The previous post was about practice. Spiritual practice. The practice of meditation. Let’s keep appreciating what practice is and how it changes and benefits us, leading to emotional freedom.

“We readily accept the idea of spending years learning to walk, read and write, or acquire professional skills. We spend hours doing physical exercises in order to get our bodies into shape…

“Working with the mind follows the same logic. It will not change just from wishing alone. Meditation is a practice that makes it possible to cultivate and develop certain basic, positive human qualities in the same way other forms of training make it possible to acquire any other skill.”

— Matthieu Ricard

Every time you meditate, you repattern your brain. Every time you allow beta brainwaves to be reduced, you discover richer depths of your mind. The meditative state extends far beyond the brain. It extends to all of your 50 trillion cells. It extends out into the world. Mind permeates the nonphysical dimension as well.

“All of the body is in the mind, but all of the mind is not in the body.”

— Swami Rama

Of all the aspects we’re endowed with as humans, emotions seem to be consistently challenging. It’s odd that this aspect which finds such full expression in humans would be consistently a knotty area. As much as we’re able to have emotions so fully and with such a range, they seem to confuse us and we don’t know how to handle them.

We aren’t very good with letting our emotions live alongside us.

There is no question of not experiencing emotions; it’s a question of not being enslaved by them.

— Matthieu Ricard

Emotions enrich life instead of hinder it, when we’re able to find a greater spiritual container in which they can exist. If emotions are left to express in their everyday versions, then we’re left to deal with pettiness, blame, vindictiveness, selfishness, fear, being a victim, and lack of self-esteem. These don’t lead to emotional freedom.

Because so many good people need help in this area, here are other resources:

What Emotions Are and How to Spiritualize Them
Emotions: To dwell or not to dwell?
Emotional Healing

Today, let’s look at this challenge from other angles.

I define responsibility (response-ability) as the ability to choose how we respond to stimulation coming in through our sensory systems at any given moment in time. Although there are certain limbic system (emotional) programs that can be triggered automatically, it takes less than ninety seconds for one of these programs to be triggered, surge through our body, and then be completely flushed out of our bloodstream. My anger response, for example, is a programmed response that can be set off automatically. Once triggered, the chemical released by my brain surges through my body and I have a physiological experience. Within ninety seconds from the initial trigger, the chemical component of my anger has completed dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over. If, however, I remain angry after those ninety seconds have passed, then it is because I have chosen to let that circuit continue to run. Moment by moment, I make the choice to either hook into my neurocircuitry or move back into the present moment, allowing that reaction to melt away as fleeting physiology.

— Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

90 seconds, folks!

The only way we can get good at making the choice not to run the same reaction with its chemical, emotional, mental and physiological loop is through practice. It’s not an intellectual choice only, because if it was we’d all be good at it. How many times have you turned into an emotional heap, despite your best intentions?

It’s not a choice that can be made because the science makes sense. It’s not a choice that can be made because the therapist recommends it.

To disengage from the debilitating autopilot of emotion is a choice that can only be made from a place of realization inside, in the mind and the heart.

Pure consciousness without content is something all those who meditate regularly and seriously have experienced… And anyone who takes the trouble to stabilize and clarify his or her mind will be able to experience it, too. It is through this unconditioned aspect of consciousness that we can transform the content of mind through training… There is great virtue in resting from time to time in pure awareness of the present moment, and being able to refer to this state when afflictive emotions arise so that we do not identify with them and are not swayed by them.

— Matthieu Ricard

Emotions don’t have to be ’emotional.’ If there’s inward stillness ego agendas, negative emotions, distracted thoughts and negative self-talk are neutralized.

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Unhooking from Neural Circuits

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