Bindi

The place of emotions in spirituality

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Damo Mitchell on feelings, emotions and mood. Key takeaways for me are that in his opinion emotional work is required before starting any meditation practice, and that meditation is not emotional work. Getting this right is the difference between actualising emotional detachment which entails suppressing emotions, and learning to allow emotions to flow but not attaching to them. 
 

 

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Bindi, thank you! 

 

What a fabulous talk - getting rid of the hold that emotions have over you.  I too am of the belief that developing and uncovering one's inner self, one's motivations, one's memories that started the feeling to begin with.  His solution is so perfect, as what it's requiring is nothing more than to bring up that original memory and go through the physical feeling.  For the longest time I didn't know that.  It was always something vague, feelings.  But he's talking about that butterfly in your stomach, that tightening of the throat, the heat of embarrassment on your face - those actual physical responses.  Little responses.  He emphasizes the necessity of reliving the occurrence, remembering it fully - and then do nothing more than take note of the physical sensations, as many times as necessary to diminish the physical feelings, which are those places that restrict the free flow of energy.

 

Many, after purging themselves of these restrictions and doing what is necessary to alleviate old guilts and angers (usually involving seeing our own part in the transaction in a new way) sometimes apologies are necessary to straighten out the wrinkles.  You can actually feel the warm smoothing of a previously clenched physical and psychical areas.  The body and the mind are one.  The load gets lighter and lighter as the layers are uncovered until, one day, you begin to see who you really are.

 

These ideas, these inner journeys are what the alcoholic or addict must take in order to get and remain sober.  If they are 'fearless and thorough', as they say, as to finding inner faults and shortcomings, and do what it takes to reverse the blockage.  Work the steps.  The steps are the very dynamic that Damo speaks of so eloquently.  I've never heard anyone link the two dynamics together as well as he did.  It makes me know that he has either gone through recovery himself, or he is very close to someone who has.

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Another perennial topic. An enormous amount of effort, dedication and discipline is required to tackle those 'emotions' which are nothing more than blockages you have carried on (will carry on if not resolved) from lifetime to lifetime.

 

Buddhism calls this Vipassana; that is, seeing things as they truly are.

 

*Gurdjieff's method is the same minus the religious content..

 

It's basically the essence of INNER WORK.

 

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  Thought i would share my 2 cents. Imo i honestly don't know if emotions are good or bad during cultivation. But i read that a teacher one time would teach his students by throwing them into the woods with a lion in there. The fear that they experienced had some kind of beneficial effect. Also Negative creates positive cuz opposites are tied at both ends.

 

      For example fear is what shows you your weakness and saves your life(neg to pos). Its also noted on the battlefield when a soldier is coward he will quickly become brave and brave men quickly become cowards. There is a cyclical nature of opposites if your at the bottom the only way for you to go is to the top or vice versa. Suffering creates gratefulness and vice versa. Most people can never understand this. Us lowly mortals are too dumb to understand gods thoughts. For example lets take away all the evils in this world is no different then slapping god in his face because he is the one that created and allowed it to happen. But the world is perfect its good and bad in perfect harmony and balance.

 

  I would love to know more about the 5 element theory and the emotions. Not sure if the negative emotions can be harnessed for good in someway. They keep those scrolls locked away in their ancient tombs lol jk or maybe not

 

    I'm gonna be blunt real quick no offense to anyone. Imo meditation is completely pointless. Not sure what you mean tho are you using your imagination or clearing your mind? Any way i think it should only be done if you know what your doing. Like storing and compressing energy neidan ect true cultivation. You see one of the reasons this is done although sounds superficial is to live for a long time. Chi=electricity. A healthy cell runs at 70-100hz when it becomes too low it splits and can only split about 50ish times before you die. But what if cells energy never fell? Then you would live much longer.

 

     Every thought and movement depletes this life giving energy. So hopefully your just clearing your mind. Never forget what i'm about to say. If you don't have a master to guide you then to get rid of just about every bad phenomena on your own is simply done by grounding yourself to the earth. I won't get into the science but there's boatloads. I can tell you if you interested tho.

