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Negative Emotions as Lightsabers: The Power of Feeling Good Now, Part II
Use negative emotions as a reminder to get back into being Present, Here and Now.
As Jedi knights on a journey when it comes to our earthly existence, we have often neglected to use our most powerful lightsaber: our emotional guidance system. If we consider what this means on a deeper level, we will see that not using our emotional guidance system is like walking around in life with our eyes closed.
The Abraham(/Hicks) versus the Power of Now(/Tolle) Perspective
There seems to be two popular perspectives to choose from when it comes to using our emotions to guide us on our life journey:
1. Abraham’s, presented in the Hicks’ book, “The Law of Attraction”
2. Tolle’s in books such as “The Power of Now”
In contrast, Tolle advices about the wisdom of accepting the present moment (the “Now”) as it is, including its accompanying emotion, while Abraham states:
"Never mind what-is. Imagine it the way you want it to be so that your vibration is a match to your desire. When your vibration is a match to your desire, all things in your experience will gravitate to meet that match every time." --- Excerpted from the workshop in Boca Raton, FL on Sunday, January 12th, 1997
Reconciling the Difference
It may seem that there is a conflict between the two that is difficult to reconcile. If we however read in depth into Tolle’s principles regarding the relationship between “clock time and psychological time” (related to the perspective of process and goals), we will better understand how the Abraham perspective can fit into to the power of Now:
- With “… the way you want it to be …” as being the goal and accepting the present moment non-judgmentally, as you perform whatever needs to be done in the moment, as the process.
The use of contrast when dealing with goals and processes can be further extended into the more spiritually-oriented manner of conducting ourselves in everyday life: we focus more on what we are doing in the moment, keeping the goal or end result only in our peripheral view. This practice puts more “soul” or presence into the doing, in the end making our output more intuitive, more creative and more appropriate to the situation.
Goals and Process
It has been mentioned time and again, that we are not saying that there is anything wrong with pursuing material success or trying to improve our life situation. That is entirely natural. There are some things though that we may want to guard against while in the pursuit of our material goals. One most important thing to guard against would be not being present. Not being present takes our focus away from what we are doing and degrades the quality of our output.
And our most important tool for regaining presence, as we evolve into a more spiritually aware individual, are our emotions. Please refer to the diagram for a list of emotions. The process then basically boils down to two steps:
· Be watchful and alert to become aware of our own thoughts and emotions
· Accept them, without judgment, as part of the present moment as they arise
It would be difficult to tell how long one needs to persistently practice this watchfulness before it manifests more permanent effects in our life, but for most, it takes about 21 days of continuous and persistent effort to develop a habit. You are correct in noting that we are not suggesting this for use on a short stint but as a lifelong habit---using our emotions as our light sabers to become more spiritually evolved or more conscious individuals.
We have our emotions for our tool, available for daily use, in bringing more and more presence into our life.
The Challenge against Being Present
As we try to develop this habit, there is another important reminder that we need to heed, and that is that we need to apply the process even to mild negative emotions, in less demanding situations. This is in line with the idea of developmental education where the learner is taken through less challenging exercises, progressing to the more complex ones, in order to facilitate progress of the learner to an advanced level.
The more we practice on milder emotions or simpler challenges, the faster our habit develops. When faced with stronger and more difficult emotions, we have a highly-developed habit intact that then kicks in automatically, without need for laborious conscious thought.
There is important reason to work with even the milder emotions as the tendency for most of us is to revert back to our old scripts and automatic or unconscious behavior when experiencing strong negative emotions.
If you have noticed having been able to refrain from your old negative reactions in extremely challenging situations, that only means you have come a long way in exercising conscientious effort in evolving to a more spiritually mature or aware/conscious/mindful individual.
As we use our emotions as tools in developing presence, we can then evolve through two levels.
The first one would be when we are watchful and aware as we are feeling them and the second one would be when we become entirely free from experiencing them.
I had wanted to put an exclamation point at the end of that statement, as the second level is not something that I can claim to have already experienced and neither know whether I would want to experience.
But some sages have been known to have achieved that level. Allegedly, when we are truly free of judgment, when we let go of judging anything as good or bad, emotions do not have the required fuel of negative thoughts. There seems to be some merit in that, considering the momentum of the following that cognitive behavior theory has enjoyed, which basically explained, states that our feelings are caused by the thoughts we are thinking.
All the same, it would be good to know that the mere experience of becoming aware of our emotions as they arise is already a positive step in spiritual evolution, both on the individual as well as the collective level: you have brought presence or Being into the physical world.
Moving with The Way
In the book “The Tao of Pooh” our favorite bear, free of the struggle of thinking, goes about the forest effortlessly, even amidst obstacles, having his needs fulfilled without struggle. This is the promise of presence or being present. Focusing only on what needs to be done in the moment, without undue and excessive concern for the past or the future, we eventually see “things happening of themselves” or our needs being fulfilled as if by magic as they arise.
We also see that, as we use our emotions to develop presence, eventually we discover that the more we stay present there is no longer a need for a better emotion. This is in contrast to the Abraham idea about changing our present emotion to another which matches our idea of how it should be.
Presence and all there is in the moment has the power to reveal its own brand of joy, love and peace---a sense of the sacred that is beyond description.
In addition, it has been said that the more we evolve on the individual level, the more we accelerate the evolution of the collective human psyche towards the same direction, in terms of presence or being present. Hopefully, in the end, the joy, love and peace we experience as a reality in our inner world also becomes evident in the outer world of people, places and events.
“As within, so without.”
Some Eastern teachers advise about the wisdom of accepting and letting go of all emotions, including positive ones (for example, even happiness), not only negative ones, as attachment to positive emotions can lead to addictions.
Some Western philosophers believe that sorrow and pain are a necessary part of a lifetime.
Based on my personal experience, my belief is that what needs to be done is to visualize the highest ideal I could possibly have of myself (goal) and just focus on “being in the Now”, as Eckhart Tolle refers to it, or simply being present (process).
In the end, it is all up to us individually to decide our beliefs and determine our destiny.
In Part I, The Power of Feeling Good Now, the idea presented was to choose to feel a more positive emotion when we notice a negative feeling or emotion.
In the end, in “Using Negative Emotions as Lightsabers: The Power of Feeling Good Now, Part II”, we discovered about letting Presence. We discovered that by using our negative emotions as reminders to go back to being present to the moment and accepting it non-judgmentally, we get to that magical place called Presence.
In that place called Presence, in the here and now, we no longer have to struggle with the moment nor exert the effort of choosing a more positive emotion.
Presence presents us with its very own gifts, a sacred kind of joy, love and peace that surpasses all understanding.