Often we find ourselves gripped by unwanted doubt, fear, anger, unfulfilled longing and a hundred other afflictive emotions. Contributing to the problem is the fact that we unknowingly identify ourselves with these emotions, surmising that they are us and we are them. However, liberation comes when we realize that anger, desire and the rest are actually OTHER than us. After all, we readily admit that they "grip" us and "hold us in their grasp." Or rather, that they are an experience of "being-gripped" and "being-grasped."
Our identity, in actuality, consists in being spacious, bliss-filled awareness and limitless, seamless flow. In other words; the Sacred Masculine and Feminine. By contrast, emotions - of both the afflictive and joyful varieties - are actually Other and in fact possess a reality of their own as living archetypes. This, of course, is a major point of the archetypal psychology of Thomas Moore and James Hillman - and ultimately, of Carl Jung. As archetypal, our emotions possess a quasi-independent reality that is universal insofar as it inhabits all human beings.
In any case, when we view these emotions as living Others, we begin to foster a relationship with them. When unacknowledged, they act up like bratty children who desperately want attention. But when we acknowledge them, relate to them, and treat them with respect, they begin to calm down and gradually reveal the hidden sacredness dwelling at their core. We soon discover that our emotions are actually playful, mischievous, trickster-like presences who enjoy playing a good game. Thus, what starts out as afflictive now becomes vibrantly alive and liberating :)
Photo: Snag and one of the Diamond Peaks, Rawah Range, CO, January 4, 2015
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.