 

    Also lastly regarding not having attachments and freely flowing. Well Imo according to a certain book. Your soul is your WILL not your ego. Only by mastering your WILL with certain thought techniques then you can have absolute control over yourself. What people are lacking is not how to submit to a current and use its force for your own but absolute control. This is only achieved through your WILL. Your WILL becomes a slave to its ego and enviroment. When you understand you are the WILL and you are a slave to everything maybe would cause enough anger for you to be free right this moment lol idk.

 

   Well hope i was mildly entertaining. Good luck God Bless! Or let thy Dao blesseth you!

 

   

 

   

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On 07/09/2021 at 4:43 AM, manitou said:

Bindi, thank you! 

 

What a fabulous talk - getting rid of the hold that emotions have over you.  I too am of the belief that developing and uncovering one's inner self, one's motivations, one's memories that started the feeling to begin with.  His solution is so perfect, as what it's requiring is nothing more than to bring up that original memory and go through the physical feeling.  For the longest time I didn't know that. 
 

 

Yes I agree, this is the process. It’s as if an emotion once felt, remains attached to us though in a split off way, and the only way to move on from it is to process it in the only way emotions are processed, ie., by feeling it. 

 

Quote

It was always something vague, feelings.  But he's talking about that butterfly in your stomach, that tightening of the throat, the heat of embarrassment on your face - those actual physical responses.  Little responses.  He emphasizes the necessity of reliving the occurrence, remembering it fully - and then do nothing more than take note of the physical sensations, as many times as necessary to diminish the physical feelings, which are those places that restrict the free flow of energy.

 

 

I’ve always done it by following the feelings that my dreams brought up, I’d actively re-feel the feeling in the dream after processing the mental framework, in the end I’ve reprocessed all the unfelt feelings, which not surprisingly were all the emotions it was hard to feel. Following my dreams also allowed a higher or deeper guiding principle to determine what needed to be felt at any time, so I consider it to be a safe method. 

 

Quote

 

Many, after purging themselves of these restrictions and doing what is necessary to alleviate old guilts and angers (usually involving seeing our own part in the transaction in a new way) sometimes apologies are necessary to straighten out the wrinkles.  You can actually feel the warm smoothing of a previously clenched physical and psychical areas.  The body and the mind are one.  The load gets lighter and lighter as the layers are uncovered until, one day, you begin to see who you really are.


For me the emotional system is one aspect, beyond it there is a the mental system and beyond both of these the ‘spiritual’ system. Personally I have shifted from actively working on my emotional system to actively working on my mental system. 

 

Quote

These ideas, these inner journeys are what the alcoholic or addict must take in order to get and remain sober.  If they are 'fearless and thorough', as they say, as to finding inner faults and shortcomings, and do what it takes to reverse the blockage.  Work the steps.  The steps are the very dynamic that Damo speaks of so eloquently.  I've never heard anyone link the two dynamics together as well as he did.  It makes me know that he has either gone through recovery himself, or he is very close to someone who has.


I think it’s such a universal truth it’s beyond just those who have gone through recovery. It’s good though that emotional work is also understood to be the basis of recovery. 

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On 07/09/2021 at 7:25 AM, Gerard said:

Another perennial topic. An enormous amount of effort, dedication and discipline is required to tackle those 'emotions' which are nothing more than blockages you have carried on (will carry on if not resolved) from lifetime to lifetime.

 

Yes, yes, yes and yes. 

 

Quote

 

Buddhism calls this Vipassana; that is, seeing things as they truly are.


I agree Vipassana  is similar, but I feel Vipassana’s emphasis on the entire body distracts from what I believe the Daoist’s have gotten right, ie the dantians. I have found certain aspects of emotional work and dantian development go hand in hand. 

 

Quote

 

*Gurdjieff's method is the same minus the religious content..

