January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 12:32 AM

The human addiction to emotions is something I have been exploring most of my life. It is the reason I was drawn to psychology courses in college. It is also the reason I began studying Buddhism.

Here is a passage from a book I am currently reading , all from Brad Warner’s book, ‘ Hardcore Zen’ : “My sister’s ex-husband wrote me an email as he was going through the divorce proceedings with my sister, and stated our usual concept of anger wonderfully : ‘It’s impossible not to feel angry when you are facing the gale-force winds of your emotions whipping across your body.’ ** “Most of us experience most of our emotions like that most of the time. But try this on: Experiencing anger is like sitting in the bathtub frantically thrashing around and throwing handfuls of water into the air while simultaneously wondering why the hell your head and face keep getting wet. You’re the one causing the problem. If anyone should know about this it’s me, by the way. I used to like to bust things up when I got mad.. A lot of my stuff bears scars from such outbursts long ago.” ** “It takes far more energy to sustain anger than to let it go. It only seems difficult to drop your anger because you have built up a habit of responding in a certain way to certain situations. Reacting to anger is an addiction, pure and simple, just like smoking Marlboros. Objectively it takes more resources to keep smoking than to stop. Yet giving it up seems much harder than continuing because you’re addicted.” ** “But even the addition of reacting to emotions isn’t the root addiction. Ultimately, you are addicted to the idea of “you.” It’s intoxicating, fascinating, compelling. You think that there is something called “you” that perceives things, that thinks about things, that feels things and knows things. You think “you” are reading this book and evaluating whether it’s true or worthwhile. But that’s an illusion. Perception occurs. Thinking occurs. But there’s no one doing that thinking, no one doing the perceiving…. ” ** ” We all think that what we call “me” belongs to us alone. It doesn’t. It belongs to the whole of the universe. You belong to the universe. And the universe is more you than “you” could ever hope to be.” ** ©2003 Brad Warner