Author Topic: Struggling with emotions  (Read 3725 times)

Thomas D

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Struggling with emotions
« on: July 27, 2016, 02:58:28 PM »
Hi all

For the last 3-4 days I've been struggling with intense emotions ranging from anger to fustration to desire to depression. Every time these passions arise they feel uniquely intense, but for the last 3-4 days it feels worse than ever. I've been meditating/attempting on and off for the last 12-13 years. Since the beginning of april this year I have been steady. I have experienced a calm which has been noticeable to others as well. BUT, when the passions arise I truly suffer.

A part of me thinks I'm meditating all wrong, another part tells me it's part of the process. Another tells me to leave the external condition( girlfriend). And so the cycle repeats itself.

I can contain all this shit better than ever, but the intensity of the emotions matches the restraint.

Can anyone offer some help?

Sincerely, Thomas

Matthew

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 12:10:32 AM »
Quote
... when the passions arise I truly suffer ...

Passion Etymology: from Latin Pati, Passio; "to suffer".

Thomas,

Our passions do make us suffer. The way that seems to work best is to keep developing equanimity until you reach a point where you can become aware of the emotion without being consumed or taken over by the emotion. Then things are much clearer, insight into the causes and solutions to the suffering more easily discerned.

As long as "the intensity of the emotions matches the restraint" you are just at logger-heads with yourself, an ongoing tussle between emotion and restraint: so develop the restraint - equanimity. Sit with those emotions and feel them without feeding them. Get to know them, befriend them, see what they have to tell you. When emotional states are investigated this way equanimity will follow.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Thomas D

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 02:03:31 AM »
As long as "the intensity of the emotions matches the restraint" you are just at logger-heads with yourself, an ongoing tussle between emotion and restraint: so develop the restraint - equanimity. Sit with those emotions and feel them without feeding them. Get to know them, befriend them, see what they have to tell you. When emotional states are investigated this way equanimity will follow.

Kindly,

Matthew

Hi Matthew, thank you for responding.

I feel at loss about how to develop equanimity here. You say to develop the restraint - equanimity. Are you saying that I am just punching back, actually not restraining? Can you clarify please?

Sincerely, Thomas


Matthew

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 02:48:19 AM »
Hi Thomas,

Only more time sitting/being with and aware of these emotions without getting caught in them will show their truth. This is the way to develop equanimity: to stay with something without getting caught up in it. Like all aspects of meditation it takes practice.

You already wrote, "I can contain all this shit better than ever" - it's simply that you need to continue developing holding such emotions in awareness without forcing them down or feeding them. You've made progress so keep it up.

M
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Thomas D

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2016, 08:10:12 AM »
Thanks again Matthew, I'm gonna go think now. What I might be doing wrong is being too rigid. Befriend, getting to know the emotional state is not what I've been doing. I'll try and be more curious and soft next time. Funny thing is, I'm quite happy now, eventhough there has been a world war going on for the last 3 days in my mind.

Cheers!

Sincerely, Thomas


Suited4Battle

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2016, 09:42:11 PM »
sounds like what I go through at times n esp yest, I wrote this to some friends earlier, I included a link to a dharma talk but wont post that here bec not sure if I'm allowed

" its crazy how strong emotional swings can be and how when ur in despair it seems like its never going to end even though u objectively know everything passes n  theres a good chance things will be fine in just a day but it's so hard to think clearly n see whats really happening in this mindset,,,,had a really bad day yest but today is the complete opposite, and last night I listened to this dharma talk, which was exactly what I needed to hear, I think it would resonate with anyone that struggles with anger and desire"

I really like what Matthew said about just sitting with the emotions and befriend them, its something to strive for but yest I think that would have been impossible, maybe next time?     

TheJourney

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2016, 12:53:13 AM »
Give you a concrete example of what Matthew is saying.

