Guiding Light: Mastering emotions

Across different relationships whether a personal or a professional one, working as a team in a corporate or a socio-political environment or even for spiritual growth, a necessary prerequisite is to manage one’s emotions. Modern psychology gives us a huge amount of knowledge, techniques to manage the mind. The cognitive approach, the behavioural approach, the emotional validation approach comprise the huge repository of approaches available. Then why does spirituality have something to say about this area of mind management?

Spirituality has something unique to contribute to this especially those spiritual traditions belonging to the East, be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Vedanta or Zen. All of these approaches look upon your emotions and thinking as functions of the mind which is an instrument. You as a person are independent of them. This approach is far easier to manage your emotions just like a table outside and external to you is easier to repair than your own body. Since you are so strongly identified with your body, treating yourself and the body as one, it becomes difficult to deal with any injury in the body.

You are more intimately identified with the mind. So managing the mind becomes more difficult. However, when you start seeing yourself as independent of the mind then you get the necessary space and distance that you need to deal with the mind. The cognitive and meditative techniques used in some of these practices help you see that the mind and emotions are objects of your awareness. You are the one who is aware of them. You are independent of them of everything you see, whether external or internal.

This become readily available in witnessing meditation and other approaches based on mindfulness. All these approaches rest on the foundation of you being independent of the body and mind. Because the space is available it is far easier to deal with them. A person steeped in spiritual practices can not only manage their emotions better but have the whole range of emotions available to a human being. He can be a master of emotions and not be dictated by them.

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