Monthly Archives: January 2013

Identifying feelings 辨別感受

Part 1
Part 2 – This article

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of conducting a workshop for HYMT on the subject of going beyond judgements. To me this means moving out of the head and into the heart, away from certain kinds of thinking and into feeling. Both Elly and I were intrigued by the great difficulty that the participants of the workshop had in identifying feelings. This is a subject that I have also found very difficult and it took me a number of years (!) to find a pathway out of my head and into my heart. It is my hope that through this sharing of some insights that I have had on this topic, you will be able to find a pathway into the heart more easily than I was able to.

It has now been almost two years ago that I was in a very negative state of mind, full of frustration and depression. I was in this state when Wolfgang called me to come talk to him in Germany. In another article I will write more about this specific meeting with him, because the conversation we had was one of the highlights in my training so far. What is important for this article is that he often asked me how I was feeling, to go into my heart and to stop talking from my head because he had no interest in listening to that. Almost every time that I thought I was expressing my feelings, he was letting me know that I was stuck in my head. I was so confused and frustrated by my inability to understand what this heart-business was that I ended up just staring at him, not knowing what to say. I realised that I was clueless on this subject.

To come back to that workshop I mentioned, I asked the participants to answer the following question:

You have just done the dishes and somebody in your household tells you: “For God’s sake, you really don’t know how to do the dishes!” What do you suspect that that person is feeling?

Here are some examples of the answers I got:

  • That person feels that his way of doing dishes is different from mine.
  • That person feels that I didn’t do a good job.
  • That person feels that I am not paying attention to some small details, and that I could have paid attention to those details.
  • That person feels that I am not helping her.

I began to see in the participants signs of the same dumbstruckness that had come over me in my conversation with Wolfgang when I said of each and every answer that it is not a feeling. It can be seen from the expression that we use, whether we are talking from the head or from the heart.

Marshall Rosenberg actually gives a simple rule of thumb, which works extremely well in certain languages (like English and Dutch, but not necessarily in Mandarin Chinese), that you can use to determine this: whenever somebody says “I feel that …”, everything after that is either rational analysis, judgement, speculation or something else coming from that person’s head. What the person is probably meaning to say is something along the lines of “I think that …”, “I believe that …” or “I suspect or guess that …”

Feelings are expressed with simple words. Here are a few of many examples:

  • Happiness; I feel happy.
  • Joyfulness; I feel joyful.
  • Satisfaction; I feel satisfied.
  • Confidence; I feel confident.
  • Confusion; I feel confused.
  • Anger; I feel angry.
  • Frustration; I feel frustrated.
  • Sadness; I feel sad.
  • Insecurity; I feel insecure.
  • Discomfort; I feel uncomfortable
  • Fear; I feel afraid

The above list does not mean that something like “I feel watched” or “I feel judged” is an expression of a feeling. When you analyse the words watched and judged, you will find that it describes some action of somebody else. It is another way of saying “I feel that somebody is watching or judging me”.

I would suggest to use the explanations aboven in the following way. When you want to know your feeling about something, see whether what you are saying to yourself (or others) from the heart by checking it against the examples of feeling-expressions and the examples of thought-expressions above. If that is a thought-expression, try to formulate a feeling-expression. If you cannot name a feeling or emotion, simply try to see what word fits best. Is it sadness, happiness, joy, fear, etc. You will feel it when you come across the right one.

