A Path With Heart

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When we have not learned to talk about feelings or even to be aware of them, our life remains entangled. For many meditators, reclaiming an awareness of feelings is a long and difficult process. Yet in Buddhist psychology bringing consciousness to feelings is critical for awakening. In a teaching called the Cycle of the Arising Conditions, the Buddha explains how humans become entangled. It is the place of feeling that binds us or frees us. When pleasant feelings arise and we automatically grasp them, or when unpleasant feelings arise and we try to avoid them, we set up a chain reaction of entanglement and suffering. This perpetuates the body of fear. However, if we learn to be aware of feelings without grasping or aversion, then they can move through us like changing weather, and we can be free to feel them and move on like the wind. It can be a very interesting meditation exercise to focus specifically on our feelings for several days. We can name each one and see which ones we are afraid of, which we are entangled by, which generate stories, and how we become free. “Free” is not free from feelings, but free to feel each one and let it move on, unafraid of the movement of life. We can apply this to the difficult patterns that arise for us. We can sense what feeling is at the center of each experience and open to it fully. This is a movement toward freedom

This excerpt is taken from the book, “A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life“ by Jack Kornfield

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