The Zen Disease: Is crying for a lost one selfish?
A friend recently told me a story about a monk who said it was selfish for her friend to be mourning the loss of a loved one. She was interested to know what perspective I had on this. What it brought up is really a clash of the old and new… Clash of cultures. Have you heard of the Zen Disease?
To Feel or Not To Feel?
What I know about enlightenment is this: No matter how high you get, this being that you are part of has FEELINGS.
When you attain enlightenment, there are two potential outcomes. You can use the power of your meta-cognition to subjugate your body, your feelings, and disconnect and fly above it all. It’s very nice. Or, you can use that power to dive down deep into the subconscious and illuminate all the shadow states. You can find out why we behave the way we do and recode that behaviour accordingly.
This is extremely uncomfortable, but also very rewarding. You unwind your personal and ancestral karma.
The problem has been, that many traditions encourage the former. Flying above it all. There is in fact a term for it: “The Zen Disease“. What happens is that there is an internal story told that is: “I’m above it all”… Which becomes a very strong belief. And we cannot ever see anything that disagrees with our beliefs so…when there is a trigger in the body they don’t notice it or see it.
The Body Keeps Score
They bottle up their unexpressed emotions and traumas in the body until it explodes out one day. But it’s usually behind closed doors, at loved ones. So if these enlightened guys have wives… Well, lookout. They get the brunt of it. And there’s the story that they are holy…so no one sees it. IT’s horrible.
That’s the space this monk is speaking from. That’s his experience of a rigid monastic system that has been designed around NOT triggering anything in the bodies of the enlightened ones… Who haven’t dealt with their emotional shit. Think about it. The rituals, the container, the silence, all of it creates a very sparse predictable container that removes any opportunity for a trigger. What I know about triggers is that they don’t go away, they multiply if you run away.
The Inner Child
The other way, the newer way is to welcome the triggers all as teaching opportunities. Even seeking them. Documenting them and inspecting the reasons behind them. Using the power of enlightenment, meta-cognition to dive deep into “why am I angry”, “why am I crying”, “what is the deeper feeling or belief underneath that emotion”.
What you will find in that there is a wounded inner child that has been tallying up all the shit of your past, and that is judging you based on your response to it. They are constantly trying to connect with you, and tell you it’s gotten pretty stinky down there. If you ignore it, they lose trust and tantrum and generally try to disrupt your life enough so you pay attention.
Why run away from this? With Enlightenment, you now have the power to see…so LOOK! Sure, this will take time. But, that child is not going to trust you right away, that needs to be built up.
Did you really think that self-love was all about going to the Spa?
Out of building up trust with this little one inside you, love can grow. I can tell you the visceral experience of falling in love with yourself, your inner child is quite amazing. Out of this comes a flow and natural disposition that is unprecedented.
You trust what your being is bringing up and trying to tell you. These feelings, emotions, they are all carriers of information that the super-intelligence of your body is bringing into your Enlightened consciousness. You now have the ability to discern the information contained within Anger, Shame, Depression… These are all messages that something is out of alignment, and needs to be paid attention to.
In return, they trust you enough not to hold onto stuff for very long. They bring it up straight away, you experience it, let the energy in motion (emotion) flow, and then off it goes.
Rigidity, Repression, and Staying Stuck
Is learning to work with your emotions, fully experience them, and respond to them from a conscious state selfish? I think not.
I think it’s selfish to deny yourself and others the vulnerability you can show. Additionally, I think it’s selfish to curate your beings’ responses to things and, I think any form of curation takes one out of the flow of the universe and projects a “should or should not” upon what is a beautiful tapestry.
Please do not misunderstand: It’s NOT ok to use your emotions as an excuse to project violence on the world around you. When I say fully experience them, I’m talking of experiencing emotions as information, the same as any other sense.
Hiding is Selfish
I think it’s very selfish, to bottle up your emotions so that they explode out behind closed doors. I think we rob those around us the true and authentic self we are at that moment. THAT is ALL EGO. Whenever you find yourself thinking “hmm, I should hide this” that is ego.
Anything that gets in the way of that internal flow expressing itself is EGO. Ego is the one who questions everything this being is trying to bring up… Because it’s uncomfortable or doesn’t feel safe.
We ARE emotional beings
It’s OK to be sad.
It’s OK to miss a loved one.
It’s OK to be angry at a situation.
These emotions are telling us to wake up and experience deeper caring about SOMETHING. That there is something going on that is important to pay attention to. So listen, and get curious.
What is your inner child telling you today?
Meet the Author
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals…” - Henry David Thoreau
Cian Kenshin is an MBA (Finance), a consultant for 32 of the top sports franchises in the US, and founder of multiple successful startups including a Vertical Farm company, is a certified teacher of Yoga and Zen, a Certified Virtual Coach by Eben Pagan, soon to be author, and a sought after Executive Coach for start-ups and boardroom executives alike. Known for his unique perspective on productivity, this serial entrepreneur and investor is a wealth of fresh ideas, constantly seeking new ways to ‘do business better’.
He's now taken his skills in entrepreneurship, and professional performance and created a system of personal performance and growth that can help you succeed in both life and business. He has recently partnered with GFIT Wellness to offer these unique sessions to the corporate world.
Check Cian out at mindhacker.com and at his podcast
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