Be Friends with your Emotions

Be Friends with your Emotions

By Desmond Yeoh SC

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

Godwin Samararatna said that we must be friends with our emotions. I totally agree with him!

Our emotions are our friends because they tell us if our thoughts are bringing us closer or further away from our true Self[1]. If we do not befriend our emotions, they will befriend others. Then we give others the power over our emotions. We start to allow others to determine when we get angry, sad, envious etc.

Our emotions are there to serve us. They are our friends. When we meet our good friends, we are pleased to see them. We give them our full attention. We do not try to ignore them by distracting ourselves with other things or we do not try to chase them away. We listen to them attentively to understand them. That is the same with our emotions.

In my second book, ‘Filling our Life with Celebration’, one of the habits I recommended is to be aware of our emotions. After years and years of practice, I have come to realise that this is one habit that can bring much inner-peace into our daily life. We often feel peaceful when we meditate but when we get into our daily life, we become agitated and confused. That is because we failed to bring the same level of meditative awareness into our daily life. Being aware of our emotions is an easy but powerful practice to bring happiness into our life.

When we have a negative emotion such as anger, the emotion is telling us that our thoughts are currently not conducive to inner-peace. The emotion of anger is just a friend reminding us that there are other ways to look at that situation or simply, that some matters are not just worth fighting over. Whenever a negative emotion visits us, we must welcome it and give it our full attention. We stay with it until it fades away.

When we listen to a person, whom we respect talk, we will listen with full attention without any internal mental chatter and judgments. We want to understand the person as much as we can. We should give the same level of respect and awareness to the negative emotion until it fades away on its own.

We apply this practice to all types of emotions anger, disappointment, sadness, desire, nervousness, fear, worry, boredom etc. Yes, we can apply this to boredom as well. The feeling of boredom is so mild that most of us do not even try to understand it. We can learn a lot from watching our boredom.

After the negative emotion that we were observing has faded away, we can continue to observe the absence of any emotion within us and enjoy the peace in our hearts. These neutral emotions are really pleasant emotions. To illustrate this with a metaphor: When we have a toothache, we tell ourselves that we will be happy when the toothache is over. For a day or two after the toothache, we will appreciate the absence of the toothache. But after that, we forget about it and no longer appreciate the absence of the toothache! The absence of the toothache is no longer appreciated – (now that I have mentioned it, we can take a moment to appreciate the fact that we care currently not experiencing a toothache!).

We should celebrate our neutral feelings in a similar manner. Most of the time, our emotions are neutral and if we can learn to appreciate these moments, we can bring a lot of joy into our life. The absence of emotions, those neutral emotions, can be very enjoyable. They give us a reason to celebrate!

We should also give full awareness to our positive emotions. When we do that, the joyous feelings are magnified and they become even more enjoyable.  I shared this with a friend and was pleasantly surprised when his face lit up with agreement. I was surprised because as far as I know, he does not meditate and for him to be aware of this point gives me the confidence that anyone can appreciate the practice that I am sharing in this article.

When I share this practice with my friends who do not practice meditation, some of them find it very difficult to understand because they have developed the habit of being averse to their negative emotions. The method that they have employed in the past is to distract themselves and some may have even indulge in intoxicants in order to ‘get rid’ of the negative emotions. Some may try to talk themselves out of the emotion by saying ‘I shouldn’t let this get to me or I should not think this way etc. The goal of all these approaches is the same; to try to get rid of the emotion. This is the exact opposite of the approach I am recommending in this article. Watching one’s emotions passively is something very alien to them.

So, what I do is to ask them to try to pay attention to their index finger and see if they can feel anything. Most will feel some sensations immediately. I then ask them to bring their attention to whatever emotions that they are feeling at the moment. This approach sometimes work.

Most of the time, our attention is placed on our mind and senses. We are so caught up with either our thoughts or external sense-objects that it appears as if the world is purposely trying to keep us apart from our true Self. If we develop the habit of keeping our attention in our heart by constantly watching our emotions, we will be kept close to our true Self, which is intrinsically happiness.

[1] Related article: Man’s Real Nature is Happiness

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ramakrishnan T
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 01:38:34

    This is an extremely practical and meaningful advise. Will surely adopt this in my daily life


  2. chiaab
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 03:47:56

    brother, you have said it all –
    a good piece of advice for one who wish to tread the noble path…


  3. Dr.Subhassh
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 15:22:03

    DESMOND,the great knowledge you have presented today,should be read by all human beings.You have presented a rare diamond.The human race is now moving around in such high,volatile,uncontrolled negative emotions;causing so many hurtful actions(like shootings,bombings and killings),this article is very timely.I wish readers of this article will pass it to as many persons as you can.Yes,we are all emotional beings.


  4. koh seow pen
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 07:42:59

    What a beautiful message. In the book Conversations With God, book 2, It says,
    ‘ The soul speaks to you in feelings. Listen to your feelings. Follow your feelings. Honor your feelings. Your feelings will never get you into ‘trouble’, because your feelings are your truth.’


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