In ordinary life, we express our impulses or suppress them. Those are the possible mechanical reactions available to us. Can they be contained, neither expressing nor suppressing?
Is expression always wrong? Of course not, but it’s an expenditure and it may not be well received, leading to further perhaps unnecessary exchanges. And suppression? Is it not wasteful of energy? The impulse that is suppressed will emerge at another time, in another form, perhaps unrecognizable and less endearing.
Can an impulse be held as energy, without justification or judgment? Automatic expression or suppression is then muted or may not occur at all. The key is no justification or judgment.
Anger arises. Let us suppose there is no blame. Anger therefore does not become hatred, the desire to hurt. Hatred therefore does not become self-loathing. Anger is simply energy. The provocation to anger is simply data. It is the chain of energetic discharge leading to expression or suppression that sustains karmic consequences. Containing the impulse is clean and there is no discharge. Energy is not lost.
Containing is a middle way similar to releasing; it goes between the pillars of opposites. Emotional reactions are physical expressions of the energy of sensation. This energy can be contained and digested rather than expressed or suppressed. Who or what digests? Attention. A higher form of energy is able to transform a lower form such as the energy of sensation. Sensation can be an offering on the table of attention, a repast for kings. The higher mixes with the lower to create the middle, in this case conscious energy.