Healing the Emotions
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH
In medicine, the most dreaded of all diseases are those which are difficult to detect until they are so far advanced that it will be too late to provide effective treatment. This is one reason why cancer and heart diseases are so feared.
What the majority of us have not yet learned is that the most insidious diseases which afflict us are not physical ones at all, they are emotional! As a result, we allow them to fester and spread, sometimes until they have almost destroyed us, before we take any effective action to contain them or heal them.
These are the diseases of immaturity, anger, rage, selfishness, grief, jealousy, pessimism, fear, guilt, and cruelty.
They are so intensely infectious and destructive that people suffering from them ought to be quarantined until they recover. Yet incredibly, many people accept these diseases as valued parts of their humanity.
They wear their immaturity as a badge of honor, rather than seeing it as a blight.
They make important decisions on the basis of how they “feel” about their options, ignoring the fact that their likes and dislikes may reflect highly irrational prejudices.
They claim they would be less of a person if they got rid of their anger, because “being angry is a part of being human.”
Such people might as well claim that if they caught the flu they should do nothing to heal themselves, because being sick is part of the human experience. It is startling to what degree our culture has enshrined the sick and distorted use of the emotions.
High achievers who are confident and proud are set forth as role models, when many of them are really nothing more than arrogant, greedy, and smug.
Individuals who know how to “take care of themselves” by being aggressive and intimidating are thought to be strong.
Anyone who complains loudly and bitterly enough about government and society is accepted as being an expert voice of authority, even though he or she may have demonstrated nothing more than a capacity for faultfinding, cynicism, and paranoia.
Outpourings of sentiment and sympathy are taken to be signs of compassion and caring for the problems of others, even though they are often just projections of neurotic self-pity and anger.
A lack of guilt and inhibition is widely regarded as a sign of emotional maturity, yet is often nothing more than a clever mask for massive selfishness.
It is commonly assumed that anger is a proper response to criticism, that grief is a proper response to any loss. Woe to the person who fails to respond in those ways, for he will surely be accused of being emotionally repressed!
These cultural perspectives on the emotions are reinforced in movies, television, and popular fiction. The “heroes” in them are often self- centered, stubborn, and aggressive. Plot lines tend to give heavy emphasis on probing the agonized feelings of highly reactive people.
This distorted view should surprise no one because the vast majority of people live in an emotional state for essentially the whole of their lives. They make decisions, act, move, plan, react, and behave on the basis of how they feel, instead of how they think. It is understandable, but not especially healthy.
Due to the heavy domination of feelings in our culture, the correct uses of the mind and the spiritual will have been smothered in sentimentality.
As a consequence, creativity has been crippled. Human behavior has been trapped in a continuous time warp of adolescence. And the true value of the emotions is yet to be discovered by the average person.
The significance of emotions will never be discovered by psychologists who merely observe the way most people feel the events of their lives, people, situation, ideas, and the like. At best, such efforts end up as an inventory of emotional states. They are far too limited to produce any enlightenment on the subject.
To understand the purpose and correct use of the emotions, we must consider them from the point of view of the Higher Self.
This is the agent which seeks to use the emotions, the mind, and the physical body for creative self-expression. This is just a matter of common sense.
From the point of view of the Higher Self, the purpose of the emotions is to serve as a vehicle for the expression of spiritual love, joy, peace, and gentleness in daily life. In practice, this lofty purpose translates into using the emotions to:
- Soothe others with kindness, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness, hope, and nurturing support.
- Aspire to know and be devoted to the best, whether it is the highest level of competence we can achieve in our work or the noblest ethics and ideals of life.
- Keep faith in our humanitarian values and goals.
- Form a bond of goodwill and kinship with others, with society, and with humanity as a whole.
Ideally, the emotions should be kept free of pettiness, selfishness, anger, guilt, fear, sadness, and jealousy. This is not always an easy ideal to keep, especially in an atmosphere where these emotional diseases are accepted as commonplace and normal, and even healthy.
