Monday, June 4, 2012

Wait a minute!

I spend much of my time being annoyed or irritated or both.  Most of the times such feelings arise, they seem to be related to events and people not being the way I want them to be.  I want to try to be present and aware of such feelings while buying into them less.  So, these words from Jack Kornfield get my attention:

When we become skillful at being mindful of these hindrances and look carefully and closely, we find that no state of mind, no feeling, no emotion actually lasts more than fifteen or thirty seconds before it is replaced by some other one. But we must look really closely to see this. We might be angry, and then, if we name it—"angry . . . angry"—and observe this state with patient attention, then we soon discover it is no longer anger, it has now turned into resentment. The resentment is there for a little while and then it turns into self-pity. Then we observe the self-pity and it turns into grief or despair and we observe the despair for a little while and it turns into self-justification, and then that turns back into anger. If we look, we see that the mind is constantly changing. Mindfulness teaches us about impermanence, movement, and how there's no need to identify with any emotional or mental state.

Kornfield, Jack; Siegel, Dr. Daniel (2011-12-21). Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are (p. 78). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

I think his estimate of the duration of a feeling is correct for me.  I guess that when I hold on to a feeling, negative or positive, it is because I focus on it, internally verbalize it, built a case of words and reasons for it.  I believe that not some negative feelings are helpful and accurate, that I am being played or mistreated or have behaved shamefully or lazily.  But it is still interesting to me that I could wait a minute and revisit the feeling to see how it looks then.

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