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The Study of What If: Question of The Week
 

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▣ Emotions and How Meditation Can Help.

posted by admin on May 30th, 2010 at 7:45 PM

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I want to know about anxiety, fear, jealousy, guilt and intolerance and how all these emotions and attitudes relate to each other and how meditation helps one intentionally intervene to keep these emotions from taking over their life?

 

It is important to recognize that answering this question could take an entire book as it is about human emotions which are very complex areas of the psyche – the conscious and unconscious process of the human mind (JARs). Meditation is useful in

(1) clarifying your mind regarding the factors, people and your interpretation of the emotions that you are dealing with in some important situation in a protected spiritual environment;

(2) focusing your awareness in such a way that it allows you to intervene – creating an intentional intervention;

(3) expanding your view of the world;

(4) wrapping you in calmness – peace of mind; and

(5) as needed, providing the gift of Universal Healing.

I want to know about anxiety, fear, jealousy, guilt and intolerance and how all these emotions and attitudes relate to each other and how meditation helps one intentionally intervene to keep these emotions from taking over their life?

 

It is important to recognize that answering this question could take an entire book as it is about human emotions which are very complex areas of the psyche – the conscious and unconscious process of the human mind (JARs). Meditation is useful in

(1) clarifying your mind regarding the factors, people and your interpretation of the emotions that you are dealing with in some important situation in a protected spiritual environment;

(2) focusing your awareness in such a way that it allows you to intervene – creating an intentional intervention;

(3) expanding your view of the world;

(4) wrapping you in calmness – peace of mind; and

(5) as needed, providing the gift of Universal Healing.

 

Anxiety/fear/jealousy/guilt/intolerance are all the same.  They are emotions that humans adopt or are indoctrinated with in order to explain, cope with, motivate, or even excuse, their reactions to life and life’s experiences and challenges.  They are a barometer of how we are interpreting our experiences and challenges.  Emotions can be helpful, can clue us into what beliefs we hold in our jar (unconscious), and give us opportunities to evaluate our belief(s) and decide a course of action regarding the belief(s); i.e., heal it, release it, or decide to keep it; can motivate us or give us the courage to make important decisions/changes in our lives, and much more.   Emotions are neither good nor bad.   They provide us feedback in our lives.  Yes, they can be experienced as good or bad, comfortable or uncomfortable, and the various degrees of these.     Emotions can push us beyond our limitations, e.g., anger can take us places we would not go when we are calm.   When used appropriately, anger can motivate us to make changes in our lives. 

 

Of course, emotions can also limit us and often times we become addicted to them.  Emotions can spice up an experience.  Adrenaline gets us moving.  If we are of a timid nature, adrenaline can make us feel like the Incredible Hulk.  We must be aware of when we are using emotions out of an addictive place.  We must also be aware of when we use emotions to keep us stuck in a place/belief that we know we must work through.

 

Let’s begin with indoctrination.  Indoctrination starts the day we are born.  Our parents, siblings, government and religious leaders, etc., introduce us to and indoctrinate us, e.g.,

 

·   Your parents tell you that you must always have a lot of money, or else you will not be able to live in a comfortable house, eat well, etc.    Result:  You grow up with anxiety and fear about money or lack thereof.

·   You must always do as Mommy and Daddy say or you will hurt their feelings and disappoint them and/or your religious leaders emphasize family and family values.   Result:  You grow up trying really hard to be good and to please them, and always feel guilty and fear that you have not done enough.

·   You work really hard at your job, but just do not seem to be able to get ahead.  There is a pretty blonde in the office that seems to smile and gets lots of attention – blonde’s have more fun motto.  Result:  You feel jealous and resentful of her; and could be anxious about your looks.

·   Your teachers tell you that you will amount to nothing unless you do well in school.  School is difficult for you, you study hard and long, and try to over achieve.  Result:  You feel guilty that you are not doing better, you are anxious that you will not succeed; you worry about being able to have a great education to get a great job to get money for that house and food; etc.  You are always anxious.

·   And so on…

 

Then there are the emotions we learn from our experiences and life’s challenges, for example:

 

·   Your little sister grabs the toy that you were playing with and a fight starts, your sister loses her grip on the toy and goes falling backward, bumps her head and gets a really nasty cut that is bleeding.  Your sister is crying, you get yelled at for being selfish and mean, your sister gets hugs and kisses while you get sent to your room to think about what you have done.   

Result:  anger (at yourself for needing the toy, anger at your sister for not sharing or for not playing with some other toy, anger at your parents for only blaming you); jealousy (that, even though your sister got hurt, she also got hugs and kisses and attention from your parents and you just got rebuffed by your parents); guilt (for hurting your sister, for displeasing your parents); fear (of punishment); and feelings of wanting revenge (because you thought your sister should have gotten in trouble too).   You also could end up with migraine headaches for the rest of your life and not know they are related to this episode.