However, to the degree that we let our emotions slip into these negative conditions, we compromise their ability to express spiritual love.
Properly used, the emotions enrich our self-expression. It must be understood, however, that this definition of the emotions is radically different from that of the ordinary person. Most will use the emotions to generate motivation, evaluate conditions, make decisions, and set goals.
From the point of view of the Higher Self;
It is the will which is designed to generate motivation, never our cravings or desires.
It is the mind which is designed to evaluate conditions and make decisions, never our likes and dislikes.
And it is the Higher Self which sets goals, never our personal appetite to experience new sensations and thrills.
The work of the emotions is to create a climate of benevolence, compassion, and grace in which our relationships, creative efforts, and self-expression can blossom. This work cannot proceed as scheduled, however, if our emotions are ill and contaminated.
Treating More Than Symptoms
To make much progress with our emotions, we must begin by realizing that there is a significant distinction between relieving symptoms of distress and actually curing fundamental flaws of consciousness.
Far too often, when people set themselves to the task of improving their emotions, all they are interested in doing is relieving the symptoms. As a result, they try to resolve their conflicts by avoiding them or running away from them.
Genuine and enduring improvement requires that we change the factors in our emotional makeup which precipitated the conflict in the first place. It is habits such as insensitivity, hostility, and selfishness that are the actual cause of recurring disappointment and resentment.
Unfortunately, most people blithely assume that they did not contribute in any significant way to their problems. Somehow, other people and outer events are viewed as responsible for the distress.
This is a theme with many variations. If we are upset because our wishes and yearnings go unfulfilled, we tend to assume the problem is the frustration of what we desire. It seldom occurs to us that the root of our difficulty lies in the nature of our wishes and lusts, rather than our failure to gratify them.
For example, if we are beset with fears, we will try to deal with them by avoiding the conditions we fear. A more enduring solution would be to develop the courage to confront them maturely, or it might be to cultivate the wisdom to see that our fears are inappropriate and unnecessary.
If we allow ourself to become morbidly dependent on someone else or on society, we may try to rationalize our habit of dependency, and perhaps even claim it is our “right.” A genuine cure would come from developing greater self-sufficiency.
If we have hurt feelings, we tend to nurse them and exaggerate the damage that has been done to us, thus creating false comfort of self- pity.
Permanent relief of these situations will require an increase in our tolerance of others and our self-respect. It is the lack of these strengths that is the root cause of most of our wounded emotions.
Unfortunately, many false ways to deal with negative emotions are ingrained in mass consciousness. Besides seeking relief of the symptoms of emotional distress, many try to dispose of anger, grief, jealousy, and fear by giving vent to them. Aside from a brief exhaustion, venting tends to produce the opposite of genuine healing.
Ultimately, a different approach to healing emotions in needed.
There are five major areas of difficulty that are the root causes that lead to emotional distress. Recognizing these and then making the appropriate adjustments will be required in order to achieve a greater state of emotional well-being.
These five problem areas are:
- The lack of ethical values and a goal-centered life
- The lack of self-control and self-restraint
- Obsessions and addictions
- Congested self-expression
- The need for positive spiritual qualities
The Lack of Ethics And Goals
Our emotions have no inherent stability of their own. They are highly fluid and easily influenced by external conditions and the moods of others. As a result, it is not possible to achieve continuity of character and purpose through our feelings.
What is needed is a well-defined core of ethics and goals, which will serve to give our emotions a stable focus, so they can be used in noble self-expression, not reactiveness.
Unfortunately, most people have done little to build up this kind of central core of ethics and goals. They are like a toy boat on a river, able only to drift with the current.
Lacking any drive or direction of their own, they become the victim of an endless sequence of emotional reactiveness to their external situation and the people in it.
Their opinions tend to reflect the beliefs of the people they have spoken to most recently.
Their moods usually reflect the moods of the people they happen to be with.
