As you may have guessed from yesterday, your attachments and your Dominant Emotions are closely tied together. The stronger you feel about something or someone–positively or negatively–the more you will think about them.
The more you think of those thoughts the stronger the feelings you get. Think lovingly about someone all day and you will fall in love. Think angry, bitter thoughts about someone and you will develop the opposite attraction: hate. Both kinds of thoughts tie you to the other thing, person or event. Your words are like binding ties that hold you down and keep your psyche trapped.
You can only sustain those thoughts as long as they are being peddled by your mind. The trouble will be, when you’re not pedalling love and admiration quite so strongly, then the other person will appear to have changed for the worse. All that’s happened is some negative thinking eventually finds its way into your thought stream and you slowly de-link yourself from the other person, all the while building a narrative about how your partner is unsatisfactory.
This is easy to note in conversation. When someone first falls in love we hear so many good things about the other person, but often in time we hear very little that’s good and instead there is a new focus on what needs to be changed. Again, that shift will get blamed on the person place or thing, but it’s not them: you’re that way because of the illusion the Buddha talked about. Because people don’t change like that–but you can place that illusion over them via your judgmental thoughts.
You know how you can give super simple advice to a friend and you just can’t figure out why they can’t do this simple thing? You would do it easily and end the relationship and yet they can’t bring themselves to do it. Of course that’s only because we’re talking about an area they discuss all the time, and you rarely do. So it’s easy to give advice and be confused about someone not following it. When people do that to you that’s because now you’re in an area where you think a lot and they don’t.
In essence then your “friends” are people who come into the least conflict with you because they think very similarly. You have compatible Dominant Emotions. You can both can feel negative but they don’t see it as deeply as you because for them changing isn’t really required–they already think healthier thoughts about that subject so they just have to activate them, whereas you have little experience with them at all–and vice versa.
Take your Dominant Negative Emotion and find the attachments that connect to it. The more you do these meditations the easier it will get to look inside. It’s by watching your inside react to your outside–almost as though you’re separate people–you get the sort of distance that allows you to watch a horror on TV and still somehow enjoy it. It’s why I like my life so much.
This is an important exercise. Find your attachments. Open the door to your freedom. And have and have an awesome day.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.