The Impact of Emotions

The Impact of Emotions

The Philosophers Bliss by Ian Burt
The Philosophers Bliss by Ian Burt

Recently, I joined a research project designed to maximize quality of life during treatment. One component is biofeedback.

The device maker framed various emotions by whether they depleted or renewed us and if this effect was high or low. For example, they rated anger as a high energy-depleting emotion and tranquility as a low energy-renewing emotion.

I found this misleading and a little too much mind. Recall that mind and emotions operate on different levels. Mind can be useful for naming emotions but it cannot process or release them.

For example, anger can indeed soak up a lot of our energy. However, it can also be mild. Anger can renew if it draws us out of depression. Fire burns clarity but also burns inertia.

Similarly, love can be highly renewing but not always. If entangled, it can even become draining. That’s not pure, but you get the idea.

Rather than categorize an emotion as good or bad or analyze it with the mind, I’d suggest:
1) Become more conscious of how you feel. If you feel little, there is work to do.

2) Learn to allow whatever feelings are arising so they can complete. Allow them to be as they are, on their own level.

3) Learn not to invest in arising emotions, like engaging in stories about why or our victimhood. This gets into mind and away from resolution. It can also entrench and amplify our baggage.

4) When whatever is arising completes, we can learn to fall back on love, gratitude, happiness, or peace. Attention on the heart may help this.

This means favouring the uplifting and not pushing against what is arising. It doesn’t mean making a mood that you’re not actually feeling. “Fake it ’til you make it” can be delusional where emotions are concerned. It also breaks the first point.

All of this is much easier post-awakening when we’re no longer identified with the personal me and are no longer taking things personally. However, it’s also much easier to wake up when we clear some of the fog and noise from the mind and emotions.

It can take time to develop these skills. But as we heal and allow, we gradually clear the backlog and increase the light. Quality of life improves, and the uplifting comes to out-weigh the dark in a spontaneous and natural way.

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  1. Lynette

    D, these steps that you wrote appears simple, however I tried it today, it’s difficult. When I try the allowing step, the mind is recalling the story. So when you allow do you just sit and focus on the emotion, taking care not to name it? In other words, how do you allow to complete the emotion? Or who do you recommend I consult with, so I can learn this technique?

    1. Hi Lynette
      You raise a good point. These are not steps like a healing process (for most people) but rather markers of progress in this arena. It’s also pretty advanced.

      Being able to allow without a story means some value of disentanglement (from ego identification) and trust in life. For most, an established effortless meditation is key.

      It’s OK to give the emotion a name – that helps it become more conscious. We just don’t want to follow the mind after that. The key is just feeling. Allow the emotion to be there, as it is. Then that experience can complete. When we’re not entangled, it can often be resolved in seconds.

      You might find some of Brené Brown’s research useful. She’s written a bunch of books on this arena. For example:

      Byron Katie is another.

  2. Jose

    This is so timely. Thank you, David. I am finishing my master’s in counseling and we are studying the book The Body Keeps the Score, and how the key when healing from trauma is to drop the stories the mind is telling us.

    Of course, an effortless meditation method is an essential tool that can allow this type of healing to take place. At school, they are focusing on EMDR therapy to bypass the mind, and they are also talking about sound/vibration therapies. None of their methods seem to offer the efficacy of transcending on a regular basis but it’s quite interesting to see the psychotherapy/scientific community start moving to a model that resembles a Vedic understanding of healing.
    Wishing you all the best!

    1. Right, Kimberly. And the reverse also. Perception, memory, etc affect emotion (through mental associations). They’re all intertwined.

      This also means if you settle one, the others follow. For example, a mental technique like meditation settles body and emotions. And if you agitate one, the others follow. For example, if you dwell on an unpleasant memory, it will draw mind, body, and emotions in now.

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