Their ethics are either borrowed from the cultural subgroup they belong to or are shaped by the expediency of the moment.
They mimic heroes, friends, and family.
As a result, their behavior is more a reflection of what they experience than it is a product of genuine self-determination. Unfortunately, this often means their attitudes and behavior are shaped more by what they dislike or reject than what they favor.
Even when they begin to recognize that they have become trapped in external influences, they continue in the reactive mode. The only difference is that they now rebel against these influences instead of reflecting them. From the point of view of the Higher Self, this is no change at all; they are still governed by their reactiveness.
A person who has failed to define their values and goals tends to express emotions thoughtlessly, selfishly.
To such a person;
Anger is expressed as easily as affection, Jealousy is no different than love.
Self-expression becomes nothing more than the expression of whatever emotion feels right at the moment, even though it may be inappropriate, harmful, or silly.
The result is an infantile preoccupation with the lowest octave of emotional expression. The emotions are used exclusively to gratify desires, protect self-interests, and interpret sensations. They are marked by pettiness and petulance. They are rarely used to build a suitable climate of beauty, grace, and aspiration.
For many of us, of course, the problems resulting from a lack of ethics and goals are more subtle. We know what we are trying to accomplish, but we fail to pay enough attention to the tendency of the emotions to be caught up in the moods of mass consciousness. When this occurs, we end up reflecting attitudes which are inconsistent with our nobler purposes and goals for living.
Values and goals should never be based on the emotions. They must be built on the spiritual ideals and purposes of the Higher Self, as described in chapter eight. Until we have built an adequate foundation of values and goals, however, it would be fruitless to attempt to heal the emotions. We simply would not have the stability needed to do it.
The Lack of Self-Control
Even if we have established a good foundation of values and goals, we may find it difficult at times to mobilize them sufficiently to control our emotions.
Good intentions can all too easily be overwhelmed by the force of old habits and reactive patterns.
Noble attitudes can be swamped in an instant by tidal waves of anxiety, guilt, or anger.
A peaceful mood can be quickly shattered by any unpleasant intrusion.
This is not because the emotions are designed to traumatize us, but because we do not always handle our feelings with adequate self- control or self-restraint.
In other words, we frequently react to insults with anger before we realize that we do not actually want to behave in this way. The strength of our value is not yet sufficient to counteract our lack of self-control.
Or, we respond to opposition and criticism with deep disappointment before we remember that we have set a certain goal and ought to be busy pursuing it.
The power of our goal is not yet focused well enough to keep the immature elements of our emotions from rebelling and distracting us from our work.
The problem of inadequate self-control is complicated by society’s preoccupation with excusing the lack of self-discipline and making self- restraint appear undesirable.
There are many psychologists and therapists who, seeking to spare their clients of more guilt, have worked overtime to develop acceptable rationalizations for the lack of self-restraint:
- By relabeling it “the spontaneity of the moment” and setting it forth as something good.
- By encouraging their clients to experience the fullness of their anger, dissatisfaction, or self-pity as “genuine, authentic, and honest.”
- By promoting the use of fantasy as a way of releasing pent-up feelings, e. g., by burying their hurt feelings in a hole in the ground.
- By helping us to develop a narrative about our life that is filled with the broken dreams of the past which are real and have shaped who we are in the present.
- By teaching us that selfishness is perfectly all right when hidden behind the label of “self-fulfillment” or the activity of taking care of our needs.
These are dangerous practices.
The emotions are meant to serve the expression of spiritual love.
Spiritual love is not permissive or undisciplined.
It is not found on the wavelengths of spontaneity, hurt feelings, fantasizing, wishing, or self-indulgence.
It can be expressed through the emotions only if our feelings have been aligned with our values and goals as well as with love.
In addition, our emotions need to be responsive to intelligent guidance and discipline from the mind and the Higher Self.
Lacking a proper amount of discipline, the emotions become disorderly, unruly, and rebellious. They attempt to create the Higher Self in their own image, rather than cooperate constructively with it.