Part 1
Part 2 – 本文

我很高興上個星期天在台灣喜瑪拉雅瑜珈協會的每月講座上,分享如何超越批評。對我而言,超越批評意指離開理性,接受感性,遠離某種思考模式,進入感受。有件事讓我和Elly感到很好奇,那就是在場參加講座的人似乎都難以辨別他們的「感覺」。我自己也覺得這是個困難的議題,而我花了好幾年時間才找到遠離我的大腦理性,進入內心的感性世界的途徑。我希望透過分享個人觀察,你可以比我更容易找到前往內心感受的道路。

兩年多前,我處在一個相當負面的狀態下,充滿沮喪和憂鬱,就在這個時候沃夫岡撥了通電話給我,要我到德國和他談談。這段對話是我的訓練歷程中的最重要的一部分,在接下來的文章裡,我會分享有關這次會面的心得。重要的是,當時他經常問我,我的感覺如何,他要我進入內心,停止和大腦對話,因為他對於大腦的話一點興趣也沒有。每次我都以為自己表達的是感覺,但他告訴我,我在大腦中停滯不前。我對自己無法理解他所謂的「進入內心」感到既困惑又挫折,結果只好瞪著沃夫岡,不知道該說什麼才好。那個時候我才意識到,我對內心感受一點也不了解。

再回到每月講座,我請在場的聽眾試著回答以下問題:

你剛洗完碗,而你的某個家人對你說:「天啊,你真的不知道怎麼洗碗!」你猜想說這句話的人可能有什麼感覺?

以下是幾個聽眾所提供的回答:

  • 那個人覺得他洗碗的方法和我的不一樣.
  • 那個人覺得我做得不好
  • 那個人覺得我忽略了我應該注意到的小細節
  • 那個人覺得我沒有幫上忙

當我告訴他們,這些都不是感覺時,我開始在聽眾臉上看到和我在與沃夫岡的對話中浮現的茫然。光是從我們所用的言語表達,就可以知道我們是所說的話,是從大腦或從內心而來。

事實上,Marshall Rosenberg提供了一個很簡單的原則。這個原則在某些語言裡很有用,如英文和荷蘭文,但不見得對中文有用。你可以用這個原則來判斷:當一個人說:「我感覺…」在「我感覺」之後出現的話,常是理性的分析、論斷、猜測或某些來自大腦理性的敍述。這個人可能真正要語的是:「我想…」、「我相信…」、「我猜…」 。

感覺可以用簡單的字眼來表達,以下是幾個例子:

  • 快樂:我感到快樂
  • 愉悅:我感到愉快
  • 滿足:我感到滿足.
  • 自信:我感到自信
  • 困惑:我感到困惑
  • 生氣:我感到生氣
  • 傷心:我感到傷心
  • 不安全感:我感到不安
  • 不舒適:我感到不適
  • 恐懼:我感到害怕

以上的例子並不包含如「我感到被監視」或者「我感到被批評」等表達方式。當你分析如「被監視」和「被批評」這些字眼,你會發現,它們描述的是他人的行為,那是另一種表達「我感覺某個人正在監視或批評我」的方式。

我建議大家可以如此運用上述的解釋。當你想了解自己對於某件事情的感受時,你可以對照前面所提到的「感覺表達語」和「思維表達語」,以檢視自己(或他人)所說的話是否出自內心。如果那是個「思維表達語」,那麼請你試著說出你的「感覺表達語」。如果你說不出你的感受或情緒,試著找找看最接近的感受是什麼,是傷心、快樂、喜悅或恐懼?一旦你找到最貼切的感受時,你將可以感覺到它。

Share

27/01/2013 超越批評

1月份的滿月靜坐在27日,正好是個禮拜天。所以這次我們將兩個活動結合,時間從下午6:00~9:00,歡迎參加。

公開講座–超越批評

「在壞事和好事的觀念之外,還有一個地方,我在那裡等待你。」-魯米

造成我們和自我分裂,以及人際關係不睦的最強大觀念之一,就是「好與壞」的觀念。一旦這個觀念被我們接受認定為事實,我們的思考開始產生一些無可避免地造成痛苦的想法,例如:

  • 對[某人某事]而言,我不夠好。
  • 我必需要改進。
  • 我比[某人]好。
  • 其他人不值得擁有[某件事]。
  • 這個世界應該是[某個樣子]。

然而,一旦我們超越好與壞的想法,我們幾乎立即發展出理解、自信和慈悲。在這次講座裡,我們將會:

