Author Archives: svayana

Reflecting feelings

I like the kind of one-to-one conversation in last class. Similarly, in our psychotherapy class, I find it feels totally different when I am talking in the group than with one person as a pair. I feel much easier to speak about personal feeling or details when taking with a single person, but when talking with the group, I tend to be more intellectual rather than speak from heart. I don’t know if it is just my shyness or it is a habit of covering when facing the public. I am more confident when speaking to only one person, but with the whole group, I still feel reluctant when speaking.

I think those questions can be use at any situations I meet with, reflecting and asking myself “What do I really feel?” and “What do I fear and resist?” Sometime the answer is pretty obvious, but I used to ignore it and choose to immerse myself in a certain circumstance and don’t want to be awake. But reminding oneself these questions can be a good way to keep the mind sober and be present. I start to intentionally reflect on my own feelings more since studying chaplaincy. I find it is quite difficult for me to identify the feeling and name it. When being asked “what do you feel?” I usually only can say “good”, or “fine”, unless I am really in a bad mood or have a strong emotion. But that kind of situations are quite rare, I think mostly I just feel nothing. I am not used to identify what I am feeling. It is like an undifferentiated chaos or potentiality, but when trying to name it, it comes to be a kind of reality that one may stick to it. It is a mental process of how the ego or “self” functions. I am not sure if it is from the Buddhist point of view or from the idea of Taoism. In this way, the Chinese are much reserved and repressed in the eyes of Western people. Apparently, This understanding have formed my personality to a great extent.

Recently I have reflected a lot on affection and relationship. These questions seemed to be far from my life when I lived in the sangha or I was too busy with the routine monastic business to consider about them. But now, I realize that many of the friends I currently meet with all have such problems in their life. It seems to be quite universal. And when they ask me my opinion and advice, I feel awkward that I indeed know few about that. I realize that I need to seek from my own experience for understanding and wisdom, which means I need to recall my memories I buried 10 or even 20 years before. I try to retrieve the softest and most tender part in my heart. I think this is the only way I can feel and understand other’s suffering on those troubles.

I find that in the Radical Dharma the author discussed a lot about “love”. She said that “Transformative, radical, interconnected, and embodied. Ways that are motivated by a deep, unwavering love of all of life, and committed to seeing that love expressed as justice.”[1] I think I may just take a step forward toward the way of cultivating real bodhicitta and compassion. And since I learn more about Vajrayana, I have contemplated more about the publication and repression of human instinct.

[1] Angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2016. 197.

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