The correction of the lack of self-control lies in strengthening our capacity for self-expression to counteract our automatic reactiveness and passivity. This is accomplished primarily through increasing our detachment and self-determination.
The initial stages of detachment have been described in chapter five. These simple practices are useful not only in entering the meditative state, but also in learning to express the emotions with self-control.
Detachment establishes the fact that there is a part of us, the parent within, which supervises the affairs of the personality and has the authority to correct and override childish reactions and desires.
In no way does this involve repressing the emotions or creating a climate of emotional indifference.
It simply means that we have chosen to express our emotions with common sense, purpose, and the guidance of the Higher Self.
We will use them to enrich our life and self-expression, not detract from them.
We will apply our emotions to help others, not to harm them, and to cooperate with authority, not rebel against it.
This level of detachment is cultivated by carefully observing what happens to us, thoughtfully reflecting on its significance, choosing the ideal way we should respond – and then behaving that way.
Self-determination is increased by taking the time to examine and reflect on the elements which actually lead us, push us, inspire us, or drive us to act. We must be careful to avoid the assumption that we are always guided by the noblest of intentions.
Intellectual honesty is necessary to recognize how often petty concerns often direct the small as well as many major moments in our life.
It is not unusual to be motivated by the highest principles in the broad sweep of life, yet still be driven by pettiness, greed, anger, and competitiveness as we react to specific circumstances and individuals in daily living.
A good way to conduct this examination is to take a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on how often our actions were guided by intelligent decisions, versus how often we simply let old habits and attitudes automatically condition our self-expression.
It will be instructive – and perhaps startling – to learn how frequently we actually do lose control of our emotions. But being startled in this way is often enough to stimulate us to exert our self-determination more regularly.
In addition, it can be helpful to consider, from time to time, the consequences of continually appeasing our petty wants and hurts, at the expense of more constructive behavior.
If we can see that we will achieve much more in life by acting nobly and honorably, our motivation to act with self-restraint will be greatly strengthened.
Once we have discovered the major areas in which we lack control of our emotions, it is important to strengthen our self-determination, by:
- Invoking the spiritual ideal we should have been expressing through our emotions at the time we lost control.
- Dedicating ourself to expressing this spiritual ideal more consistently and effectively.
- Meditating on seed thoughts that embody the strength of the ideal.
Throughout, we must recognize the value of taking charge of our life and our emotional self-expression.
Obsessions And Addictions
The emotions operate by building up a magnetic rapport with whatever we like or dislike. This is most obvious when they connect us to people, events, and memories that we have already surrounded with a strong emotional charge. Thus, our affection will magnetically draw us to pleasant memories and the people and events in those memories.
However, we are just as able to magnetically draw to us the resentment or sadness of unpleasant memories and their contents.
This magnetic feature of the emotions can be used by the Higher Self to build an enlightened climate for relationships, work, and self- expression.
But when used unintelligently by the average, reactive personality, it tends to lead to serious problems of imbalance:
- The compulsion to have a certain experience over and over again, including reliving those associated with anger, fear, and grief.
- A fanatical obsession with certain ideas, people, or problems.
- Addiction to the gratification of specific desires or cravings, including the eagerness to condemn and fight our enemies.
Compulsions, obsessions, and addictions in any form are, by definition, a mistake, for they represent unbalanced states of thinking, feeling, and action.
It is always easy to spot these disturbed states in others, but surprisingly difficult in ourself. This is because the strength of our compulsion or fanaticism tends to hypnotize us and blind us to the lack of balance. Thus, we view:
- our vanity as self-respect
- our blind ambition as a noble drive
- our lust to manipulate others as protecting our rights
- and our righteous judgmentalism of others as a concern for justice
- our persistent pessimism as being realistic
- our continual anxiety as appropriate to the stress in our life
The emotions will gladly cooperate with compulsive and addictive tendencies, because it gives them license to indulge in the exciting rush of wild excesses. The childish elements of our feelings very much like this kind of unrestrained stimulation and will feed it.
