Chapter 21

The Emotions

 

H.H. The Dalai Lama

The fundamental philosophical principle of Buddhism is that all our suffering comes about as a result of an undisciplined mind, and this untamed mind itself comes about because of ignorance and negative emotions. For the Buddhist practitioner then, negative emotions are always the true enemy, a factor that has to be overcome and eliminated. And it is only by applying methods for training the mind that these negative emotions can be dispelled and eliminated. This is why in Buddhist writings and teachings we find such an extensive explanation of the mind and its different processes and functions. Since these negative emotions are states of mind, the method or technique for overcoming them must be developed from within. There is no alternative. They cannot be removed by some external technique, like a surgical operation.”

– H.H. The Dalai Lama

Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection 

 

 

 

[This transformational-lesson was first taught to me from an ancient Tibetan manuscript I was given to read. I have found it also taught by Buddha and the Dali lama.]

the Emotions

 

 

The emotions are the part of us that most often run wild. They confuse us and, in their negative forms – anger, hate, fear, selfishness, greed, vanity and so on – they are the sources of most of the problems on the face of our planet.

 

Alas’ we have seen aplenty what hate, fear and greed can do. Amongst other things, they are the seeds from which many wars are originated.

 

We have also seen what love, generosity and sacrifice can do. Amongst other things, they are feeding the starving, and medicating the sick.

 

We have seen what instant emotional reactions can cause. When we react from anger, we often snap out at those people, often regardless whether we think they are the cause of our anger, or if they just happen to be standing in front of us at that moment, inflicting pain upon them, upon others, and upon ourselves. Yet, when we react from good humor or kindness, we often share that good feeling and act to help that person. We know from court proceedings that ‘controlling anger’ is the law’, and many succeed in controlling their tempers in temperance and patience, while others physically strike, beat, kill, accost, harangue and assault.

 

What does it feel like when someone hates you?

What do you feel like when you are experiencing fear?

What does it feel like when someone loves you?

What do you feel like when you are experiencing courage?

 

We have all heard of positive thinking. We have all heard of negative thinking.

 

To a great extent, this messy barrage’ of our whirling emotions and their reactions, creates the world in which we live every day. It seems that the truth of human emotions; seeds and creates the grand saga, and sets the stage for ‘the past-seeable thousands of years of the human history of mankind’ – us.             ouY.

 

The getting of ‘this’ house in order’, and the transforming’’, of our own and man kind’s emotions, will surely lift man-kind into a new age, which is well and often spoken of by G-d and our great beloved Teachers, Prophets, Sages, and Saints.

 

      So then, this is the lesson of the E-motions. Positive-thinking takes up a large section in every self-help bookstore, to be sure. And it is a ‘true lesson’ unto itself. Yet what of; like positive thinking – ‘positive feeling?’ Let us together explore the transformation occurring in positive thinking, and use that lesson – in positive feeling.

 

We could feel negatively in; hate, fear, anger, selfishness, greed, vanity, sloth, laziness, disgruntled-ness, et cetera. If we walk around feeling’ this way, we will surely express it, and the sour seeds will bear sour fruit and will hurt our brothers and ourselves. Invoking a field” of negative Karma.

 

Or; we could feel positive in: – feel ‘Kind’ not  cruel; – feel ‘Generous’ not selfish; – feel Courageous not……  Loving not….. Peaceful….. Happy…. Joyous….. Positive…. Confident…. Faithful…. Patience…. Unwavering-ness, Determination, Steadfast – then we would surely express this”, and the seeds would bear good fruit, and help make us feel good and help our brothers. Feel good.

 

Do we have a choice in what we feel? A choice in who’ we are? Can we control our emotions and emotional makeup, moment by moment?

 

Look at Jesus, Moses, and Elijah’s Emotional makeup – they were all of the good and positive qualities and none or few of the negative, in thinking, and in their emotions’. Their lives express  a life, of moment to moment ongoing positive emotions as they loved, were kind, sacrificed, showed courage, were generous, uplifting, unwavering, determined, positive, faith full, joy full, peace full, and even feeling holy.

