Kamal Jain

The key to happiness lies in our own state of mind, as it is the mind that is the primary obstacles to happiness. The greatest impediments to our happiness and our ability to live a peaceful and fulfilling life are our own persistant tendencies towards afflictive emotions like Anger, Haters, Envy and Jealousy which are the real enemies of a human being.

Be Happy

Author of ‘Emotionally Intelligence’ Denial Goleman in his book, ‘Destructive Emotions,’ talks about dealing with negative emotions. Psychologist Richard Davidson and Goleman discuss the topic at length in a Mind-Life meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2003. The take out was that understanding destructive emotions and knowing that we can free ourselves from these, will help us to handle these emotions confidently. Some may argue that we are completely directed and hardwired by biology and that afflictive emotions are part of our nature.

They make feel we can’t do anything about them. Does this mean we would remain slaves to our biological instincts, always?

All religions have long recognised that human beings poses the capacity to change from within. Indic spiritual traditions are replete with such stories. Balmiki transformid from hunter to Sanskrit scholar; Angulimal from cruel dacoit to follower of Buddha, Tulsidas from a lustful layman to great Sanskrit Poet. Recent findings in brain plasticity’ have demonstrated that nothing is cast in stone; changes do take place. Brain patterns can and do change over time in response to our thoughts and experiences. To remain emotionally fine with ourselves and with others, we need to understand and continue to work with our negative emotions consciously and train ourselves to achieve positive transformation.

Biologically, all over basic emotions evidently have evolutionary purposes. Attachment brings us together and creates bonding, giving us family and society. Anger rebels harmful forces determinantal to our survival, Fear alerts us against thread and Envy prompts us to complete and do better which in turn brings about progress. So scientifically, these emotions do have their positive aspects and biological dimensions so long as they do not spiral out of control. Emotions have dual aspect. All of them have destructive and non destructive sides. For example, anger can be channelled to get the things done and obtain that which we rightly seek. Going beyond this practical function, it turns to destructive side when it is transformid into violence.

Gandhiji understood well this practical function of anger and used it as a positive force to work for freedom and political reforms. Likewise, doubt enables us to seek answers and improves our understanding but when it becomes pathological, it paralyzes us, preventing us from taking decisive action. Competitions so long as it is not drive and buy ego can be constructive, leading to progress.

Once we recognise the destructive side of emotions, we will become more cautious there by becoming more emotionally aware. We have to be attentive in our behaviour at the level of body, speech and most importantly, mind. Our initial efforts should be to take care that destructive emotions are not reflected in our body language. This will arrest any chance of anger explosions. Then, you can go to the source of The arising of strong emotion. Now, you may be able to reinterpret (Understand again) in a positive way that thought that initially triggered your currently played out negative emotion. Your awareness would guard you against instinctive interpretations clouded by exaggerations and projection, thus enabling you to respond Calmly.

Aware about your speech, Body and most importantly Mind

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