My commitment at this point is to post a least once a week. I would love to have feedback or specific questions to reply to, so feel free to respond.
I had a realization last night dealing with the issue of anger. In the past, I have found myself getting angry at others and not being able to figure out why. Even with the idea of anger being a way of avoiding sadness, I was at a loss. The situation that arose had to do with someone making a mistake (details are unimportant). They made a mistake and I got mad. It wasn't even a mistake that affected me, yet i found myself with some anger brewing.
So, last night when I was meditating, part of my focus was on this issue of getting mad at someone when they made a mistake. What dawned on me at some point was that the first sensation I was able to identify after the person made the mistake was shame. I got the impression the person was feeling shame (or something like that) at their mistake. Maybe it was embarrassment.
What does matter is that when I was able to identify the sensation I was picking up from them, I got a clear image of all the times I felt embarrassed. All the times I felt foolish and then got angry in an attempt to avoid the embarrassment or shame I was feeling.
And that was the key for me. I wasn't mad at the other person. Well, not exactly. At best, I was mad at them because this situation brought up feelings I didn't want to deal with. The idea being, if they hadn't made the mistake, if they hadn't gotten embarrassed, then I wouldn't have to deal with my feelings of embarrassment.
I think this is what Jung was referring to when he wrote of our "shadow selves."
In the book, Meditation - the first and last freedom," Osho encourages us to consider that the source of all emotions is within us. That when something happens and we experience anger or sadness or joy, what we are experiencing are our emotions. Emotions that were already there, but when this "something happens" - the emotion that is already within us is released. The "something that happened" is not the cause of the emotion, just the key that unlocks the door to those emotions locked within us. (the analogy is mine)
But beyond identifying where the emotion comes from, Osho also has a suggestion of what to do with the emotion. Basically, he says, allow the feeling to happen. Don't focus on the person or event which seems to have "caused" the emotion. Focus on the emotion. Allow it to fill you (as a feeling - this doesn't mean that when anger arises one must lash out at others). With the so-called negative emotions, allowing it to fill you will cause the emotion to dissolve. With the so-called positive emotions, you will become the emotion.
Makes sense to me. In my opinion, the two things that gives anger strength are the attempt to hold it in or the attempt to get rid of it by lashing out. One builds pressure, the other builds momentum. But by just allowing the energy of anger (because that's all that emotions are, aren't they - energy?) to grow without trying to hold it in check or giving it momentum - it dissipates.
And speaking of Osho - I sign off with a quote from him:
"Breath is your life, and breath is also the bridge between the conscious and the unconscious, between your body and your soul. This bridge has to be used. If you can use this bridge rightly, you can go to the other shore"