Oakville Zen Meditation


                                                               Emotional suffering

 Most of us start to practice Zen mindfulness-based meditation because of problems such as dissatisfaction, unhappiness, physical/emotional pain and disillusion or for any other specific reasons happening in life. These reasons are called "suffering".

“Maybe Zen meditation is going to fix my problems and make me happy”.

Internet and books are full of this statement and I am hearing these words very often.

Unfortunately, it never works because we are mistaken about the true cause of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction. External causes inducing “suffering” do occur but they are minority and are transient.

The way we perceive life, its content including people and events, our mind-set and our beliefs are the main reasons of our suffering. This is an inside problem and not an outside one.

Suffering has 4 interrelated faces: physical, mental that is intellectual, emotional and behavioral.

We maybe happy about something right now but we don’t know how long it will last.

Our emotions change from moment to moment and bring with them a cascade of thoughts, feelings and behavior. As feedback, many of them are fueling our unhappiness, delusion and dissatisfaction.

This is a perfect storm, a catch 22 by definition. Your anger will affect negatively your environment, which, in turn, will trigger resentment and other negative emotions within yourself.

Because we are so focused on our feelings, we may become either:

Self- protective and defensive, constantly worried that others will judge or hurt you and take advantage.

Or the opposite, of been defensive, that is being aggressive.

These reactions of self-protection and aggressivity become part of an ongoing emotional cycle, feeding an even stronger emotional storm that causes chaos in the mind and in our relationships.

In Zen teaching, our strong negative feelings are called “poisons”.

They poison our intellectual mind, our emotions our body, our behavior and, obviously, our relationships.

Again and repeating what has been said: we usually blame our frustration and dissatisfaction on things outside self, such as how we are treated or spoken to in a way we don’t like. In this situation, we react violently against that person as an ego self-defense or aggressivity reaction. Our own emotions become the main culprit of our suffering.

We are suffering because we don’t know how to deal with our emotional distorted reactions.

 Final words:

Blaming others, blaming events will never bring you back happiness because 1)you do not control 2) they usually will not change and, if they do change or disappear, 3)new ones will appear all the time until the end of life.

Giving a lesson to others using resistance or aggressivity can make you even more miserable.

Happiness, if not serenity, can be achieved only if:

You learn to be aware of your feelings rather than be under their control.

To accept them as they are w/o any analytic, judgmental and decisional attitude.

Then to let them go.

If there is a solution, go for it but only after controlling your relentless emotional roller coaster.

If there is no solution, accept the fact that there is no problem.

When you struggle with a strong negative feeling and only after accepting it, always ask yourself this question: what is the deep rational of my current feeling.