Ask Parvati 28: Enlightenment and Emotions – Part 5: The Rise and Fall of Emotions

BY Parvati

(Continued from Body, Mind, Emotion And Compassion)
“The single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.” – Eckhart Tolle
Learning to witness is essential as we learn to let go of our identification with our ego and our emotions. On the journey towards enlightenment, we will experience periods when the mind is still and pure. In this state, we can witness and watch life from a place of spacious presence. Life arises. We witness. We are part of life, also dancing, yet still, watching the dance.
This space between thoughts is where truth lies. In this, is the eternal, the reality of existence, the enlightened presence. As we learn to meditate and evolve, we learn to find more space between our thoughts and emotions, so that the grip of our mind softens and our emotional flux becomes more balanced.
There is a reality that exists beyond our mind and beyond the up and downs of our moods and our feelings. This is an infinite space that is, that always has been. Our purpose is to rest in the fullness of that space and allow ourselves to be one with it. In that space is pure consciousness. All of life is pure consciousness arising, yet we think, we separate, we identify with our minds and allow our ego to control our life. We become constrictive and we lose sight of that space.
As we progress along the path to enlightenment, our emotions provide us with humbling guideposts, mirroring the way we identify with our mind. We learn how involved we are with the story, rather than witnessing what is in the space of fullness. When we are a witness, we are not cold, but warm, connected, and ultimately compassionate. Witnessing does not mean not having feelings, not expressing vitality and interconnection. Witnessing means remaining rooted in the expansion, even when experiencing potentially constrictive situations. We see the constriction. We understand it for what it is. It is identification with the temporal, with the mind, with the passing.
There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is passing. We feel happy, then we feel sad. But joy is connected to the infinite space beyond the mind, to the eternal voice of the soul as it expresses itself in this human form.
Enlightened masters tell us to watch the rise and fall of the mind, like the waves of the ocean. The waves are not the ocean, just the surface agitation. The ocean is deep, powerful and vast, just like the space beyond thoughts.
I would imagine that perhaps enlightened masters do not feel emotions the way we do, but rest in the field of pure compassion. Based on the scriptural reference in the Bhagavad Gita, I would guess that an enlightened being is beyond the rise and fall of emotion, as he resides in the all-pervading field of pure consciousness: “When you have reached enlightenment, ignorance will delude you no longer. In the light of that knowledge you will see the entire creation within your own Atman and in me.” – Bhagavad Gita 4:35
Along our path to enlightenment, we learn to respond to, rather than react to emotions, until we are in a oneness state of pure consciousness, residing in pure compassion. Until such time, we witness the rise and fall of our emotional landscape, like waves upon an ocean. As we watch the waves, even delight in their dance, we remember that we are as vast as the ocean and as open as the sky.
(Continued tomorrow with Guidance From The Enlightened)
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