 

It's basically the essence of INNER WORK.

 


I haven’t looked into his method. 

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3 hours ago, ThreeLeaf said:

  Thought i would share my 2 cents. Imo i honestly don't know if emotions are good or bad during cultivation. But i read that a teacher one time would teach his students by throwing them into the woods with a lion in there. The fear that they experienced had some kind of beneficial effect.
 

 

Interesting teaching :) Facing your fear IMO is a sound start. 

 

3 hours ago, ThreeLeaf said:

 

Also Negative creates positive cuz opposites are tied at both ends.

 

      For example fear is what shows you your weakness and saves your life(neg to pos). Its also noted on the battlefield when a soldier is coward he will quickly become brave and brave men quickly become cowards. There is a cyclical nature of opposites if your at the bottom the only way for you to go is to the top or vice versa. Suffering creates gratefulness and vice versa. Most people can never understand this. Us lowly mortals are too dumb to understand gods thoughts. For example lets take away all the evils in this world is no different then slapping god in his face because he is the one that created and allowed it to happen. But the world is perfect its good and bad in perfect harmony and balance.

 

  I would love to know more about the 5 element theory and the emotions. Not sure if the negative emotions can be harnessed for good in someway. They keep those scrolls locked away in their ancient tombs lol jk or maybe not

 

    I'm gonna be blunt real quick no offense to anyone. Imo meditation is completely pointless. Not sure what you mean tho are you using your imagination or clearing your mind? Any way i think it should only be done if you know what your doing. Like storing and compressing energy neidan ect true cultivation. You see one of the reasons this is done although sounds superficial is to live for a long time. Chi=electricity. A healthy cell runs at 70-100hz when it becomes too low it splits and can only split about 50ish times before you die. But what if cells energy never fell? Then you would live much longer.

 

     Every thought and movement depletes this life giving energy. So hopefully your just clearing your mind. Never forget what i'm about to say. If you don't have a master to guide you then to get rid of just about every bad phenomena on your own is simply done by grounding yourself to the earth. I won't get into the science but there's boatloads. I can tell you if you interested tho.

 

    Also lastly regarding not having attachments and freely flowing. Well Imo according to a certain book. Your soul is your WILL not your ego. Only by mastering your WILL with certain thought techniques then you can have absolute control over yourself. What people are lacking is not how to submit to a current and use its force for your own but absolute control. This is only achieved through your WILL. Your WILL becomes a slave to its ego and enviroment. When you understand you are the WILL and you are a slave to everything maybe would cause enough anger for you to be free right this moment lol idk.

 

 

Our ‘WILL’ is an interesting topic, but if it is developed before emotions have been resolved, then the whole picture becomes very muddy and I believe can lead to very bad consequences along the lines of murderous dictators and control freaks etc. 

 

3 hours ago, ThreeLeaf said:

 

   Well hope i was mildly entertaining. Good luck God Bless! Or let thy Dao blesseth you!

 

   

 

   

 

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I find the concept of dealing with emotions before beginning meditation work very interesting due to the fact that when I originally got into meditation it was to deal with emotions which proved to be very difficult.

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23 hours ago, ThreeLeaf said:

But i read that a teacher one time would teach his students by throwing them into the woods with a lion in there. The fear that they experienced had some kind of beneficial effect. Also Negative creates positive cuz opposites are tied at both ends.

 

 

I kind of agree with that teacher, lol.

 

Yes, negative and positive are polar opposites.  But the designation of negative or positive is in the mind of the beholder. So many things in my life I might have labeled 'negative' at one time, turned out to be 'positive' after some time passed.

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On 26/9/21 at 8:47 AM, Bindi said:

 

Yes, yes, yes and yes. 

 


I agree Vipassana  is similar, but I feel Vipassana’s emphasis on the entire body distracts from what I believe the Daoist’s have gotten right, ie the dantians. I have found certain aspects of emotional work and dantian development go hand in hand. 

