The Buddhists would say emotions are like clouds passing against the clear sunny sky. The goal is to watch them pass by, not to be attached to them but to let them go. Developing the consciousness of “the observer” of one’s feelings gives us a witness to the fleeting nature of our reactions. This observer awareness can help us slow our reactions enough to gain some perspective and some distance from reacting too quickly.
The Ayurvedic teaching would say feelings are honest guides to inner truth, but emotions are the unhealthy distortions of feelings. Refinement of our emotions through yoga and breath work and meditation helps to transform toxic emotion into greater self awareness and more frequent blissful states of being. I find practises like yoga slow me down enough to feel myself body, mind and emotion. Pranayama or breath work energizes the body and connects us to our emotional body via the sympathetic nervous system. I have used the simple mantra of “Hum- Sa” or “So –Hum” to calm my mind and emotions. Mantras put the brain on white noise, repeat setting, so it calms the mind and relaxes the body as well as energizing new patterns in the brain.
Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xWiSHBHVDU
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