A key step on this path to warm fuzziness is indeed a kind of austere detachment–a cool appraisal of your own emotions that involves dropping your instinctive labeling of them as “good” or “bad,” and allows you to see them, in a sense, more clearly, and that leads them to slowly loosen their grip on you.
From “Should Buddhist Meditation Make You Happy?” at the Atlantic
I find this reminiscent of the lessons from Brene Brown and “Love Yourself like your life depends on it”. Except this version captures both books in one eloquent, though long, sentence.
Which brings us back to the irony I alluded to above: Why do certain good feelings–in this case the pleasurable appreciation of beauty–endure, indeed deepen, even as affect more generally subsides? You would think that since detachment in theory neutralizes positive and negative feelings equally, it would leave you affectively neutral, like Mr. Spock on Star Trek, who, so far as I recall, didn’t spend much time reveling in life’s aesthetic delights. But, as a practical matter, that’s just not the way it works. Cool detachment leads to something that feels kind of warm.
And that emphatically includes warmth toward other people. I remember a day or two after my first meditation retreat, riding in a little monorail car that takes you to Newark airport from the nearby train station, striking up a friendly conversation with strangers. Believe me when I tell you I wasn’t previously known for that kind of behavior. Fortunately for strangers everywhere, this phase passed.
Self-awareness in this form helps you understand both yourself and those around you better. Because you understand yourself and are kind to yourself, you also understand others and in turn are more kind to them.
Great article, but overall I like my conclusion better. What do you think?