Here is a letter from one of our students about the role mindfulness and concentration practice has played in learning to manage difficult emotions.
I have been studying with Peter and Trisangma for almost three years and I can honestly say that the way they teach and what they teach has benefitted me immensely. The joyful yet focussed practice on the cushion each day has honestly had a spill-over effect into my daily life that I didn't expect but that has slowly and steadily become more obvious to me.
I have always tended to be a rather dramatic and reactive person and prone to mood swings, but since applying their systematic method, which is anchored in a really robust and authentic tradition - something that is important for me - I have noticed a great difference in my ability to maintain some space from the emotions and moods that come and go. I am much better able to allow these emotions to be there but not to take over and run the whole show! And this means that I am slower to jump into a reaction based on buying into my initial emotional response and then somewhat less likely to get caught up in some drama of my own making!
In terms of my health, I am quite affected by hormonal changes each month but my mind training practice has been a gift here too, showing me that these hormonal shifts will pass and are actually changing in each moment, making them less solid and intractable.
I guess in sum, that the mind training has really helped me to see that my story about what's happening is just that and that I don't have to invest in it as the only thing that's going on. This greater curiosity and awareness of the whole scope of what's happening in every moment makes life a lot more spacious and I would dare to add, has also led to me being a little less judgmental of myself and others.
During the time I have been studying with Trisangma and Peter, someone I knew died in tragic and unnecessary circumstances, at least that's how I saw it. I felt very angry, betrayed and sad for quite a while but my mindfulness practice was again key in providing a safe space to grieve and to just watch and accept everything that arose during that time but to again understand that it was not all of me and that it could rise and be seen but then pass through me. Trisangma and Peter's guidance also was invaluable at this time.
Finally, what I have loved about training with Peter and Trisangma is that they have really brought joy and playful curiosity into this exploration of the mind. Mind training is no longer a chore but is really like opening a treasure box to see what will appear today. Their embracing, expansive and accepting approach to being an 'inner scientist' is really what sets them apart and is certainly a big part in what has kept me sitting and practising.