Zen Yogi Becomes Incredible Hulk
So is it okay for me to imagine gouging out someone’s eyes (if I promise to do it mindfully)? The answer is, actually, yes.
Anger, hatred and envy are some of the slipperiest sensations we can encounter en route to the happy, skippy land of peace and tranquillity. Does the following sound familiar? You are pottering along the grassy path – panpipes and incense tickling your senses. You smile at field mice and nod at passing, barefoot monks, noting how alike you both are on a spiritual level (except you’re going for abundance while he’s obviously gone down the sworn poverty route, but that’s okay because you’re all for acceptance and each to their own. God, you’re so open-minded, you’re marvelous really!). You continue along the path until, next thing you know, a thought – maybe it stems from an argument, a reaction to a comment or an act of another, interrupts your serenity and now you’re so damn mad. All calm has evaporated and the negative thoughts, like broken records, make you angrier and angrier – so angry in fact, that you’ve just distractedly stepped into a cow pat.
Crashing to the Ground Mid-Levitation
When we come up against such strong emotions of fury or jealousy – we are truly taken over. The lid has proverbially flipped or, more appropriately, the lid has had several rockets fastened to it and blasted in the direction of Pluto. To those for whom personal development is very important, it can be a severe blow and incredibly frustrating. A kind of Incredible Hulk (in Yoga trousers) transformation takes place. All your talk of embracing non-violence and loving-kindness is, violently, thrown out the double-glazed windows (taking the wind-chimes with them).
Enter, Stage Left, Mindfulness.
Experience teaches us that dwelling on and rolling around in, such negative emotions as hatred, anger and bitterness contributes to our own misery much more than to anyone else’s. Forgiveness, they say, is one cure. Another one is mindfulness. The beauty of mindfulness, say the experts, is that it does not change the situation, the people, the thoughts – it changes absolutely nothing – it does not have to. In allowing everything to be as it is, to notice it, bring your attention to it, the emotions transform – the Incredible Hulk begins to shrink and his clothes miraculously fit him again. Initially, there might be great squirming as you try to get out of sitting with these very uncomfortable emotions. If you are feeling uncomfortable, then it’s working. Notice the uneasy feeling, notice judgements, notice anything and everything and let them all be as they are. It’s like watching the yellow gunk bursting out of, what was, a very sore and angry pimple while, at the same time, more satisfying, less messy and less likely to put you in jail than gouging out another person’s eyes.