Releasing Emotional Reactions 4

RER Phase Four (from RER 02: Releasing Emotional Reactions (retreat) 00:34:39.40 - 00:39:37.70)

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The fourth phase begins with the discovery that in that calm, we can actually relax. We discover, sometimes to our surprise, a sense of ease. So here's this difficult feeling which we are experiencing. But our experience now has a basis of calmness and we begin to relax into the feeling. And this is the beginning of a very important point in practice. Resting in the experience. By this point in this process we have a pretty full experience of the feeling and everything that's going on in it. And we have discovered the calm and now we begin to rest in the experience, with that sense of ease or relaxation. As Gunaratana says, "When your mind joins with the object of attention, the body and the mind both relax."

So we just do this for a few moments together, but go back to that sense of calm and then just rest in the calm. Letting the feeling and all of the reactions be there. But resting in the calm at the same time. "Breathing in I experience ease in the feeling. Breathing out, I experience ease in the feeling."

Now you may find, that when you start relaxing, you suddenly experience the feeling more completely, and you tense up again. Push it away. So this takes you back to phase one, but now you're working at a deeper level. And the way this particular practice works, there is a constant cycling going through phase one, phase two, sometimes back to phase one, right there. Phase three, phase four, you begin to relax, you experience more of the feeling, and now you are able to bring the feeling closer to you, and everything becomes more vivid, more awake, and so you work again with phase one. So there is a constant cycling back. But each time you cycle back, you are moving into a deeper and deeper experience of the feeling. You are moving closer to the feeling and experience the feeling itself. And that process goes on and on.
Depending on the nature of the feeling, the degree of conditioning, how it's arising, that process can take anywhere from five seconds to five decades. So there's no specific time frame. You may find at certain points, when you begin to relax, that feeling disolves and just seems to vanish and there's something else there. And if that's the case, then you begin working with that. Because you see that the original feeling was actually a layer which is obscuring something else underneath. Now you start working with what's underneath. Either of these ways you are moving deeper and deeper into your own experience.
Clip and transcription by Tracy Ormond.