The Knack Of Transforming Feelings
This is a beautiful method, it will be very useful for you.
For example, if you are feeling very discontented, what to do? Patanjali [the most famous exponent of Yoga] says ponder on the opposite: if you are feeling discontented, contemplate on contentment: What is contentment?
Bring a balance. If your mind is angry, bring compassion in. Think about compassion and, immediately, the energy changes because they are the same; the opposite is the same energy. Once you bring it in, it absorbs. Anger is there: contemplate on compassion.
Do one thing: keep a statue of Buddha because that statue is the gesture of compassion. Whenever you are angry, go into the room, look at Buddha, sit Buddha-like, and feel compassion. Suddenly you will see a transformation happening within you: the anger is changing, excitement gone…compassion arising. And it is not different energy; it is the same energy – the same energy of anger – changing its quality, going higher. Try it.
It is not suppression, remember. People ask me, “Is Patanjali suppressing? Because when I am angry, if I think about compassion, will it not be a suppression?” No. It is sublimation: it is not suppression. If you are angry and you suppress anger without thinking of compassion then it is suppression. You go on pushing it down and you smile and you act as if you are not angry – and anger is bubbling there and boiling there and ready to explode. Then it is suppression. No, we are not suppressing anything, and we are not creating a smile or anything; we are just changing the inner polarity.
The opposite is the pole. When you feel hateful, think of love. When you feel desire, think of desirelessness and the silence that comes in it. Whatsoever the case, bring the opposite in and watch what happens within you. Once you know the knack of it, you have become a master. Now you have the key: any moment anger can be changed into compassion, any moment hate can be turned into love, any moment sadness can become ecstasy. Suffering can become bliss because suffering has the same energy as the bliss; the energy is not different. You just have to know how to channel it.
There is no suppression because the whole energy of anger becomes compassion – nothing is left to suppress. In fact, you have expressed it in compassion.
There are two ways of expression. In the West, now, catharsis has become very important. Encounter groups and Primal Therapy believe in catharsis. My own Dynamic Meditation is a method of catharsis because people have lost the key to sublimate. Patanjali does not talk about catharsis at all. Why doesn’t he talk about it? People had the key. the knack. They knew how to sublimate. You have forgotten, so I have to teach you catharsis.
Anger is there; it can be transformed into compassion, but you have no idea how to do it. And it is not an art which can be taught; it is a knack. You have to do it and learn it through doing it; there is no other way. It is just like swimming: you have to swim, and err, and sometimes get into danger. Sometimes you will feel lost; that your life is lost, you are drowning. You have to pass all those, and then the knack comes, then you know what it is. It is such a simple thing, swimming.
Have you observed? There are a few things you can learn but you cannot forget: swimming is one of those things. Or cycling: you can learn but you cannot forget. Everything else you can learn and you can forget. A thousand and one things you learned in your school; now you have almost forgotten all. The whole school system seems such a wastage. People learn, and then nobody remembers. Just to take the examination…then finished. Then nothing is remembered, But swimming you cannot forget. If you have not been to the river for fifty years and suddenly you are thrown in, you will swim again as fresh as ever – you will not have a single moment of hesitation about what to do. Why it happens so? Because it is a knack. It cannot be forgotten. It is not a learning; it is not an art. And learning, art, can be forgotten, but a knack? A knack is something that goes so deep into your being it becomes part of you. Sublimation is a knack.
Patanjali never talks about catharsis; I have to talk about it because of you. But once you understand, and if you can sublimate, then there is no need for catharsis because catharsis is, in a way, a wastage of energy. But, unfortunately, nothing can be done right now. And you have been suppressed for so many centuries that sublimation looks like suppression, so only catharsis seems to be the way. First you have to be relieved – you become a little weightless, unburdened – and then you can be taught the art of sublimation.
Sublimation is using the energy in a higher way, the same energy being used with a different quality to it. But you can try. Many of you have gone through Dynamic Meditation for a long time. You can try: next time when anger is there, sadness is there, just sit silently and allow the sadness to move towards happiness – just help – push it a little. Don’t do too much and don’t be in a hurry, because the sadness will be reluctant at first to go towards happiness. Because for centuries, for many lives, you have not allowed it to move that way, it will be reluctant.
It is like a horse whom you are forcing towards a new path on which he has never been, he will be reluctant. He will try to go to the old pattern. to the old path, to the old rut. But by and by persuade it, seduce it. Tell sadness then, “Don’t be afraid. It is really groovy! Come this way. You can become happiness, and there is nothing wrong in it and nothing impossible.”
Just persuade, talk to your sadness, and one day you will suddenly find the sadness has moved into a new channel: it has become happiness.
Yoga: A New Direction, Talk #9