Early this year, I watched a WW II movie that would arouse strong  emotion in the past and my mind would react with emotion. This time I felt the charged emotion physically but it did not get into my head. My mind was still calm and peaceful.

Basically, focus on the physical sensation of the emotion and feeling.

Attachless

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2016, 07:35:34 AM »
Give you a concrete example of what Matthew is saying.

Early this year, I watched a WW II movie that would arouse strong  emotion in the past and my mind would react with emotion. This time I felt the charged emotion physically but it did not get into my head. My mind was still calm and peaceful.

Basically, focus on the physical sensation of the emotion and feeling.

By contrast / giving another reference, lately I had a dispute with a co-worker who had behaved in wrong ways for some time, acted like a boss, disrespectful etc. Then there was an incident that made clear his attitude in general and was directed at me in that case - I replied shoutingly with the emotion of anger, very obviously. When it was done I noticed my body being in utter electricity - almost shaking - from the incidence / the anger. I could turn around and keep talking to my other female co-worker in a normal / joking way, but the physical effects stayed with me for quiiite some time. I felt loaded with bustling electricity, my breath was so fast and heavy I was ready to run marathon or something. My mind was all observant, with the urges to rationalize the emotions with the incident, judge, take it personal (thoughts like "how can he do this to me", "be better should have" etc.).

Hope it helps clear awareness of emotion a bit. Was a great lesson to me atleast, and I did not indulge in the mental reactions / the tendency to do so and keep a clear mind, observing physical reaction (that was very obviously there for quite some time). Kind of trembling, really

Cheers
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

Nicky

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2016, 11:43:55 AM »
Another tells me to leave the external condition (girlfriend).

The above external condition is not related to meditation but, for meditation to not be hindered, such external conditions should ideally be harmonized, which is more a matter of relationship, its purpose & communication.

Do you think your emotions are related to the external condition or to something internal?

Metta ....

Thomas D

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2016, 03:15:13 PM »
Hi Nicky, thanks for asking.

My emotions are definitely related to my girlfriend. But then, they are also internally related. I am angry at her because of the way she treats her son. I feel that I am superior to her, therefore I desire someone equal. I am frustrated because I want to leave her, but I feel so sorry for her. I am depressed because of all this.

But then I remember that I wasn't very happy before I met her. I guess we found each other in desparation.

On the one hand I want external change, on the other hand I feel that she just brings to light my inner darkness and my lack of love for myself and her.

She says she loves me and she is very tolerant.

Sorry if I threw too much at you Nicky. I appreciate your thoughts.

Sincerely, Thomas


Nicky

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2016, 12:24:44 AM »
My emotions are definitely related to my girlfriend. But then, they are also internally related. I am angry at her because of the way she treats her son. I feel that I am superior to her, therefore I desire someone equal. I am frustrated because I want to leave her, but I feel so sorry for her. I am depressed because of all this.

Yes, I understand. But the solution here is not found in meditation. The solution here is found in correcting the respective attitudes & contributions to the relationship. For example, if she treats her son improperly, you have a duty to address this with her in an appropriate (ethical, loving & compassionate) manner.

The Buddha did teach the ideal partner is a partner with 'equal' beliefs (goals/values), ethics, generosity/sacrifice & wisdom however, given you are now with this woman, you can act to try to improve her & influence her to be more equal to you. The Buddha called this the 'gift of equality':

