Ricard: The clash between what we want and what is—

Babbling brook flowing through reeds

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Sooner or later in spiritual practice we will have to address the inevitable clash between what we want and what is—
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the clash out of which all of our separating emotional reactions, and much of our unhappiness, arise.
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When this clash occurs, where life does not give us what we want, the emotional reaction can be quite powerful, and it often feels very messy when we’re in the midst of it.
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In these moments it’s almost as if our ability to think clearly goes on sabbatical, and we quickly fall into old, destructive habits, such as dumping our emotions on others, judging our feelings as bad, or suppressing our experience altogether.
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When we get caught in these negative patterns we are clearly disconnected from ourselves.
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Each time we indulge these patterns another layer of armoring is placed over the heart, and consequently the unhappiness of feeling separate increases.
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We can’t always avoid this dark place because life will never give us everything we want; but we can learn how these experiences can become transformative.
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Learning how to work directly with our divisive emotional reactions is key; practice allows the dark and negative energy to be transformed—like turning poison into honey.
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As we become decreasingly caught in our emotions, it’s increasingly possible to experience the happiness of inner freedom.
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