 

Buddha's method of development sees the body as a distraction and not only that ignores completely the Yin & Yang. Perfect for HIM not so much for people not like HIM. It's incomplete. The body thing I agree it's an illusion, a burden...but we can't ignore it because the Body leads to the Mind and if the Body is ill, weak and blocked forget about reconnecting with the Mind. 

 

One sometimes wonders if the Buddha had really any blockages at all because to dismiss or not even realise about the Yin & the Yang then something extraordinary must've really going on in his internal energetics!! 

 

Quote


I haven’t looked into his method. 

 

It's similar to what the astral projection method of Robert Bruce: tactile imaging and stimulation of the entire body while being in a state of complete relaxation.

 

It may or may not work for everyone.

 

Vipassana's method is similar too. You become aware of what is really going on internally while being or trying to be in a state of "present moment" and watching your thoughts all the time (monkey mind) until they fade away. From this moment on the real meditative work starts.

 

It's very slow process and may or may not work for everyone.  

 

IMO there is no best method but the one that works for you...and delivers the goods. Still a good method should primarily promote the following five elements:

 

1. Relaxation

2. Be balanced (yin-yang, 5 forces)

3. Actively work on Body-Mind blockages with the goal of dissolving them

4. Implements movement equally to the level of still meditative work. Movement should heavily emphasise on twisting, rotating, sinking, rising and expanding (Taoist five forces) while also actively promoting work that includes opening of the pelvic region, which is notoriously difficult to do as a result of our modern lifestyle.

5. Bringing/sinking the Qi down to the feet on a daily basis.

 

Edit. Note: forget about the dantians. It's irrelevant. Another FAD like the MCO, Kundalini and all the new age stuff that found its way into Taoism by some ungrounded followers who thought that developing energy in a certain way would allow them to become immortals? Why waste your time with it knowing that WE ALL ARE IMMORTALS in the first place! ;)

Edited by Gerard

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On 26/09/2021 at 11:56 AM, dmattwads said:

I find the concept of dealing with emotions before beginning meditation work very interesting due to the fact that when I originally got into meditation it was to deal with emotions which proved to be very difficult.


Did you eventually start sorting your emotional issues via mediation? Would you have separated the two if there had been a teacher offering this option? 
 

It is always possible that Westerners are just a more screwed up bunch than the originators of meditation as path, and that we need to include this extra step, perhaps it’s just not common knowledge yet. I find it very reassuring that Damo is putting this out there, though I suspect it might take a while before this idea gains much traction in the West. 

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16 hours ago, Gerard said:

 

Buddha's method of development sees the body as a distraction and not only that ignores completely the Yin & Yang. Perfect for HIM not so much for people not like HIM. It's incomplete. The body thing I agree it's an illusion, a burden...but we can't ignore it because the Body leads to the Mind and if the Body is ill, weak and blocked forget about reconnecting with the Mind. 

 

One sometimes wonders if the Buddha had really any blockages at all because to dismiss or not even realise about the Yin & the Yang then something extraordinary must've really going on in his internal energetics!! 

 

 

The Buddha seems to me to have been answering the problem of suffering, but he doesn’t seem to have gotten into energetics at all, though some later Buddhists clearly have. Maybe the original Daoist Alchemist was solving a different issue, ie., the establishment and development of an alchemical subtle body. 

 

16 hours ago, Gerard said:

 

It's similar to what the astral projection method of Robert Bruce: tactile imaging and stimulation of the entire body while being in a state of complete relaxation.

 

It may or may not work for everyone.

 

Vipassana's method is similar too. You become aware of what is really going on internally while being or trying to be in a state of "present moment" and watching your thoughts all the time (monkey mind) until they fade away. From this moment on the real meditative work starts.

 

It's very slow process and may or may not work for everyone.  