The result, however, is not at all beneficial to the purposes of the Higher Self or the long-term prospects of the personality.
Life does not support wretched excesses for very long – including our own.
Our fanaticism will tend to draw to us fanatics of an equal but opposite persuasion who will try to destroy us.
Our addictions will lead us into slavery to the object of our craving.
Worst of all, the work of maintaining these compulsions and addictions is so great that it quickly leaves our emotions exhausted, unable to serve their purpose. It can be extremely difficult to rebuild the emotions from this point of burnout.
Obsessions and addictions are healed by restoring self-control and balance to our understanding of the proper role of emotions.
Balance is epitomized by what the Buddha called “The Noble Middle Path,” which postulates that happiness can never be found through the pursuit of excess.
It is achieved by looking for and finding those central values and principles which define and govern self-expression. In other words, individuals who truly values their health will not be vulnerable to addictions which would destroy health, such as drinking or smoking.
People who genuinely love God with all their mind and heart and soul and might, and their neighbor as themselves, will never become religious bigots or self-righteous fanatics. Their life and emotions are balanced by the spiritual ideals they serve.
Understanding the proper role of emotions continually reminds us that the emotions are designed to enrich life, not drain it.
If we are always seeking the “ultimate thrill,” however, our emotional priorities are upside-down. We will have to redefine them in order to escape the grasp of our compulsions and addictions.
Such a radical change, of course, is not always easy. Our effort can be effectively supported by using the following meditative skills:
- Role playing, with the wise parent embodying the proper use of the emotions and working to correct the compulsive behavior of the child within.
- Seed thoughts, such as “the balanced expression of love” or “the guidance of my Higher Self.”
Emotions are designed to contribute to how we express the noble qualities, themes, and skills of the Higher Self in daily life. If we repress the use of our talents and capacities, our life force will stagnate and become congested.
If this problem is prolonged for any substantial period of time, the results can be quite devastating. We know that the hardening of our arteries can dangerously reduce the flow of blood to our vital organs. Likewise, a hardening of our self-expression will curtail the natural flow of the life force to our mind, emotions, and physical body. The result can seriously cripple our usefulness and achievements.
There are two major ways we tend to choke our self-expression. The first is by giving an excessive amount of attention to behaving in negative ways, as in complaining, regretting, criticizing, and condemning ideas, people, or situations.
These activities exclude noble themes, qualities, and skills. The common ways this occurs is found in those who:
- chronically resent the way they have been treated
- bury themselves in guilt over the way they have behaved
- maintain a constant state of embarrassment regarding a flaw in their character
- gradually build their whole life on the foundation of their distress.
These distortions of perspective and behavior eventually exclude most of the noble and healing qualities of character. The wall of negative attitudes and convictions become a dam that systematically blocks the higher elements of consciousness and creativity.
The second major way we can block our self-expression is by our failure to give high priority to expressing our values, self-respect, and working toward our goals.
Perhaps we are timid, or easily intimidated by others, or simply a bit too passive toward life in general. We congest our self-expression by not making enough of an effort to honor our needs or our good potentials. We give up rather than persevere in the face of opposition, even though our goals are worthy. We appease those who intimidate us, even when we know their goals are destructive.
Regardless of the origin of congestion in our self-expression, its impact on the emotions is never favorable.
Having been cut off from the capacity of the Higher Self to support and maintain them, the emotions become prey to the negativity of others and mass consciousness. The quality of life steadily decreases, and we become less responsive to the noble elements of life, such as beauty, faith, hope, and grace. We may even succumb to our parasitic tendencies.
The remedy for a congested self-expression is to break up the attitudes which are “damming” our consciousness. They need to be replaced with attitudes and beliefs which will serve as a conduit for our self- expression. If our problem is chronic resentment, embarrassment, or guilt, we must draw these elements into the loving aura of the parent within and heal them, as described in chapter nine.
