Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called neurosis the avoidance of legitimate suffering. We avoid suffering related to loss, disappointment, or growing pains because we don’t have the capacity to bear it if we’re operating from ego-identification. Our sense of self is just too small to deal with more powerful emotions.
How do we remain vulnerable, sensitive, and intimate with life without being overwhelmed? Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche says, “Everyone is overcome by disturbing emotions unless they are stable in nondual [awake] awareness. We begin by immediately shifting our location into awake awareness rather than working first with our emotions or external situations from ego-identification.
What if your difficult feelings, your sensitive emotional make-up, or the memories of your traumas never go away? What I’m getting at is that instead of focusing on what emotions are arising, the real question is who or what are the feelings arising to? From what level of consciousness are you viewing and feeling? From awareness-based knowing, you can be sensitive, vulnerable, and courageous.
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