  • 探討存在內心裡的批評
  • 建立對批評的認識
  • 探索超越批評的道路

日期:1月27日(日)
時間:
• 6:00pm~8:00pm 公開講座(活動費用200元)
• 8:00pm~9:00pm 滿月靜坐 (免費參加)
地點:easyoga華山生活概念館(台北市八德路一段一號 easyoga店內)
報名請洽:歐小姐 ohcactus@hotmail.com 手機0953-236-606 (簡訊可)

Share

No man ever steps in the same river twice 沒有人重複踏入同樣的河流

No man ever steps in the same river twice.
~ Heraclitus

It has now already been two months since completing my silence practice and I have been seeing many interesting developments in myself in this period. Not only has my attitude towards myself and others changed a lot, I am also understanding the philosophical principles behind this attitude change more deeply.

The biggest shift in my attitude has been that I accept myself and others far more completely than before. This shift comes from the fact that I understand that life is a process and not a finished product. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus expressed that principle in the quotation that you can find at the beginning of this article. Like the river, life is changing continuously. The old waters of the past have come and gone and new waters are continuously flowing in the river of life.

We often do not recognise this fact and then we start to think in absolutes. For example, when we feel pleasant around somebody’s behaviour, we tend to say “He is a lovely person”. This is what we usually call a compliment. When we feel unpleasant around somebody’s behaviour, we might say “She’s an idiot”. In both cases we have applied a label to a person that has an absolute nature; we feel conflicted when we feel unpleasant around the same person whom we called lovely before. We might say “You’re a horrible person. You have shown your true nature now!” All of the above statements only reflect that we have not really understood that the other person is like the river, always changing. All of the above statements are also not very informative, because nothing is revealed of the reasons why the statements were made in the first place.

When we believe in these uninformative absolutes, we can be easily led to negative experiences. I have been working with one of my ‘students’ rectification on his lack of confidence. When I asked him to give me an example of a scenario in which he lacks confidence, he mentioned job interviews. I asked him to role-play with me and the following conversation ensued:

Me: So… what reasons would you give me to hire you?
Him: Well… I’m quite good at such-and-such and I am really interested in it as well. I think that these skills are relevant to your line of business.
Me: I see! You are an expert at such-and-such then?
Him: Well… I wouldn’t say th
Me: Oh! If you are not an expert, why should I hire you?

The difficult point in this conversation lies in the word ‘expert’, a very uninformative absolute. It is absolutely not clear what capabilities the interviewer is asking for, how can such a question be answered? For the sake of not wanting to come across as an arrogant person, most people will say “I’m not an expert”. And I myself also do not feel very comfortable at calling myself an expert at something. So I proposed to my student the following:

Me: I see! You are an expert at such-and-such then?
Him: Well… I know quite well what my qualities and capabilities are, but I am not so clear on the qualities and capabilities you want somebody to have before you call him an expert. Could you tell me what they are, because then I can tell you if I have them or not.

With an answer of that nature, you refuse to play the judgement game. Instead you remain aware of the subjective nature of the ‘expert’ label. Then there is no reason to feel insecure because you can remain free from the judgements. I am not saying that you will have the qualities and capabilities you need to get the job, but at least that will be determined in a more fair way.

I have more examples of conversations like this. If you are interested in them, you can let me know in the comments and I’ll try to post a few more.

沒有人重複踏入同樣的河流。
~ 赫拉克立特

距離我最近一次的守靜練習已經有兩個月時間,在此期間,我在自己身上看到許多有趣的發展。我不但改變對自己的態度,也更加深入地了解這些改變背後的哲理。

最大的改變在於我更能夠全然地接受自己和他人。這項改變來自於一個體會,也就是生命是不斷的進程,而非一件成品。在文章開頭引用的希臘哲人赫拉克立特的名句,就表達這樣的原則。生命像河流一般,不斷地變化。過去的河水來了又去,而新的河水持續地在生命的河裡流動。

