2022-06-15 Wise to Emotions (3 of 5) Emotions and Self-Referencing
7:31AM Jun 17, 2022
So hello. And we're here to continue on this topic of emotions. And an important part of mindfulness of emotions is to recognize how some emotions arise out of it an appraisal of the situation evaluation and the situation we're in. I know I like to call these secondary emotions that arise from the stories, the judgments, the meaning we assigned to the situation. And I call primary emotions, those which don't require much appraisal evaluation, assigning a meaning to the situation, if there's, you know, certain kinds of things can happen, suddenly, you're working in a kitchen, and with a knife, and the knife suddenly falls off the counter and maybe towards your foot, the, there might be a sudden, very quick reaction of fear, and response, that doesn't take much evaluation and isn't like you look at the knife falling and say, oh, there's a knife falling, the point of the knife is heading to my foot to this wouldn't be a good idea to have it hit me. There's not enough time for that level of evaluation, it's just very quick, or fear that arises very sudden, lame, because maybe a car appeared out of nowhere right next to you driving fast and no. And, and so there's fear. But some emotions arise because of the valuation. And then sometimes those evaluations have to do with me myself in mind, that the situation is what it is, but that we then refer to our selves. And we are we are we evaluated in reference to how we identify ourselves, how we think about ourselves, how we consider ourselves. And so for example, if we have this idea that I'm supposed to be in control, then all the time in every situation, then that we bring with us a pre established evaluation, meaning idea. And when the idea of control doesn't work, then we're disappointed or as despondent. And so that that's a secondary emotion, because in my vocabulary, because it arises not out of the simplicity are the basicness of the situation we're in. But the situation travels through our need to be in control. We have this idea that I should be capable of taking care of things. And so if we don't take care of her properly, then it goes through that idea, I should have been able to do it. And then there's disappointment, or there's angry or grief. And so this idea of of referring it back to some idea of self, and then emotion arising out of that is not a primary but a secondary. And may be in being secondary, maybe it's not always needed. Maybe sometimes it is, and but but to be able to consider how this works. And to be able to question is this emotion I'm feeling now? Is it more primary? Or is it more secondary? And some emotions lend themselves to being more primary, primarily secondary. So for example, if if something like guilt many reasons for guilt, but one aspect of guilt is with it when we have the idea that I am who I am myself, I'm wrong, or I'm bad. And, and so I've seen people who feel guilty for no reason that I can tell that they have done anything wrong. But they have this almost like a pre conceived policy that if anything in the world is going wrong. They should say I'm sorry and they feel guilt or they feel somehow you know, something, the anger. We can have self concepts about ourselves. And if those self concepts are threatened, or are attacked, we can get angry sometimes there's other reasons for anger. But so I'm sitting here today and maybe I I read the news. And the news says
self respecting dharma teachers should only wear blue shirts, not red shirts. And, and so then wow, you know, Where's that coming from now I get angry, I've chose the shirt carefully and I'm happy and proud of my shirt. And, and this is essentially kind of is a broadcasting of my importance as a dharma teacher to wear a red shirt. And so now someone who's saying something different than I'm angry with them for somehow threatening me or hurting me, or because I had no idea of what a dharma teachers would be like. The, or perhaps if I read the headlines, and it says that, you know, dharma teachers should wear blue shirts. And now I'm in front of you, all of you, you've read doll, same headlines, and now I'm afraid, because I'm afraid of the judgments, I'm afraid of that now I'm wrong. And, and I'm gonna be threatened in some ways, all about this image about who I am, I'm defined by the shirt I wear. And sometimes boredom is a sign that the self, that we are self concept we have, is not being pumped up, it's not being reinforced. Sometimes, when our concept of self gets praised, or it gets criticized, then we feel energized by that, maybe we feel a certain kind of joy, when we are praised, maybe we ready to be angry if we're criticized or, and, or if something doesn't really support, or challenges or status or sense of self. But when, when nothing happens, is doesn't neither, neither supports itself and or threatens it, then boredom can arise, a particular kind of boredom that arises from somehow evaluating everything, through the filter of my self concept and who I am and how I'm being supported or, or undermined by situations. So, so all these differences, there are secondary emotions, that all of these can be primary emotions in the sense that they can come just from the moments experience without going through the channels of my self concepts, myself definitions, my ideas of who I am, be myself in mind. And, and, but so much of the so many emotions people have, are triggered by some idea that it's threatening or praising or challenging. For some idea work, we're carrying around with us, of how things should be. Some of those ideas are probably fine, and maybe appropriate, even. But some of them are not, and particularly the ones that are most painful, have to do the ones where we're attached to some concept, some image of ourselves that we want to hold up or want to defend, or we want to use to create safety for ourselves. Some idea of self that has to do with status, conceit, the but I'm better than others, and, and how the outside get threatened. Some idea that what is self is what a human being is. We have ideas of what we're supposed to be to be successful human being. And so if we don't have that success, then we can feel despondent because that's what a good human being is supposed to be like. And so what certain the secondary emotions can do very, we do very well to ask ourselves, what are we believing? What are the stories? What are they evaluations, what is the appraisal we're making, that has triggered this emotion? If we don't do that investigation, we might think that the emotion is a primary one. This is just built into the nature of the universe that if someone says something about the color of my shirt that that casts some kind of, you know, character on who I am and who I need to depend on to defend myself for who I am. But maybe I could look at that and see in my mind that you know, maybe even if people do judge a dharma teacher by the color of their shirt, that's their problem. That's their thing to do. I don't have to Why do I have to pick up with their judgments are their ideas are good
I can, you know, I can be free of that, and I'll wear what I'd like to wear and, and let it be that way. So I don't know if my example is very good, but the point being, that there are emotions that arise, that are primary that are core central emotions that are maybe important to listen to, they have important messages for us. And then we have some emotions, where the message what they're about, is not really to our best interest, they come from appraisals that come from valuations, they come from ideas of self concepts that are not really well founded are very useful. But when those ideas of self ideas of whatever ideas, encounter situations with threaten them, which support them, which offend them, which kept you know, then we can have these secondary forms of guilt and anger and fear and boredom and despondency or joy or, or excitement or all kinds of things. And it's the secondary ones that I'd like to leave you with today as an investigation. And that is, as you go, maybe at some point through the day a couple of times, maybe end of the day, sit down again maybe with a pen and paper or with a friend or something going for a walk and review a little bit some of the stronger emotions of the day and ask yourself did those emotions get triggered by some evaluation some appraisal of the situation some idea and concept that we carried with us and that in and of itself a situation didn't trigger an emotion but only triggered an emotion after it went through the appraisal and was that appraisal that evaluation, some somehow related to your self identity to the concepts ideas of who you think you should be and how you should be in the world. And and then once you do this exercise, then ask yourself Is there a simpler way? Is there a way to be present for that experience any experience without the filter without the curtain of these appraisals, evaluations? Self concepts? Can we set our experience free of of the sometimes the incessant ideas and concepts we're using to constantly appraise situation often in terms of what it does for me, me, myself and mine? So
so they hope this isn't useful for you, and it will continue in this exploration of emotions tomorrow. Thank you.