outlets, via art or journaling or sharing about it

—eventually we can can develop the skill of manifesting the energy.


3rd is to allow the energy out skillfully into the world

—when desire reaches out from a mind that feels small and insecure, it wants to grab onto someone; when anger reaches out, it wants to push away or harm someone; fear wants to cling

—wise reflections cultivate feelings of well being we've attained through our practice, generosity or virtue.

—the energy goes out from a mind that feels less incomplete or shaken

—this infusion of well being transforms the energy from grabbing or hurting into an energy disposed towards helping others.