Quote
And what, monks, is the power of benevolence? There are four ways of benevolence; by gifts, by friendly speech, by helpful acts and by bestowal of equity. This is the best of gifts: the gift of Dhamma. And this is the best of friendly speech: to teach again and again Dhamma to those who wish for it and who listen attentively. And this is the best of helpful acts: to arouse, instil and strengthen faith in the unbeliever; to arouse, instil and strengthen virtue in the immoral; to arouse, instil and strengthen generosity in the niggard; to arouse, instil and strengthen wisdom in the unwise. And this is the best bestowal of equity: if a stream-winner becomes equal to a stream-winner; a once-returner equal to a once-returner; a non-returner equal to a non-returner; and an arahant equal to an arahant. This, monks, is called the power of benevolence.
~~~

But then I remember that I wasn't very happy before I met her. I guess we found each other in desparation.

This probably contributes to your unhappiness ('depression') because you probably have a sense of gratitude & obligation towards her. You have a choice to either leave her or, otherwise, help improve her.

Quote
On the one hand I want external change, on the other hand I feel that she just brings to light my inner darkness and my lack of love for myself and her.

My impression is you are expressing love, since you are angry at her because of the way she treats her son.

I am well-known for my blunt & 'sexist' comments but do not allow a woman to make you feel bad because she needs you to be like a superhero or saviour for her. Many woman urgently need to self-improve their own lives & habitual behaviours rather than expect a hero to save them.

What I am saying is it is a mutual effort between a man & a woman to fix problems (rather than blaming each other).

Quote
She says she loves me and she is very tolerant.

If she loves & is tolerant, why do you say she treats her son badly & you wish she was equal to you? Sometimes words such as 'love' are easily & not accurately spoken & sometimes 'tolerance' is a form of apathy & neglect.

In Buddhism, skilful & healthy behaviours between people are clearly-defined. Both her & your behaviours either meet the criteria or do not. If those behaviours (including towards her son) do not meet the criteria then this must inevitably cause problems & thus also provide areas for improvement & development.

In summary, it sounds like you are taking on the emotional burden, particularly blaming yourself if you leave her. However, she is also a contributor to her own fate. In Buddhism, it is taught beings are the heirs to their own actions. Therefore, if you want to fix the problem, it sounds like she must do more work rather than emotionally blackmail you that she 'loves & is tolerant'.

With metta

 :)

Middleway

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2016, 04:18:53 PM »
@Thomas D, you are going through a text book example of suffering that is created by your ego self. All your negative emotions including feeling sorry for your girl friend arise from your ego self and its insecurity. Love and compassion arise only when you are not around i.e when you do not think from your ego self perspective. If you feel compassionate for the kid, then you act without self interest or in the interest of your girl friend. If you are worried your actions might cause issues, then it is not compassion.

Remember, it is not her! It always comes down to your own calculating, cunning, and conniving ego self. So, keep it simple and do not over analyze the circumstances. You are not responsible for anything and anyone in this world. Do what feels right without any expectations. The residual life will take care of itself.

Warm regards,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Nicky

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2016, 08:25:35 PM »
Remember, it is not her! It always comes down to your own calculating, cunning, and conniving ego self. So, keep it simple and do not over analyze the circumstances. You are not responsible for anything and anyone in this world. Do what feels right without any expectations. The residual life will take care of itself.

Did I once read here that you are married with children? If so, do you allow or are peacefully accepting of your wife & children to do whatever they want (such as you wife having sexual affairs with many men or your children destroying things like televisions or never taking a bath)?

Thanks

Middleway

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2016, 09:13:12 PM »
Remember, it is not her! It always comes down to your own calculating, cunning, and conniving ego self. So, keep it simple and do not over analyze the circumstances. You are not responsible for anything and anyone in this world. Do what feels right without any expectations. The residual life will take care of itself.

Did I once read here that you are married with children? If so, do you allow or are peacefully accepting of your wife & children to do whatever they want (such as you wife having sexual affairs with many men or your children destroying things like televisions or never taking a bath)?

Thanks

What do you suggest I should do? Please enlighten me.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2016, 02:35:22 AM »
Generally if you are acting mindfully and in accordance with the path such outlandish things are unlikely to happen - if you parent well your kids will be well behaved, likewise if you put positivity into your relationship your partner is less likely to fool around. Should the opposite occur the problem is with the other party, and you should be accepting of whatever it is fuelling their improper behaviour.

