The gatekeepers between the personality self and the true self are the emotions. In truth the journey between personality and truth is simple – we move our consciousness from “here” to “there.” This principle holds true for any spiritual realization from the most basic fundamental of awareness to the most incredibly profound experience of oneness with the universe. The shape of the path of truth is straight, it is our steps that are crooked. As we straighten our steps the way becomes simple.
Movement of the consciousness reveals many layers and levels of the self. Each level expresses itself with certain feelings and sensations that ultimately control us through the emotions we attach to it. While one direction of mind will elicit an emotion of joy, love and bliss, others will reveal emotions of pure frustration, irritation and fear. The really interesting thing is that each of these emotions, whether we perceive them as positive or negative can, if given the opportunity, absorb us and so prevent us from moving further along the path to our true self. An emotion that is perceived as positive will not only be thought of as such, it will be felt, and sometimes quite strongly. This often provides an even greater challenge to pass than the so called negative emotions, as pleasure has it’s own way of taking away the motivation or desire to keep on moving. It caresses us to stay here a little bit longer. It convinces us that this is what we are looking for. On the other hand painful emotions prompt us to move on and learn, and if we have the tools we will continue studiously to use them to transcend.
Recognizing that our mind and body reacts to pain with aversion and pleasure with craving is the first step to mastery. Recognition must come in the form of observation of the body and mind, then at the juncture that body and mind meets, consciousness is given the opportunity to move through and perceive spirit. Through observation of mind and body we will notice that with each sensation that arises an emotion connects to it. As our observation becomes refined and sharp we notice the birth of this emotion. Observing deeper we notice the space before the birth and we move through.
Emotional mastery requires that we move in the direction of fully understanding all emotional energy. This means that rather than retreating from the experience we enter into it. This is the true meaning of detachment. To retreat is not detachment. To retreat is to fear or avoid the meeting of emotion and experience. Detachment is to be able to fully connect with emotion and experience and keep our consciousness clear. In this state our consciousness does not add to the experience. It does not add the perception of emotion, it does not add the perception of good or bad. It simply experiences reality as it is. When consciousness exists at this place, mind and body walks the path to the true self in a straight line.