For most people at most times, violent emotions
are destructive. People fly into rage and say something they
don't mean. They may strike out and hurt someone, regretting
it later. Or, when hurt by a lover's rejection, they may mope
and eat and lay in bed, rotting in the murk of self-destructive
depression. Most violence is a form of self-abuse or other-abuse.
Therefore, at first, spiritual growth means cultivating compassion
and less emotional violence toward yourself and others. When
you begin to grow in self-awareness, you are naturally motivated
toward peace and harmony. When upset or riled, you learn to take
a few breaths and calm yourself down. You try to exercise kindness
rather than hate, acceptance rather than judgment, joy rather
In this way, you can become harmonious--and eventually bland.
Smiling and acquiescent, your depth of love-power can become
forfeited for the sake of safe but shallow calmness. You may
have grown from irresponsible violence to rehearsed tranquillity,
but growth doesn't need to stop there.
After you have developed the capacity to breathe through your
emotional reflexes and act graciously, there is another step
to take. You can learn to open as your emotion. Rather
than striking out in knee-jerk reactivity, and rather than breathing
through your anger to achieve calmness, you can actually use
anger, or any other emotion, as a doorway to a deeper expression
of truth and love.
Remember a time when you wanted to hit someone, punch a wall,
break a dish, or hurt yourself. You probably felt trapped--by
your own limits or by external constraints--or you felt stuck
without love. Violence is always an effort toward greater freedom
or love. Openness is freedom and love. Even the most violent
or self-destructive emotions are rooted in the heart's need for
openness, to be free, to give and receive love.
When you are open, then you are able to give and receive love
fully, and you are free. However, when you don't practice to
open, when you are unable to live as love, then your love-energy
backs up and churns as emotional mayhem. You feel trapped and
alone. Your emotional energy careens and jags.
Embraced artfully, intense emotions can be a quick route to deeper
openness. Anger can provide you with the sharp thunder necessary
to awaken from moody distraction, if you can open your heart
and really feel your love-urgency that moves as anger.
Sadness can expose your heart, too. Right now, notice any sadness
you may feel. Soften your ribcage and relax your jaw so sadness
can swim freely all the way through your chest. Like the ocean,
softness is yielding but not weak. Yield to your sadness without
collapsing. Feel the swells of sad energy in your chest, the
heaves and gasps of yearning, the depth of love in your heart
that opens as sadness. To open as sadness is to open as the enormous
ocean of love's yearning.
This is part of a chapter from 'Naked
Buddhism' by David Deida, vistit his website thru links.
See also: sexual
essence, a quiz and: three
stages of relating and HotBooks