Anando reflects on emotions and how to ‘deal’ with them.
Yes, those emotions – the ones that come out of the blue and take us over, as if we were possessed. That make us do or say things which we know we are going to regret, but we just can’t help ourselves.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, then there is no need to read any further.
So, what to do with those emotions? Osho has some interesting ideas on this subject.
First, he says that emotions are neutral, they are not good or bad. It is the mind which judges them, it is the mind which decides some are OK and some are definitely not OK. It is our mind that makes us feel guilty or wrong for having certain emotions, but the emotions themselves are not wrong. So no need to reject them or suppress them or feel ashamed of them.
Second, he says that emotions are simply different expressions of energy. Just like sometimes it is stormy, and sometimes it is calm. Sometimes it is dark and rainy, and sometimes it is bright and sunny. That is how life is. We can complain and say it shouldn’t be rainy, it should be sunny, but will that change the weather? It just makes us miserable, that’s all. And then we miss the joys of the rain and the mysteries of the darkness. Our life will be a little less rich, a little more confined.
So it is with emotions – they are just energy, sometimes stormy, sometimes sunny. And like all forms of energy, they are always changing and moving.
Third, he says that emotions are not harmful, unless we get identified with them. And the identification happens through the mind. For example, when we are sad, the mind always has a reason – ‘I am sad because my boyfriend prefers someone else’. And then we get swallowed up in the story, the whole drama which is running wild in our mind.
Now, it can be a fact that your boyfriend has found another girlfriend. And it can be a fact that you are feeling sad as a result. That is the reality.
Once you acknowledge that reality, you have a choice. You can either get lost in the reason why, the story, the justifications – the whole mind-fuck about what is wrong with you that he prefers another, how can he do this to you, how can you go on without him, etc etc etc. You can chew on this for days, weeks, months – and we all know perfectly well how to do that.
But meditation allows us another alternative. With the help of meditation, you can separate the emotion from the story the mind has created around it. You can note that, ‘This is the mind’, and let your mind chew away on the drama without giving it too much energy, as if it was an old nag droning on in the corner. And you can put your attention instead on the physical sensation of the emotion itself.
The first step is to acknowledge that yes, ‘sadness is there’. Note this is quite a different thing from saying ‘I am sad’. And then allow the sadness to be there, as an energy, without judging it or trying to reject it. It is, after all, just an energy, and energy is always neutral.
This is not about indulging yourself in the emotion – indulgence means being caught up in the mind fuck, the reasons why. The victim story. Instead, this is about exploring with an open, non-judgmental heart: what is the energy of this emotion, sadness? What is the actual physical sensation of it?
Beware of pejorative labels from the mind – for example, the mind might classify the sensation as ‘heavy’, which is a judgment. Instead, try and find a non-judgmental word – for example, deep, or quiet or passive. Keep feeling more and more – what is the sensation of this energy? And where do I feel it in my body? Move your attention from the mind to your body.
You may find that actually, sadness has depth, and even a sweetness. Make your own discovery. You will find that all the different emotions have certain energetic qualities. For example, anger can be a passion, a fire. You can clean a whole house with the energy of anger if you don’t divert, or leak, that energy by getting lost in thinking about why you are angry.
And the magic is, that if you can really allow all the different energies to be there whenever they come floating through your life, provoked by some situation or other, then you are not their slave anymore. On the contrary, you are the master. You can watch them come and go, enjoy and use their different energies in a creative way, and be all the richer for it. And they do go – by allowing them to be there when they are there, not trying to push them away, and using their energy, acting them out in your own way, without getting lost in the reasons why, you see that after a while the energy has changed into something else. One minute you were crying, just because tears were there and the body needed to shed them, and the next minute you are laughing.
Just to be clear – using the energies of your emotions in a creative way does not mean dumping them onto someone else. That is definitely a mind thing, you are again caught up in the reason, the rationale, why the emotion is there. Maybe someone else did something which provoked the emotion, but it is your emotional reaction, your energy, not theirs. The anger, or whatever, has arisen in you, as your reaction. Own it, acknowledge that it is coming up in you, and take responsibility for it. Then you can use this energy.
If you are blaming someone, then you are missing the point and denying your own energy, not to mention being stuck in an old routine from which there is no escape. Instead, try saying to the other person, ‘Anger is coming up in me right now, and it is my anger, my energy, so I need to go for a run or dance or have a good scream or beat some pillows. Or sit alone and watch it. Or all of the above. Then I can respond to you.’
Taking responsibility that ‘this is my reaction’, also gives you the opportunity to see what idea or belief in your unconscious mind caused this reaction, this energy, to arise. Which bit of your ego felt hurt or lost or afraid or insecure or guilty? What old wound or fear did the other unknowingly trigger in you? It can be a wonderful doorway to uncovering yet another unconscious layer that is hiding your true being.
Sound interesting? Try it. After all, as Osho says, what do you have to lose, except your misery?
Anando is as regular contributor to Osho News
More articles by the same author on Osho News