·   Your religion teaches you that sex before marriage is a sin.  Well, you are with a boyfriend; he convinces you that he loves you and if you loved him, you would have sex with him. And every girl your age is having sex with their boyfriends. Because of your fear of not pleasing him and/or losing him, you have sex with him.  Afterwards, he gets up and leaves and the next day every time you see him, he and his friends look at you and laugh.   

Result:  guilt and shame (for what you have done; for what your parents would feel); fear (that you have committed a sin and will be punished by both God and your parents); anger (that your boy friend used you and now he laughs at you); and feelings of wanting revenge (intolerance for your boy friend’s attitude and your feelings of being used).

·   And so on…

 

There is really nothing wrong with these feelings and emotions IF you recognize

1.     That they are the indicators of how you are interpreting your experience;

2.     That they are presenting your beliefs to you; and

3.     That they are presenting you with choice(s).  

These emotions can become toxic and addictive if you lose sight of what they can teach you. 

 

Let’s start with how they can help you…

 

Emotions can be indicators of how you are interpreting your experience.  How you interpret your experience affects how you manage it. 

·   If you interpret the experience as bad, you can become withdrawn and/or depressed, sick, angry and/or vindictive. 

·   If you interpret the experience as an opportunity to learn, you can move to #2 above – examining what’s in your jar.

 

Emotions can be a presentation of the beliefs you house in your jar.  Using these emotions to help you become aware of what’s in your jar.  Keep in mind too that you may have multiple beliefs that can trigger the same emotion - even if you deal with the emotion associated with one occurrence (belief), you may have another belief attached to the same emotion.  What’s in your jar?

·   For example, fear and anxiety about money – examine the belief(s) you have about money; can you associate your belief(s) with how your parents view money?

·   Feeling guilty about hurting your sister – is this because of disappointing your parents, or getting caught, or because your sister cried?

·   Feeling used by your boyfriend and all the emotions it triggered – is this really about trust or disappointment, or both?

 

They can be choice(s) being presented to you – as you discover the belief(s) that triggered the emotion, you are presented with choice. 

·   Do you choose to keep the belief and allow yourself to just wallow in the emotion(s) using the emotion(s) as an excuse to feel sorry for yourself, to withdraw, to punish yourself or someone else?

·   OR, do you say, “Enough!” and choose to release the belief…

§ This belief has never worked for me, I only have it because it belongs to my family, my religion, my … 

§ This belief has worked for me in the past because it gave me insight(s) into my family, my religion, my …, it gave me an excuse to be angry, sad, punish myself or someone else, but today it holds me back.

§ This belief does not work for me anymore!  I choose to release it and let it go.

In these examples, you are given the opportunity to work through the belief(s).  The emotion is secondary – it is a symptom and/or coping mechanism, not the cause.  If you try to eliminate all emotions from your life, you may have trouble interpreting your life.  Your life may seem monotone without emotions. 

 

How to release an emotion and let it go! 

 

Please grab hold of your emotions with both hands, wrap your legs around them and hold them close to you, then give thanks that you have them. Wait, I am not kidding! 

 

Let’s discuss renaming/redesigning/reclassifying/redefining the emotion.   Take the emotion that you feel and examine it – thoroughly. 

·   What are you calling it? Anger, hate, envy, revenge, lust, disgust, fear; whatever you call it, it is a valuable emotion. For example, if it is anger, you think you are feeling, try giving it another name – I am really, just really aggravated or I am strongly peeved. That is, give it a different emotional name that you can manipulate to serve you.

·   Who is it aimed at? Sometimes we have an emotional state aimed at someone who is no longer even in our lives – our deceased parent, a controlling teacher, etc. Or, say it is someone who is still in your life; are they still the same personality? Isn’t that ironic, they can be gone for years or decades and still be controlling your life?

·   How strong is the emotion on a scale of 1 (very little) to 10 (intense enough to burn down the house)? Do you know you can move the emotion up or down on this scale – say, angry - just by going from a number 9 intensity to a number 4 milder degree on the scale, shows you are learning. Your brain knows how to do that.   And it is just one of the things you can do in a meditative state.

·   What have you learned from this emotion? For example, I learned to share good things with others; I learned to speak kindly to friends because I don’t know how they are feeling; etc.

·   What else did you learn? You can visualize yourself in meditation learning new ways of handling the energies generated from strong emotions.

·   How can I use that negative emotion as a positive energy source? For example, I have always envied my brother’s success. Now, in my meditation sessions I am going to visualize using that energy to set success goals and to openly communicate with my brother (complimenting him on his successes).

