|All emotions are part of being human. It's how we|
use them that determines how they serve us.
Since I first embarked on this journey, I have encountered a lot of metaphysical teachers (from Toltec to Buddhist and everything in between) who essentially attempt to teach their “apprentices” that our “negative” emotions are somehow tantamount to evil itself, and must therefore be excised, or at the very least controlled to the point that the apprentice automatically goes into “observe mode” at the first sign of any negative emotion. In other words, one reaction is simply substituted for another, a different program is brought into play, but it's still a program. I’m going to use anger as the emotion du jour, but any of the traditional “negative” emotions could be substituted.
There have been several discussions about this, including the infamous thread, Kirks and Spocks and Klingons, oh my!* – and yet I still did not feel satisfied that I had really been able to isolate precisely why this idea of suppressing our emotions feels every bit as “wrong” to me as the idea of an extant deity on a golden throne answering to the name of “God”. And yet, every time I would hear a warrior say something to the effect of, “I was really pissed off that my husband kicked the dog, but I went into observe mode so as to remain detached,” I would be left with a feeling that said, quite simply, That ain’t right.
|Being whole is a matter of integrating all aspects|
of ourselves, not obliterating half of who we are.
A long time ago, Orlando said that if you're going to cut away diseased organs, you have to replace them with something lest the patient die on the table. Problem is - can't replace a "heart" with a "liver"; can't replace a "stomach" with a "spleen". To me, that's what happens with apprentices trained to go into “observe mode”. I've seen it in apprentices who have worked with even some highly respected “naguals”. The "cure" works for awhile, but when the apprentice starts to realize that their abilities haven't improved and they are still FEELING the anger (or jealousy or hurt), and that they're just replacing "anger mode" with "observe mode", they start falling back into the old patterns – and as a result, usually end up turning on their "master". IOW, the cure is only temporary, because the disease still remains, and has only been masked by substituting a different extant behavior. That's what I mean by "can't replace a heart with a liver." One is for moving blood through the body, the other is for filtering toxins; and while both are necessary, neither can do the work of the other efficiently.
Please note: I don't "blame" the teacher for this. S/he can effectively bring an apprentice to the point where they really need to figure out for themselves what to Do with the so-called "negative emotion". IOW, being able to drop into "observe mode" isn't enough in the long run. It's just a starting point to break the old programs, to give the apprentice breathing room from the anger. But it really does nothing to address the anger itself. After that has been learned, the apprentice can then start learning how to re-channel the REAL human emotions into their daily life, as a matter of Intent. I don't believe in trying to pretend I don't feel anger or hurt - I'm human, so that's a natural part of my being – and like my instinct to run from fire or to swim if thrown in water, I think our “darker” emotions are just tools to be used like any other instinct.
Trying to behave like a Vulcan is only another role-playing game - it's simply not real because we're not really Vulcans. It's not in our nature. So what I've learned to do is to use my anger productively and ruthlessly - literally change the "molecular nature" of anger into creative godforce, for example. Rather like using a propane-fed fire to power a refrigerator in your camper. Using "negative" energy to create something positive, rather than just trying to squelch or ignore the negative energy because we’ve been programmed to think that anything “negative” or “dark” is something to be eradicated, when the truth is that it is just another tool once we strip away the assignations and stigma put onto it by our own human programming.
If you really want to be whole, what you need to do is strangle your inner bliss ninny, stand naked in front of your own mirror, and see yourself for who you are. Chances are... it's not nearly as bad as you may think.
Condensed from a post to "The Shaman's Rattle"
May 4, 2005
*Kirks and Spocks and Klingons, oh my! refers to a discussion that was ongoing for several months on an old forum I once moderated entitled "The Shaman's Rattle." Anyone seriously interested in accessing it can hopefully find it here.