Human emotions are the raw material which, mixed with thought forms, make up our beliefs & values. These beliefs & values drive our life, shape our destiny, and literally create or obliterate the energy necessary to create tangible results from visions and goals.
Having worked in the area of personal development and self-realization for over 30 years, I have noticed that there is a serious misconception; which is that so-called ‘negative’ emotions are somehow not okay to feel, or that one has stopped being a spiritual being or practitioner when anger, jealousy, doubt or sadness arise, for example.
The exact opposite is true.
No matter what kind of emotions you are grappling with right now, and however many years of personal development or spiritual practice you might have, you may have come to see that your character traits and compulsions haven’t gone away. You simply have learnt to become easier with it all. With enough spiritual practice, you may have learnt to handle yourself, and have even perhaps come to peace with your own ego-mind. Maybe you can even laugh at yourself, which is a bonus, and also make you a far more pleasant person to be around!
You might be wondering: Is this the best you can hope for, after a lifelong practice? Indeed it is. The subconscious programming that is at the base of our personality traits is incredibly hard to fully clear out. However, the realization that you don’t have to be ruled by this programming can be immensely liberating. It is 100% possible to free yourself from its enslaving influence.
The other thing is that you cannot help being what you are by nature: a spirit, encapsulated in a physical body. In order to illustrate this, let’s consider the age-old question: Who are you?
Here is a possible answer to that question:
You are consciousness, Spirit or Source, or simply just pure energy encapsulated in a bag of flesh and bones, known as a body, which is your vehicle and temple. You are endowed with the extraordinary creative power of the mind via thought-forms (conscious, subconscious and superconscious) and have access to a huge range of emotions—not unlike the keys of a piano. How you play your melody—your life—depends on what thoughts and emotions usually drive your day, and whether you are at the mercy of your mind-emotion process, or have some kind of mastery over it. Learning to manage your thoughts is literally a self-discipline that can be learnt. If your desire is to become free from its binding influence, it is a must.
But first, you have to know that at the core, you are indestructible, bulletproof even (yes am fond of the Matrix!) and possibly even eternal.
With more certainty, we can declare that your physical your mental & your emotional bodies are attributes, and not who you are at the core. This is the all-important factor here: body, mind and emotions are attributes, and not who you are. This can be life-changing, as you begin to understand that you have the choice to follow or not follow each thought that arises in your mind. Thoughts drive emotions, emotions drive thoughts, and physical actions and steps are a direct expression of your beliefs and values, which is to say of your mind-emotion dynamics.
So when you feel a certain type of emotion, it doesn’t change who you are. [Of course it very much depends what actions you take when you feel that emotion.] When an emotion goes through you, it means that the core part of you—let’s call it consciousness—is having an experience through you, as that emotion. So when you feel ‘anger’, it is consciousness having the experience of ‘anger’ through you. When you feel ‘desire’ or ‘ecstasy’, it is consciousness having the experience of ‘desire’ or ‘ecstasy’ through you. When you feel ‘love’ or are ‘joyful’, it is simply consciousness having the experience of ‘love’ or ‘joy’ through you.
None of these are yours, they simply go through you. Seeing it this way naturally makes it easier to not be ‘taken’ or ‘consumed’ by these emotions. Being willing to hold them loosely ensures that you remain freer and more resourceful. Indeed, no matter what is taking place for you, know that it is only passing. Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. What always remains is your choice in what thoughts you decide to follow.
The real challenge we all face along the path is about embracing what it means to be human.
Remember this well-known saying:
‘You are a spirit having a human experience, not a human having a spiritual experience!’