·   Now, you’ve learned a lot about emotions if you’ve taken the time to examine yours. But let’s say you really just want to get rid of anger completely. Let me say that this is not a good idea - to use a metaphor: you’ve successfully eliminated anger from your past history, forgiven yourself and everyone involved in the problems, and let it go. You no longer get angry at anything. Let me point out that you are now a poorer person – a mugger attacks you and your children on the street, but you don’t get angry and fight to protect them; so one of your children gets badly injured.   Use meditation to visualize using an emotion in the proper context, at the proper time, and when it is beneficial to all concerned – in other words, be flexible in your emotions. You want to be angry when anger is needed; you want to feel fear when fear will motivate you to flee for your life; you even want to be envious when it motivates you to set goals for improving your life skills.

 

There is another thing you need to do and that is “forgiving” yourself for anything hurtful that you did in the past especially if you did it intentionally and now truly regret doing it. For example, if you intentionally struck your little sister knowing it would hurt her, you may need to seek forgiveness; if it was accidental, you may still need to apologize to her for your actions.

 

What happens when you become addicted to an emotion?

 

A person can become addicted to an emotion the same way someone gets addicted to any substance or activity – food, alcohol, wine, gambling, sex, dopamine sports (marathons), dog fights, extreme fights, drugs, and adrenaline pumping (anger).  They can be mildly addicted or totally debilitated. If the addiction is mild, they are functional - meaning they perform on the job, deal with their family, and pay their bills, etc.; actually, the correct description is they are debilitated in regard to that particular emotion.  If they are really addicted, they may lose everything – for example, be court ordered to take anger management courses and work with an intervention counselor, or have their marriage break-up, or lose their job, or…

 

So, there are a lot of people who become debilitated with an emotion, but they still function in many ways on a daily basis. They are often dependent on their family for some of their needs. For example, the woman that has such a fear of birds that she can only leave the house in a car from a garage and travel to another garage or fully covered enclosure. Another example is the man who is so afraid of bridges over water that he has not left the Maryland side of the Washington area in over 45 years; his children must come visit him.  Howie Mandel, the comedian and game show host fears germs and bacteria so severely that he never shakes hands or touches anyone – he will fist bump or bump elbows and he always carries sanitizer wipes. In his book he describes himself as being severely OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder.

 

How does meditation help one intentionally intervene to keep these emotions from taking over their life?

 

Firstly, though meditation can be used to intentionally intervene, meditation alone cannot accomplish the task.  We would refer you here to the Q&A, Why am I so depressed?  This Q&A reminds us that ultimately to change our lives, our beliefs, our reactions to our lives, we must take responsibility and do the hard work.  Meditation can be used to re-energize the loss of energy we experience from these emotions, can be used to program a result, or to redefine/redirect/ an emotion, and can motivate us to make the change(s) in our jar, our beliefs, and our circumstances; however, we personally still have to do the work.  We have to…

·   Learn to forgive and love ourselves.

·   Examine our software (our beliefs/unconscious/jar).

·   Do the work to step through the beliefs/emotions/fears to get to the step of forgiveness and finally experience our self and others through love.

   

Are emotions and attitudes just habits that we have to learn how to manage or do they serve a useful purpose in propelling us to look both outside the jar and inside the jar at the same time?  A bird's eye view would be nice to have available upon command.

 

·   Emotions and attitudes are learned and you can use meditation to visualize them improved in a number of ways.

·   Emotions are sources of psychic energy that you can use to your benefit; we have just gotten into the habit of letting them keep us stuck.

Visualize yourself flying above the situation using a bird’s eye view; and the bird crapping rainbow colors on the situation until it is so beautiful that it makes you giggle with pleasure. That’s one way to use visualization. You can create any number of creative and joyful ones that reframe your history and re-energize, reclassify, and redesign your emotions.

 

What does the aura have to do with emotions and attitudes?  If I patch up the holes in my aura, will that patch up my life?

 

Emotions and attitudes are mental energies that you generate from inside yourself. You see a baby in a stroller and you look at it and make cooing sounds and smile; the smile makes you generate an internal emotion of peace and joy. Or, you see a couple fighting and it reminds you of your parents and you get uptight and start worrying that a real knock down fight is about to happen so you tighten up and start breathing in fear. You generate these emotions inside yourself and then you send a burst of energy out through your aura – tearing it a little or punching a hole in it from the inside out.

 

The other scenario is that the couple actually starts cursing at each other and physically fighting and you are close enough to catch their blast of psychic energy. That burst tears your aura a little. If you already have some weaknesses in your aura, it could open a real hole. In this case, the attack is external and damages your aura.

 

last edited on June 13th, 2010 at 6:53 PM

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