Emotions can be tricky, but with a little insight, you can befriend them. This course is about having your emotions work for you rather than the other way around. But first, a little exercise to set the scene.
Imagine for a moment that all the voices, thoughts, feelings and sensations inside of you are sitting down for a board room meeting. Think of it as your inner control panel. Push the wrong buttons, and things get interesting. Push the right buttons, and the team pulls together like a charm.
Some are super vocal, like the controller who’s trying to keep some order in the meeting and the peacemaker who is quick to jump on conflict. Aside from these elected trustees, there are some tricky members at the meeting. Fear, for example, brings up old business and partners with paranoia who watches every move around the table. Anxiety is another prickly one. Anxiety is running an agenda two months ahead of where you are now. Anxiety and fear don’t realize it, but really they’re just shadows of the controller, looming large over the table.
Caution is important. He works closely with mindfulness. He makes the group lean in to hear his slow and measured comments, sometimes lulling you into a false sense of security. Caution needs to be stretched by the research and development of possibility who’s fidgeting down the end of the table. Possibility usually waits for the small talk to end, before interjecting her large vision into the conversation.
Meanwhile the chair of the board sits slightly back from the table and observes all of the conversational hustle and bustle. At just the right time, her head tilted down, she leans forward, looks over the top of her bifocals and a hush falls over the group. Everyone waits with bated breath for her pearls of wisdom. She doesn’t disappoint.
The panel members pause and listen attentively to her. All of them feel affirmed and valuable. They enjoy a moment of silent unity. Then fear breaks the stillness, “You fools. Don’t you remember what happened last time we listened to her?” Anxiety continues, “If we change, we will be doomed….”
The conversation sparks in every direction. And the chair person rests back in her chair and smiles with deep awareness. She loves it all. She loves them all. All things happen at the right time, not a moment before and not a moment too soon. She doesn’t fight reality. She is the ultimate trustee. They have ultimate trust in her. They just can’t get out of their own way to listen to her. That, too, is okay. She trusts them. She waits and watches and will be there whenever they are ready.
The chair goes by many names; inner wisdom, stillness, serenity, Big Mind….and YOUR name. You have the presence of mind to have emotions without being had by them, to work with them rather than against them, and to get them working for a greater good.
These sorts of inner board meetings happen all the time, for all of us. There’s no point suppressing them, or else you will hear their whispered voices from behind closed doors. They may start a rebellion against you and come out as an explosion that lands you in trouble or paralyze you with depression, like a stop work meeting. It’s much better to hear them out, and take some leadership.
Being Heart Smart is about recognizing thoughts, feelings and sensations without being derailed by them.
- You learn the art of deep listening.
- You learn the fine balance of surrender and active redirection.
- You learn the delicate art of timing.
- You learn that no one thought or feeling lasts forever or holds all power.
- You discover the power of awareness to observe and give yourself time to respond.
This is an art that can transform your life. Your relationships, your career, and your sense of inner peace are all at stake here and with this sort of emotional intelligence you turn all your thoughts and feelings into allies.
Here are a few Big Ideas about emotions.
With deep compassion and love,
ps. this powerful quote captures a huge idea about emotional intelligence-
To journey into our paranoid thoughts and feelings without getting significantly paranoid is basic sanity in the courageous crunch. To go into our madness without becoming unhinged is a sign of relatively advanced development. To enter our pain without turning it into suffering is a gift to all beings. To pass into our lovelessness without losing heart is a great art, out of which healing cannot help but arise. To move into the Unknown without having to know what’s going to happen once we’re “there” is real freedom in the making. The way toward basic sanity is not that of rising above, trying to transcend, marginalizing, or otherwise avoiding our insanity, but rather that of going into and through our insanity, letting all that arises, however hellish or scary, awaken us to who and what we really are. Robert Augustus Masters