 

IMO there is no best method but the one that works for you...and delivers the goods. Still a good method should primarily promote the following five elements:

 

1. Relaxation

2. Be balanced (yin-yang, 5 forces)

3. Actively work on Body-Mind blockages with the goal of dissolving them

4. Implements movement equally to the level of still meditative work. Movement should heavily emphasise on twisting, rotating, sinking, rising and expanding (Taoist five forces) while also actively promoting work that includes opening of the pelvic region, which is notoriously difficult to do as a result of our modern lifestyle.

5. Bringing/sinking the Qi down to the feet on a daily basis.

 

Edit. Note: forget about the dantians. It's irrelevant. Another FAD like the MCO, Kundalini and all the new age stuff that found its way into Taoism by some ungrounded followers who thought that developing energy in a certain way would allow them to become immortals? Why waste your time with it knowing that WE ALL ARE IMMORTALS in the first place! ;)


Hmmm, I find dantians as relevant as Yin and Yang, I also disagree we are already immortals in the alchemical sense, perhaps we are in a reincarnation sense but my best guess would be we reincarnate in order to establish an alchemical body that simply doesn’t exist until it is given the right conditions to develop. 

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Addressing this threads title, ‘What is the place of emotions in spirituality’, it seems to me that the ‘alchemical body’ is actually the higher expression of emotions - IMO when emotions can flow unhampered the alchemical body is the natural result, and it seems substantial in the way that emotions may be considered to have substance, 
 

The ability to move the alchemical body or direct it is a different operation which I would equate with the higher expression of thoughts. 

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I personally align with the view that the primordial nature of emotions, or the actual ground/basis of emotions, is bliss, and the simplest spiritual approach towards allowing bliss to rise and gradually replace emotions, which I believe tend to be associated with misguided and confused states of mind, is to adopt certain basic spiritual values, and persevere with these values once found. The Noble Eightfold Path, or the Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga comes to mind.

 

In the more direct, but riskier approach of tantra, tapping into the energetic source of emotions is the method to connect with ananda (bliss). In Vajrayana tantra, or mantrayana, this is guided (by means of association with Buddha, yidam & khandro) by rote practice of various higher tantra sadhanas, which include yantra yoga (to release subtle blockages and knots), karmamudra (to activate and unite with subtle energetic flows perpetuated by the loosening of said blocks & knots), and mantra yoga (for refining tapped spiritual energies congruent with yantra and karmamudra). There are various ancillary practices which meander out from these three main bodies of cultivation, but ultimately lead back to the goal of attaining the three Kayas, the highest level of realization... Buddhahood... enlightenment, etc.

 

The triKayas as Ground relates to essence, nature and capacity; as Path, it manifests as bliss, clarity & non thought. As fruition it dawns as Dharmakaya (essence/bliss), Sambhogakaya (nature/clarity), and Nirmanakaya (capacity/non-thought). In mantrayana, one enters the Practice by first tending to the Ground.

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1 hour ago, C T said:

I personally align with the view that the primordial nature of emotions, or the actual ground/basis of emotions, is bliss, and the simplest spiritual approach towards allowing bliss to rise and gradually replace emotions, which I believe tend to be associated with misguided and confused states of mind, is to adopt certain basic spiritual values, and persevere with these values once found. The Noble Eightfold Path, or the Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga comes to mind.

 

 

I wonder if ‘bliss’ is associated with the increased activity in the left frontal lobe that comes from meditation according to various studies - 

 

“Several studies of those who meditate regularly showed increased activity in the left frontal lobe along with its relation to the limbic system, signifying increases in positive emotions and higher levels of happiness, focus and higher thought. Other studies have documented increases in serotonin, dopamine, melatonin and endorphins, in the limbic systems of meditating test subjects.”

 

Increased activity in the opposite lobe, the right frontal, promotes negative emotions, is it possible that mediators have chanced upon a method to increase positive emotions and achieve ‘bliss’ by manipulating brain activity? If so, the issue for me would be what about the  valuable attributes that might be hidden in the right frontal lobe that remain untapped and unutilised? 

