Be Awake to Our Emotions

 

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Following a scent

Trying hard to be quiet

Crunch, crunch go the leaves

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Sometimes I like to sneak up on squirrels, just to see how close I can get before they run up a tree. During autumn, there is the added challenge of being quiet amongst the fallen leaves.

To be very, very quiet, I need to be completely awake in the moment.

Being awake in the moment is difficult when I am not awake to my emotions. Impatience, excitement, pride, and anxiety -- these are all emotions I may feel when sneaking up on a squirrel. If I'm not aware of them, my mind is distracted, and the leaves are crunching louder than squeak toys.

Take, for example, the story of the four monks who, as part of their awareness practice, took a vow to be silent for the day. They had been successful and were walking back to their cabin in the dark. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew one of the monk's lanterns out. "My light went out," he exclaimed. "Hey, be quiet!" said the second monk. The third monk scolded them, "You two idiots, now you've ruined it for the rest of us." Then the fourth monk declared, "Ha! I'm the only one who hasn't talked yet." The emotions of surprise, irritation, contempt, and pride had snuck up on the day of silence. 

 

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