Everyone is familiar with the evaluation of IQ (Intelligence Quotient), but in the last few years there has been a great deal of talk about EQ, the Emotional Quotient. We all have emotions and they affect us everyday. When we observe our lives closely we notice three aspects to it: action, emotion (feeling), and thought. We may consider these aspects as being separate but they are not, for there cannot be any action without thought and feeling. However, we also know that thinking is not the same as feeling for each has a different effect. For example, there are people who are highly intellectual, they speak and write very logically, yet they often fail to touch the hearts of other people. While some people appear to do very little but somehow their little actions touch people’s hearts.
Animals too have emotions, but their patterns of emotions, actions, and reactions are predictable as they are governed by nature, whereas in the case of human beings everything is unpredictable. Our thoughts, actions, and emotions take on different colors at different times and in different situations. Many times, our thoughts may be directed in a certain way, but our emotions and feelings may be quite different, and our actions completely contrary to them. Our spiritual practices are meant to integrate all these three.
Emotion is a power that influences our entire life. Even the problems we face are mainly at the emotional level. Certain emotions bring agitation, unrest, unhappiness, conflict, struggle and frustration, and make us miserable. These are negative emotions because the final result is unhappiness. On the other hand, there are emotions that evoke feelings of calmness, peace, happiness, and harmony and we feel elevated. These are considered positive. If we observe our emotions we can analyze the positive and negative effects they have on our mind. For instance, when there is love, kindness, and compassion the mind automatically becomes calm. But where there is anger, hatred, and jealousy, the immediate effect is agitation. It is extremely important that we pay attention to our emotions because, if not dealt with, these emotions can become thought fixations, turning into an obsession or mania that will require treatment.
Understanding the place of emotions in our life is very important but not enough! We also need to bring harmony and integration to our thoughts and emotions, and to our emotions and actions. If emotions are not understood properly and we do not know their origin, we will continue to see differences and will experience a sense of alienation which gives rise to negative emotions. But when we see the Oneness everything becomes positive. One who has integrated his thoughts, emotions, and actions is a master, and he alone lives in peace and harmony!
Swami Tejomayananda is from Chinmaya Mission. To find out more about Chinmaya Mission and Swamiji, visit www.chinmayamission.com. © Central Chinmaya Mission Trust...