Chapter 5: Understanding Emotions
My Beloved Ones,
We have talked about two phases that are related to the spiritual journey: purity of the body and purity of thought. Emotions are at a deeper level than the body and thoughts. The purity of emotions is the most important quality. On the spiritual journey and in meditation, the purity of emotions is more useful than that of the body and of thoughts. This is so because man does not live so much according to thoughts, he lives more according to his emotions. It is said that man is a rational animal, but this is not true. You don’t do very many things in your life as a result of thinking, most of what you do is influenced by your emotions. Your hatred, your anger, your love - all these are related to your emotions, not to your thoughts.
Most of the activities in life originate from the world of emotions, not from the world of thoughts. You must also have noticed that you think one thing, and when the time comes you do something else. The reason for this is that there is a fundamental difference between emotions and thinking. You may decide that you will not become angry; you may think that anger is bad but when anger gets hold of you thinking is left aside and you become angry.
As long as a transformation in the world of emotions does not happen, just thinking and contemplation alone cannot bring about a revolution in life. That’s why on the spiritual journey the most basic point is the emotions. So this morning we will discuss how to bring about the purification of the emotions.
Of the many dimensions that emotions cover I would like to emphasize four. I will talk about the four aspects through which emotions can become pure. These are also the four aspects that can reverse and become a womb for impure feelings. The first of these aspects is friendliness, the second is compassion, the third is cheerfulness and the fourth is gratitude. If you were to include these four emotions in your life you would achieve purity of emotions.
These four each have their opposite. The opposite of friendliness is hatred and enmity, the opposite of compassion is cruelty, violence and unkindness, the opposite of cheerfulness is sadness, misery, anguish and worry, the opposite of gratitude is ingratitude. Someone whose life and emotions are in the four opposite aspects is in a state of impure emotions, and someone who is rooted in the first four aspects is rooted in pure emotions.