Sitting With Emotions
Here in the United States, we have a lot of feelings and we don't seem to know what to do with them. As a result, we often avoid them until they escalate into rage, or we numb out and disconnect altogether.
In these times of heightened uncertainty and instability, whether personal or societal or both, it helps to have a daily practice that includes simply sitting with your feelings and letting them be felt. Unfelt feelings become free-floating feelings, and free-floating feelings will always find something to attach to. Free-floating anxiety will find something to be anxious about. Free-floating anger will find something to be angry about. Free-floating feelings will even create something to attach to, and in this case we are adding suffering, not only to our own lives but potentially to the lives of others as well. These substitute attachments solve nothing about the original problem. So take time to sit each day to check in, asking simply, "what am I feeling right now?”, and let yourself feel. If there’s an action to be taken afterwards, take the action with clear seeing and clear intention.
In Buddhism, there are three causes of suffering: attachment, aversion, and ignorance. To be unwilling to see and accept what is true, is to remain ignorant, and is to suffer more. To be able to be with what's true is to suffer less and allows us to find a path forward that is in line with reality.
Never underestimate how much you can hold things together with your ability to stay present, to not react, and to see more deeply. Humans are fundamentally good. The Buddha nature is within everyone, no matter what we may call it. But humans don't do well with fear and there is a lot of fear. So take the time to sit each day with your feelings, including your fears. Become more practiced in being with all of your feelings, and your very presence will help others do the same.