Emotions As Valuable Warning Signals
In the work we do in the Mindshifters group, we teach tools for dismantling the thoughts and beliefs which lead to negative emotions. There have been times when people visiting the group have been vehemently opposed to dismantling the thoughts which lead to their anger. They have made statements like, “I need my anger because it protects me.”, or “I use my anger to fuel my creativity.”, or “I don’t want anyone judging me and telling me that my thoughts or feelings are wrong. If if is a part of me then it is not wrong and I don’t want to get rid of it, I want to embrace my anger and pain.”
Well, in some ways I have to agree with part of those protests. Emotions are a natural part of my experience and they serve a valuable function in my life, if I know what that function is, and how to use my thoughts and emotions to my advantage. The difficulty arises when people want to use their emotions to solve their problems, or to pressure someone else to do, or stop doing something. This is like using a perfectly good tool for the wrong job. I run the risk of ruining the tool and either failing to complete the job, or taking a lot longer than necessary, and creating other problems along the way.
I would offer that my negative emotions are a warning system to notify me that I am doing something wrong. As Dr. Michael Ryce teaches us, “If I am in pain, I am in error.”. In this case, my anger, frustration, confusion, hurt, sadness, are like the alarm system for my mind/body energy system. They are telling me that I am in error, or I have ‘missed the mark’ with whatever I was trying to do. Often this warning system tells me that I have made the mistake of thinking that I can and should control things that I cannot control. At other times the warning system tells me that I have judged myself, someone or something as being wrong and thereby set up a belief that I am right and I need to fight whatever is happening.
Guy Finley offers that when I am angry at someone, the degree to which I am angry with them is an indication to me of how right I am and how wrong they are. How can my pain, prove that I am right? He goes on to say that, “My anger and pain does not prove that I am right. It only proves that I don’t know what “rightness” is.”
If I were right, wouldn’t I be feeling happy and loving?
The following insight came to me last night while listening to Mindshifters Radio – the replay of the August 2, 2011 show –
“Anger is only as productive for resolving a situation I don’t like, as a fire alarm is for putting out a fire. Clinging to my anger and raging at another person or situation is like blasting the alarm at the flames and expecting the fire to be extinguished.”
This is not to say that a fire alarm is useless or should be eliminated. It is simply recognizing that the role of the alarm is to mobilize me to take corrective action to find the source of the problem and remedy it. The alarm is not the solution! It is only an indication of the presence of error and the need for a solution!
My negative emotions are very valuable, but only in their role as an indication to me that I am in pain because I am in error. When I become aware of my negative emotional states, I can then choose to apply the many tools which are available to dismantle the false realities in my mind which are causing my pain. By doing this, I restore my awareness to my original and constant source as the energy of Love, and temporarily end the dream of separation.
We come from Love, we are made of Love, we are Love. Everything else is false.