Understanding the structure of an emotion occurs through observing the physical feeling, location and shape of the emotion as it manifests within our body. This same principle holds true no matter what the emotion is, the differences occur because each emotion will have a different form and the mind will perceive it’s ability to understand this form through it’s experience of the form. For example the emotion of shame will feel different to the emotion of anger, guilt will feel different to the emotion of hate, love will feel different to the emotion of astonishment. Each emotion has a certain shape, tone, frequency and physical feeling. By learning to first become the shape we learn how to move the shape. Instead of it controlling us, we learn to have control. Step by step, learning to control and direct one shape at a time we become master of our emotions.
Each of us will have certain emotions that we have difficulty in facing more than others. What is important is not so much what these emotions are, but that we continue to use the same principles to master them. A dramatic and profound difference occurs in our lives when those emotions that once controlled us no longer do. When we are able to have enough will to face each of our emotions then this intent provides us with the direction that we require. Sustaining this movement regardless of fear and doubt will gradually develop our mind into the key that allows us full movement through these emotional gates. With each gate that is mastered other emotions will become easier. It is like we have more shapes and forms to work with, and our mind becomes easier to direct along certain planes. The next level of learning is to guide the mind to shift from form to form and dimension to dimension without pause. As this progresses new levels of depth will be revealed which provide the opportunity to further hone the nature of our “key.” Likewise new spaces will be revealed between the forms which provide openings into new realities and experiences.
The mind and body needs to at all times remain sensitive to it’s own nature. There is always the tendency to change experience from what it is, and this tendency needs to be investigated from the most surface level of the intellectual mind to the deepest level of physical and bodily sensations. If consciousness strays too far from the experience of the emotion then we lose the opportunity to learn how to transcend it. Similarly if we allow the mind to become transfixed on a particular aspect of emotion then we can avoid seeing what else exists within it. The key is to always remain observant, alert, to seek new areas of feeling and experience and also to investigate the areas of feeling that are most familiar to ourselves.
Of all the skills available in the personal and spiritual development fields perhaps emotional mastery is the one that is the most deeply fulfilling. Having control over the energies that provoke us, inspire us, make us fear and make us love means that we are able to create meaning, inspiration, purpose and empowerment at will. In essence we become our own master no longer subject to the strings of our emotions and feelings. As our mastery increases we learn how to generate and transform emotion and yet walking further along this path we also begin to experience a reality where “what” emotion we are feeling is not as important as “how” we are experiencing it.
What is important is to move the consciousness in the direction of emotional mastery. This movement will be refined and strengthened through the nature of it’s intention, and in time the movement and the path will become one.
It is important to understand that mastery is ultimately about control, and control is about sensitivity and the ability to respond to this sensitivity. Imagine trying to hold water in your hands. If you grasp your hands tightly into fists then the water will be lost, but if you cup the water gently in your hands then you may retain it all. Control is like this. We need to develop our sensitivity in order to feel and see the nature of our emotions. Understanding this nature allows us to direct the shape of our minds. When we can consciously assume the shape of an emotion then we can enter this gate. Through this gate we may find yet another subtler manifestation of this emotion and we are given the opportunity to refine our consciousness further. Eventually we come to the beginning and move through.
Taking the shape, being open, detached and formless are all essentially the same thing. By being formless we take the form of whatever energies we meet and being detached we do not add anything to the equation. Being open we accept into ourselves that which we experience and taking the shape we become one with it.
The reality of being detached means that we will feel the whole spectrum of emotions. Right, wrong, ugly and the rest – none are too good or too bad. In observing objectively the emotion and observing the thoughts and beliefs that come along with that emotion we are learning the nature of the key. Developing the ability to remain sensitive and formless we move with the shape of the emotion and we become that key.
While many of us will experience difficulty in feeling and connecting with emotions that they may perceive as bad or even evil, such as hate, jealousy, anger or grief, others will also notice that it is the pleasurable emotions that they do not truly want to let go of. Simply let go and know that the experiences of pleasure and pain are always there. We do not need to become afraid of losing them and in fact this fear keeps us from experiencing the moment of reality that is here and now. Within this moment of reality there lies the opportunity for realizing our true self, but we must continue to move through with consciousness what we are experiencing inside.
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.