Q&A Wednesday: Emotions

The tendency to avoid emotional suffering is the cause of all mental illness. To lead a healthy spiritual life we must experience problems directly and experience the pain involved. HI this is Emerald and welcome to The Diamond Net. Today is Q and A Wednesdays. It's a segment that I do every other Wednesday and it is actually the first segment of Q and A Wednesdays. I'll be answering questions directly from my subscribers most of the time, however this time around I don't have a huge subscriber base so I didn't get enough questions. So for this Q and A segment I'll be answering three questions from the comments section of Actualized.org's video "How to Deal with Strong Negative Emotions." So, in this video. Leo, from Actualized.org states that we have to experience our emotions directly by experiencing the sensations that happen in our body and also the thoughts that come up in our mind. He also says that this is the only way to really process through emotions and if we do not process through our emotions and allow our negative emotions to hit us that's when it causes certain repressions and other mental distress and other abnormal behaviors and things because we've erected so many defenses that we can't be a normal human being. It's like baggage that we carry around. But he says that if we are mindful and if we experience our negative emotions fully that they don't hurt us but they transform us into a more emotionally mature person. He says that we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable in order to get to that space where we're actually getting past the negative emotion instead of just suppressing it. It was a great video, I highly recommend you watch it. Really great. It came out a couple weeks ago. But here are some questions from that video. So the YouTube user WellKnownSin writes " How do I know the difference between allowing and emotion and holding onto it?" Well I think this is a great question and I think a lot of people are actually pretty confused about what that means. Well, in order to feel an emotion without getting attached to it we have to get into an observer's mind. We have to be able to detach from that emotion and just perceive it exactly as it is. What thoughts come up in the mind. What feelings come up in the body. Now, when we get attached to an emotion, that's when we start to feel like that emotion actually means something about us as a person. Like "Oh. I'm angry and therefore that makes me a bad person." or "Oh, I'm so sad. These type of things always happen to me." So, it's the ability to actually look at your emotions with detachment and say "Oh, right now I'm experiencing this feeling. I'm feeling it maybe a tingling sensation in my chest or a tightness in my shoulders and this is how it's making me feel, it's making these certain thoughts pop up and it's just really noting the experience fully and not judging that experience. So, you don't say "Oh no I'm feeling this emotion and therefore that's bad." You just say, "I'm feeling this emotion." Then you just kind of let it pass through you like clouds pass through the sky. You kind of observe it like you would any other phenomenon in nature. Whenever, there's a thunderstorm, you don't feel like that's any personal slight to you. You don't feel like it means anything about you so you can observe that objectively. You want to treat your emotions the same exact way as something separate from yourself that doesn't have to do with you so that you don't end up in a spot where you're thinking "Oh, this means something important about me or it has some implication about me." Also if judgements do come up when you're trying to experience and emotion, then don't judge the judgements. So if you say, "Oh no. I’m feeling sad and that makes me a weak person." Don't judge yourself for then thinking that thought. Just think, "This is another mental phenomenon." Alright so the second question comes from Chives 00 and I'm actually going to look at my cheat sheet here because he wrote kind of a long question. So, "During my do-nothing meditation session I'm having strange fleeting sensations occurring recently. They last for about 10 seconds and then disappear again. I have this sudden feeling of dread and start to panic. I feel the sensations in my body but it also feels like my body isn't mine. Like it's an object like a tree or a chair. What do these feelings mean and why do they keep of appearing when I'm just relaxing." Well, I would say that when you start to feel like there are parts of your body that are like separate objects like when you start to think of yourself in an objective sense it can be a very nerve-wrecking experience. However, it is actually a sign that you're progressing further. It means that you've begun to disidentify with your self concept and you're perceiving what you're perceiving just as separate perceptions. You're, in fact, tapping into the reality of those sensations. That they're not really connected together but they are just separate sensations happening within the same field of awareness. So, you want to kind of think about this like a guitar. When you strum a guitar, a guitar has six strings. When you strum them all it sounds like they're making one sound but that's an illusion. They're actually six separate strings making six separate sounds. And the fact that they're happening simultaneously is what gives them the impression that they're all together. Now your senses: your sight, your hearing, your touch, your taste, your smell all of those things are kind of like strings on a guitar your feelings and your thoughts are the same exact way. And so you get the feeling on a normal basis when you're not being mindful that those are all happening in the same space. Like it's happening to the same person. When you start to be mindful of those things individually, you start to realize that there's not really very much connecting those things together other than the fact that you can perceive them. And so there is something very object-like about that. Now, chances are the reason why you're feeling the sensations of panic and the sensations of dread in relation to them is, number one, because you're ego senses that you're starting to unravel its self concept. You're starting to think of yourself as what you actually are and not the self-concept that your ego dreams up. To know more about this, Actualized.org has a ton of great videos about the truth of no self and enlightenment that you should definitely check out. However, we also have kind of a negative association with material objects and with objectification in general. Now, on some level that's good we want to actually value people more than we do objects. But on the highest truth, everything is one and so everything is equally important. And so, you have this negative idea that material things aren't worth anything. They are spiritually worthless. And so, if you think of yourself as an object, you might begin to think of yourself as insignificant or spiritually worthless. Now, this is not true because everything is one and because you belong to that one thing, you're very important. But it's that feeling if you're using logic to deduce your answer, it would seem like if I'm an object. Therefore I'm not important. And so there's a negative meaning attached there. Alright the third question in this segment comes from Tyler Mcgurk. Tyler Mcgurk writes, "How is not resisting negative emotions going to change anything? You're just dwelling on the negative and feeling bad for yourself. Wouldn't it be much better to focus your attention on things that actually matter like your life purpose? What do you think?" I picked this question because I feel like this is a big conundrum in the spiritual community and just people who are interested in spirituality in general. There are two paradoxical truths happening here. So, one of those truths is that we should feel our negative emotions fully and be fully and be fully present with our negative emotions. However, there's also another truth that's equally true on a different level, that says that we should focus positively and keep our focus positive so that we don't dwell on the negative things. Now, these things appear to contradict each other. So, I'm going to give you the answer that there is a time and a place for everything. Now, on one hand you don't want to be dwelling on negative emotions because negative emotions and negative thoughts are baggage and often obscure the truth in a situation. You might take something to mean something negative when it really doesn't have that meaning at all. However, when you focus on what you're negative emotions have to tell you and what your negative thoughts are trying to tell you then that can be very helpful and in fact be a very positive thing. So, start thinking about your negative emotions as positive. Your negative emotions tell you what you don't want and they also give you a way to get past that negative emotion and help you process through it. So, because processing through your negative emotions is kind of like a cleansing mechanism this is actually one of the most positive things you do. That way, once you actually process through you negative emotions, they've already been processed through and then you can actually shift your focus over to something positive when there isn't a situation at hand that you feel negative about. Well those are all the questions that I have for today. I hope you enjoyed this. Thank you to actualized.org for making your video. Definitely, check out actualized.org's video "How to Deal with Strong Negative Emotions." It's really great. You won't be disappointed. If you enjoyed this video, go ahead and give it a big thumbs up and click the subscribe button below. And until next time keep becoming more you.