我們常未能認清這個事實,而開始想著生命的絕對。例如,當我們覺得某人的行為讓我們感到愉快,我們常會說:「他真是個好人。」我們常認為這是種讚美。當我們覺得某人的行為使人感到不快時,我們可能會說:「她是個笨蛋。」在這兩個例子中,我們都賦予他人一個絕對的標籤;當原先使我們感到愉悅的人做出讓人不快的事時,我們內心感到矛盾,我們可能會說:「你是個糟糕的人,終於露出廬山真面目了!」這些敍述都顯現我們並未真正理解到,這個人就像河流般不斷地改變。我們對這個人的描述,並未提供任何有用的資訊,因為我們並沒有提出這些描述的原由。

當我們相信這些毫無資訊價值的絕對說法時,我們很容易被導入負面情緒。最近我幫助一個學生修正面對缺乏自信的問題。我請他提供一個他感到缺乏自信的情境的時候,他提到了工作面試,所以我邀請他進行一段角色扮演,而有以下的對話:

: 好,有什麼理由讓我雇用你?
: 嗯,我很擅長這個和那個,而且我也對這些感到很有興趣。我想這些技巧對您的企業而言相當重要。
: 好,所以,你是這個和那個的專家
: 嗯,我不會這麼說
: 喔?如果你不是專家,我為什麼要雇用你?

這段對話的困難處在於「專家」這個詞,這是個不具資訊價值的絕對用語。面試考官所要求的能力是什麼,完全讓人摸不著頭緒,那麼這樣的問題又怎麼能夠被回答呢?大部分人為了避免表現出傲慢的態度,就說:「我不是專家」我對於稱自己為專家,感到不太自在,所以我建議我的學生這麼回答:

: 好,所以,你是這個和那個的專家?
: :嗯,我很清楚自己的特質和能力,但我不太清楚,你希望在某個人身上找到什麼樣的特質和能力要求,才會稱這個人為專家。可不可以請你告訴我,那麼我就可以回答我是否擁有這些特質和能力。

透過這樣的回答,你拒絕加入論斷的遊戲,反而保持一份覺知:「專家」這個標籤是主觀的。這麼一來,你毋須感到缺乏不安,因為你可以免於陷入論斷之中。我並不是說你一定具備這個工作所需的特質和能力,但至少這個結果可以透過較公平的方式來決定。

我還有其他類似的例子,如果你有興趣的話,請告訴我,我會試著再多分享這樣的對話。

Share

When I was your age… 我在你這個年紀的時候…

Over the past few years I have been able to collect a number of stories that I found greatly amusing or inspiring to my spiritual practices. I was curious whether I had collected any stories that carry a message of non-judgement, because that topic has been very important and helpful to me in the last couple of months. I found this little gem.

Dad finds his son slouching on the couch after dinner. He thinks to himself: “Again? He was also doing this yesterday and the day before that. This lazy child! He refuses to help us by cleaning the house! He doesn’t attend to his schoolwork! What is wrong with him?!”

The more he was thinking about his son, the more he was getting annoyed. When in the next moment he glanced upon his son, he blurted out: “Do you know what Abraham Lincoln was doing at your age?!”

The son thought for a while, then looked at his father and replied: “I don’t know about that, but I know what he was doing at your age!”

過去幾年中,我收集了一些很有意思、對我的靈修練習深具啟發性的故事。過去幾個月裡,「非批評」對我而言是很重要且幫助很大的一項議題,這使我想到,不知道我所收集的故事中,是否有關於「非批評」的故事。我找到了這個美麗的小故事。

爸爸看到兒子吃完飯後賴在沙發上,於是心裡想著:「怎麼又窩在沙發上了?他昨天這樣,前天也是這樣,真是個懶惰的孩子!不肯幫忙打掃家裡,不肯花心思在學校功課上,這孩子到底怎麼了!?」

他越想著兒子,心裡越感到生氣。他又看了兒子一眼,忍不住破口說道:「你知道亞伯拉罕˙林肯在你這樣的年紀時,在做些什麼嗎?」

兒子想了想,看著父親回答道:「我不知道,但我知道他在你這個年紀時做些什麼!」

Share

Pictures from silence (2011) 守靜照片

I would like to share a number of pictures that I have taken after my first silence practice of 3 weeks, which was in 2011. The pictures were taken with my phone. I have also included one picture of myself almost immediately after the practice (it’s not one of the most flattering ones!).

