It’s easy when you are soul searching on a deeper path to sometimes strive to be the most perfect Zen like creature you can be…

You might say to yourself. If I can meditate enough, compose myself enough, read around the subject enough – I will go beyond everyday emotions. If I can just learn to access my inner wisdom, I will be able to float along on a cloud unaffected by life’s ups and downs.

The truth is of course, we ALL get upset from time to time – even the greatest spiritual masters are not immune to hurt and anguish. So it’s important to remember that getting emotional is not a sign of failure in any shape or form. We would not be human if we didn’t experience some emotional reaction to life’s challenges along the way.

The real sign of emotional progress is not how much you can resist or withhold any emotional upset. It’s how quickly and reliably you can regain your inner balance… your inner equilibrium and come back to you again. To come back to the present. Even when that particular present moment isn’t very comfortable.

How well can you sit with your emotion? Not hide from it, conceal it or run away from it. How well can you calmly and gently look fear and discomfort in the eye and be still with it? That is the true test of how far you have really come.

How quickly can you regain your composure, your inner calm, your inner balance? Because the truth is that at your core – the centre of your being – that is who you really are.

I remember many years ago, when I was in a very dark place in my life, that I could lose myself in pain and sorrow for hours, days and sometimes weeks. Aching so much that sometimes I could physically feel the emotional pain.

That was not healthy. That was not a sign that I was emotionally balanced. I allowed my negative emotions to completely run away with me like a frightened horse. Trying desperately hard to find something or someone to ease the pain. When of course the only person to ease the pain was me.

Now I still feel those old scars. I still wince when I feel those old emotional pains but I never allow myself to get lost in the suffering or allow those emotions to run away with me. I can sit with my sadness and feel the tears streaming down my face but I will never lose myself in that pain again and I don’t allow it to stay for any length of time before I refocus on all the wonderful things in my life that I am eternally grateful for.

The analogy of the horse, carriage and rider is often used to express this idea  further. The horse in some respects is like our emotions, the carriage is like our physical body and the driver is like our mind.

White Horse

 

If our carriage is broken, we will not be able to move. If our horse is weak, we won’t have the power to move us through life and if our driver has false or limiting beliefs or ideas, we may continually go in the wrong direction.

In today’s society, many of us have a keen driver (mind), but a weak horse (emotional response). We may have great ideas but often live in lack and are unable to live the life we really aspire to.

Similarly many people continually try to point their carriage in the direction they want to go, but never seem to be able to get there. Their driver (their mind) neglects their horse (their emotions) which means their horse then may become weak and sick.

There are others that may have a wild horse tethered to their carriage. For these people, their emotions can run their lives and they are often unable to maintain any direction. Their horse is running the show and often doesn’t take any direction from the driver (the mind) at all.

In addition, there are others who don’t care for their carriage (their body). They do not give it the care and attention needed for it to stay strong, fit and healthy and so this in turn will let them down on their journey.

It is clear, therefore, that all three aspects of the mind, body and emotions are necessary in order to be effective in life and to continue along life’s winding road in a balanced and steady way.

However, it is important to realise that there is still something missing from this scene. The horse and carriage metaphor is sometimes used by philosophical schools of thought, but they often leave out one critical element – perhaps the most important element of all – the passenger.

The passenger, of course, is our essential wise self. Our soul or divine element. The part of us that carries our deeper purpose and meaning for coming into the body (climbing aboard the carriage) and the one who is really deciding upon the direction of the journey (talking to the driver) and (soothing the horse).

When we see this element of the picture and live in alignment with this part of us – then we can really start creating the life that we have been looking for and start enjoying the ride. Because as we all know happiness is never just the destination but the glorious journey…

 

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