Sathi introduces the idea of a buffet. There are so many choices, yet we only take a few items, and successfully ignore the rest. We also decide which items are healthy for us instead of just eating from the dessert table.
We can follow the same process in our lives as we deal with all the emotions and different situations.
- Observe your emotion. If you are uncomfortable ask why.
- Ask yourself, “Is this my ego? What do I gain from expressing this right now?”
- Voice your feelings only if it will be beneficial to the other person.
- By ignoring the emotion you are not feeding into it, much like ignoring certain options at a buffet.
- Identify the emotion, examine it, and then let it go
[Sathi] Any thoughts, or any questions? [Meditator] Last week you talked about not feeding into certain things. A couple thoughts that came to mind was not feeding into it can sometimes be resisting which creates some problems. Avoiding and distracting. I’m wondering if where does my list end with that whole process? [Sathi] When we go to the buffet to eat. There are sometimes hundreds of items. Do we eat everything? No. You only choose a few things to eat. How do you choose? You think, “I like this.”
There are many other items that you don’t pay attention to. Those other items to attract your attention. Why don’t they attract your attention? Because you may not be interested in it to eat that day, or you don’t have the desire to have that [item]. Or, you want to try something else.
In the same way, there are so many things happening in your life. But that means you don’t throw that food away. You just know the food is there and you just walk away. You don’t bother with it. You only choose what you need to choose.
Can we follow the same practice with our life? It isn’t about fighting [against it] or pushing it away, but you are recognizing that you can choose what to do and what not to do. You are mindfully choosing certain things to do. What is beneficial for you. What is helpful for you. Even though you have an opportunity [to do] something else, you think, “Oh, that is not me. That is not part of my practice. That is not something I want to do. I don’t see a benefit in there for me.”
Is it difficult to do [this]? No. But, unfortunately, if you don’t know exactly who you are and what you want to do, then you might want to eat everything in the buffet. Everything that is coming into your life, you want to do it.
The mindful person is going to choose mindfully. If you are not mindful, then, your emotion is going to choose for you. There is some food that is very tasty but maybe it is not healthy for you. If you let your senses choose, not your thinking mind, then you may eat certain things that are not healthy for your body.
The person who has compassion, the person who will take care of their own body, that person will choose what to eat, what is healthy for me, not for your mind but for your body.
There are a lot of things we are doing in our life. There are certain things that are healthy for your mind. There are certain things that are not healthy for your mind. Even the things you express like anger. Is it really healthy for others? Is it healthy for your mind? For yourself? What kind of person are you toward others while you are expressing your anger?
But, when you choose to express compassion. When you choose to express ego. Think about what kind of person you are being to yourself and what kind of person you are being to others.
We will have those friendly and beneficial choices, once you have mindfulness. Then, you will choose things mindfully.
The other important thing is, when you are not doing something, you don’t do it with some difficulties. You are not doing it because you are not putting yourself in that path by knowing the danger. By knowing your weakness. Sometimes you really want to express your anger. But, when you have mindfulness, you ask yourself, “What do I gain by expressing anger right now? Why do I want to say this to this person right now? What is it going to do?”
So, that’s how you are going to choose to do things with mindfulness.[Meditator] I’m hearing him asking about “stuffing”, stuffing the anger or stuffing the sorrow. Or, stuffing things which is a very male trait. [Sathi] That is what we think. But the reality is that we don’t stop or stuff anger or frustration as we think. We the urge to express ourselves. As long as you express it you let that anger or frustration or anxiety to reproduce. When you stop expressing, then even you don’t give value into it. That way, next time, you will not generate it. As long as you are respecting your urge, then you are being that angry person. Because it is food for your mind. Initially, we think, “Well, I should express this out. I should not keep it.”
Often when we feel uncomfortable we want to express that. We want to say, “Well, I feel really uncomfortable right now.” We have practiced that, to express ourselves. But, most of the time you are being a bad person by doing it.
As a mindful person, what should you do? You should investigate that. “Why do I want to express this?” If it is beneficial for the other person, you are not saying it because that makes you happy or because it gives you comfort. You are saying it because you think that it is beneficial for the other person to hear. Then you will express it. Not to bring comfort to yourself. That’s the mindful choice.[First meditator] Going off of what he said, it sounds like it comes from intention. What your intentions are. What your values are.What you are prioritizing. And if anger and expressing that doesn’t align with that, it is more like a cognitive reframing? So, you are challenging the thought process of justifying anger. You are using the opposite of that with thinking and then it is too much anger, you feel validated if you justify it, you’ll use a breathing technique to get through it. So you are not doing the habitual reacting. [Sathi] What is behind all of those things? It is our ego. Our ego is what is justifying the anger. We think we have a right to be angry. And we deserve to have this reaction of not being nice. With mindfulness, you will not support this ego. And you’ll see “Oh, I’m being foolish.” Then, you are not validating the anger. When you are not validating the anger, then you don’t give anger a chance to grow. [Meditator] Basically, just wrapping it up and just letting it go? [Sathi] You are making it powerless. It will disappear slowly. You are making ego powerless. [Meditator] So, if you have this anger and you stuff it. That anger is still there. But, if you identify it and just observe it and just let it go. [Another meditator] Not only anger but grief. [Sathi] Uh hmmm. Any of those painful emotions. If anything makes you vulnerable, it is definitely something you don’t want to validate. [Meditator] Even something as simple as your thoughts while you are doing breathing meditation. If I tell my thought, “Go away! Go Away!” Then, it comes back stronger than ever.
And if I say, “Oh hi there. You are thinking about food.” And then it goes away on its own. Or, I get an itch and it goes away. Ahhh, okay.[Meditator] I find myself saying when I start thinking something, my mind says, “Oh, monkey mind again” And then my mind gets stuck on that whole monkey mind and goes all over the place. [Laughing]
If I just let it go…. then it goes away. But, if I try to name it and identify it, then it takes over.[Sathi] I think today we can stop here. I will say Happy Thanksgiving Day to all of you.
Recorded on December 3, 2019, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Mankato, Minnesota.
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