As selfhood arises conflict forms within
In part 1, we discussed how our sense of self acts as the perpetuator of emotions, noting that in selfhood, we set our being in opposition to those which are negative. We seek to control their existence by initiating conflict or by means of escape. So there’s the activation of a controlling self which comes into being as the mind adjudges an emotion to be bad and in need of a fix. We saw that this activated self, in creating an enemy which it opposes, paradoxically becomes the perpetuator of the very thing it seeks release from. A pacified approach is therefore needed.
Pacifying our responses allows harmless action
This may not at first appear logical, or even possible. By definition, an emotion is not a pacified state; there’s a psychological heat generated in emotionality which demands a response, stirring action. Some responses may be helpful, but many can be harmfully misguided. So the pacified approach isn’t entirely action-less, though it is as regards the emanations of the self. That means not indulging activities based on the idea that the emotion must be overcome by force of will or distraction – initiating conflict in words or deed, or seeking escape in displacement activities.
Negativity passes away in selflessness
Responding passively, we remind ourselves that emotions, which alone are thoughts and feelings, need not be indulged. This entails coolly refusing to plot how our imagined self will enter into conflict or seek escape. We note the tendency to act, yet don’t follow through on the intent. In this way, we find the unpleasant feelings soon begin to subside. Passively dwelling in the dissipating negative emotion, and not indulging the controlling inclinations of selfhood, these now purposeless feelings have nothing to cleave to. They loosen their grip on our being.
Patiently we observe feelings fading
As the continued existence of such negative feelings is both conditioned by and dependent upon the thoughts of the controlling self, so then they dissolve in its absence. The feelings no longer have any narrative to cleave to and sustain them, and must fade away because of this. Note though, that this fading of feelings is gradual, it being a physical process occurring in the body’s nervous system which takes a minute or two to stabilise. So we stick with it, observing the feelings mindfully. As the body’s chemistry reverts to the norm, we find the unpleasantness fades.
In passivity we await a return to equilibrium
There’s no effort to smash unpleasant feelings out with a denying intent. Rather, we simply observe them in order to focus attention away from self-based thoughts. Remember, if we allow our thinking to harness to the feelings then together the two perpetuate the negative emotion. As attention rests passively in feeling, and we act only selflessly if at all, then the unpleasantness subsides and we regain equilibrium. So as negative emotions arise, we stay passive as regards all ideas of conflict and displacement activities. We refuse to allow the self to get involved.
Intent is just thought, we need not act upon it
All of this is what is meant when speaking in part 1 of contemplatively observing the controlling intentions of selfhood. These intentions will continue to flash before the mind; this is because they’re so deeply ingrained in us. So we need to be very mindfully aware of their presence and not grant any extension into words or deed. That’s why we permit only selfless thinking, meaning thoughts which conduce only to what harmlessly assists and cools the situation. Often though, such as when we’re alone, we simply observe the gradual dissipation of the feelings.
Emotional intelligence allows us to change
Some will argue that their current approach is best. They may perhaps say they feel better for having verbally attacked the person they think caused the negativity. Or they may claim that displacing the unpleasantness with tangential activity is highly efficient. The problem with both of these responses is that they deny any learning as to the real nature of emotions and how they perpetuate in selfhood. So the negative emotions keep returning; another person is lashed out at, or once again the head gets buried in the sand – there’s no intelligence shown here.
We need not stick with our old behaviours
When we verbally attack someone, we set about winning an argument which of course can feel good if succeeded in. It feeds the ego and strengthens ideas of superiority. Whilst it’s possible to confront with compassion so as to benefit the other and as a last resort, these are rare circumstances. Almost always, verbal assaults are egocentric issuances of selfhood. We wrongly perceive that our negative emotion is directly caused by the other, whereas invariably its primary cause is our own life conditioning. We deny any responsibility and instead apportion blame.
The selfish mind acts irresponsibly in escapism
And when we seek escape from this unpleasantness with displacement activities, we again fail to take responsibility. We’re in effect saying that we’d rather remain ignorant about the workings of our own body and mind; we’d rather disown these personally conditioned resultants. It’s as if the imagined self claims arrogantly to know what’s best for us whilst denying its own past complicity. An immaturity is assumed as the self treats our own being as if it were a child to be distracted from upset with candy. There’s a duplicitous abnegation of integrity and truthfulness.
The cultured mind accepts the simple truth
So the interplay of selfhood and emotionality deeply impacts upon our well-being and development as mature adults, and the cultured mind remains vigilant when emotions arise. It’s not a matter of intellect or individual appropriateness. Powerful emotions remain thoughts and feelings alone. Complex emotions are only so due to the complexity of the thought streams. Thought isn’t our true nature, nor are caused feelings or self-narrative. These transient phenomena appear yet never are our essential being. Seeing this clearly, we find emotion simplifies.