Destructive emotions

Right now, a massive lorry is stuck on my narrow street. Here, rickshaws have to carefully manoeuvre. But the driver of this yellow elephant is determined to negotiate a corner so tight three men abreast could not—without scraping the compound walls.

Is he drunk? Is he mad? Judgments fly out of me like hornets. I draw the curtains hoping to avoid the scene. I just repaired and repainted my compound wall a few days back—again.

What, I wonder, would His Holiness do? How would he respond? He has said, “Without a doubt, the greatest impediments to our individual well-being and our ability to live a spiritually fulfilling life are our own persistent propensities toward destructive or afflictive emotions. Such emotions are the real enemies of human happiness and the ultimate source of all destructive human behaviour. Tackling these negative emotions is an important goal of ethical and spiritual practice.”

But, honestly, I would rather tackle the lorry driver and scream some sense into him.
Dalai Lama, taught,” One feature that characterizes all destructive emotions is a tendency to distort our perception of reality. They cause us to narrow our perspective so that we fail to see a given situation in its wider context.  For example, when we are feeling an extreme form of attachment—such as intense desire, lust, or greed—often we are projecting a level of attractiveness onto the object of our desire which far exceeds what is really there.
We become blind even to quite obvious shortcomings, and in our obsessive clinging we create a kind of insecurity in ourselves, a feeling that we need to obtain the object of our desire and are incomplete without it.”
Let me take a look, really, at this situation. What is happening in a wider context, a view beyond my window?  I part the drapes and see that the driver is simply carrying out a delivery.  He is simply dropping cement columns at a neighbour’s yard.  He’s only doing his job.  Actually, there is no other street he could have taken.  I close the curtains.
The battle within me is easing.  His Holiness’ words state, “In order to go about dealing with these destructive emotions, it is first of all necessary to adopt a general attitude or stance towards them: a stance of opposition.
“Such a stance involves recognizing that the law of opposition—whereby positives cancel out or neutralize negatives—applies not just to the physical world but also to our inner or mental world.  In the great wisdom traditions we find clear lessons both on the mental states that are to be tackled and on the need to cultivate and deploy their antidotes.  For example, the main antidote for anger is forbearance, for greed is contentment, for fear is courage, and for doubt is understanding.”

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