If our problem is the lack of a constructive self-expression, we will have to work to create one. This can be done by contemplating ideal ways of acting in various situations, and then charging these ideal ways of acting through the use of appropriate seed thoughts, such as “the dedication to act.”
The Need For Positive Spiritual Qualities
Many people spend their lives consumed with overcoming their problems in the assumption that this will magically clear the way for a happy and fulfilling life. Most of the time, however, this belief distracts them from the real difficulties underlying their problems.
The crucial problem behind their overt problems is that they have not established an effective base of spiritual qualities and treasures in their personality. Like some poor people, both their “bank account” and their capacity to “make money” are sadly deficient.
They do not know how to generate good ideas, establish a healthy emotional climate, or initiate productive work in the physical plane.
This deficiency is perhaps more obvious in the emotions than in other departments of consciousness. Most emotional problems cannot simply be removed; they must be replaced by a more mature option.
The power to make improvements in the emotions usually depends on the cultivation of spiritualized emotional qualities, such as faith, goodwill, tolerance, joy, affection, generosity, and kindness.
It takes the warmth of affection and forgiveness to melt away the coldness of bitterness and hate. It takes the glow of optimism to extinguish the darkness of despair. It takes the calmness of patience to neutralize the irritation of petty anxieties. Nothing less will work.
This news may come as something of a shock to those who have been eager to believe that good intentions, positive thoughts, and trust in God were all they needed for spiritual living.
These are excellent starting points, but it is not enough just to know that God is perfect – or even to know that the Higher Self is perfect.
We must convert the spiritual qualities of the Higher Self into skillful emotional expressions of our nobility, compassion, and dedication. Otherwise, our emotions will remain empty even while the Higher Self is full.
The spiritual qualities needed for an enlightened emotional self- expression are not developed overnight or by reading a book. They are refined through the effort to act in harmony with our humanitarian values and spiritual ideals.
As we work with them, we begin to discover that they are very much different than most people suspect – far richer, more powerful, and genuinely creative. They grow as we grow.
Some of the most important spiritual qualities to develop for an enlightened expression of the emotions include:
These qualities are all designed to be expressed by us, through our own emotional self-expression, not just occasionally but as a regular feature of daily living.
As we learn to do so, the size of our “spiritual bank account” will steadily increase. And so will the quality of our life.
To be effective, a meditative technique for healing the emotions will have to address and repair each of these problem areas. It cannot just be an exercise in feeling good about ourself, blowing off steam, or blissing out.
Instead, it must gradually attune us to the abstract nature of divine love while keeping us focused how we are to express it. Divine love is meant to be honored and expressed in meaningful ways in our relationships, our work, our attitudes, and our aspirations.
We must begin with a clear recognition of a fundamental principle: the power to heal our emotions lies in the Higher Self—not in the emotions themselves.
We must therefore look beyond our hurt feelings and urges and be tutored by those qualities which can actually transform and heal the emotions.
We must acclimate ourself to the proper wavelength of healing, which is the love that originates in the Higher Self. Indeed, this is the wavelength of all successful healing, not just the healing of the emotions.
The quality of the love in Higher Self, however, differs considerably from the state of sentimental affection normally called “love.”
The abstract love within the Higher Self links us with the omnipresence of God, yet keeps us focused in repairing the imperfect conditions within our life – in our character, work, and environment. This abstract love:
- lifts us into a divine state of wholeness, while teaching us to relate ideally to the many parts of the whole
- fills us with benevolence, compassion, and goodwill, so that we may go forth and express these same qualities in our dealings with others
- brings to us the patterns of health, the inspiration, and the power to act which we need in order to establish a proper self- expression on earth.
It may seem odd to some to discuss the patterns of health, inspiration, and the power to act in the context of love. The mind, the will, and the body are generally discussed as separate from the emotions and love.
It must be understood that the Higher Self’s love is not an emotion! It is a spiritual quality.