 

1 hour ago, C T said:

 

In the more direct, but riskier approach of tantra, tapping into the energetic source of emotions is the method to connect with ananda (bliss). In Vajrayana tantra, or mantrayana, this is guided (by means of association with Buddha, yidam & khandro) by rote practice of various higher tantra sadhanas, which include yantra yoga (to release subtle blockages and knots), karmamudra (to activate and unite with subtle energetic flows perpetuated by the loosening of said blocks & knots), and mantra yoga (for refining tapped spiritual energies congruent with yantra and karmamudra). There are various ancillary practices which meander out from these three main bodies of cultivation, but ultimately lead back to the goal of attaining the three Kayas, the highest level of realization... Buddhahood... enlightenment, etc.

 

The triKayas as Ground relates to essence, nature and capacity; as Path, it manifests as bliss, clarity & non thought. As fruition it dawns as Dharmakaya (essence/bliss), Sambhogakaya (nature/clarity), and Nirmanakaya (capacity/non-thought). In mantrayana, one enters the Practice by first tending to the Ground.

 

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On 9/26/2021 at 11:25 PM, Gerard said:

One sometimes wonders if the Buddha had really any blockages at all because to dismiss or not even realise about the Yin & the Yang then something extraordinary must've really going on in his internal energetics!! 

 

 

 

I have wondered if he merely went in on the question "Who Am I?"

 

 

On 9/26/2021 at 11:25 PM, Gerard said:

Another FAD like the MCO, Kundalini and all the new age stuff that found its way into Taoism by some ungrounded followers who thought that developing energy in a certain way would allow them to become immortals? Why waste your time with it knowing that WE ALL ARE IMMORTALS in the first place! ;)

 

That one went to the heart, Girard!  Ouch!  The K-phenomenon isn't a new age phenomenon.  In fact, that snakey thing that was on the pharaoh's and 'pharaoh-essess'  headpieces an indication of the wearer being not only 'divine' but K-active?  Or so I've read in some new-agey book. :lol:

 

Kundalini is a Thing.  I've got it.  It's not pleasant, it's bothersome.  It does give talents, though.  Third eye among them.

And the only time I've spent underground was in one of Castaneda's dirt coffins. :o

 

I remember the words on something written on this site:  that we are a loosely-knit and eclectic bunch of seekers.  That's why this is the coolest spiritual site out there.  Because many of us have reached the top of the utility of the horse we rode in on.  We've reached the shore we have been looking for, and it's at this point that we can choose to discard the boat.  If we're relegated to being a specifically Daoist site, then that's just spending more time than necessary in the boat...

 

Love your comment about being all Immortals in the first place.  Of course we are, it's all Now!  

 

(OH.  I see you said ungrounded followers, not underground followers.  Apologies to Castaneda)

 

 

Edited by manitou

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On 9/28/2021 at 5:07 PM, Bindi said:

 

I wonder if ‘bliss’ is associated with the increased activity in the left frontal lobe that comes from meditation according to various studies - 

 

“Several studies of those who meditate regularly showed increased activity in the left frontal lobe along with its relation to the limbic system, signifying increases in positive emotions and higher levels of happiness, focus and higher thought. Other studies have documented increases in serotonin, dopamine, melatonin and endorphins, in the limbic systems of meditating test subjects.”

 

Increased activity in the opposite lobe, the right frontal, promotes negative emotions, is it possible that mediators have chanced upon a method to increase positive emotions and achieve ‘bliss’ by manipulating brain activity? If so, the issue for me would be what about the  valuable attributes that might be hidden in the right frontal lobe that remain untapped and unutilised? 

 

 

 

Vajrayana associates bliss with heartmind activity, believing the source or seat of Bliss is at the heart centre, and not the brain. Hence the reason for asserting compassion, in union with wisdom, as central to the very fabric of Buddhism, from the lowest to the highest Yanas (vehicles), and also why the Heart Sutra, a distillation of all the major Prajnaparamita texts, is the most recited across the whole Mahayana tradition.

 

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