November 1

When one is prey to one's emotions,
one is not one's own master.

Baruch Spinoza


Today's Meditation:

I would never argue that our emotions are negative aspects of who we are.  To me, our emotions provide an important guide and meter as to how we're doing in life, and it's important that we honor them and pay attention to them.  But like Baruch, I've seen that if we let our emotions control us, if we allow ourselves to be swayed constantly by those emotions into behaving certain ways and making certain decisions, then we can no longer say that we have any sort of control over our own lives.  We cannot even say that we make our own decisions or our own choices if those decisions and choices are based on our emotions rather than our instinct or our logic.

It is easy to become too attached to our logic, of course, but that's not the point here.  The point is that no matter how valuable they may be, our emotions are not trustworthy indicators of just how things are going or just what is the right decision to make in any given situation.  I love following my instinct, but whenever I feel my emotions getting in the way of any decisions, I see a huge red flag going up, for I know that my thinking isn't necessarily clear when I'm letting my emotions sway me. 

We've all seen people make emotional decisions, and we've all had the experience of wishing that they wouldn't do so, wishing that they would wait until they calmed down a bit to react or decide or act.  None of us are ever completely in control of our own lives, of course, but when we allow our emotions to run things for us we definitely are giving up much of the control that we actually do have, and we run the risk of losing any mastery that we may have.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of problems can arise when we let our emotions take charge of our lives?

Why is it so often so tempting to follow our emotions instead of our reason?

How can we be aware of when our emotions are influencing us too strongly? 

For further thought:

When you look at things emotionally, you will not see
them clearly; when you perceive things spiritually,
you will understand.

Peace Pilgrim


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