 

We have studied their life stories and teachings. We have had many spiritual lessons. Yet; have we ever done an assessment of our great Teachers and Prophets emotional inventory? We look now from a different perspective and see, that they had actually gone the distance, and ‘mastered well’ their own emotions, such that they lived in these higher emotions all or most of the time. They preached love, kindness, selflessness, doing for others, not coveting greedily, et cetera. So then; we see that they would have assuredly failed – had they lived feeling the lower negative emotions mostly, and expressing that in their lives instead. So understand that they too; passed the way of their lessons, as they were taught by Divine guidance, and came to transform themselves, as must we all, by method, effort, practice and Will’.

 

      Imagine a person who lives his life, bathed and reveling in his lower negative emotions all his life, and then imagine the same person living in himself in a state of the positive emotions only, in feelings and in thinking.

 

Most of us are a mixture of some sort of percentage of positive and negative. Let us change the balance.

 

Be G-d like, be: prophet, sage, teacher, guide, adept, master, saint, and holy – ‘like’. Try to emulate and be like them, through and through, in action, deed, thought and feeling’. Exercise these qualities.

[Imitate, copy, mirror, echo, follow, model oneself on; match, parallel, be on a par with, be in the same league as, come close to; compete with, contend with, rival, take a leaf out of someone’s book.]

 

We were taught in an earlier chapter the lesson of – the wild horse of mind’.  This was to teach us a method for controlling our wild mind’, of  the running thoughts which constantly parade through the mind, of the asleep state in which we dully move from one task to the next being unaware that there is a more awake state of mindfulness which we can be awakened to, and in learning to be-come our own master of this wild horse of mind, in mindfulness’, moment by moment awake’ as we go through our day and mete of life.

 

This method can be applied and analogized from – the wild horse of mind’, to now instead – the wild horse of emotion’.

 

Just as our mind’ has been wild’ and uncontrolled for many lifetimes, so too are our emotions a wild horse’.  If we let this wild horse of emotion’ loose free, with no control, he will surely trample all over the place and create much havoc.

 

So we must learn to control the emotions.  Instead of being whirled about by the emotions, let us instead, as is our duty, whirl the emotions about as we, our inner soul and higherself, who is now to wake and take charge, sees fit. It’s a fundamental law of physics that ‘for each action there is a reaction’. This is one of the underlying laws built into both physical ‘and the emotional reality’ .

 

The positive emotions are what make our life worth living. Through them, we taste glimpses of ‘Divine’ feeling. Without them, we could not appreciate the beauty of life’s wonders, its green fields, a mother’s love for her child, generosity, sacrifice and all the rest. Even worse, we would live in the world of the negative emotions, which is a kin to misery.

 

Let’s try to apply the transmutational-lesson of ‘positive thinking’, but now as ‘positive feeling’.

 

The emotions can be seen as positive or negative, opposites. Each negative emotion then; has its corresponding opposite higher positive emotion.

 

Love, kindness, generosity, humility, courage, and happiness – are positive. Hate, anger, selfishness, a swollen ego or vanity, fear, sadness – are basically negative. Yet – by overcoming fear we exercise and grow our courage. For do we not use courage, to overcome fear? By overcoming the feelings of hate we grow our love. For do we not use love to conquer hate?

 

Love – Hate.                                    Humility – Bloated Ego.

Courage – Fear.                              Happy – Sad.

Generosity – Selfishness.                Kindness – Anger.

 

As we overcome any negative emotions, like developing our muscles in the gym, we strengthen our positive emotions. If we could live in a world within ourselves, where there was nothing but positive emotions, we would be much happier and more peaceful, and we would be more able to live a much more meaningful and fulfilling life. Actually this if accomplished within ourselves, living only the positive emotions, would transform us, in our own right, into being like our great sages and teachers who have come before. This is what G-d expects of us, for should He not control His emotions, what chance would we have, any of us? In the same respect we too must be responsible for our emotions.

 

Our emotions have had their way with us, and until we command control over them we cannot truly direct our will, forcefully and focused. In order to begin to do this we need a method that is accompanied by a measure of will. We must first be ‘awake’ enough to recognize the detrimental emotional reaction that we are experiencing, as it comes at us. Upon recognizing the fact that we are experiencing a negative emotion, we can use the method, offered in the parable below, which is offered and is meant as an instruction and method for you, so that you can be the master of your own; ‘wild horse of emotion’.

