And so, although I am unable to exercise control over external phenomena, I will restrain my own mind. What else do I need to dominate?
— Shantideva

Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB)

Emotions make us beautifully human. Pleasant ones can make us feel joyous, giddy, content, on top of the world. But the unpleasant ones can exert such a strong grip on us that we feel yanked around and controlled by bouts of panic, anger, jealousy. So strong, the most destructive of emotions can poison relationships, inhibit our livelihoods, and erode peace of mind.

All our emotions are normal and to a degree healthy. They help us understand our current state, alerting us to what needs our attention, and are an important way for us to communicate non-verbally to others our wants, needs, and boundaries. Engaging with and expressing emotions in destructive ways is the problem. The good news is, you can learn to recognize the onset of difficult emotions and cultivate perspective and behaviors that help you manage your reactions and change your reality for the better. With introspection, a few skills, and practice, all of us can achieve greater emotional balance to help us thrive no matter the situation.

What does CEB equip you to do?

Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) is an educational training in emotion regulation and meditation with outcomes confirmed by clinical study. By integrating the wisdom traditions of modern psychology, current emotion research, and contemplative practices, CEB provides a secular platform for personal transformation. Specifically, CEB training provides skills to:

  • Exert greater self-control over your emotional reactions to avoid destructive outcomes

  • Maintain calm and achieve peace of mind regardless of external circumstances

  • Develop the ability to watch mental events without getting caught up in them and re-triggering emotions

  • Strengthen your ability to resonate with the emotions of others and increase your compassion without feeling emotionally overwhelmed

What does emotional balance look like in everyday life?

  • When you’re having a conversation with a friend and your toddler keeps calling you, tapping your arm and demanding your attention, you don’t blow up at your child with a force that makes them burst into tears or yell back at you, creating awkward discomfort in your friend and shame and guilt in you later. Instead, you pause and take breaths until your annoyance can pass, turn to your child and either quickly tend to their needs or explain to them that you are talking and request patience until you turn your attention to them in a short minute.

  • Instead of fuming when you’re stuck in traffic, honking your horn and getting all worked up, you notice where and how the anger and anxiety feels in your body and take some deep breaths, knowing that eventually it will be over. You then arrive at your date able to enjoy the remaining time ahead of you without continuing to replay it in your mind and souring the mood by venting your frustration with others.

  • If you’ve been waiting for your spouse to show up at your agreed-upon time for dinner and they have not appeared or responded to your calls and texts, instead of running through worst case scenarios and unleashing accusations tinged with jealousy or contempt upon their arrival, you calm your mind as you wait, realizing that there is likely a good explanation as to why your loved one would keep you waiting and in the dark. When they arrive, you express concern and listen patiently to learn what the issue was—car trouble along the way and a dead cellphone battery.

  • After your boss’s terse email in response to sending her the completion of a project you’ve agonized over for weeks, instead of ruminating and complaining to colleagues for days, you can recall that everyone on the team is under an immense amount of pressure and remember that she recently returned from family leave time to deal with a private issue. So instead, you choose to interpret her reaction as a factor of what she’s dealing with and extend some compassion, and not project meaning onto her response to your work at that period of time.

Letting yourself be overtaken by negative emotions leads to suffering. Therefore, it’s important to recognise the shortcomings of an unruly, undisciplined mind. If you train your mind, you’ll suffer less.
— H.H. the Dalai Lama