It can be expressed through the emotions, but also through the other aspects of the personality, including the mind. Indeed, it is through the cohesiveness and inclusiveness of divine love that all of these elements of self-expression are drawn into their intended wholeness. Until we understand love in this context, we will fall short of our mark in healing the emotions. We will be dealing with an imitation of love, not the divine quality.
The single most important element of healing the emotions, therefore, is to learn to practice the presence of divine love. This is accomplished by being attuned to divine love, respecting it as a motivating force of life, and endeavoring to honor it fully in our own self-expression. These lessons are learned as we develop three basic skills of love:
- The skill of aspiration, which teaches us to lift up our mind and heart and become filled with the omnipresence of divine love
- The skill of devotion, which teaches us to love what God loves – to honor the potential of the ideal for perfection in all life forms, and to nurture that potential
- The skill of faith, which teaches us to remain constant in our attunement to the divine presence of love and noble expectations as we work patiently to heal the deficiencies of our emotions.
It is important to appreciate the threefold sequence of aspiration, devotion, and faith. Many people have been taught only the first steps of love – of rising above the problems of the emotions and the physical plane and becoming completely absorbed in the abstract or transcendent love of God.
While this is a valuable first step, it is not the complete activity of love.
Divine love should always be seen in the context of creation and self- expression. What we learn at transcendent levels should then be brought back to mundane levels and integrated into physical living, to transform that which is imperfect.
To transform that which is imperfect is the work of divine love. And it should be the motto of our effort to heal the emotions.
Techniques For Healing The Emotions
Begin by entering a meditative state and making contact with the Higher Self. Once the meditative state has been reached, we then proceed as follows:
1.We fill ourself with divine love through the practice of aspiration, devotion, and faith.
Through aspiration, we lift up our heart and mind to be responsive to the wavelength of love.
Through devotion, we identify with divine love as the source of all life. We love the perfection, compassion, and benevolence of God in both the transcendent and immanent state (the divine in the universe and indwelling in ourself).
Through faith, we increase our appreciation of the healing power of love.
This exercise of filling ourself with divine love is a simple one which should be a daily part of our meditative activity. Repeated in this way, it gradually magnetizes the whole of our personality to the perfection and wholeness of divine creation.
By aligning the personality with the Higher Self we are on the wavelength of healing.
This connection enables our access to all spiritual ideals and the seeds of perfection for every aspect of our character and our work.
This first step is the cornerstone for the effective practice of the presence of divine love.
2. Once we have filled ourself with divine love, the next step is to focus its power for the specific act of healing.
This is accomplished by choosing a spiritual ideal to love and, by loving, activate it in our own life. Generally, the ideal we would choose would be related to one of the five problem areas described earlier (not the symptoms, but the actual problem).
If our problem is a lack of ethics, we would focus our aspiration, devotion, and faith to loving the ideal of being directed by a solid foundation of strong moral values and goals in life.
If our problem is a lack of self-determination, we would direct our aspiration, devotion, and faith to loving the ideal of approaching life wisely, courageously, and with a strong sense of individuality.
This just makes good sense. To be an agent of divine love, we must learn to love what God loves and lovingly contribute to the unfoldment of the divine plan in civilization and human nature.
We can only learn this lesson if we are willing to practice, in meditation and in daily life, a deep reverence for the underlying themes and ideals of life, recognizing that:
- there is an undercurrent of divine life throughout the whole of life
- nothing exists beyond the reach of God’s benevolent influence
- there is a divine purpose and momentum at work even in the most desperate of conditions
- goodwill is the natural force behind all correct human relations.
After we have become well-practiced in this step, there may be many times when this love for a spiritual ideal is motivated by our adoration of the seeds of divine perfection. This kind of work is highly recommended.
However, it will still need to be given a practical focus through some aspect of creative work or service to civilization. The power of transcendent love is designed to be used for healing, personal growth, and our work of service – not just to be lost in bliss.