 

 

      The parable of the wild horse’ – of emotion’:

 

Upon out riding the no-longer wild horse of mind’ one day. Being mindful of himself to be a good and kind loving master, and somewhat pleased that now underneath him stood his loyal and now more tame horse of mind’. The master rider of his mind’ came upon a group of lawless bandits. They sprung from the bushes and one threw a large sharp stone, which cut deep into our loyal horse. A wince of pain shot through our horse of mind’ and he stumbled laboring in pain, injured and hurt. An instant rush of anger surged upon our horse of mind’ as he rose up upon his hind legs flailing his hooves violently in the air, towering over the little man who was beneath him now, and panicked in order to survive.

 

Yet – first, being awake, aware and mindful of each moment, the master has caught this moment, and in so doing seized the opportunity.  The awake master Realize’s that the lawless man, upon second look, is just a boy, and so the others too are just children badly misbehaving.

 

In ‘mind full awareness’ the awake master exercises a moment of ‘wisdom-opportunity’ and discerns that killing or even harming this bandit, this boy, would be a grave mistake. Yet, – our now wild horse of emotion’, is reeling and seething mad, it wants to strike out in revenge and anger, roaring up on his hind legs violently, almost throwing the master to the ground. The master is thrown back and forth, holding on, being tossed around by this violent bucking horse of anger which is ‘beneath him’.

 

But the master realized that he was riding this wild horse of anger, and Knowingly’, our master – digs in his heels, tightens his controlling grip, grabbing hard on the reins, in two fists, and exerts with complete certainty his command of authority and mastership, over ‘his horse of anger’, beneath him. Pulling with great might on the reins, squeezing with his legs, pulling and willing’ his horse of anger back, whilst he bucks and snorts and fights him. Until finally the loyal horse obeys the command of his master, – and it finally subjugates to the masters certainty of control, and halts still, standing in his place underneath. Huffing and puffing.

 

And so now we speak, – “Oh great loyal horse of emotion’ hear me, for I am your true master, I Will’ you to stop now! Here, take this my loving hand, I am jumping down and standing in front of you, and I will make you see – that if you strike this boy you will hurt me your very own master whom you love. I have decided to stand in the way of your reaction, and instead I remind you of the day, when I first took you in, injured and cold, and have fed, watered, and sheltered you from all harm always as I could. Out of my great love for you I give you now this sweet red apple filled of my love, your eating of it fills you with a deluge my divine love. Out of the pure love which you feel for me, and for that loyal love which you now feel, flooding through you, which is for me, your master whom you serve, I say unto you for my sake and for your sake act now from this our love, not anger and hate. Set down and release those negative feelings, and filled with the feeling of this love for me, let us now act, as I say.

 

For otherwise the villagers will later hold assembly and surely will kill you for this reaction of instant anger. And I your master will be killed on earth with you – only to return to my abode in the heavenly realms. To cry and see you my loyal horse buried. No longer for us to take our long peaceful runs on the beach, no more to be filled with the sunsets and ocean air which was our shared love.

 

Had I your master been asleep, my good horse of emotion’, you would have struck out and reacted negatively.

 

With this, the loyal horse of now good feeling, brushed his long forehead lovingly upon the chest of his master, showing his subjugation to the masters will’, and showing his ever-loyal affection.

 

“So my loyal horse of emotion’, once again I see, that you are loyal unto me your good and kind loving master. I the awakened master, control all the emotions and dictate to you my loyal horse which to act upon, and which to enlist, for what purposes I Will’. You follow me now, in good feeling and emotion’. You can be trusted well in any situation. I your master can count on you in the field of life, and when I your master unleashes your fury on that day when courage is actually needed, I know that you will be there for me in loving sacrifice, as is your duty.

 

Ahh… no longer a wild horse of emotion’, yet now a loyal trusted servant and friend, whose honor it is to serve his loving master – you.

 

Om

 

[A distillation of the method from the parable might be:]

 

Be awake and mindful of each moment that you are be’ing, so that you do not sleep through that exact moment of identifying an opportunity to ‘catch’ your negative emotional reaction, rising from any life trigger event, as it is occurring, whether it be of ‘any’ of the many negative emotions.  Then upon catching the rising negative wave of emotion from for example; being cut off in your car, and feeling anger, or in noticing feelings of fear from one of its many crevasses’, or registering feeling selfishness, doubt, vanity, sadness – just picture a red stop sign, and while riding that bucking horse – grab tight those reigns of control and gain control with ‘authority’ until you the master are in control, and offer to yourself the alternative opposite, and  eat a red apple filled of the applicable positive core-responding positive emotion of kindness, courage, generosity, certainty and faith, humility, joy. Then let loose this flood of the positive emotion and let it supplant, wipe out and succeed the negative.