These are easy things to say however, sometimes you need to create some distance.

Nicky

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2016, 07:45:52 AM »
What do you suggest I should do? Please enlighten me.

All I am saying is there are standard behavioral norms in any relationship & it is these things people in relationship need to work on & get right.

Regards

Thomas D

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2016, 09:36:50 AM »
Nicky and Middleway, thank you for your input. You are both hitting nerves. I'm thinking about it. I will give a response when I have chewed it through and meditated some.

Sincerely, Thomas

Thomas D

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2016, 10:22:10 AM »
I'm gonna have to answer in stages. About 13 years ago I was in despair. I knew I was creating all my mental crap and I was yearning for a solution. In the evening after a hard work day I just sat in the hallway completely broken. My mind was pulling in all directions. For some reason I pulled out a book from the the bookshelf (parents house) called "body language". I turned to a specific page and read: "are you smiling because you are happy or are you happy because you are smiling?"

This instantly penetrated right through and my ego fell away. I was filled with love for myself and compassion towards everyone striving. The next morning I woke up at 4am and went for an hours walk before going to work. I smiled and walked straight and my confidense became solid. Life was great. I could suddenly hear what friends were saying. I could see their loving intent. Bla bla bla. It lasted for a month. My ego was back.

What you are saying Middleway is clear to me as well. I know I am the creator of the trouble, but still, it continues.


Nicky

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2016, 10:45:40 AM »
Now, there is some inner turmoil. That is all OK. You have some perspective & awareness to work with that (since you are in touch with meditation, Buddhism & spiritual friends, such as on this forum).

Please take care with your relationship. Do not do anything hasty or rash with it. If you feel internally troubled & your partner notices, simply sincerely apologise to her & say you need some personal space.

Sometimes there are issues in a relationship but, deep down, the partner is our friend & has helped us in our life. Despite the issues, try to always keep a sense of gratitude for what our partner has done for us in the past.

With metta

Thomas D

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2016, 12:03:11 PM »
Sometimes there are issues in a relationship but, deep down, the partner is our friend & has helped us in our life. Despite the issues, try to always keep a sense of gratitude for what our partner has done for us in the past.

This is very true, thank you for the reminder. I become so lost in my inner turmoil that I often forget this. Despite my girlfriends flaws, she has been 100% loyal and supportive of me. My inner demon turns it around and makes her out to be weak and needy. I'll contemplate this.

Middleway

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2016, 06:18:44 PM »
Sometimes there are issues in a relationship but, deep down, the partner is our friend & has helped us in our life. Despite the issues, try to always keep a sense of gratitude for what our partner has done for us in the past.

This again is attachment to the past. This past is long gone and dead. This approach sows the seeds guilt and causes more misery. We have to deal with what is now without any expectations.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Thomas D

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2016, 07:30:33 PM »
This again is attachment to the past. This past is long gone and dead. This approach sows the seeds guilt and causes more misery. We have to deal with what is now without any expectations.

Hey middleway, I'm surprised how extreme your couples counceling is ;)

Dharma mind, worldly mind. I've heard it's good to separate the two. And what is gratitude if not for the past?

Middleway

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2016, 07:40:04 PM »
This again is attachment to the past. This past is long gone and dead. This approach sows the seeds guilt and causes more misery. We have to deal with what is now without any expectations.

Hey middleway, I'm surprised how extreme your couples counceling is ;)

Dharma mind, worldly mind. I've heard it's good to separate the two. And what is gratitude if not for the past?

"grat·i·tude/ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/

noun
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness"

You can do this only in the now. Dharma mind and worldly mind should be fused together to be able to live a contented life. My two cents!

Kind regards,

Middleway
PS: My advice is free and worthless. This is the reason I have a disclaimer in the footnote "Take everything I say with a grain of salt".
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 07:55:49 PM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Matthew

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Re: Struggling with emotions
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2016, 04:48:20 AM »
Dharma mind and worldly mind should be fused together to be able to live a contented life.

Yes. Any division is foolish.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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