Link to talk

  • Negative emotions tend to swallow up the energy of attention

    • Attention becomes “depressed”
  • If we can increase the energy of the attention, then the energy of the emotion decreases

  • Working with emotions, we develop:

    • Capacity to hold and embrace what’s difficult (important aspect of healing)
    • Confidence
    • Courage
    • Openness
  • It’s not an easy process, it needs, kindness, compassion, patience

    • We also need to take a lot of rest from working with emotions

Assumptions About Emotions

Trauma from the Past

  • We assume that finding the underlying cause of a trauma will bring healing
    • We also assume that the negative emotions that come up are related to past experiences
    • Rob had a lot of catarthic experiences, crying etc… but it didn’t bring lasting changes
    • A lot of creating the difficult, just to heal it
      • But he would still go through all that
      • The process also brought a lot of heart opening
        • Rob is hesitant to discourage people from this kind of work
  • This view misses the dependent arising in the present
    • There are causes and conditions in the present that make those emotions come up

Feeling Through Always Brings Healing

  • We assume that just Feeling Through Emotions is healing, but that may not always be enough
    • **Sometimes attending to the difficult (giving attention to the problem) may feed it **
    • There’s a case to be made for skillful not attending (and instead focus on metta, nature, breath)
  • Rather, healing depends on the relationship we have with emotions in the present
    • Nurturing a healthy, beautiful, balanced relationship with what’s there
    • Even when there’s something difficult, we can bring sweetness and kindness to our attention
  • Kindness is key
    • Can I meet myself and the emotions with kindness?
    • Let go of any wish for it to go away

Mindfulness and Cultivation

  • Mindfulness is one wing of practice, the other wing is Cultivation
    • Cultivating beauty, kindness, metta, Samadhi, wonder
      • These qualities are builders of happiness
    • Am I looking at these two as two balanced processes (mindfulness and cultivation)?


  • Emptiness practice
  • ”Whatever’s happening is not mine, not me, not myself”
    • Not even the awareness is me or mine
    • Eventually experiences start to dissolve
    • Can healing occur if no difficulty is arising?
    • The amount of stuff that comes up is in relation to how much Self I am fabricating
  • Even the past is empty, we are co-creating our emotions in the moment with our views
    • The views we have on Self, on others, on the past etc…

Dangers in Every Practice

  • All practices are ways of looking to be picked up and put down, they all come with risks or downsides
    • Psychotherapy may be tremendously useful
      • But it can also build up too much Self (over-emphasis on oneself)
        • One can become too entitled
        • Fits right in the “me-obsessed” culture
    • Danger of Vipassana’s laser-focused attention
      • May bring hardness and disconnection from emotions