 

Observe the event which has just occurred, feel the now good and right emotion, torrent through you, as you tabulate the victory and the control, which you have just accomplished, that you put into practice, and now have learned and seen well, your newly discovered power. This translates to now your new responsibility, to weed out from your garden the sour negative feeling weeds, and replace each of them as you move forward with the beautiful good flowers of the positive feeling-emotions’. Peace ~ now is become unto us.

 

      …And just imagine the world, if everyone learned, practiced, and then mastered this lesson – us living in a world of more positive emotions. Not a world of hate, fear, anger, greed, nor selfishness — but instead a world of love, kindness, generosity, sacrifice. Ahh a better world, – transformed.

 

It is not so easy to control the emotions. But then, none of what is in this book is easy. To actually change yourself takes desire, effort, discipline, and method. To be filled with negative emotions is to limit your potential for positive accomplishment. To be filled with negative emotions, is misery. The Kaballah, (Jewish mystical religion), teaches that one can accomplish with ‘joy’, that which is otherwise unattainable. So be happy, the choice is yours.

 

 

Like all true lessons, if practiced, each can lift us up and over the precipice of our dawning horizons, and can be if we choose, the cross roads to our future higher expressed selves which are – our souls living in our bodies expressed as G-d designed and destined for us to achieve. If you put into practice within your being, and master your emotions, you shall transform yourself into your most beautiful and divine highest imagined self. A lump of clay to a beautiful priceless vase or vessel, an unattended overgrown weed thicket to a glorious and good flower garden of peaceful meditation, thus standing transformed in feeling and become ‘trustworthy’ to G-d and His Adept Teachers your friends All.

 

The practice of this method is the real lesson, not it’s reading.

 

 

 

Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          “Wild, wild horses, we’ll ride them some day.”

          – The Rolling Stones

 

 

 

 

 

The Buddha taught the following to his son Rahula:

 

“Rahula, practice loving kindness to overcome anger.

Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others

without demanding anything in return.

 

Practice compassion to overcome cruelty.

Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others

without expecting anything in return.

 

Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred.

Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others

and wishes others well-being and success.

 

Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice.

Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally.

This is because that is.

Myself and others are not separate.

Do not reject one thing only to chase after another.

 

I call these the four immeasurables.

Practice them and you will become a refreshing source

of vitality and happiness for others.”

 

– The Buddha

 

[from “Old path white clouds” by Thich Nhat Hahn]

 

 

 

 

Epilogue;

 

– H.H. The Dali Lama

 

“If we wish to lessen the power of negative emotions …we must enhance the mental forces that counter them: what we might call their antidotes. How do we undertake this? First we identify our particular virtue’s opposing factors. The opposing factor of humility would be pride or vanity. The opposing factor of generosity would be stinginess. After identifying these factors, we must endeavor to weaken and undermine them. While we are focused on these opposing factors, we must also be fanning the flames of the virtuous quality we hope to internalize. When we feel most stingy, we must make an extra effort to be generous. When we feel impatient or judgmental, we must do our utmost to be patient.”

 

“When we recognize how our thoughts have particular effects upon our psychological states, we can prepare ourselves for them. We will then know that when one state of mind arises, we must counter it in a particular way; and if another occurs, we must act appropriately.”

 

In this lesson you explore a few of these qualities:

 

patience — the antidote to anger

humility — the antidote to pride

generosity — the antidote to greed

sympathetic joy — the antidote to envy

clear seeing — the antidote to anxiety

 

Do you ever proactively contain negative emotions with their antidotes? If yes, do you do so routinely? If not, why? What hinders you?

 

Again the Dalai Lama acknowledges the effort required to make such a mental shift. He cites a Tibetan proverb:

 

“Engaging in the practice of virtue is as hard as driving a donkey uphill, whereas engaging in destructive activities is as easy as rolling boulders downhill.”

 

– H.H. The Dali Lama 18



18 The Dali Lama Foundation; Ethics of Altruism – http://learning.dalailamafoundation.org:8000/101/ethics8.htm


 

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