“If you follow self-cherishing thoughts, those thoughts become your identity. Then anger, pride, the jealous mind – all this negative emotional stuff arises. When you let go of the I and cherish others, negative emotional thoughts do not arise. That’s very clear. Anger does not arise at those you cherish.”
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Buddhist psychology is based on an optimistic view of the human potential – that we are all fundamentally healthy, loving and wise. Of course we are not always in touch with these inherent good qualities, we only have to look at the world to see there is much suffering, confusion and violence. And indeed our own lives may be full of problems,Yet the promise is that all of this can be overcome – that we can learn to work with our minds to develop the positive qualities and emotions, such as love, generosity, respect, kindness and so forth. At the same time we can work to reduce, and ultimately remove those qualities and emotions that cause pain and harm to ourselves and others. It is a truly radical view.
Usually, we try one of two unsuccessful strategies to work with our emotions. We either try to get rid of them by repressing or ignoring them or we try to get rid of them by acting them out. Neither way works very well. Repressed emotions have a way of turning into bodily tension and illness or of popping out at inconvenient times. We may find ourselves exploding into tears over something unimportant because we have tried to push away our sadness over something else. On the other hand, acting out emotions tends to intensify them and often leads to problems in relationships. It can even lead to violence when we become carried away by the energy of anger. Instead of trying to get rid of emotions, we can bring curiosity, mindfulness, and loving-kindness to them. Going toward the direct experience of our emotions lets us get to know them well.
Join us in this fascinating exploration of our emotions, not just for its own sake, but as a tool to help us work skilfully with our minds in order to bring about happiness for ourselves, and for those around us. All very welcome.
“We have the power to look into our own minds, to recognise what harms us, and out of enormous self respect, we can learn to change the poison; we can learn to get rid of the neuroses.”
Ven Robina Courtin