Experience your feelings completely

From: Heart Sutra Workshop 3
Full transcript
How many of you got angry over the last week? How many of you took the anger that arose as a fact that you just had to act on? Yeah, let’s be honest. You got angry—all of you did! And we do that because we don’t know at that moment what anger is. It appears to be very solid and have a lot of force, etc.
But if we experience it completely then we know that it is a movement in mind. In the same way that a wave is movement in water. I imagine most of you have had the experience in your meditation of sitting there fuming over something that happened the previous week or the previous day and just sitting there, Grrr! Grrr! Err. And think, “Okay back to the breath, but he said this and he said that.” Grrr!
Anybody had this experience? [Laughter] And it goes on, you know, for ten minutes or fifteen minutes or twenty minutes or whatever and then suddenly you find yourself sitting there like this…and you’re not angry at all. And you didn’t decide not to be angry. You didn’t say to yourself, “Oh, I’ve worked through this now.” It just stopped. Right? And some part of you may go like, “What happened? I was so angry three minutes ago.” And you try to remember the situation but you can’t get any juice in it. Anybody had this experience?
Well, that arises because the anger has actually been felt. You know it may sound a little stupid but I say a lot of stupid things. So that’s nothing unusual. But the function of a feeling is to be felt. And a feeling can’t be complete until it is felt.
Now what happens if a feeling comes up and you try not to feel it? “No, I don’t really love him.” How well does that one work? You know, “I’m not really angry with you; I just have a few things to tell you.” [Laughter] Or the Charlie Brown version of this. Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “I’m going to do you a favor Charlie Brown, I’m going to tell you every thing that’s wrong with you.” Next frame, “Why don’t you get a sheet of foolscap.” Next frame, “Draw a line down the center.” Last frame, “On second thought, get two sheets.” [Laughter]
No anger here at all. But when we experience it and a lot of us don’t do that very gracefully but when it’s actually been felt, been experienced, then its finished. When we know this about feelings, then we can open to the experience of them. And we experience them vividly, just like our friend here, this piece of paper. And they come and they go.
And something very important happens then. Can you be something that you experience that comes and goes? No, if it comes and goes in our experience, we can’t possibly be it. So we can’t be anger. Anger arises but it can’t be what we are in the way we were talking about this morning. Oh, okay.
And not only that, we experienced it, we felt it and the world didn’t come to an end. Most people don’t actually experience the emotions because they’re afraid that if they do the world will come to an end. Or they’ll die or something like that will happen. So the more intimately we know our experience, the more we’re able to just experience it.