By Mantak Chia and Dena Saxer
Why do we have emotions in the first place? Many
of us experience them as a disturbance, something out of our control. But
they're not simply a thorn in our side. They are natural energy responses to
what we experience through our senses. They're vital messages from our Soul, our
higher self, to our personality or body.
Please note that many Western spiritual books use
the terms Soul and Spirit as one and the same. However, in Taoism and some other
esoteric writings, our Soul is the intermediary between our personality or body
and our Spirit.
British spiritual teacher
Ronald Beesley clarifies the distinction between Soul and Spirit. "The Spirit is
of God [Tao]. Soul's one objective is to raise our consciousness to the level of
Spirit. Soul is the active part of our being. It seeks out our fears and our
inhibitions and makes us confront them. It supports us in facing and cleansing
ourselves of these weaknesses. Our Soul is a loving parent and wise teacher."
All emotions are the raw materials of human life,
and they function as the guidance system for our decisions and actions. They are
the raw materials for music, painting, drawing, sculpture, theater, film, dance,
poetry, and fiction. Our emotions are spiritual treasures.
What are the messages of the positive emotions?
The softer, yin emotions of calmness, gentleness, appreciation, kindness, and
tenderness tell us we're in harmony with our higher selves, and so with Tao. The
exciting, yang emotions of eagerness, enthusiasm, delight, happiness, ecstasy,
and bliss tell us we're moving forward splendidly, also in harmony with Tao.
Negative Emotions: Catalysts for Growth
So, why do we have negative, painful emotions
instead of just positive, pleasurable ones? Physical pain is a distress signal
that some part of our body needs help. So, too, emotional pain is a distress
signal that some aspect of our life needs help. The word emotion comes from the
Latin word emovere, meaning to move out, move away. Despair, worry, fury,
jealousy, and terror are marvelous teachers, motivating us with their sting to
move out, move away and into harmony, joy, and courage.
The tragedy of modern
life is that so many of us don't allow ourselves to feel the natural pain, and
learn the lessons, of the turbulent emotions. We waste our precious time
paralyzed by fear, denial, and repression. We self-medicate with food, alcohol,
prescription and recreational drugs, electronic toys, entertainment, sex,
overwork, and the media. Our bodies pay the price in discomfort, malfunction,
and disease. Our minds pay the price in separation and alienation from our true
selves. As Eckhart Tolle says: "Every addiction arises from an unconscious
refusal to face and move through your own pain....You are using something or
somebody to cover up your pain."
Reconnecting to Our True Feelings
If we are experiencing this alienation from our
feelings, doing the Six Healing Sounds and Inner Smile from our new book
Emotional Wisdom (New World Library, October 2009) daily will reconnect
us to our internal organs; they, in turn, will restore our awareness of our true
feelings. How long will this take? We can't give you a time frame, because each
person is unique. However, most people feel calmer and more relaxed the first
time they do these practices. Some people don't feel an obvious change for a few
weeks or even a few months. But be assured, you will be changing your emotional
and physical energy to a healthier state, even though the change may be subtle
Facing, learning from, and transforming our
negative feelings is an act of courage. It's a conscious choice that takes
patience, self-honesty, forgiveness, and determination. It requires a commitment
of time -- to untie those emotions that have bound us up. Ultimately, we will
save time, by having greater happiness, greater health, and a longer life. This
demanding process is the crucible that transmutes negative energies into
happiness and harmony. Our suffering is no longer a tragedy. It becomes the fuel
that molds us into better human beings. It's a form of purification. And having
endured and transcended emotional pain, we have more compassion for others who
are still lost in turmoil.
About the Authors
Mantak Chia's Universal
Healing Tao System is taught by more than 1,200 certified instructors spanning
every continent. He teaches worldwide and lives in Thailand. Dena
Saxer cowrote Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality with Chia.
Visit Mantak Chia online at
and Dena Saxer at
*Excerpted from the book
2009 by Mantak Chia & Dena
Saxer. Printed with permission from New World Library.
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