Compassionate Integrity Training Final CIT training manual 11-30 - Page 50

Compa ssionate Integrit y Tr a ining A S e cu l a r Ethic s A ppr oac h to C ulti vat ing Pe rs on al, S o ci al and E n vir on me n tal F lo u r i shing E motional awareness is the ability to be aware of natural rhythms. As we observe the mind non- the rising and falling of our mental experiences judgmentally, we may find that we get less caught up on a moment by moment basis, and to increasingly in the thoughts, feelings and emotions that arise. To do discern for oneself beneficial mental states and potentially this, we simply observe these thoughts, feelings and harmful ones. Our attentional skills that we have practiced emotions and let them come and go naturally, without thus far in CIT, including tracking sensations inside clinging on to them and without pushing them away. the body and focusing our attention on cultivation of We observe our minds with an open curiosity, without mindfulness of the breath, can be directed toward any trying to manipulate or change anything. At the same object of focus. To cultivate emotional awareness, we time, this practice is not like daydreaming, because in turn the focus of our attention on the mind itself, daydreaming we do become caught up in our thoughts observing moment by moment mental or sensory and lose the awareness that we are daydreaming. The experiences. Going back to the wild elephant metaphor, technical name for this “awareness of awareness” that in this practice, the stake in the ground, or the object of we are cultivating is meta-cognitive awareness. focus, is the mind itself. By observing the moment by moment experiences of the mind, we see more clearly the nature of mental experience. A metaphor often used to understand this practice is that of the blue sky. The sky is a backdrop against which clouds, birds, planes and other objects manifest, Resting the mind in its natural state means settling but it does not show a preference for any of these the mind by allowing thoughts, emotions and bodily objects. It does not prefer the plane to the cloud or the sensations to arise and dissipate according to their own rainbow to the bird. It does not attempt to hold on to any of these objects. The sky does not get involved with any of these objects. The sky is always there as a spacious container for these objects or things to emerge and dissipate. This is the same thing that occurs with our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. If we imagine our mind like the sky and think of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that appear, like the objects that emerge in the sky, then we will be able to observe these thoughts, feelings and emotions without getting caught up in them. Typically, when we have an emotion or thought that emerges in their mind, we react in one of two ways. Either we try and push it away because it is unpleasant, because we don’t want to think about it or feel it, or we get caught up in the emotion or feeling. For instance, when we are trying to fall asleep and a thought arises in the mind of something we need to Ce n t e r for Compa s sion , I nteg r i t y and S e cu l ar E t hics | L ife Uni ve rsi t y | M ar ie t ta, G e or g i a - 44 -