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Sandra Pawula

Overwhelmed by Thoughts and Emotions?

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” - Aristotle

There are times when my mind seems to turn against me.  It brews up a tumultuous storm.  Gnarly emotions trying to get my goat and succeeding from time to time - or so it seems.  Even meditation seems like a Herculean feat.

Does that ever happen to you?

One day, as my mind was bombarded by an onslaught of strong emotions, I wandered down to the ocean’s shore. Sitting on the firm black sand, watching the waves roll in again and again, this is what came into my mind.

Just like the ocean, one moment mind is stormy and the next it is calm.  True happiness and peace come from recognizing the transitory nature of all that appears in the mind.  Don't seek for happiness or shrink from displeasure.  Just let be with whatever comes your way.  It will dissolve naturally on its own.

This is not my original thinking.  It's the wisdom at the heart of meditation.  Recognizing the transitory nature of thoughts and emotions - and the freedom it brings - is one of the main outcomes and greatest benefits of regular meditation practice.

Wisdom Gossip Bubbles Up From Within

In addition, as you listen to the teachings on meditation, contemplate them, and apply them in your own practice and life, “wisdom gossip” begins to bubble up from within.  Just like the memory of the teachings rescued me from drowning that day in my own despair, the teachings will also begin to rescue you.

“More and more, then, instead of the harsh and fragmented gossip that ego has been talking to you all your life, you will find yourself hearing in your mind, the clear directions of the teachings, which inspire, admonish, guide, and direct you at every turn."

– Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Meditation is often sought after as a “feel good" solution to life.  Many come to  meditation hoping for an unceasing state of peace.  It’s true that basic meditation calms the mind.  But, without a greater sense of perspective on how the mind actually works,  deluded thoughts and emotions will only rise up - at the slightest provocation - to threaten you once again.

Practicing meditation doesn’t magically make all the risings of mind permanently disappear.  If it did, you would be unconscious if not dead!  But it does give you a spacious wisdom-based perspective with which to meet them when they surprise you once again.

Getting to Know Your Own Mind

Through regular meditation, you will gradually come to know the intricacies of your very own mind. Its convoluted habits, well worn patterns, and complex stories will be exposed in all their resplendent mutlicolor variety.  The ego’s sly tricks will be uncovered and put to rest.  Conflicting emotions will slowly faze you less and less.  And, a sense of confidence, spaciousness, and ease will become your new friend.

Life will not always be a bowl of cherries.  Through meditation, we can clearly see there's no usefulness in indulging negative thoughts and emotions, but neither is it beneficial to suppress them or pretend they don't exist.  When, through meditation, we practice seeing their transitory nature, allowing them to pass by like a cloud in the sky, we gradually come to discover that they vanish on their own.