Emotion: is it our enemy or our friend?1

Emotion is both our foe and our friend. There are many planes of consciousness, but usually we deal with two planes of consciousness: the physical and the spiritual. On the physical plane, emotion and the very outset is sweet, sweeter, sweetest. Then there comes a time when this emotion is followed by frustration and frustration is followed by destruction. Why does it happen so? It happens so precisely because the emotion that is in play in the physical proper is still unlit, unillumined and impure. On the physical plane emotion is nothing short of self-exposition, either consciously or unconsciously, either under compulsion or at one's own sweet will.

There is also a kind of emotion in the spiritual plane, in our heart or psychic existence. Here the emotion is constantly self-illumining and God-fulfilling. In the spiritual world, in the inner world emotion is truth-expansion, divinity-expansion and perfection-manifestation. Naturally we can also add 'God-satisfaction', for God-satisfaction can loom large only in truth-expansion and divinity-expansion and perfection-manifestation.

On the human plane there are quite a few undivine forces that attack us and eventually compel us to surrender or resort to anger, anxiety, worries, attachment, self-pity and self-immolation.

Anger: what is it, after all? Anger is a force that does not permit us to be consciously aware of our oneness-reality with others, who are our extended, expanded reality. When anger assails us we not only forget our existence-reality, our oneness-reality with others, but we try to destroy or we actually do destroy our oneness-reality.

Now, how do we conquer anger? A spiritual Master will tell us to make our mind calm and quiet and to pray and meditate on God. Then we will be able to free ourselves from the wild anger in us.

The advice of the spiritual Master is absolutely correct. But if we want to conquer anger on the spot, then the easiest and the most effective way is to repeat God's Name as fast as possible each time we breathe in. The first time we breathe in we can repeat ten times, "God, God, God." And the second time we breathe in, if inside each time we say "God" we can mentally visualise or count God's name twenty times more, then the power of anger almost totally vanishes.

Lack of poise, lack of mental equanimity, is anger. How do we attain poise? How do we achieve mental equanimity? We achieve mental equanimity when we live not in the mind but somewhere else. And where is that place? It is in the heart.

The mind that doubts, the mind that is subject to anxiety, worries, suspicion and attachment cannot give us poise, cannot give us clarity and vision. It is the heart, the aspiring heart that has already established its constant and conscious oneness with the soul that can give us poise. And this poise that we get from the heart can easily be brought into the suspicious, doubtful, arrogant, unlit, unillumined mind. And once the poise of the heart, which is founded upon the soul's light, is brought into the human mind, which is immersed in the gross physical, the mind is bound to be illumined slowly, steadily and unerringly.

What is poise? Poise is a kind of divine emotion in us. But it is anything but excitement. This poise we get when we identify ourselves with the Infinite, the Eternal, the Immortal.

Fear is another kind of emotion which plays its role only in separating us from our vast oneness-reality. Doubt also practically does the same. When fear plays its role, we either unconsciously or consciously separate our existence from the Vastness itself. When doubt plays its role, we unconsciously shorten our own reality-existence. We minimise our consciousness, our own experience and realisation of reality.

Attachment is a form of emotion. As attachment is a form of emotion, so also is detachment a form of emotion. When there is attachment, we immediately notice that there is a constant tug-of-war between two armies.

Attachment binds us for our own gratification. Attachment makes us feel that no individual is complete. It makes us feel that only in the unification of two individuals — no matter whether it is on the physical plane, vital plane or mental plane — will the two individuals derive satisfaction. But this feeling is incorrect. The human in us is right now half-animal. The animal consciousness in us quite often plays its role most powerfully. So when two people use attachment as a magnet or pull each other, quite often destruction plays its role.

Detachment is also a form of emotion. On the outer plane we may feel there is no emotion involved. Unfortunately this conception of ours is built on air. No, detachment is also a form of emotion. Detachment is not indifference; detachment is our true existence, the existence that lives in reality proper — either in Heaven-reality or in earth-reality. Detachment is emotion, only it is not affected by the happenings, incidents and experiences of the reality that it is seeing; it is always an inch higher in consciousness. Although it may remain on the earth plane, in earth's multifarious activities, it keeps its consciousness higher than the reality where the experiences or incidents are taking place.

Although a seeker is detached, that doesn't mean he is indifferent. He sees and experiences the reality that is apt to threaten him and frighten him, the reality that quite often belittles his capacity, his potentiality and even his own existence and Immortality. But the seeker does not let this affect him. He feels there is only one reality in him and that reality is God-Reality. This God-Reality he can feel, he can experience no matter where he is, provided he knows the supreme art of focusing all his attention on one object or subject: God.

Sincerity and insincerity: these are also emotions. With sincerity we fly, fly in the vast, uncharted sky. With insincerity we enter into a tiny cave in order to escape. With sincerity we try to spread our wings and give to the world what we have and what we are. With insincerity we hide our reality-world which we claim to be only ours.

Purity and impurity. Purity is our self-expansion and impurity is our self-immolation. With each purity-breath we breathe in, we increase our God-Reality. And with each impurity-breath we breathe in, we surrender our very existence to the jaws of death.

Sincerity and purity are the two divine attributes that all the seekers can apply to their day-to-day activities. Emotion has to be disciplined sincerely in the mind proper. When the mind becomes sincere, then the mind opens itself consciously, devotedly and soulfully to the Vastness. At that time, the multiple encouraging, inspiring experiences of the world descend from above through the mind and prepare for the universal opening to the transcendental heights.

Purity is of the heart and in the heart, but for the soul. The soul is the conscious representative of God within us. The heart of purity is the heart that consciously discovers God. The heart of purity is conscious God-revelation and God-manifestation.

Ultimately all our emotions give way to tears, either to earthly tears or to heavenly tears. Earthly tears are the outcome of depression, frustration and lack of fulfilment. Heavenly tears are the tears of gratitude offered to the Source, to the Supreme Beloved, the Inner Pilot, the Eternal Friend.

We start our journey with earthly tears because this is what we get when we walk along the road of desire. But there comes a time when we discover that the road we are walking upon will never lead us to our destination. Then we change our road. We start walking along another road, the road of realisation. When we walk along this road, each day, each hour, each minute, each second we feel we are approaching our cherished destination. Here the tears that we experience are divine tears composed of our unalloyed love for God and flowing from our heart-flower of gratitude.

With earthly tears we start our journey. But this journey does not satisfy us; it cannot lead us to our destination. So we resort to heavenly tears, which come from our heart's gratitude and true love of God. When we become heavenly tears, we not only start our journey properly but also we hasten our true Truth-realisation and God-revelation which is Beauty-revelation, God-manifestation and Bliss-manifestation for earth.

Emotion that says, "I came, I saw, I conquered," is a destructive emotion, an animal emotion in us. Emotion that says, "I came, I loved, I became," is divine emotion, illumined emotion, fulfilled emotion-perfect, all-illumining, all-fulfilling emotion.

"I am for myself" is either the animal emotion in me or the human emotion in me. "I am for my Reality-Source, for my Reality-God" is a divine emotion. I see the Truth just because the Truth wants to see in and through me. I become the Truth just because the Truth reveals itself in and through me. Then I am inundated with divine emotion, which is conscious and constant love of God and awareness of God: Truth-expansion, God-manifestation and man-and-God-satisfaction.


  1. RD 23. 2 October 1976, Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium

Sri Chinmoy, Reality-Dream.First published by Agni Press in 1976.

This is the 297th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Reality-Dream, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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