Fire is hot; water, cold.
Zen Master Wu Kwang: If you look at what we do in formal Zen meditation, for example—besides the fact we sit in a particular way and become still—we essentially don’t try to get rid of any thought or state of mind or any particular feeling. Likewise, we don’t cling to any particular thought or state of mind or any particular feeling. We let everything come and go freely, just perceive, moment by moment.
That practice is a cultivation of nongrasping. That nongrasping is the essence of your true being.
If you sit with that attitude, if sadness appears, at that moment you’re just sad. If happiness appears, at that moment you’re just happy. If pain appears, at that moment there’s just pain. You could say sadness kills you at that moment, happiness kills you at that moment, pain in your legs kills you at that moment, the sound of the siren from the fire engine down the street kills you at that moment. But that killing is a coming to life. You connect with what is. So there is a difference between being pulled by emotion and having emotion. We are human beings, so we naturally have thoughts, we naturally have emotions, we naturally have sensations, we naturally have a body, we naturally have relationships. They’re all just aspects of our natural being.
But if you begin to get stuck in particular ways, then your emotions pull you around by the nose. Then you are caught.
Shrobe, S. (2010). Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans. Berkeley: Rodmell Press.