My response to, "How do I prevent myself from being too emotional in a given situation?"

I'm going to assume--maybe wrongly--that you're not too worried about the happier emotions, such as happiness, joy, enthusiasm, and so on?

As for the rest, just about all negative emotions can be classified under two headings: aversion and attachment.

Aversion includes anger, frustration, irritability, jealousy as well as fear and some forms of anxiety  (I assume that some will try to argue that jealousy comes from attachment, but I'm talking about the actual phenomenology of jealousy, which is to control or to attempt to change something that's really none of one's business, which is a form of aversion to things as they are.)  

Attachment includes neediness, lustfulness, attachment to craving, attachment to one's desires (not desires themselves but the attachment to them), clinginess, and certain forms of anxiety, among other mind states.

So, how do you prevent yourself from being too emotional in a given situation?

You learn to work with those two categories of emotions outside of those situations.

Think of sports.  

If this baseball player had waited until his at-bat to figure out how to hit a ball, he'd be in trouble.  Instead, he practices and practices countless hours before he steps up to the plate.  It's the same in any sport, any artistic performance, and so on.  

So, it's similar with emotions.  If you're waiting until those given situations, it's a bit late.  You want to find a way to "practice" with your emotions before those "moments of truth."  

So suppose that your troublesome emotion is anger or rage.  Then, learn to spot weaker forms of aversion in your daily life, such as when you feel mildly irritated or annoyed.  Don't just let that go thinking, it's okay for me to be irritated or annoyed.  

Instead, think of it as an opportunity to learn to handle aversion better. So, try to work with that irritation or annoyance, such as through writing about your feelings, or learning a little meditation and being able to sit with those uncomfortable feelings.  Or talk to people that you trust about these milder feelings.  

The same goes for attachment. So, if your problem is that you get clingy, say, in romantic relationships, try to look for how you tend to get attached or needy in milder ways, and learn to work with that.  Don't suppress it, and don't just say, It's okay that I'm this way.  

Instead, find a way to work with it skillfully.  

As you get better with the weaker forms of aversion and attachment, you'll accomplish two things: (1) you'll be relieving the internal pressures within you so that they don't build up so much to the stronger forms of aversion and attachment and (2) even when the stronger forms show up (because they still will), you'll have learned better how to work with those difficult emotions.

So practice with the milder forms of your difficult emotions outside of the given situation.  That's the summary sentence.  Hope this helps.



My response to "What would be your strategy to get wealthy?"

So apparently, some folks have made the long trek to Dharamasala, India, waiting for days to get an audience with the Dalai Lama to ask him this one question ("How do I become rich?")

And from what I've read, his response is a good hearty laugh and then the response of, "Give away everything you have!"  

So that's the unadulterated dharmic perspective.  

I can't speak for myself, but I watch my father who's made millions as a business man, and I see the same principle at work.  He's one of the most generous people I know.  

Upon retiring, he's spent the the past 10 - 15 years volunteering for the Japanese-American community with just about all his free time.  From watching him, he spends about 40 - 60 hours a week volunteering his time. 

When the Japanese experienced the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, he led a campaign that raised nearly 1.5 million dollars on behalf of the victims.

He's also donated blood every other month for the past 20+ years.  

So that's what I see: generosity begets wealth.  

There's also a different kind of wealth, right?  

I've been inwardly rich.  I'm at peace with myself most of the time.  I attribute that to the fact that I've tried to be generous with whatever insights and learnings I've gained through my own spiritual pursuits and practices.  I've freely given away and shared with others whatever inward accomplishments I am able to share and offer to others.  Within reason, of course.  

This kind of inner peace is a form of wealth.  If you want to feel rich, you can either increase what you own, or you can decrease your desires.  Or both.  The latter is important too.  

Another kind of "wealth" is a sense of emotional safety in this world.  

Some people lose their temper easily.  They dump and vent their frustrations on anyone around them that they feel they can.  None of those people I know has any deep sense of emotional safeness in this world.  In other words, they lack emotional abundance, if you will.  

So sometimes I run into people like this.  In just about every case, I think of getting angry back at them, and before, I used to.  Or at the very least, I would try to argue back.   Or "point something out" to them that they don't seem to be seeing.  

But for the most part nowadays, I don't.  I just let them vent, and if I can find fault in myself, I tell them about it.  

If I sense that reasoning with them won't get anywhere, I don't bother.  If I feel the need to say something, I will, but most of the time, they're just wrapped up in fear.  So, I just try to think of something nice to say, and if I need to walk away, I walk away.  I try to let them "win."  

