Feelings and Emotions

Impermanence is ubiquitous. Nowhere it is more obvious than in our mind where raging torrents of thoughts rummage wild, one after another, endlessly. It’s a wonder how we’ve been able to keep our sanity since our rebirth. But on the other hand, there are those who succumb to the chaos in their minds and lose their sense of reality, and eventually, their sanity too.

If we were to observe our mind carefully, we may catch glimpses of our feelings and emotions embedded in our thoughts. These fleeting glimpses reveal our joys and sorrows, and on a greater scale, our sense of well-being. And because we build our well-being on our feelings and emotions, which are fleeting and impermanent, our state of mind fluctuates with the ebbs and flows in our mind and hence, we’re unable to find bliss regardless of our station in life.

It is therefore very important to realise that our feelings and emotions- positives or negatives- are neither poles we should be attracted to in our spiritual practice. We know that feelings and emotions change inevitably with time or circumstances, we should therefore never rely on them to define our state of mind, or who we are. If not, we will become slaves to our feelings and emotions, and end up living a life far from reaching its fullest potential.

To put this practice in perspective: when we are happy, we should know that we are but we should never allow ourselves to be attached to the emotions associated with happiness because we know that attachment conjures suffering when that feeling or circumstance changes. Similarly, when we are sad or depressed, we should know that we are but we should never indulge in the emotions associated with sadness or depression because it creates detrimental effects on our mental wellbeing. In either scenario, we always work towards neutralising (or balancing for those just getting started) the feelings and emotions- positives or negatives- such that whatever may arise in our mind will not impact us in any way. That is, our mind is not stirred. In short, whatever movie plot that is being played out in our mind, we should always be the passive moviegoer who doesn’t partake in the scenes or actions.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t feel this way or that way, it means that whatever we’re feeling inside doesn’t necessarily have to impact our lives, or those around us. In doing so, karma doesn’t arise and we stay true to our spiritual path.