Gina Lake is a spiritual teacher and the author of over twenty books about awakening to one’s true nature. She is also a gifted intuitive and channel with a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and over twenty-five years’ experience supporting people in their spiritual growth. This excerpt from her book Radical Happiness: A Guide to Awakening is a beautiful description in emotions and how to unattach from them.
Emotions are the products of thoughts and one way the mind mobilizes the body. By themselves, thoughts have no power to affect the world. Emotions are the link between thoughts and actions. They provide the juice, the fuel, for activity, and they help justify actions: “I feel this way, so I’m going to do this.”
Feelings are uncomfortable, and action is seen as a way to regain comfort, balance, and peace, even though that isn’t necessarily the result.
When feelings are aroused in response to a thought, the body acts to reduce the emotional stress.
For example, the thought “He shouldn’t have left me” might evoke sadness and any number of reactions intended to relieve the pain of the emotion: crying, making phone calls, eating, writing a letter, hitting something.
Some reactions will be more positive than others. If that thought hadn’t been believed, feelings wouldn’t have been triggered.
We can’t control the thoughts that arise, but if we have enough awareness of them, we can stop and examine them. When we see that a thought isn’t true (which is almost always the case, since thoughts by their nature are partial truths), a negative emotional or physical reaction is less likely.
We still might take action, but that action is more likely to be productive than destructive if it isn’t in reaction to a negative emotion.
The problem is we are not always aware of what we are thinking or willing to examine what we are thinking before an emotion arises. Furthermore, some emotions are generated by unconscious beliefs and seem to come from nowhere. We can learn to become more aware of our thoughts and to ask ourselves if a thought is true; but if an emotion is already present, bringing our awareness and acceptance to it is all we can do.
When an emotion is present, it means that either a thought has slipped by our notice or something we are unconscious of has triggered that emotion. In either case, acknowledging the emotion and letting it be there is the best approach. If we allow an emotion to be there, it will show us something about itself.
It will reveal the conscious or unconscious belief behind it.
This is one way we can become free of our conditioning. We can’t get rid of emotions by denying them or pushing them aside, by pretending they aren’t there. They will just come back another time, perhaps more vehemently . Instead, we need to be with what we are feeling like a gentle parent would be with a frightened child, because all emotions are driven by fear.
If we bring a gentle, accepting, and curious attitude to the emotion , it will open up and show us what is at its core. Often a deeper feeling is at its core, such as fear or hurt, and one or more mistaken beliefs. The layers of feelings within each feeling need to be seen and accepted as well as the beliefs underlying them. Doing this will free the energy to be used in more positive ways.
All emotions have a gift of insight to relay. Emotions are messengers about the mistaken beliefs we hold, which gave rise to the emotion. Those beliefs need to be seen before we can become free of the emotion. Once we realize the benefit of working with our emotions this way, we begin to welcome them as signs, or signals, that we are believing something, consciously or unconsciously, that isn’t true. Every emotion is generated by an untruth. Seeing those untruths as they arise is key to waking up from the illusion. The illusion can’t withstand close scrutiny. When we bring the light of Awareness to the untruths that uphold the illusion, the illusion dissolves. This must be done repeatedly, as each bit of untruth comes forward.
Gina Lake, from Radical Happiness: A Guide to Awakening (pp. 98-100).