It doesn't feel good for me afterwards most of the time.  I'm not a saint.  

But I think of this as a form of generosity.  Emotional generosity.  They're basically scared and want to feel safe.  

And my upset feelings pass anyways.  It's not a big deal.  

Almost always, they realize what they've done afterwards.  Half the time, they apologize to me.  Or I see their look of shame around me in the days following.  

It rarely happens a second time.  They know that I'm safe.  

What I get in return is that my world feels safe to me.  I live in an emotionally safe reality. That's part of my wealth.  

So it's the same principle: (emotional) generosity begets (emotional) wealth. 

So if generosity is the root of wealth (or one is willing to entertain that idea), a good starting question might be, how do I grow in this capacity for generosity?

I'm not sure the answer, actually, because I don't think it's simply a matter of brute-forcing one's way with generosity.  And I can't just follow the Dalai Lama's suggestion, nor do I want to (yet).  

But one important partial answer for me has been this: I try my best to surround myself with people who are generous and open-hearted.  


Because (1) they inspire me to be similarly generous and open-hearted and (2) it feels good to give to them, which motivates me to further continue sharing what I have to share.  

Without those people in my life, I think that I would eventually clamp down.  Slow to a trickle.  

An example: It sucks (to me) to keep opening and holding the door for people who don't seem to show any appreciation.  If that's all there were, I'd likely stop doing it.  But there are enough people in this world who say "thank you" and keep me motivated in doing that.  

And that's what the people I hold close to me do for me.  They receive what I have to offer, which keeps me motivated to giving and sharing, even if many others don't receive what I have to offer, or show any appreciation.

They remind me of the goodness of sharing.  Of being kind.  And so on and so forth.  They're the constant reminders of a particular way of being.  

Naturally, it's not simply a matter of the people around us. 

Most of us are happier when we're able to find whatever talents and capacities we have to bear upon the world around us.  

So it's important to look for that because things are constantly changing.  We're changing and so is the world.  The whole thing is in flux.  And so one can't stay fixed on some form.  

And yet the intent is to find ways to give, to help others.  



My response to, "What should you do when you feel so down?"

Let yourself feel really down.  Curl up in a ball on the ground if you like!  Or just sob if you that's what you feel like doing.  But put a time limit on it.

Say 15 minutes.  

Then when the time's up, take up some activity, like going for a walk, cleaning the house, calling up someone you love or you feel is safe, and so on.

It's important to allow yourself to feel what you're feeling.  

There's a saying: what you resist will persist.

So the easiest way to get through things is to allow them to be.  Drop the resistance.  In other words, let go of the idea of trying to overcome it.  

So just let yourself feel down.  

But again, put a time limit on it that seems reasonable to you.  I usually use 10 - 15 minutes.  (Secret: I usually don't need that much time.  Either I fall asleep and wake up refreshed and feeling better, or something in my mind switches over within a few minutes.  But I attribute that to having gotten good at dropping my resistance to things as they are.)



In response to the question of, "How can one be present and not in one's head during conversations?"

You can learn to stay in your body.  

In other words, pay attention to how it feels in your body from moment to moment as you're listening.  If you want, you can just choose one place, such as your belly.  I like to use the soles of my feet and how they feel on the ground.

So put about half your attention on the experience of what's going on within your body.  

That'll keep you grounded, or present within your experience.

Then, put the other half of your attention on the act of listening.  Think of listening as work.  It's work that requires you to focus and concentrate.  

With thoughts that arise in your mind, just drop them or let them go.  That's part of the work of listening.

Naturally, I prefer to engage with those with whom listening isn't such a chore.  But it's also good practice to engage with people who aren't so entertaining either.  It's good practice in letting go.  Letting go of one's thoughts.  They're not so important anyways.

That'll serve you in all areas of your life, especially when you're alone.  You'll learn not to take your own thoughts so seriously.  

So think of the work of listening as a practice in letting go of the importance of your own thoughts.

If you're worried that people will think that you're only giving them half your attention, don't.  Most people aren't paying good attention to you when they're yapping away anyways, and my experience is that by staying within my own experience or my own ground (i.e., bodily experience), I can actually help anchor them into their own experience.

And you know what?  Most people are really only looking to more intimately connect to their experience of living.  They can talk and think all day long, but it's only when they connect to their (lived) experience that they come home to themselves, to who they are.

So you're doing them a service by you staying home within your body while also listening.