Dealing with Burning Emotions 

If you stay conscious of your feelings as often as possible, you will see a distinct change in your responses until you are transformed completely

Published: 16th June 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2019 10:54 PM   |  A+A-

Photo by Mark Daynes on Unsplash

When emotions are out of control, I feel we lose our understanding of both ourselves and others, and are instead controlled by our emotions, by ignorance. I describe this as a very thick and strong darkness that 
makes it difficult to see.This can happen in the moment, particularly when we feel aggrieved by a thoughtless act like road rage, littering or rudeness, or perhaps belittled by a telling-off; alternatively, the embers may be stoked over time if, say, we are unhappy at work or in our relationship. In both cases we become attached to our emotions.

In our minds we have been done wrong and it’s very hard to let those emotions go; it feels almost as though we are serving some kind of justice by being angry, or that we are showing how deep and meaningful our relationship is by becoming sick with desire. But do any of those burning emotions make us feel good? Do they get us anywhere except stressed and upset? Even our bodies react to these emotions, often through headaches or stomach upsets or a general feeling of agitation that makes our mind whirr, our breathing shallow and our heart race uncomfortably.

Yes, we are human, and so these emotions are a part of us, but I hope to give you the tools so that you may give yourself a bit of time when they arise. Not to dismiss your emotions, but to listen to them and understand why you feel the way you do.

The easiest way to spot the emotions that have the potential to harm us and others is to think of them as ‘burning’ emotions. Just think of anger, jealousy, pride and even desire; it is when these become heated that they cloud our thoughts, our compassion and our true selves. We literally become hot-headed, the anger or desire may burst out at the expense of others or sit inside us, bubbling away to boiling point so that we can’t think straight any more.

Good feelings of love and passion can also make you care a great deal, can even make you cry, but rather than come from a selfish source they are born of compassion and a genuine concern for another’s wellbeing. So while you might become attached to lust and so feel very lonely if you are on your own, with true love you also have a sense of freedom, that you care for someone or something but you are not controlled by those feelings or that person, and likewise you are not looking to control or own them. As soon as you do, your emotions will become more burning in nature, making you feel agitated, uncomfortable and not yourself.

As you get into the natural flow of your life, you will find these emotions burn with less intensity; that it takes a lot more provocation to fuel the fire, that patience and tolerance grow as anger and jealousy diminish. I think people often worry, though, that by calming their anger, or especially their desire, they will somehow lose a strong part of themselves; that to be hot-headed is to be passionate, to really care deeply about things in your life or other people. But think about it, when you are burning up with an emotion do you really feel like your true self, or perhaps like you are a little possessed? You might want to get that feeling of release as you let your anger explode, but how do you tend to feel afterwards—do you really feel good about yourself?

So it is really that simple. Assess your feeling before, during and after a bout of such extreme reaction—when emotions are on the boil—and you will see that it never brings you peace, or happiness or equanimity. Now try and analyse why you feel this way and you will slowly work out the triggers, the responses and the measures you need to take to keep yourself in balance. As you become aware of this and stay conscious as often as possible you will see a distinct change in your responses and such incidences until you will be transformed completely. You will be in possession of all the emotions that a person can have but always the master of them and never the slave. The author is the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas

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