Wolfgang calls this place his ‘cave’.

Enjoy.

我想和大家分享我在2011年三週守靜練習時所拍的照片。這些照片是以手機拍攝,當中還包含一張我自己在剛結束守靜後(並不怎麼好看)的照片。

沃夫岡總是稱這個地方為他的「洞穴」。

Share

Understanding your personality 了解你的人格特質

Part 1 – This article
Part 2

In the last couple of days I have been confronted with a number of situations that have stirred up some powerful emotions in me. It is interesting that this is happening at a time that I have started to understand a practical and useful approach to dealing with emotions and have silently resolved within myself to practice that approach. Some words of wisdom of my father will help explain this apparent coincidence: He says

When you resolve to obtain a driver’s license, you will be faced with the driving test.”

The peculiar part is that approach that I have started to realise is mentioned in one way or the other in both of the materials that I am studying at the moment, namely Marshall Rosenberg‘s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and a compilation of some of Swami Rama’s commentary on chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras into a book called Sadhana: the Path to Enlightenment.

I would express my understanding of the ‘aim’ of the approach as a method that helps you to at the one hand gain an insight into a basic level of your being that lies beneath your emotions and on the other hand to gain the ability to direct your emotions, thoughts and actions when confronted with strong emotions. To quote from Swami Rama’s compiled commentary:

“Even though you may be a highly cultured and intelligent person, one emotion can come and make you behave irrationally. For instance, you may lose your temper and behave in a totally unexpected manner (…)

The level of desire is deeper and more powerful than the emotional level. If you study your desires it is easy to understand your life and the different aspects of your personality.”

The important insight that underlies the approach is that underneath the realm of actions lies the realm of thoughts; and underneath the realm of thoughts lies the realm of emotions (feelings). When we go even deeper than the realm of emotions, we encounter the realm of needs and desires. Swami Rama mentions another layer which lies even deeper than desires, which is the layer of subtle impressions (samskaras) in the memory bank of the mind; I have not yet recognised an experience from that layer for myself, so I will not discuss that layer here.

Now the approach itself is quite simple. Start from the layer that you are aware of at a certain moment, observe what you are experiencing at that level without judgements, and then try to look at or ask yourself what activity is present at the layer underneath the level where you just were. Then continue from that level. In essence, this is a practice of self-dialogue or contemplation.

I want to illustrate this method through an experience I had over a year ago. Once on a quiet Saturday morning I was walking home, coming back from doing groceries. I was waiting at the final traffic light before my house, where an elderly gentlemen and his wife were also waiting to cross the road. While we were waiting there an ambulance came racing by with its sirens on. There seemed to be a big emergency because the ambulance made a sudden right turn and crossed a sidewalk to end up in the street where it needed to be. The gentlemen standing next to me was suddenly getting angry and he started saying to his wife, “What kind of dangerous and reckless driving is this?! This should be made illegal!” and so on.

In the meantime I was getting very annoyed and angry myself, because I couldn’t really understand why the man would feel the need to complain about something that seemed so obvious to me. I soon became aware of how tense I had made my body. Experiencing that tension with curiosity, I quickly became aware of my thoughts. I was thinking things like “Oh my God! What an idiot! How can he be so dumb not to understand this?!” I was not judging these thoughts, I simply saw the thoughts passing through me. I then saw through them and realised they were thoughts coming from anger. My anger was leading me to mental complaints. When I stopped going with the anger and simply started feeling and observing it, I asked myself, “Wait a minute. Why am I getting angry? What am I trying to achieve?” I got one of the most shocking answers of my life. I answered myself with, “I want to feel better than that person. When I complain about him, I feel better about myself.”

