A person without core principles or a guiding philosophy can very easily become downtrodden. If this emotional pattern becomes habitual, it could lead to depression and leave them susceptible to inner conflict and struggle. Following that, they can develop the habit of berating and blaming themselves. In the most severe cases, this person crumbles under the weight of self-dejection and derision, a cumbersome life affecting them and all those around them.
There are basically three categories into which we can place the emotions we have throughout the day, each one the result of the environment’s influence on our mind: those that are happy, those that are unhappy, and those that are neutral. For example, sometimes in the morning we wake to rays of warm sunlight and the intermittent song of birds. We feel at peace, like we had a good night’s sleep that wasn’t interrupted by the constant buzz of cellphones and distracting chatter at the office. We feel energized and refreshed, with pleasant images floating through our head as we rush off to work. We feel happy. Then we get to the office and have to sit through endless meetings and listen to complaining customers and deal with employee relations. The whole time, our emotions are being pulled left and right, sometimes falling into a negative cycle that leaves us feeling low, again. Repeated occurrences can ignite our temper, irritability and resentment, creating even more tension amongst our personal relationships. We have seen this all before.
The last type of situation is with things that are not of any exceptional significance to us: the things and people that we deal with on a daily basis like gossip at work or exchanging words with the family, our daily routines, the news and other shows we watch on TV. The fluctuations in our emotional state under these circumstances are so insignificant that we can call them neutral. But if we manage to quiet our minds, a more sensitive person might wonder whether we really have to pass our lives bouncing within the boundaries of happiness and grief. Or if our fate is decided merely by our uncontrollable emotions.
Our mind is comprised of various emotions and desires. Any interaction with external conditions like the air, people, circumstances, affairs, forms and colours, etc., will trigger an emotional response, whether that be the experience of happiness or suffering. It is natural for for us to get emotional and become unhappy and displeased. The point is in how we coexist with our emotions, our negative thoughts and all of the things that we feel are unpleasant. This is really where we should focus our attention. When negative things happen in our life, we will instinctively start a dialogue with ourselves. What is key at this moment is to try with all speed to bring a positive force into the mind, which would be to find your mind or to, at the very moment these negative afflictions are about to arise, transform them with positive thoughts. To first settle your body and mind, you may resort to Precious Vase Breathing or the Nine Winds practice that can purify the body and the mind after which you can regulate the breath and start to examine yourself. During this examination process, you can use these questions as a guide: what are the origins of my emotions? Why have they gotten stuck in my mind? What have they really added to my mind? What role do they play? What kind of influence do they exert? You must very clearly see everything going on, watching with a compassionate, calm and warm attitude, quietly abiding in that moment. If you can do this, you will find that you have already gained 50% control over your emotions and are moving in a positive direction. The most frightening thing is when you completely ignore these emotions, like an irascible child who could care less about what you have say. The negative force resulting from this would be inevitable.
When negative emotions come looking for you again, try to practice putting yourself into a state of emptiness. In this state, you are aware of everything happening around you, but there is a part of you that is clearly and soberly watching it all without any kind of reaction. This non-responsiveness is a state of śamatha, or tranquillity. The mind here will neither advance nor retreat; it is extremely clear, beyond all mundane thought and attachment. If you take a step further and can maintain this state, you will enter into vipassanā, or absorption. If you can manage to practice this regularly, training your mind against the circumstances of your everyday life, you will gradually realize that the quality of your life has become quite enjoyable. You will be much more productive at work, your interpersonal relationships will improve, and the condition of your body and mind will reach a new pinnacle. Why are you able to do this? Because you have already reached a settlement with the negative forces in your mind.
This is from Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche