I want to touch upon our emotions and how they can either direct our life with purpose or undermine it. We are creatures that react to everything in life out of emotion. Emotions are yet another thing we hold within our own minds that we have the power to control, yet seldom do. Most often our emotions are simply undercurrents of our state of mind, but sometimes they burst forth with immense power depending on the stimuli.
Whether they are positive or negative, with awareness emotions signal to ourselves whether we are aligned with spirit, or are dwelling in ego. We already know the difference between the two. In spirit we do not dwell in negativity because the eternal nature of spirit, in its perpetual connection to God, cannot exist in the negative. In spirit, we allow the negative to serve us by teaching us lessons and giving clarity to life. In ego, we are always in conflict and struggle with the outside world, thus in a permanent state of reaction to it. The ego doesn't allow for anything that does not serve its selfish nature and so it uses our emotions to keep us under it's self-serving control. This is how our emotions can control us.
Our emotions can give us great insight as to our state of mind. Everything that happens in our life causes an emotion, be it good or bad. Negative emotions can be (but certainly not limited to) anger, frustration, annoyance, sadness, guilt, fear, anxiety, discouragement, apathy, etc. Positive emotions are joy, happiness, contentment, peace, satisfaction, euphoria, confidence, gratitude, serenity, etc. While we certainly feel these emotions, and are aware of them as we feel them, we seldom are mindful of them. We simply feel and generally express them, but we don't think about them with any contextual meaning. Why would we? Emotions are just a natural expression of how we are feeling in any given moment. Yet, if we are not aware of our emotions or give them very little thought, they can take control of us, and many times to our own detriment. Some emotions are more powerful than others, and so they can affect us in a more dramatic way.
Anger is one of our most powerful emotions. If we react negatively to someone or something out of anger, we typically lash out in this emotional state which only exacerbates the problem within the situation as well as transmitting our negative energy onto another. We sometimes refer to this emotional outburst of anger in terms such as, "flying off the handle, losing control, throwing a fit, erupting, etc." and for good reason. Anger is a loss of control, and like other negative emotions, does not serve our spirit or our purpose. They do serve our ego because the ego always demands that others and the world around us be exactly as we need it to be, in order to be okay. When it is not to our liking the negative emotion is our reaction to it.
Some negative emotions are more subtle than anger and we tend to keep these to ourselves, or in an attempt to deal with them, we suppress them. But suppressing or denying our emotions will only delay their expression and they will surely find a way out at a later time, usually with more negative energy than what they initially contained. Whenever the world is not to our liking we typically feel anger, but the subtle negative emotions of frustration or annoyance can also trouble us, and unless we release them they can later build into anger if left unchecked. Whether our negative emotions are subtle or powerful, know they dwell in ego and it does not want to let these emotions go unless and until they serve it. So sometimes the negative emotion is expressed immediately, while other times the ego allows them to build like a volcano. Whenever they do get released it is always harmful in some way, either to ourselves or others.
If we were to look closely at our lives and how we react to others, or the situations that come up, we might discover a pattern of emotions we have. I've spent a great deal of my life dealing with frustration and anger. It has taken me a long time to learn how to let go of these negative emotions so as not to interfere with or undermine the life I wanted to live.
When we live with purpose and in spirit, we will more often have and express more positive emotions. Being in spirit and following our purpose gives us a feeling of contentment, peace, and joy. The Universe will still place situations or people into our lives that elicit negative emotions, but if we reside in spirit we can more easily see our negative emotions in a new light. The negative emotions then signal that we are not living in spirit, so we can pause (perhaps meditate) and quiet the ego, thus allowing us to step back from the person or situation and see it for what it really is; an opportunity for growth, a lesson to be learned. Then instead of an instant reaction that will only compound the problem, we can see with clarity how to change the situation to our advantage and have it serve us in a positive manner, which then sends positive energy out into the world.
It is important to know the difference between having emotions and allowing them to consume and control us. Remember that our mind is the master, and our emotions are our servants. We can feel emotions and consciously be aware of them as signals of how we are living our life. Positive emotions are always in spirit and negative emotions always reside in ego so they are an excellent barometer of which state we are in. We need to be consciously aware of our emotions. Whenever we find ourselves reacting from a negative emotion, we are operating from our ego and no worthwhile resolution will ever take place while in this state of mind. When we feel the negative emotion, we should take a deep breath, pause and restore our equilibrium before reacting. This will put us back into our spirit state where, with clarity we can calmly resolve the temporary problem. Doing this regularly, it will eventually become a habit with which we can more easily quiet the ego and it's negative influence over our life.
Feel emotions deeply and fully, but be aware of them and use them as a means to check which state we are in. The old saying, "Let your conscience be your guide" should be rephrased to "Let your emotions be your guide." Don't allow them to control your mind, but rather use them as faithful servants of your mind so that you can master them, harnessing their energy and put them to use in positive service to your purpose.