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Thread: Dealing with difficult emotions

  1. #11
    Forums Member federica17's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Thanks Aloka for the reference!

    Hi Element, thanks for you replies. It is true that, in my specific case, I could address the root problem instead of reflecting upon my emotional reaction. However, inquiring on my reaction is actually what I was interested in doing. My emotional states are often characterized by anxiety or fear in general, PhD aside, and my aim in posting this particular situation was to provide an example of what often goes on inside my mind and discuss with you all about it. It is also true that, as woodscoter wrote, my supervisor is not the only difficult person I will encounter in my life and it will not always be possible to "solve" the external problem, and that is why I am keen to learn how to handle the way I feel apart from external conditions.

    For what actually regards my PhD case, I thank you for your concern and interest in helping me solve the problem and also for the quote about teacher-student relationship, as a tutor and teacher myself I found it deeply interesting. I won't go into details about my current situation because this would be off-topic with respect to this forum, but shortly, any kind of mediation would involve questioning her behavior as a supervisor and I can only imagine how worse my situation would be if I openly "complained about her" (even if I just expressed my difficulties without blaming anyone, that is how the matter would be perceived) to the head of department or whoever. But it is fine, my PhD is over in seven months and I am really looking forward to it :)

  2. #12
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.A.
    Fredricka: Now what I want to ask is:
    First, is this the correct way (and by "correct" I mean "skillful" or "right" from a Buddhist point of view) to deal with these situations?
    Hi, Fredricka: Your post reminded me of my wife's information sharing with me as to her experience, while in her Ph.D. program for Clinical Psychology, which was many, many moons ago. She is now 68 years old, and I am 75. She shard that her supervisor seemed to be a retired member of The Spanish Inquisition, and most sessions with "him" in this case often left her in tears. There were no e-mails to be sent back and forth at the time, all communications were up close and personal. I mention this only because you seemed to express isolation and uniqueness in the way you were / are being treated, and I wanted to let you know that you are not alone. The Ph.D. program must attract such supervisory personalities. She also shared that when she gave her Doctoral Dissertation, the board was even worse, if you can imagine.

    Second, the fact that thinking all that stuff did not reduce my anxiety at all, is it fine because reducing anxiety is not the point, or maybe it means that I have not yet been practicing enough to gain a greater capacity to train my mind in dealing with difficult emotions?
    What I have found, is that whenever I feel like I have or am feeling mistreated, it involves my anxiety due to my personal delusions of "self". To combat this type of anxiety, I reflect upon Buddha's teachings regarding "emptiness", and how the delusion of self and clinging to such views can cause great dukkha to arise. The solution invariably is letting go of such delusions, since if we come to a correct understanding, we realize that there is no permanent self which exists, and so, therefore is none which can ever be harmed if we have a correct understanding of this concept.

    Here is a reading which has often been of help to me in this regard:

    Another point I would like to share was a concept shared with me by a meditation instructor years ago, who was working on her ordination in Burma, when she came upon the idea that pretty much all of The Noble Eight Fold Path worked better for her if she replaced the word "right" with "harmonious", in that we benefit more in working these steps is we strive for "harmony" as an outcome, rather than any notion of being right or wrong.

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited by Olderon; 14 May 19 at 17:42.

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