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What to Do with Negative Emotions

Last night after the talk one person asked Ringu Rinpoche what to do if negative emotions arise. He said even though negative emotions are natural things that happen just like waves in the sea or shadows which can’t be separated from ourselves, they do indeed bring suffering. Hence, there is a need to deal with them, not to let them become our master. The best thing to do is not to think about what has happened. In general, people have a tendency to be indulged in the emotions, no matter whether it is sadness or anger and thus hurt themselves. We keep thinking why things happen the way they do, why this and that person says something negative about us. We have to understand that it’s not useful to keep thinking about what happened. When sadness or anger comes, just observe it and understand that it will naturally go away, in the same manner as when it comes.

There are many ways for us to train our mind so that we know how to deal with negative emotions. One of the ways is to meditate. But meditation doesn’t mean simply to sit cross-legged in a prayer room. Meditation is to make our mind flexible so that it becomes the way we want it to be, as the following saying. “Let your body be on your seat, let your mind be in your body and let there be ease”. Meditation is a way to bring the mind home. The mind is here and now, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Timing is not important. It can be 5 or 10 minutes each time. We need to be relaxed and focus our mind on something positive, which can be as simple as our breath. We can do this anywhere. Meditating often and learning to understand the nature of all things will help calm our mind and bring more long-lasting happiness.

Rinpoche said many people complain that they can’t be relaxed because they are too busy and they have no time for meditation. He said that’s a wrong attitude because the busier we are, the more relaxed we need to be. This is because being busy can bring stress and anxiety which will do harm to ourselves. If we are relaxed, we can work more efficiently.

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