Thursday, March 15, 2018

Decoding EMOTIONS: TED Radio Hour (audio)

We experience powerful emotions all of the time, but what are they? Where do they come from? For this hour, TED speakers invoke history, language, science, and music to help us think about the way we feel.

Buddhist psychology (Abhidharma or Ultimate Teachings) classifies emotions as volitional formations (sankharas), one of the Five Groups or Aggregates Clung to as Self.

The "feelings" (vedana) associated with formations -- whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral bodily (physical) and mental (psychic) sensations.

These feeling tones are focused on and become the subject of Satipatthana Mindfulness Meditation to discover that their essential nature is marked by three universal characteristics.

Emotions color our world and allow us to have preferences and make decisions. The sources of many of our emotions are now unconscious, and feelings are automatic from inattention.

Buddhist meditation (serenity and insight) can help free us from being slaves to emotions. Incisive attention can reveal the source of our traumas while releasing us from the irresistible pull of pleasure and revulsion to everything unpleasant.

Unhappiness will overtake me. I'm helpless.
Most people today, however, may prefer the tumult of emotions clinging to them as I, me, and mine UNTIL the pain (dukkha) becomes too great. What does modern science have to say or add to the Buddha's liberating insight about the best way to approach and decode these mysteries?

TED Talks: Decoding Our Emotions

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