When we’re overwhelmed by our emotions, the most important—and most difficult—thing to recognize is that we can consume the energy of whatever is gripping us. Otherwise we’re just torn apart, like a fish being mauled by sharks. What’s happening is real and painful, but if we recognize that our emotions function within a narrow level of our consciousness, we can save ourselves from being devoured. Even as we’re being bludgeoned by an experience, we can pull back and tune in to a deeper dimension in ourselves.
We must find a place inside that isn’t driven by emotional quantity but is the abode of openness and stillness. Then we have somewhere to go to when emotion grabs us. If we’ve never gone there before, we don’t recognize that we have a choice in that moment of crisis. But if we have made contact with our center, even a powerful emotion can only grip a certain part of us. We know that there’s a deeper place within us that is always free and can understand our experience as simply one dimension of what’s available to us.
Instead of continuing to be overwhelmed by our experience, fighting and suffering from it, we pull back, recognize what’s grabbing us, and then choose to turn inside. The heat is still there, as is the drama and the pain, but we are able to find a different place in ourselves, even in the midst of that experience. This is the power of the capacity to be conscious—and it starts with having enough objective awareness about our own experience to know when we’re in the grip of something.
Once we’ve pulled back from the experience we can consume, or metabolize, the energy of it. The energy we normally put into being in the fight can be extracted, refined, and then used to penetrate into a higher place of consciousness and openness. This is how we digest it. And we don’t have to consume the whole thing at once. We take one bite after another and this is how we pull all the energy inside. Then, if a similar experience comes around again, the grip isn’t quite as powerful.
Usually, the first thing we want to do is get rid of our pain. Oddly enough, that’s the wrong ap-
proach because the place where the pain is being experienced is the very dimension we want to absorb. It is by consuming the energy of our emotions and tensions that we create a difference resonance in ourselves and begin to function from a deeper place of openness.
We must have the discipline to not let an experience hook us and drag us out to Pluto, where we have no chance of coming back to our center. This means we learn to not react—not project or attack—and simply be still, even in the middle of the storm. Our own consciousness should be like the eye of a tornado. We must find that center point where there is no turmoil, and then we can consume any force back into ourselves. In the middle of whatever experience we’re having, whatever fear or contraction we’re functioning from, we choose something else.
In effect, we choose to continue to live in the struggle, to live in the emotional quantity, because we don’t choose something higher. The exercise of that choice must be in the moment, and the content of the emotion is not really relevant. Whether it’s self-rejection, anger, or pride, we don’t deal with one differently than the other. Our emotions are just a response to not getting what we want, or to things not happening as we thought they should. So we see there’s a part of us that has that reaction, but we don’t live there. What an amazing gift, that in those moments, we can discover the field of unity instead of only duality—and that we can recognize from within unity, that the multiplicity of our own experience is going on and can go on. That’s the gift.
If we don’t step back and then consume the energy of our experiences we get stuck in the endless repetition of our patterns. When we feel ourselves contracting, the impressions of that experience are what dominate our awareness. Meditation provides us with a different impression, one we can go to in order to break out of the cycle of our patterns. As we tune in to a deeper resonance again and again, it becomes a permanent part of our experience. We know and feel it. We can then recognize when we get pulled out of our center and no longer get so far out that we have to spend the next nine months pulling ourselves back in. And if we are pulled out, we have an internal tether to use it to pull ourselves back to that center, in the middle of any storm.
People live a life of fear for the simple reason that they don’t choose a life of joy. The discriminating discipline to make conscious choices is critical in determining the success of our spiritual life. Meditation allows us to find that place of choice, but we must be prepared to choose in the moment it’s demanded. That fundamental choice always exists in us, and every moment of our life is an expression of that choice. Choose something different. Choose joy instead of fear. And don’t ever say, “I’m not there yet.” Yes you are—because that dynamic wouldn’t appear in your life if you weren’t there yet. What you are really saying is, “I’m not willing to do this now.” Find that willingness.
Trust the part of you that knows. Surrender to that. Too often we trust the part of us that doesn’t know, and that gets us into a lot of trouble and suffering. The decision to live a spiritual life is choosing to live in a different level of consciousness than we had up to that moment. We can’t continue to make decisions and choices from a place of limitation and expect to grow spiritually. The choice to be free, the choice to live in joy, is an inalienable right. It’s all the other choices we make that are the problem. And remember: only you can make that choice. Choose wisely.