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My cherished brother had just died. We had known it was coming for several months, but now he was really gone. One night, as I was struggling with these feelings, I had a remarkable dream. I “saw” all the tremendous EMOTION I was feeling as a GIANT TSUNAMI that, high in the air, was about to crash down upon me. I knew that if it slapped down on me, I would be totally crushed and overcome by it. I stood there transfixed and terrified, watching the wave begin its destructive descent.
What I did next was totally unexpected. Suddenly, instead of being the victim of the monster wave, I stepped aside, turning sidewise, and the tsunami came smashing down in front of me, instead of on top of me. I simply observed it as it slapped to the ground. In the observation of the wave from an angle of safety, I had averted a catastrophe.
This strange dream caused me to ponder its implications. What if I could use this technique to circumvent other emotional “disasters”? It gave me mind tools. It became very clear to me that as we WITNESS OUR INNER SELVES, which include the countless emotions and thoughts we experience, we have the ability to eventually change outcomes.
The Person Behind Your Eyes
I then had the seismic awareness that if I were OBSERVING my SELF, there would have to be “TWO” of me: the one observing and the one being observed! How odd! But, don’t we often have conversations with our SELF? Who is the self that is “talking” and who is the self that is “listening?” Can’t we at any time “notice” what we’re thinking or feeling? Who is the one with the feelings and who is the one noticing? Maybe we could label them as our HIGHER SELF, and our lower or “natural man” self.
Self-observation is something only humans can do. Animals feel emotion and some of them are very empathetic and loving, but they can’t reflect on their own thoughts and emotions to create a better life. They don’t need to. They are being the creatures they were designed to be. Humans, on the other hand require reflection and inner awareness in order to progress to higher and higher levels.
King Benjamin knew the importance of “watching” our inner selves. He summed up his long profound speech to his people with the following: “If ye do not WATCH yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds…ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. (Mosiah 4:30)
When we’re in “watching “ mode, we can witness life’s daily situations play out. We can begin to notice the negative emotions that well up inside us in any given situation. Through observation, we can become aware of our DEEPER IDENTITY that can help our “natural man” transform.
Einstein is alleged to have said, “A problem cannot be solved from the level of consciousness that created it.” In other words, SOLUTIONS to problems can only come from a HIGHER LEVEL; a safer and more elevated vantage point.
Awareness gives us that angle of safety and inspiration. It puts us on that “higher plane” from which we can choose to TURN SIDEWAYS from undesirable emotion. Here’s what I have learned:
How to Step Aside from Oncoming Negative Emotion
- Observe and label the Negative Emotion You are Feeling Without Judgment.
Only when we become aware of a negative emotion or behavior, can we do something to resolve or circumvent it. The Lord told Moroni, “..And because thou hast SEEN thy weakness thou shalt be made strong.” (Ether 12:37) We have to “see” it first. We don’t know what we don’t know, – UNTIL WE DO! Our weakness can be revealed to us through observation.
Notice how strong your negative feeling is ON A SCALE FROM 1-10. Not all emotion is Tsunami-like. Much of it comes in small waves or even trickles. Are you just beginning to feel irritation (1-2)? Or is it full-blown fury (9-10)? Using 3rd– person may help with the objectivity. (“Your name) is feeling anger swell in him/her, at a 6 level.” (“______) is feeling sadness at a 4.” (“_____) is beginning to feel annoyed-2.” (“_____) is feeling betrayed – 9, etc.)
Allow yourself to FEEL the emotional struggles your natural self is experiencing, but feel them with compassion. You are on a “mountain top” observing the “valley” below.
- Ask Yourself “Do I Still NEED To Feel This Emotion?”
Is this emotion something you still need to experience? Only YOU can know! Realize that you have every right to feel this way! Part of earth-life is to experience the mortal drama, which includes ALL emotions. We need to feel negative opposites in order to understand and expand positive emotions. Hate/love; impatience/patience; sorrow/joy; misery/bliss etc.
Some scenarios cause knee-jerk reactions, because we’ve reacted this way for years. In these recurring situations the question can be, “have I suffered enough with this?” If you realize that you are NOT ready to give it up, then let the full force of the emotional wave fall upon you. Have yourself a good cry! Lash out, or withdraw… but just NOTICE how you respond.
Sometimes, we are “so happy to be sad”, angry or offended. Is there a part of us that still needs to learn from these emotions? The fact is, we can’t let emotion go unless we’re ready. But when we finally ARE ready – we can make that resolve to let it go, and then choose to stop suffering over it. Are you ready?
- Put Your Dark Feelings On the Altar
If you believe that you are ready to let go of the negative emotion, simply put it on the “altar” of God and give it to Him. In essence you are saying, “I will give all my sins (negativity) to know thee.” (Alma 22:18) When we consciously surrender our negative behavior and emotion to the Lord, it liberates us. We become empowered and awake to the fact that we CAN overcome.
- Fill Up With Light
Darkness ALWAYS dissipates, when we add light. After we expose and surrender our inner darkness, we can begin to fill up with light. We know what to do. Whatever we can read, hear, or experience – let it be light- filled! The Spirit becomes our inner teacher.
Elder F. Enzio Busche stated “None of us has enough wisdom, enough intelligence, enough knowledge, enough skills, or enough courage, by ourselves, to master our lives and even to succeed in life unless we learn what it means to surrender ourselves into the arms of the Lord and be filled with the Spirit” (“Unleashing the Dormant Spirit,” BYU Speeches of the Year, 1995 -96. Provo, Utah, 223)
We can feel the current of the Spirit flowing through us as we are raised up!
When we view our lives as an observer, we become students of ourselves. Isn’t this a primary reason why we came to earth? Didn’t we want to re-learn who we are and to break through to greater levels of light?
We alone get to decide if we still need to allow destructive emotion to dominate our experience. It’s a choice we can make. We DON’T HAVE TO fully experience every wave of negative emotion that comes our way. We can claim our birthright of peace and joy. We have the right and power to STEP ASIDE if we choose. Through self-observation and surrendering to light, we can circumvent suffering. This PARADIGM SHIFT can revolutionize our lives!
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