We are often taught to be equanimous in daily situations and remain compassionately detached from the ups and downs of life. How can spiritual masters remain joyfully engaged no matter what the situation is, and simply show up with what is spontaneously necessary in the moment? For the rest of us, it just feels like emotions immediately arise and sweep us away, and the next thing we know, there is conflict. Too often we respond in anger or fear and do damage to relationships and ourselves.
Behavioral outbursts stem from deeply rooted conditioning, entanglements, and the ego-identification with the body/mind complex. In order to engage with the world but remain detached, these have to slowly be undone. But to fully embody truth, it is not enough to be detached. That can be done by sitting in a cave. There must be love too – a love for all manifestations of creation. We aspire to become compassionately detached so appropriate positive action can follow without entanglement.
The prescriptions to undo our karmic conditioning and ego identifications are already well known. According to yogic science, there are five sheaths that veil the Truth and these need to be thinned out. Spiritual practices from many mystical traditions are paths to this end, as are modern day psychiatric protocols. Physical yoga, energy body work, meditation, various healing techniques, and so many more options are readily available to us today. The trick is to enter into daily practice.
These practices yield subtle results and we often miss the tiny changes that are happening, so it’s important to keep a journal and track the milestones along the way. And along that way, we still do see reactionary and unhealthy responses to situations – for most of us, the transformation is not instantaneous. That is only possible if we have the wherewithal to absolutely accept this moment as it is. So, we need to a way to handle specific situations as they arise in the moment.
A way to approach this is to fine tune the presence of mind in positive emotional situations, and then learn to apply that technique to negative situations. So, for example when peak emotions arise in moments of joy or happiness – like when seeing something we love… can we recognize our own awareness in that instant? That there is an awareness which is witness to a being that is experiencing immense joy. Ultimately, we are that consciousness, that awareness in an absolute sense. That awareness is only ever in the present moment and is unblemished by circumstance. If we can learn to recognize this in what we may call positive peak experiences and find that little space between the knower and the known, then we can apply the same method to those times when we go through pain. And in doing so, the experience remains one of just pain, but without suffering. The mind or body experience unpleasantness but there is no entanglement, so we don’t get swept away by it. We are better able to remain in the stability of stillness in pure awareness.
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