3. Having established our love for the ideal, we must then draw the imperfections and hurts of our emotions into the powerful aura of our spiritual love, to cleanse them and help them grow toward the ideal.
This step can be patterned after the similar one in the technique for mental housecleaning, in which we play the role of the wise parent who compassionately draws the immaturity of the child to him, soothing and correcting the hurt.
The parent represents the mature elements of our personality, connected with the divine love of the Higher Self, while the child symbolizes the immaturity within the emotions.
The child sees only the symptoms of distress, but the parent remains focused in the inclusiveness of divine love, surrounding the child with the love of the ideal, until the child is filled with this greater awareness.
One of the strongest methods available for integrating the life of the Higher Self into physical life is to focus our nurturing love on the seeds of perfection for various aspects of life.
As we learn to use love in this way, we activate our spiritual ideals in our regular self-expression. These ideals, once activated, automatically expel the negative conditions of fear, gloom, resentment, anger, pettiness, and selfishness.
There is no need to vent these feelings or even imagine them being dissipated. Our real strength lies in remaining focused in the love for the ideal. This is the perspective we should strive to maintain as we play the role of the compassionate parent healing the immaturity of the child.
The use of role playing in this way can often be augmented by meditating on appropriate seed thoughts, such as “the power to forgive,” “the building of faith,” “optimism,” and so on.
The key is to project the power of the seed thought into the awareness of the child, thereby filling the emotions of the personality with the strength to honor these ideals in actual behavior.
One of the common ways this technique might be used, for example, would be to heal a tendency to engage in angry outbursts.
The angry outbursts, of course, are not the real problem – and neither are the external conditions which provoked them.
The real problem is our lack of self-control and our lack of an appropriate spiritual quality that would replace the anger, such as goodwill.
Taking this problem into meditation, we would begin by filling ourself with divine love. We would spend several moments aspiring to a fuller appreciation of God’s love, adoring it in all of its manifestations and building faith in our capacity to be an enlightened channel for it.
This is much more than just “feeling good” about God. It involves filling our heart and mind with the momentum of love.
Once the proper measure of love has been tapped, we would then focus it on loving the ideals in ordinary activities.
For example, we could imagine ourself:
- acting maturely and compassionately in the face of pressure
- exerting control over our emotions when we are tempted to be reactive and angry
- being an agent of goodwill in all that we do.
This exercise could include the realization that neither God nor the Higher Self finds it necessary to act with anger. It is the power of goodwill which improves the quality of human relationships, enables us to grow, and helps build a culture of goodwill.
Having established a proper devotion to the ideals we need to serve, we then draw the reactive patterns of anger in the personality into the healing power of our love.
Playing the role of the compassionate parent, we lift our childish anger up into the aura of our love, embracing it and filling it with the strength of our ideals. We can simultaneously project to the child seed thoughts such as “tolerance” and “goodwill,” to help shape the proper response we are seeking.
The possible applications of this technique for healing emotions are unlimited. It can be used to improve relationships, create a more wholesome environment for our family, forgive our enemies, increase our optimism, and support our fulfillment in life.
No matter how we choose to use it, however, it will always have the benefit of helping us grow toward the light and love of God.
A SUMMARY OF THE TECHNIQUES FOR HEALING THE EMOTIONS
A brief summary of the steps in this technique for healing the emotions is included here for easy reference.
- We begin by entering the meditative state and contacting the Higher Self, as described in chapter five.
- We fill ourself with divine love, through the practice of aspiration, devotion, and faith. This should include a love of the divine as an abstract beneficence, a love for the whole of divine creation, including our fellow human beings, and a love for the latent perfection of life.
- We focus this divine love more specifically, by loving a spiritual ideal we need to increase in our life. We seek to nurture this ideal in our own self-expression even as God nurtures it through the whole of creation.
- We draw elements of our own emotional immaturity into the powerful aura of this love of the ideal, for the purpose of healing them. Meditative skills which can be used to facilitate this activity are mental role playing and the use of seed thoughts.