The book Search inside yourself by Chade-Meng Tan really blew my mind and taught me so many new things I just have to share it with you. Here is the video where I talk about pain management, self-control, where is suffering coming from and how to avoid it.
Often we think that self-control or self-regulation is about avoiding emotions, denying or repressing true feelings or about never having certain emotions. Even monks, masters of self-regulation, experience negative feelings from time to time. It is impossible to stop a thought or emotion from arising.
Self-regulation is about becoming very skilful with your emotions. What we have is the power of letting it go and the more you observe yourself, your body and thoughts, the more skilful you will become.
When the emotion appears, we feel bad because of one these two things: grasping and aversion. Grasping is when the mind desperately wants to hold on to. When we are so happy we are afraid of losing it.
Aversion is when the mind desperately wants to refuse or keep something away. When you are in pain you can only think of that and the world is going round because of your pain.
90%, if not 100% of all of our suffering is coming from those two things and could be avoided. We don’t suffer when we experience the pain (or maybe we do just a little bit), we suffer because we talk, think and feel sorry for ourselves; we want to push it far away.
How to deal with pain for the better:
Know when you are not in pain. The pain is not constant, especially emotional. There is a small space in between when we can catch our breath and feel better. You just have to observe yourself.
Do not feel bad about feeling bad. The distress and negative emotions are natural—we all experience them from time to time. If you feel bad about something, don’t worry about it. Let it be.
Do not feed the monsters.
We cannot stop bad emotions from coming and we cannot force them to leave, but we can stop giving them food. What is their food? Their food is negative thoughts.
When you feel angry about somebody you start thinking about all the times he let you down or create a plan on how to revenge yourself or how you will show him who is the boss. This is the monster’s food. Once you stop thinking these stories and let the emotion just be in you without adding fuel, the monsters will starve and search for the food elsewhere.
Start every thought with kindness and humour. No matter how angry, sad or disappointed you feel, begin each thought with kindness and compassion for the other person. They are human just like you and they too make mistakes.
Even better plan is to laugh. Imagine yourself being a part of a movie and you mess up with your reaction.
Don’t take life too seriously, it is way too short for that!
Purchase the book Search inside yourself by Chade-Meng Tan here.