Emotions fill our lives with purpose. Excitement, joy, love, happiness and affection are positive emotions we seek to experience everyday. They are the driving force behind a basic human need to be belong.
They can elevate us to indescribable euphoric realms of pleasure or pull us under like quicksand into the deep, dark pools of despair.
The most sought after emotion is that moment of peak intimacy two deeply in love individuals share where you truly feel the full power of this emotion called love. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that can stop that moment of procreation. A train wreck could level the neighborhood around you and it would not stop that climax from occurring.
There is a TV show called “1001 Ways To Die”. The covenanted #1 way to die is supposedly held by a young Japanese couple who were raised by very strict family values where romance, let alone premarital sex was shameful and a disgrace to the entire family. Their fear around love prevented them from consummating the marriage. When they finally mustered up the courage to bare all (lol) to each other, the act was such an emotional shock to their system they both had heart attacks and died, together in that moment!
I think this story is highly suspect but it does convey just how powerful emotions can be.
On the other hand, there are those emotions we want to avoid. Anger, fear, sadness, hurt, and envy to name a few. These emotions cause despair, depression and hopelessness. Left to fester, they can lead to a feeling that life is not worth living.
It’s no wonder wars have been fought and countless lives have been lost to suicide when emotions reach the extremes.
Is there an easy way to deal with all the different emotions we encounter?
Joy, excitement, happiness, love, anger, hurt, sadness, jealousy, disgust, the list seems endless.
But is it?
Lateral thinking about any emotion simmers them all down to only two emotions.
There are only two emotions from which all other emotions are born.
The two emotions are the extremes, they are greed and hatred.
If you were to place greed and hatred at opposite ends of a scale, all the other emotions would fall on that scale between these two with no emotion placed at the pivot point, the center.
Hatred and Greed are destructive emotions that have no purpose other than to inflict harm on one self and/or others. We should always be aware which one of these extreme emotions is at core of any emotion we are feeling. It helps you stay clear and in control.
Love falls on the side of greed. Love is something we all want. Want and desire are the core definitions of greed. If we become obsessed with our love or desire for someone or something it becomes destructive.
Joy, happiness and excitement are also emotions of greed at greatly reduced intensity.
To know whether any emotion stems from greed or hatred you must drill down to the root cause. It is very possible the source is causing both greed and hatred. An example may be a an unfaithful partner.
The lost of your love and the anger of the betrayal are greed and hatred combined that can create a raging madness.
Knowing the real reason you feel a certain way will help you keep them in perspective and clearly deal with them constructively.
Recently the world was outraged by the killing of Cecil The Lion. The American Dentist who hunted down and killed Cecil ignited a global outrage of greed and hatred. The loss of this magnificent celebrity lion named Cecil is a tragedy, as is any loss of life. There is a fast growing business called “canned hunting” where lions are bread to be hunted all the time and the world never notices, let alone speaks out about it.
Cecil became world famous after being killed because he was already famous to a group of photographers and tourist who brought dollars to the local community where Cecil lived.
His loss was their loss. No great close up photos of a male lion and his pride to sell, no main attraction to keep the tourist coming and all the dollars they brought to the local economy.
Before his death, Cecil was exploited for greed, but no one cared about that! The senseless killing for sport is despicable but goes on all the time, unnoticed.
It was the insane amount of media coverage that incited outrage (mostly hatred) from people around the world towards the Dentist who shot Cecil.
Emotions are the reason we exist. We occupy these trillion dollar machines (see my article Lateral Thinking About Creation) to feel and experience all that life (and death) have to offer.
Instinctively we are driven by emotions to succeed and to belong.
This strong, deep compulsion for emotional connection plays havoc with our lives. In fact, more decisions are made based on emotions than are made based on logical thinking.
It would help if you can identify the real emotion behind any given situation. See them for what they truly are, greed and/or hatred and then deal with them accordingly.
Buddhism teaches to walk the middle path. Be mindful of your emotions, stay balanced and live life as an observer while pursuing your passion!