Emotions are a funny thing. They are so much part of us, that we define ourselves by them. We take them for granted, but we are often at their whim. Do we control our emotions, or do they control us? Think about advertising – they absolutely focus on manipulating our emotions! Just think about the last car commercial you saw. And then politics – so charged with emotion these days. Consider the last time you were angry – were you in control or did your anger direct your actions? What will you not do for love? People have died for love.
Emotions are a very powerful force within us. When such a power to control our actions resides within us, maybe we should sweeten its potential. A cocktail of emotions has been created in all of us, based on the circumstances of our lives. Different stimuli then trigger particular emotions. We know that the same stimulus can produce very different emotions in different people, so that tells us that it’s not what happens outside, but what happens inside that really counts. Seeing a snake can instill fear in one person, and a sense of beauty of the natural world in another. So, we really need to look within to see why we experience negative emotions.
It all comes down to our own personal narratives. Throughout our lives, we have weaved a very intricate story about who we are. The ego is the mastermind of this, and we have given it the power to protect this story. We experience pleasant emotions when the external situation goes along with the story, and the opposite happens when the situation threatens that story. So, to change our emotional response, we just have to scrutinize our own story of who we think we are.
This is why so many spiritual traditions work to minimize the egoic self, because then the internal contractions loosen up and the triggers begin to evaporate. All you need to do is just look at naturally loving and happy people – do they have concretized notions of who they purport themselves to be, or do they seem rather open and totally flexible to whatever is happening.
We are already the embodiment of love, if we can just melt our self-narratives a little bit, this love will naturally flow through. As we dilute away our tight hold on our personal stories which define our likes and dislikes, we wash away the hooks for negatively emotional triggers. We are all unique manifestations of the Divine, and we can celebrate that diversity of creation like a gardener would. The perspective is inclusive, rather than today’s predominantly exclusive lens that most people have – myself above all others, and my story is what’s most important. If there’s one driver for today’s lack of emotional wellbeing, it is this exclusivity that people have. Be totally inclusive for 40 days, and see what impact it has on your emotion.
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