Pushing difficult emotions

A problem arises when we tend to become too ambitious in terms of dealing with emotions–particularly those involved with spiritual practice. We’ve been told to be kind, gentle, good people. Those are the conventional ideas of spirituality. When we begin to find the spiky quality in ourselves, we see is an antispirituality and try to push it away. That is the biggest mistake of all in working with our basic psychological patterns. Once we try to push the biggest problems away and look for a dramatic cure for them, we are constantly pushed back, defeated all the time. The idea is not to seduce ourselves into trying to create a Utopian spirituality but to try and look into the details of the peak emotions, the dramatic quality of the emotions. We don’t have to wait for situations which are regarded as big and meaningful to us; we should make use of even the small situations in which these emotions occur. We should work on the small or minor situations and the their particular emotional qualities. Do not suppress or let go of irritations and their particular emotional qualities. Do not suppress or let go of irritations, but become part of them; feel their abstract qualities. The irritations then have no one to irritate. They might fade away or become creative energy. If we are able to work brick by brick with those smaller, seemingly insignificant emotions, at some point we will find that removing each brick has taken away the whole wall.

– Chögyam Trungpa, The Sanity we are Born With

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