Navigating Deep Waters of Emotion



One of the things that can often get in the way of living a joyful life is getting caught up in emotions. Whether they are positive, or negative, getting lost in emotion causes suffering. How do we live from a place of acknowledging emotions, and at the same time not getting lost in them? The first step is to learn not to identify with the emotion itself. The second step is to get out of our story that we have attached to the emotion. For instance, “this always happens to me.” With this statement, we bring in every other time that we have felt this same emotion and it becomes overwhelming, thereby paralyzing us into identifying from the same negative state of mind and setting up the cycle of entrapment. If instead, we were able to witness that a familiar feeling has arisen and perhaps look at it through curious eyes, or that of an explorer with a high-beamed flashlight shining on the emotion, we would then be able to experience the emotion with some objectivity and gain insight into the nature of the emotion. Being able to look at an emotion objectively, allows one to learn and grown from it, instead of getting lost in it. When we can feel it, identify where it comes from, without getting attached to it, we are then able to let it flow through us, thereby releasing it. This way, the emotion is less likely to have a hold on us the next time it comes up and the initial charge we had around it will not be as big. It may take several times encountering an emotion and using this method to release it, as emotions are like the grooves in a riverbed. When the water flows down the same river, time and time again, it forms a pattern. Our emotions are like this riverbed and in order to change the pattern, we need to change the flow of our thoughts. In order to imprint the new pattern, we need to repeat it, each time the emotion arises, to establish the new groove.