Private enemy number one is the very self that cranks up your thoughts. It’s never been the case that anyone can stop their thoughts but you can give them less power over your actions. How you feel, the hormones and neurotransmitters you generate are all, every last molecule of them, the direct result of thoughts riding on your beliefs and resulting perceptions. If you allow your thoughts to colour your perceptions and direct your actions you will get really emotional and often sick. I’m not a great fan of emotions, I’ve had a few in my life, life changing emotions that I have thoroughly believed at the time but now that I look back on them I can see that I really didn’t have to act in the way I did, I could have chosen more astutely.
I was listening to some friends play music in a pub in the fair village of Balmain. A Good Looking Man (a GLM) came into the pub and the connection was instant, we danced, we played verbally and he bought me a white wine. It was one of the most enjoyable nights I have ever had. It got late, past my bedtime so I picked up my bag and left. The GLM followed me out not really believing that I was actually leaving, without his number, without me giving him mine. Heavens to betsy what possessed me? I had been through a rough divorce and part of the way I dealt with it was to tease the threads of reality out of any situation, by meditating by questioning why I connected with anyone at all. By attempting to look at people as they are rather than through the filters of my own insecurities.
GLM was just my type, attentive, masculine, a great dancer, generous on the night but even though I did enjoy him and felt really drawn to him I walked away. I still to this day don’t really know why but it is an action I love about myself, I got a great night’s sleep, I felt my emotions on the night as suggestions rather than compulsions and having acted without that compulsion I followed an inner prompt.
GLM was a great teacher in impermanence. What remains is not the temporary dalliance that would have most likely faded into a shade of memory but a glimpse of myself beyond the imperative of emotions’ compulsions.
This is not to say I am immune to emotions. There are seven basic emotions that are coded onto all humans faces, anger, fear disgust, contempt, surprise, joy and sadness. Even if you are not feeling an emotion per se then assuming that emotion on you face will start the chemical process towards experiencing it. Just as good posture creates happy chemistry and bad posture creates unhappy chemistry. So no one is immune from the almost tidal pull of emotions but with practice you can free yourself from the tyranny of emotions to being fully human and exercising Free Will.
So how can you achieve distance from your emotions? Meditation is good and that doesn’t have to be a classic sit and struggle meditation. It can be absorption in the moment that dissolves your self and eventually allows you freedom to choose. Exercise is a great balancer. Listening to music, walking in a natural environment all balance your emotional chemistry. But the most effective tool is self examination asking yourself why you believe something. It takes a great deal of courage to change and it takes time.