• August

    Wisdom is common sense.

    Practice loving kindness, compassion, justice and helping others, it’s common sense. There are no tricks, secrets or complicated passages to guarantee us happiness.


    Today I went to a Dharma Talk with Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist Nun. If you have a chance to listen to her speak, you’ll agree she has a light and humorous nature to her talks, bringing great relevance to the modern world. I’ve heard other monks speak and I’ve found myself unable to relate to their teachings or practices. This was not the case today.

    Today, she explained the steps to transforming negative emotions, or rather how she eloquently put it, “transforming your internal self”. Since negative emotions don’t carry any meaning besides the one that we put on it, it is not the negative emotions we need to transform but our perception of them.

    For example, a pair of sunglasses is just a that. An object. It’s main purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun and the basic functionality between a $10 pair and a $5000 pair is the same. The difference between your favorite pair of sunglasses and a pair you just happened to find on the ground should have no difference as well. However, if you lost your favorite pair of sunglasses it would feel very significant and perhaps even ‘as if life couldn’t go on’. In that moment your exaggerated loss brings intense meaning, identification and suffering. This is similar to what we do with our feelings. Both positive and negative.

    Our interpretations of negative emotions are similar to ‘speed bumps’ in our journey to self-awareness and peace. They slow us down and distract us from the big picture.

    The top 20 negative emotions are:

    1. Anger
    2. Ignorance
    3. Desire
    4. Jealousy or competition
    5. Arrogance
    6. Resentment
    7. Concealing or hiding faults
    8. Stinginess
    9. Dishonesty
    10. Intoxication or being full of oneself
    11. Harming with intention
    12. Lack of shame or embarrassment about negative expression
    13. Lack of blame or having no apprehension about doing something degrading
    14. Dullness
    15. Excitement
    16. Distrust
    17. Laziness or not wanting to bring about your true nature
    18. Forgetfulness
    19. Lack of vigilance or mindfulness
    20. Being unawakened

    It would be lovely to let go and release these negative emotions. But we don’t. We don’t because we identify with it’s meaning. I’M ANGRY because that stranger stole MY PARKING SPOT. The one that you were eying for the last minute and carefully maneuvered to get to! If you let go of the anger then you’d have to release ownership of your parking spot.

    In comparison, if we practice loving kindness, compassion, justice and helping others we will create the kind of karma that gives us confidence and fearlessness. Notice that I used the word PRACTICE and not ‘try to be’ or ‘focus on’ or ‘meditate on’.

    One observation that Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche kept repeating was the importance of practicing kindness in your daily life. It’s no good to have all the knowledge and skills if we don’t use it.

    It’s like a limbless person on an island of gold.

    We can understand the teachings of mindfulness, empty thoughts, reflection, freedom from ego, meditation and living in the now, but if we don’t apply them to our most challenging issues it’s only a superficial connection. A deep transcendence is missing.

    The type of practice is not as important as actually practicing. Use what you already do to find self, to awaken and refrain from harmful negativity. There are 2 main teachings to follow:

    1. Purify any negativity or poisons to your own nature (ie. avoid fueling negative internal thoughts and external expressions)
    2. Immerse yourself in positivity (ie. thoughts, people, situations)

    To follow these teaching you need to know yourself. If you don’t even recognize those whispering thoughts that consume every minute of your day you can’t gain control. The more you practice paying attention to the positivity and purifying any negativity you will build the confidence in seeing the world as it is, without fueled judgement, opinions, stress or suffering. BUT IT TAKES PRACTICE. Often a lifetime of it, so don’t get discouraged if you find it challenging.

    The next time someone upsets you, think of why. Question if you have an identity to the reason a negative emotion arose. Then you have 3 options:

    1. React mindlessly and perpetuate the negativity in your life
    2. Sit with it and realize the impermanence of the reason — This too shall pass
    3. Be helpful, aware, inspiring, mindful and transformed

    Stop complicating life. I know I do. I create bigger issues out of things that sometimes haven’t even happened. Be wise. Her Eminence described wisdom as common sense. I like this analogy.

    Wisdom is common sense.

    Practice loving kindness, compassion, justice and helping others, it’s common sense. There are no tricks, secrets or complicated passages to guarantee us happiness.

    There are 4 qualities that perpetuate negativity. If you can take a minute during a negative experience, try to identify if one of these qualities are present. Then you have the choice to act on the deeper issue:

    1. Lack of peace
    2. Aggravation
    3. Insecurity
    4. Confusion

    By identifying one of the above qualities, you can avoid fueling the negative emotions with midfulness. Avoid exaggerating an emotion’s meaning by breaking the personal tie it has to you. The ultimate goal is to let go of self-identity.

    We have a false idea that we are tied to our feelings and problems. Picture this, you are tied up to a long heavy chain that is bound and locked to a giant pillar. The lock is unbreakable and the pillar far too large to uproot. You are permanently stuck. These are your problems. These are your negative emotions. Now, if you could only step back and realize that there are 2 ends to a chain. One end is locked up, but the other you hold in you hands. If you were to let go of the chain you would see you are no longer attached to your problems and emotions. But we don’t always realize or want to let go. We hold on tight because we identify with our issues as ours and it threatens our identity to actually give them up.


    Looking at the bigger picture will help to remove the blinders we put on for fear of releasing ownership. Restfulness comes from liberating your senses and opinions from yourself, as well as others. Let others arise as they are. Release others from needing to approve your actions, thoughts and words.

    Limit the speed bumps of negative emotions by acknowledging them without giving them power. Use challenging issues to find the root of discomfort. Releasing the chain that holds us to our negativity is a choice, a mindful choice. It may not be easy to relinquish identity to our emotions but it will liberating and allow more peace of mind. Every moment is the potential for wisdom and common sense. Practicing loving kindness, compassion, justice and helping others is common sense. Surrounding yourself with positivity and purifying negativity is the key to transforming negative emotions.

    The 7 Buddhist Jewels are teachings to:
    1. Cultivate compassion
    2. Determine actions and ideas based on intelligence– NOT emotions
    3. Honesty within one’s own discernment
    4. Cultivate virtue
    5. Quality is courage
    6. Mindful of impermanence
    7. Recognize external and internal emotions to be selfless

    Find out more about the 7 Jewels to Being Fearless here.

    I’ll be writing more about Her Eminence Jetsun Kandro Rinpoche’s teachings. To learn more, sign-up to be put on the email list on the sidebar. 

    In health through healing,

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