Shards of Consciousness

Five Keys to Happiness

One of the more popular posts on Shards is How To Get Rid of Excessive Negative Emotions

Most people come, read it, then move on. Without input, I have no idea of whether the post was useful to them or not. Occasionally someone will leave a comment. These are usually positive, which, from an ego point of view, is rewarding. Recently I got one that wasn't so ego gratifying. As would happen with most of us, my first reaction was not positive. My stomach tightened up. Adrenaline began to flow. Hints of anger crossed the screen of my mind.

But then I took the time to stop. I looked at what was happening to my body. I realized my negative emotional reaction was a result of identifying with what I write. I let go, let the adrenaline state discharge, then re-read the comment. I ended up glad it was made because the points the author brought up are important. Many people, maybe most, don't agree with the viewpoint I express here at Shards. The comment led me to review what some of my basic beliefs are and why I hold them.

1. Our fundamental beliefs will color, condition, and guide what we do, how we feel, and what we see as possible and impossible. If we believe we are purely a result of physical forces, we will have a different life than we will have if we believe we are something beyond the physical.

2. The techniques I talk about here work. If we practice them, we will see results. This is especially true in regards to meditation and belief work. The key is that we have to practice them. Browsing the web and saying That's interesting or I believe that will accomplish nothing. Action follows belief. If we really believe something, we will act on it.

3. Our emotions are not a part of us. They are something you experience. One of the channels of their creation is the neurochemical reactions throughout our brain and body. We have both a mind and a body (which may be two aspects of one tool). We are neither. If we believe we are a just a body, a product of purely material forces, all debate about free will and personal responsibility is a content free discussion. We can then only be victims. Any I, for that matter, don't even exist. The I would be as much an illusion as free will or personal responsibility. The nonsense isn't that we are more than a random assemblage of atoms, but that we are only a random assemblage of atoms. It is the materialistic belief, along with the belief that one person has the right to physically enforce their will on another person, that has caused the majority of the pain, war, violence, and destructive behavior in the world's history.

4. We cannot avoid an immediate emotional reaction to the things that happen to us. That emotional reaction is as much, if not more, a habit of thought as anything else, though.

5. Emotions are useful. They serve an evaluative function in our lives. In simplistic terms, they are us telling ourselves this is good or this is bad. If the only way to get you to provide food for yourself is the fear of starving, the fear is useful. More useful is to provide food for yourself so you can do something more fulfilling. Action driven only by emotion isn't useful. Emotions are most effective when guided by thought.

This is honesty. Abdicating responsibility for yourself and your life is not.

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2 Responses to Five Keys to Happiness

  • Hi Richard,

    I like point #3 - emotions are not a part of us. Oftentimes we identify with our emotions and they end up spiraling out of control which leads to loss of energy. When I start to feel emotional, I let the feelings "ride the wave" and then I ask myself, "Ok, what do you choose to do now? Do you choose to be happy or continue what you're feeling?" Of course I opt for happy!

    Thanks for the inspiration ;)

  • Hi Maria,

    One of the hardest parts of growing up is learning not to identify with our emotions. They have a purpose, a very important purpose and I wouldn't want to live without them, but the purpose is best served when we, as you say, let them "ride the wave".

    Glad the post helped your day along.

    Maybe someday I'll grow up. :)

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