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Every emotion has a role in the appropriate situation. However, being stuck in any emotion - be it frustration or heavenly bliss - is bad, and it is a sign of deficiency in the person's ability to relate to his environment.

Should We Strive to Eliminate Negative Emotions? 

I received the following letter:

"Day after day, minute after minute people keep feeling negative emotions ("NEs"): jealousy, pity, fear, anger, irritation, discontent, resentment, rage, perplexity, insult, malice, envy, anxiety, uneasiness, contempt, disgust, shame, revengefulness, apathy, indolence, grief, melancholy, disappointment, greed etc.

"Is freedom from NEs possible? People are stuck in them so hopelessly that even the very idea of having freedom from NEs irritates them. When they imagine themselves without NEs, it perplexes them to think how it is possible to live without them. They believe that without NEs they would turn into a dead unfeeling thing. They are so addicted to NEs that they cannot even imagine something besides them, although many people had short outbursts of weak PEs, especially in the early childhood.

"This is a citation. I suggest reading about it ( http://bodhi.ru/samadhi/for/eng/01001-eng.htm ) and express your opinion. If you don't speak English then choose your language here - http://bodhi.ru/ . On this page there's email where you can send your questions and wishes".

Most people do not want to have negative emotions, and as hard as they try to be positive, too often, negative emotions continue to control them. Sadness and bereavement do not leave one only because the person tries to have positive emotions. Try to speak about positive emotions to someone who lost his/her child. When one's child dies, it's not enough to want to feel joyful, happy, and vivacious. Another example would be the issue of terrorism: when facing terrorists who wish to eliminate all of Western civilization, when you see on the tube people dancing on the streets distributing sweets after a successful kill of thousands of innocents - as was the case on 9/11 - relating to such events with positive emotions (such as happiness) is probably not the appropriate reaction, and neither expressing love toward the actions of the terrorists.

I believe that the scale of emotions from utter bliss and happiness to the deepest despair and depression exist, so that the person born into a body has the possibility to experience the whole gamut of emotions. I believe that a person with spiritual depth is able to experience any emotion, be it positive or negative. If one has never experienced grief, then how can he/she understand someone who is grieving? No. I do not believe that we should eliminate the lower scale of emotions.

It is wrong to assume that negative emotions are bad, and positive emotions are good; every emotion has a role in the appropriate situation. However, being stuck in any emotion - be it frustration or heavenly bliss - is bad. Take for instance, fear: to be stuck in fear, to be afraid and scared all the time is labeled paranoia; paranoia is a mental disorder. However, in a life threatening situation it is wise to be afraid, as this emotion is supposed to result in taking the necessary measures to steer clear of danger. The fight or flight instinct motivated by fear is an important part of the organism's survival kit. Getting rid of the negative emotion - fear - could cause the demise of the organism. So again, no, I do not believe that we should always get rid of all negative emotions.

Being stuck in any emotion is a sign of deficiency in the person's ability to relate to his environment. I do not consider remaining "happy" (indifferent) to be a sign of spiritual enlightenment when faced with baby seals being brutally slaughtered, but rather lack of empathy to the degree of moral insanity. Stuckness in any type of emotion is the tell tell sign of not being able to observe, taking things out of context and/or proportion, distorted perspective, and lack of responsibility, or rather, response-ability, an inability to respond to what there is.

But yes, we should be able to control our emotions instead of our emotions controlling us. In fact, it is not our emotions that control us; it only seems so because we are stuck in this or that emotion. And this stuckness is not due to the nature of the emotion, we are not stuck in a certain emotion because it is a bad one, a negative emotion; we are stuck as a result of our inability to respond, due to our inability to be empathetic, to observe and so on. Read How to Control Emotion in order to gain some tools to become a more balanced person, one who can freely roam the entire emotional gamut as a result of free will and interaction with the self and the environment.

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Comments (3)
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1. 23-10-2008 21:20
You site best. Thanks
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2. 05-09-2008 13:11
i am new in a neiberhood of nati◊Ěnal and religion confrontation, first I felt some fear and anxiety - now it is just alertness.  
what is between: Habit, present time, fear,and my responability to act? YSK.
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3. 13-07-2008 23:54
we should strive to think positive emoti
I think it's the most complete post i read about emotions.I agree with the main idea but I think that we should experience bliss most of the time. We can observe others that feel negative emotions to understand them we don't have to feel them directly. However as you said every emotion has it's place.
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