Recently while walking along the path of life came around again to working with the powerful world of emotions. The world of emotions is not my favorite place to be. Personally, I like the view on emotions that they are illusions just like dreams. Originally I took that to mean that they are something completely make believe. That I could avoid them in order to avoid suffering. Something like covering my eyes, putting earplugs in and singing, "Lalala, I can't see you. I'm not listening."
In a lot of ways, doing that really was like walking through a mine field and telling myself the bombs around were not real, therefore they do not exist, "Yeah... tell that to the leg I lost along the way."
Dealing with emotions really is like combat in many ways. When tackling emotions, we are dealing with a crafty enemy that, if left untended or let run wild, can debilitate and completely break down our body. Slowly it cripples the mind to completely clouded judgment. Like with any war, attacking emotions with weapons of destruction may give a temporary relief of victory, but violence begets violence. The feelings that were shredded will come back stronger and with allies, "Say hello to my little friends."
What I think I'm learning is that it is best to keep the enemy of emotions close. Using compassion we can acknowledge emotions, "Hey, I do see you."
In loving kindness to our self, we can hold them like an object in our hand studying them in order to understand them. Though we recognize them, we do not have to own them. We just see them, that they are there, where they have come from, and what they mean, "You are sadness. You come from a childhood of hurt. Interesting. But you are not my childhood. You are not me. You are just a feeling."
Some emotions carry powerful lessons. Some are meaningless fluff. Still, we do not claim ownership or possession of them, "Sadness is not me. Sadness is not my childhood. Sadness is an emotion inside of me born from the way I experienced the event. It is not the event, and it is something separate of who I am."
Then we accept them, "Sadness happens."
When we see emotions for what they really are and what they are not, accepting them as such, then we have the power to tame them, if we release them from the cuffs we use to bind them to us. "Since sadness is it's own thing, it can come or go. As easy as it has come, it can go. It is free independently of me."
Whereas holding onto an emotion makes it powerful, letting go of it allows it to deflate like an untied balloon that blows itself away, "Bye bye now. Bye bye."
Once acknowledged, accepted, and set free, emotions will lose all power they have over us. They do become like mirages for us to examine to understand our self or a situation better. Like a mirage, when we get closer, we see there is nothing solid there. Then we can move on to bigger and better things. We are stronger for it. When we run into sadness again it is a familiar challenge, "Hey, I know exactly what to do with you!" That makes it easier to recognize the rise up of emotions as a clue that there is a problem we need to give attention to. Sometimes we push important issues to the side. It takes our emotions taking to the streets, and letting their voices be heard until we notice, "Whoa... something is going on here!" When we address the emotions we can look deeper into the root cause in order to deal with vital issues needed for our own personal growth.
Emotions and the battle with them is one that never ends. As we continue to work wisely with them we become stronger. The power of the emotions lesson with practice and our power to overcome and persevere grows. Our insight into our own behavior and life sharpens. None of this develops naturally on its own. It takes action on our part to be true Spiritual Warrior's that do not run away from or try to medicate our feelings, but we take them on, turning them from enemies to allies in the journey of life.
By Karyn Aryan