Those of us who see our life as a spiritual journey tend to focus on rising above our thoughts. As we progress in this pathway we learn to allow the thoughts to come and go as they will, but without sinking deep tap roots of identification into them as though they were solid ground. While this spiritual practice often holds our attention, our emotions move back and forth across the borders of our self-definition like the man stealing wheelbarrows. If you have never heard that story, it goes as follows; each day a border guard searches through the man’s wheelbarrow filled with produce. The guard is convinced that the man is smuggling something hidden in the produce contained in his wheelbarrow. In reality, the man is smuggling wheelbarrows.
Our emotions run wildly through us, without the slightest realization that they, too, exactly like our thoughts, pop out of emptiness, proclaim their realness, and we sink our identity into them and act upon them, because they, like thoughts, speak to us in the name of I. “I am furious about that!”, or, “I’m so depressed, and I don’t know why.”
It may come as a surprise that our beloved emotions, those feelings that we believe to be absolute truth of how we feel, are in essence empty space. I am speaking literally, not metaphorically. An emotion is created when we envision a spatial relationship that is other than all inclusive. Love is spatial as well. It is, however, an unbroken, all encompassing wholeness and oneness with whatever is before us. Awakening is that oneness with all. Conditional love is the oneness with whomever or whatever we have chosen as an object of that unity.
Spatial identity is what we call emotional experience. Take, for example the emotion of loneliness. Spatially loneliness means, I am here, while what is real and important is way over there, where I cannot go. That is about space. We have divided spatial oneness into two parts, a lost part and a found part, and we sink our identity in to the lost part. We literally solidify empty space in order to give ourselves this lousy experience. “It is New Years Eve, and I am sitting here all alone.” We formulate a spatial condition, creating a hopeless scenario, and then jump into it like quicksand and imagine the pain of that episode. We fabricate the division of empty space out of nothingness and then imagine it to be real. Even being alone on New Years is no real trigger for feeling alone. Aloneness is not intrinsically lonely.
Anger is another of our favorite ” this is the real me” emotions. “I’m so furious I can hardly stand it!” We never have the slightest concept that the anger that we feel is something that we have the freedom not to identify with. We are not angry, anger is moving through us like a wave form, and we grab onto it and believe it is who we are. “I” am angry!” In ancient Greek mythology, when a man would strike another man in anger, the surrounding people would run up to the one who threw the punch and hug him, saying “You poor man, Ares (Mars in Roman mythology ) made you do this terrible thing. ” In this way, they believed that people were separate from their anger and innocent of any harm that it might have done. The perpetrator had been possessed by a powerful god of war or destruction and this energy needed to be dispelled by their compassion. This would be equivalent, today, of a criminal not being sent to prison, but to a loving family where he or she was “re-raised” with a new sense of self respect and innocence so that he or she could return as a positive contributor to society.
Spatial relationships are what emotions are. Anger is an attempt to break out of a confinement. Anger is a kind of spatial claustrophobic reaction. If described in energy wave forms it is a wave that instead of rising and falling over time in a smooth curve, it eliminates time altogether and tries to beat the narrow corridor it is confined within by pounding up and down in an attempt to free itself from confinement. Here is an energy symbol of anger:
We may see that anger is about space. Our waves of identity need a larger space.
Desire, as an emotion, is when that which we pull toward us moves far away. Fear as an emotion is when that which we push away from us is advancing spatially toward us, or surrounding us. Even such feelings as hunger are spatial relationships. To eat means to take something outside of us and put it inside of us. In hunger there is a powerful empty space that wants to be filled in our bellies.
Since all of the emotions and feelings that we so profoundly, unshakably believe to be us are fabricated from empty space, perhaps we can see that we, our actual selves, are witnesses to this performance in empty space. We can, however, be free from emotions that we do not want.
Feelings are space-trains, made of emptiness, coming from nowhere, going nowhere. Do not take the pain-train. These are marked as depression, rage, anger, pity, self doubt, terror, victimization, being looked down upon or looking down upon anyone else. There is a possibility of staying at home. Here, you may be visited by an unexpected best friend who always comes to town unannounced. Although we rarely see him or her, we will soon recognize that person as our True Self who witnesses these different emotions but does not identify with them. This is freedom.
Article, energy symbol and painting by:
Ross G. Drago
Paint Rag Magazine
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