- Jan 28, 2010
I related to this that I read this morning, including the difficult (for me at least) practice of simply observing painful thoughts and emotions, allowing some breathing room around them, allowing them to loosen their grip on us.
... I didn't want it to, but the envy and resentment felt like they were eating me alive.
Then I remembered the Buddha's teachings on suffering. When we're caught up in painful thoughts and emotions, we have a choice. We can choose to feed them by going over and over our grievances: "This isn't fair"; "Tonight is when the real fun will start." By repeatedly conjuring up images or thoughts that evoke envy and resentment, we, in effect, become an envious and resentful person, which keeps our attention on the empty part of the glass.
But we can make a different choice. We can resolve to mindfully observe the painful thoughts and emotions without feeding them with stress-filled commentary. The Buddhist teacher S.N. Goenka called this "learning to observe [unpleasant sensations] objectively." An objective, mindful observation might take this form: "Ah, envy and resentment are present." (Compare this to repeatedly saying, "This isn't fair.") Observing painful thoughts and emotions objectively loosens their grip on us.
This gives us some breathing room in which we can make a conscious choice not to continue to feed them.
You can read the rest of the article at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201110/are-you-glass-half-full-or-glass-half-empty-person