We indulge in them. We let the completely take us over. If we have angry thoughts and emotions, we may shout or slam the door. If they are sad thoughts and emotions, we may cry or sulk or feel like a victim. If we have fearful thoughts and emotions, our body may tremble and our heart race. When we indulge in our thoughts and emotions, it feels like we have become the thought and emotion. We become lost in the thought or emotion and in this way thoughts and emotions rule our life.
We may also resist thoughts and emotions that are unpleasant. We may avoid people or places that might trigger these thoughts and emotions. Or we repress the fact that we are even having this particular thought or emotion. This repression may offer limited temporary relief, but it doesn’t actually free us from these unpleasant thoughts and emotions. It simply stores the unpleasant thoughts and emotions in our body and in the unconscious part of our mind. This repression tends to have a very detrimental effect on our body, health, mind and life. You may have heard the expression, “What you resist persists.” Resistance actually only makes these unpleasant thoughts and emotions even stronger. Because we feel we need to resist them, we give them even more power over our life.
In New Age thought, it has become popular to substitute more pleasant thoughts and emotions for the negative ones. Create and repeat positive affirmations to change the negative affirmations that are already in place. Although this is a healthier and more pleasant way of dealing with unpleasant thoughts and emotions than repression, it still only offers limited and temporary relief. We are still avoiding the negative thoughts and emotions. When we do this we never learn the gifts these negative thoughts and emotions are bringing us. And we never really become free from their influence. No matter how many positive affirmations we repeat, these negative thoughts and emotions are still lurking around in the background.
It Takes Great Energy
Each of these three ways of dealing with thoughts and emotions takes enormous energy. And yet in spite of all the energy expended, these thoughts and emotions continue to affect our lives in negative ways. None of these three typical ways we deal with thoughts and emotions are effective.
The Fourth Way
And yet there is a fourth way to deal with thoughts and emotions that is highly effective, effortless and obvious. That is the Awakened Way.
The Awakened Way
The Awakened Way to deal with thoughts and emotions is simply to allow thoughts and emotions to be exactly as they are in each moment. We don’t repress, avoid, hide from or try to change anything. We also don’t get lost in the thoughts and emotions. We neither attach to the thoughts and emotions as we do when we indulge in them, nor do we resist them as we do in avoidance, repression and substitution. We simply be with all thoughts and emotions exactly as they are in each moment. We let them be what they are. That is the Awakened Way.
The Awakened Way neither attaches to nor resists anything. It lets everything come and go exactly as it is. In this way all thoughts and emotions become a great gift, teaching us the truth of what they are. By simply allowing all thoughts and emotions to be as they are in each moment, we realize that all thoughts and emotions are created from the exact same energy and cannot be separate from this energy that is their very substance. We may interpret this energy in many ways, such as fear, anger, sadness, joy or love. But the true substance of these emotions is always the same. It is none other than the infinite expanse of Pure Consciousness itself. Use any word you like for what I am calling Pure Consciousness. It is beyond all words. And yet it is the truth of what we and all beings are.
When we allow all thoughts and emotions to simply be exactly as they are in each moment without attaching or resisting, this relaxed allowing and seeing itself leads us back to the Pure Consciousness that we are. This is why all thoughts and emotions are a gift entirely for our benefit. If we get lost in thoughts and emotions or attempt to resist them, we can’t see this. None of them are anything but the pure infinite energy of Pure Consciousness. It is only our interpretation that makes them appear so different and sometimes very unpleasant.
The other great benefit of simply allowing all thoughts and emotions to be as they are is we clearly see there is no need to be attached to them or resist them. They come and go naturally as everything in nature does. In this way thoughts and emotions, which may have troubled us for years, no longer do. They simply come and go in each moment as all nature does. And their substance is none other than Pure Consciousness which is what everything that exists is. Thoughts and emotions can lead us back to this realization of Oneness. Instead of a burden, they are now seen as a gift.
Because we are neither attached nor resisting, we realize we are always free. Because we can never be separate from anything, including thoughts and feelings, we live in love with all of life.