Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 30 January 2011





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Preserve your emotional freedom

Human society is in the throes of an emotional meltdown. Most of us seem to be restless. We lose our tempers quite often. We cannot wait in a queue even for a few minutes without getting restless. Domestic violence is quite rampant in some households. When we get on to a bus or train the amount of noise made by fellow passengers is sometimes unbearable. Road manners are almost forgotten. You hear drivers yelling at each other clenching their fists. Some private bus conductors are the worst offenders who make our lives miserable.

Is this the way we want to live? Certainly not. We deserve some degree of relief from getting crucified by daily stress. We need to be happier and comfortable in our homes and workplaces. Then only can we develop cordial relationships with our neighbours and live in harmony.

With all the noise, wickedness and cut-throat competition in society, emotional freedom helps us retain our sanity and happiness.

Emotional freedom basically means increasing our ability to love our fellow human beings, cultivating positive emotions and being able to witness and transform negative emotions. These negative emotions may be yours or somebody else's. However, these fundamental skills will liberate us from fear and allow us to navigate through adversity without losing our cool and getting derailed in the process.

With those who enjoy emotional freedom, you will be able to react constructively. Then only can you communicate more successfully and gain confidence in yourself. Although freedom generally means uncensored speech and emancipation from slavery, emotional freedom aims at achieving total freedom from worries.

Meditation helps rid all impurities of the mind

According to psychologists, there are four major components of emotions that shape our health and moods. They are biology, subtle energy, psychology and spirituality. If your biological needs are not satisfied, it will be difficult to enjoy emotional freedom. Similarly, we need to be mentally healthy to enjoy happiness. In addition, spiritual purity is a sine qua non for physical and mental equilibrium. We must not forget that we are spiritual beings having human bodies. All the religions have taught us the value of leading a spiritual life. Every victory over fear, anxiety, and resentment is a way to develop our spiritual muscles. Referring to spirituality, Albert Einstein said, "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science."

Every physical illness, heartbreak, loss and pain gives us an opportunity to learn more about emotional freedom. The not-so-happy emotions help us to free ourselves from the dark forces that make us suffer. The problem with emotions is that when we feel them internally, their energy expands beyond our bodies affecting our colleagues, friends and neighbours. Similarly, other people's emotions too have an impact on us.

Human beings feel ashamed of feeling inadequate, lonely or afraid. They feel that they have done something wrong. Therefore, we need a lot of courage to tackle harmful emotions before transforming them into beneficial ones. To do this effectively, we have to stand on a firm foundation of spirituality.

Many people have spiritual guides. When there is a problem in the family, they consult an elderly bhikkhu of the village temple or meet other religious leaders. But good spiritual guides are hard to find. Therefore, sometimes people travel to distant lands to meet their spiritual gurus. Finding a spiritual guru is like looking for a soul mate. You can search for your soul mate in every nook and corner for years but you will never meet him or her. However, one fine day you will meet that person quite unexpectedly at the market place or on the street!

Buddhism is very clear on this point. The Buddha says, "There is no external refuge. To be free you must go inside." In other words, solutions to all your problems are found in yourself. A defining moment of emotional freedom comes when you begin to become more conscious of who you are. This is one of the most difficult philosophical questions: Who am I? If you can answer this question satisfactorily, you are on your way to self-awakening. This kind of awakening comes after so many years of practice.

Sometimes, it so happens that we unconsciously become victims of emotional burnout. For instance, if you are unhappy in your job or marriage, it can have an adverse effect on your physical and mental health. Extreme pressure of work and having to perform unpleasant tasks also can create emotional burnout. The sure sign of this malady is that you feel unenthusiastic and unhappy in life. If you wish to avoid being an emotional burnout, try to avoid shouldering extra responsibilities which are beyond your capacity.

Whatever you do, take a break and relax for some time. Getting involved in social service is a good way to de-stress yourself.

To preserve emotional freedom, learn the art of forgetting certain incidents that caused pain to you. People often complain that they cannot forget injustices done to them so easily. If you keep on harbouring such unpleasant thoughts, you will only be wasting your emotional and physical energy.

Although nobody can tell you not to think of some unpleasant event, you can train your mind to think of something pleasant. By doing this you can reduce the number of unpleasant thoughts. You may have done something foolish in the past. Tell yourself that so many other people too may have done such foolish things. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about such incidents.

Forgiveness is the most effective balm to heal emotional wounds. You may have been hurt by a rude remark or an anonymous letter sent by one of your enemies. If you still feel miserable about it, forget the incident and decide to forgive the wrongdoer. This is the only way to maintain your emotional freedom.

Finally, even modern psychologists advocate meditation to get rid of all impurities of the mind. With meditation, you will be able to keep your heart open to compassion and forgiveness, This will help you entertain positive ideas and develop your mind to achieve higher goals in life.


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