Monday, November 14, 2016

Encountering Emotions through Your Authentic Self

"..............as soon as you are conscious of your Self as separate from the mood, the Self helps you to protect yourself against dismemberment by the following fact: you are confronted with two things, the mood or the emotion or whatever it is on the one side, and the Self on the other. You must be conscious of two things, of what you are and what the mood is. You can say: "This mood is myself, it belongs to me," and then you lose sight of the Self, you are identical with the mood and you are gone, you are away, and quite unprotected. Or you can say: "Yes, this mood belongs to me, it is part of myself, but I am also conscious of the Self," and then you are protected. So it is a subtle mental operation in that you are conscious of two things." …………………..C.G. Jung
The ills that plague the world, especially the youth and adults, is the trap of getting hooked to a negative experiential situation in life that results in a negative emotion or mood. The more we reside in this state and not identifying this mood inducing experience as something external to your inner self, the ego sees this experience as threat to its dominance and assumes the guise of the mood or emotion as your own authentic self. This is a clever ploy used by the ego to construct a shield around the self  so that it can keep its dominance over your authentic self.
But negative emotions are very much needed to respond to life situations so that a healthy psychosomatic status can be maintained. Humans naturally and automatically desire what inherently feels good, and recoil from what feels bad, including emotions. This is a normal thing to do as we have evolved from our primal nature as anthropoids through a process of survival where the fight or flight response to any physical threat was essential. This evolution of survival response has evolved into a flight response in our current level of civilization and consciousness as the external threats no longer lie in the physical domain but in the psychological arena. Hence we do not desire difficult emotions like sadness, embarrassment, anger or anxiety? As the hunter and the prey were vying for the state of survival in our early ancestors through fight or flight,
in this information age we inevitably abhor any negative emotion without trying out the exercise of using these emotions to our psychosomatic betterment.  The problem emerges when we get so good at avoiding our emotions, we lose the access to the important function they serve. This response to owning up to negative emotions happens only through the ego. When faced with situations which generate negative emotions, we should train ourselves to step aside from our ego and allow the self to analyse the situation and respond. A few moods or emotions and their evoked response from the ego and the needed action from the Self are illustrated.
Ego response to situations which have been categorized by Dr. Mario Martinez, an expert on the discipline of Biocognitive Medicine:
  • Shame – There is something wrong with me – this can be countered by honouring ourselves
  • Betrayal – the value and relation attached to something or someone has been violated  – this can be countered by commitment
  • Abandonment – Lack of a reciprocal response to any trust attached, especially with people. – this can be countered by Loyalty
Resulting moods or emotions:
  • Guilt – I have done something wrong
  • Sadness – The immediate communication to our ego is that there is a loss.
  • Fear and Anxiety – There is a perceived danger
  • Anger – A feeling of being manipulated or wrongly assessed
There are two essential purposes for which emotions arise in us and they are signals for action and a need. These are intimately connected with our biological functions, especially the release and action of hormones (steroids, peptides, or amines). The needs lie in the hierarchy as described by Maslow which are basically psychosomatic in nature. When the need is taken to the level of craving and attachment and stagnating at one level of the hierarchy, then there is resulting hormonal imbalance.
I would like to point out one example which is very common in people today. Adrenaline and cortisol normally are secreted in response to a perceived threat in the environment. The effects of stress hormones on blood glucose, heart rate and respiration increase oxygen and nutrient supplies to muscles and temporarily shut down the maintenance of the body's other systems. This so-called fight-and-flight response to perceived environmental threats gives organisms an evolutionary advantage in making them better able to survive.
In the modern world, with increasing stress due to ego imposed expectations and not from the physical environment, we do not utilize the adrenaline or cortisol release which leads to high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. Prolonged release can result in healthy cell mutating. Stress happens to be the most common cause for cancer.
What I am getting at is the emotions themselves are utilitarian inputs but we tend to anchor them in the ego domain. The psychic conditions of individuals which operates in a constant and increasing mode of ego affirmation builds a false self. What Jung and other spiritual masters who have given a deep thought advise us to learn to evoke our authentic self in response to any emotional input, positive or negative, and listen to its prompting. This mindfulness has to be practiced over a long period of time.
Let me conclude with a beautiful quote which is the prescription for awakening our authentic self.
“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.” …………………….Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
Love to you all

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