After receiving that answer, the whole chain stopped by itself. No more feelings of anger, no more angry thoughts and no more tension in the body. Since that day I do not complain as much anymore, because I gained a simple insight into that part of myself from which those thoughts are coming and that there is another way to nurture that part.

Part 1 – 本文
Part 2

過去幾天裡,我碰上一些使我產生強烈情緒反應的狀況。有趣的是,就在我開始對於處理情緒的實際有效的方法有所理解,也在心裡暗自下定決心要好好練習這個方法的時候,這些狀況就出現了。我父親曾說過一段很富含智慧的話,可以用來解釋這樣的巧合,他說:

「當你下定決心要拿到駕駛執照時,你就會面臨駕照考試。」

有趣的是,在我目前所學習的Marshall Rosenberg的非暴力溝通課程以及一本集結拉瑪大師針對《瑜珈經》第二章的講解《修行:開悟之路》當中,都提到這個我開始有所認識的方法。。

我對這個方法的「目標」的理解是,它一方面幫助你深入觀察那隱藏在情緒之下的個人存在的基本層面,另一方面幫助你在面臨強烈情緒反應時,能夠導引自己的情緒、思考和行動。拉瑪大師在《修行:開悟之路》中說:

「即使你是一個非常有教養、非常聰明的人,有時候情緒一來,它能使你表現得毫無理性。例如,你可能大發脾氣,做出意料之外的行為…」

「慾望的層次要比情緒層次來得更深、更強大。如果你能夠深入探討自己的慾望,那麼你將更容易了解自己的人生和人格特質的不同層面。」

這個方法的重點在於,在行動之下,隱藏著思想;在思想之下,隱藏著情緒(感覺)。當我們更深入探討情緒時,我們會發現需求和渴望。拉瑪大師提到一個比慾望更深的層次,那就是心智的記憶儲存庫中,那些細微的印記(samskara)。我還沒有碰過來自那個層次的經驗,所以在這裡我就不討論它。

我所說的這個方法其實很簡單。從你在某一刻所覺知的層次開始,不帶論斷地觀察在那個層次所經歷的一切,然後試著觀看或問問自己,你之前所在的那個層次之下,有什麼樣的活動正進行著,接著再從這一層次繼續觀察。基本上,這是一個自我對話或沈思的練習。

讓我舉個例子來說明。有一個安靜的星期六早晨,我剛買完東西,走在回家的路上。在我家附近的路口,我等著紅綠燈,此時有一位老先生和他的妻子也一起等著。就在我們等待的時候,有一輛救護車警笛大響地急駛而過。我想狀況可能十分緊急,只見救護車突然往右轉,開上人行道去。這位站在我旁邊的老先生突然變得很生氣,對他的妻子說:「怎麼有人開車這麼危險,這麼不小心!這應該是違法的!

聽到這段話,我自己也感到很生氣,因為我不了解,這位老先生為什麼無法理解在我眼中很明顯的事情。我很快地意識到我的身體突然變得緊繃。我好奇地觀察這份緊繃感,很快地察覺到我的思緒。我正想著:「天啊!真是個笨蛋!怎麼能這麼笨,連這都不懂?」我並沒有針對這些思緒做任何評斷。我看著它們,了解到這些思緒是來自於憤怒。我的憤怒引發內心的抱怨。當我停止隨著憤怒起舞,轉而經歷、觀察這份情緒時,我問自己:「等等,我為什麼要生氣呢?我到底想做什麼呢?」此時我得到人生中最叫人震驚的答案之一。我回答自己道:「我想要感到比這個人優越。當我抱怨這個人的時候,我覺得自己比他優越。」

在獲得這個答案後,這整個事件停止了。我不再感到生氣,不再有憤怒的情緒,身體不再緊繃。從那天起,我不再那麼常抱怨,因為我觀察到內心情緒的起源,並了解到我可以運用另一種方式培養它。

Share