Dealing with our Negativities
In the following, the term “Negativity” encompasses everything and anybody producing negative feelings such as unsatisfied desires, physical/emotional pain, hatred, delusion, ignorance, and many more. With mindfulness, we can deal better with our Negativities in life and, hopefully, find healing and freedom. There are mindfulness principles taught by Zen in order to transform negativities in a more manageable way.
Zen is using the acronym R.A.I.N. which stands for Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation and
Non-identification. They are in chronological order for mindfulness meditation practice.
R like Recognition:
When we are stuck in our life, we must begin with a willingness to see what kind of Negativity we are dealing with, that is the cause or causes.
By using Recognition of one of our causes of Negativity, we step out of its opposite which is ignorance/denial and this is important since ignorance/denial, being a source of negative energy, is a great fuel to suffering in its genuine sense.
This is tricky since ignorance/denial is mostly subconscious and recognition cannot be achieved unless denial is brought up to our conscious level.
Recognition moves us away from ignorance/ denial and delusion, opening the door to awareness and acceptance.
A likes Acceptance:
By using Acceptance of one of our causes of Negativity, we step out of its opposite that is automatic refusal and subtle aversion and this is important since fighting/refusal, like denial before, is a source of negative energy is also a great fuel to suffering in its genuine sense.
This is tricky since, like denial again, refusal is mostly subconscious and acceptance cannot be achieved unless resistance is brought up to our conscious level.
Acceptance moves us away from denial and delusion, opening the door to awareness and acceptance.
Be careful here: Acceptance does not mean that we cannot work to improve things/people.
Acceptance is not a sign of giving up or failure or passivity.
As we say in Zen: “ If you understand clearly, things-people are just as they are and if you don’t understand, things-people are still just as they are”.
I like Investigation:
Zen is teaching us that whenever we are stuck in Negativity, it is because we did not look deeply enough into the effects of our Negativity on ourselves. This investigation is aimed at 4 areas affected by Negativity and therefore this search defines the 4 foundations of mindfulness.
Mindfulness of our body: What are the acute and chronic effects of Negativity on our body?
Mindfulness of our feelings: What are they?, Their degrees and impacts?
Mindfulness of our mind: How our Negativity is affecting our cognitive function, rationalization
, and decision?
Mindfulness of our Dharma: How our Negativity is affecting our understanding and application of the Dharma (teaching)? Is the teaching useful or not in dealing with our negativity?
And finally, how much do we relate and identify with it?
N like Non-identification:
Our spontaneous self-identification with our Negativity is, by itself, a cause of anxiety, anger, grieving, fear, and many more other negative feelings. In other words:
A perfect Ego-driven Catch-22! in which Negativity is feeding itself constantly.
Instead of self-identification such as “ I am angry “, practice non-identification: “ I have anger”
or “I have anxiety” rather than “I am anxious”.
Awareness-based Non-Identification is a very challenging skill to acquire and practice since our ego loves self-identification from whatever sources that are not only our good traits but also including our
Negativities. Unless we stop identifying ourselves with negativities, they will control us.
R.A.I.N. is a great tool to practice mindfulness meditation by selecting one of its components
then moving to the next one day after day, year after year. Thanks you all