PureInsight | September 16, 2002
"Strong emotions wreak havoc with our physical and emotional well-being and are able to cause mental illness," so the medical profession has warned us for years. Emotions cause strife, can lead to the break-up of relationships, are the reason for feuds and even wars. Emotion can provoke a person to commit murder.
Is this merely a phenomenon of our modern era, or have strong emotions influenced previous cultures' outlook on life and their inability to reach a spiritual realm in the past, also? There were undoubtedly some individuals, though, to whom emotions were merely a fleeting experience without exerting much influence, because they took them lightly, did not let themselves be overwhelmed by emotions.
Let us look at what Lao Tze had to say on the subject.
The Seed of Emotions
"Because of the six organs, people produce six consciousnesses; and because of the six consciousnesses they produce emotions. They hardly realize that emotions confuse them in regard to fundamental reality. Once fundamental reality is lost sight of, then emotions run wild. But the seed of all emotion is craving. Why is this? Because craving is at the root of emotions, if you don't crave anything, you don't want anything; if you don't want anything, how can you be attracted to anything? If you are not attracted to anything, you are not repulsed by anything; if you have neither attraction nor repulsion, what anger can there be? When there is no anger, fear does not occur; without fear, sadness disappears.
By this we know that craving is the root of emotion. If you try to control emotions forcibly without digging out the root, you control nothing but outgrowth. This is like a flood of water: if you try do dam it without stopping the source or clearing the flow, eventually you will be drowned. It is also like a blazing fire: if you try to beat it out without removing its fuel source or cutting off its path, you will merely increase the force of the flames, so that you will be threatened at every turn. It is also like the waves of the ocean, one following another endlessly.
Evoking emotions and feeling them, all occupy the mind, growing, according to circumstances. Only evolved people, knowing the seed, use the sword of wisdom with great aspiration and fierce determination to cut through the root and sprouts, excise undesirable syndromes, and prevent emotions from growing on them like parasites."
As this ancient sage has told us, emotions are a strong form of excitement. The word "emotion" itself has its roots in the French language, where it is translated as "to stir up." Li Hongzhi, a wise individual living in our present historical era, has mentioned "Seven Emotions and Six Desires" in his acclaimed book Zhuan Falun (Turning the Wheel of Law), and suggests strongly that people should abandon those, reaching that goal by taking emotions and desires lightly. These 13 bad habits, translated from the Chinese, are usually named thus: joy/ anger, jealousy, melancholy, fear, likes, dislikes and longing. (The 7 emotions). The six desires would be: lust, pleasant physical appearance/good features/complexion, good bearing/carriage, harmonious language and sounds, fine and smooth surroundings, a good mind.
When all these attributes human beings consider important are stripped away, what remains is an individual's pure heart, the true being. To reach that stage, to discern what is really important, takes much work and a clear head. What one realizes, then, is that all these cravings are of little importance, because the only thing that matters for one's future life, the life after this one on earth has ceased to exist, is the amount of virtue one was unintentionally able to accumulate, perhaps permitting one to go to a place that common language calls "heaven."
Anger is a particularly unpleasant presence in our society today. Why do people get angry? Someone suggested that anger happens when people don't get their way! Can anyone get more arrogant than that? People who display strong anger at the slightest provocation are no longer able to keep things in perspective. If those individuals realized the immensity of the universe, the tinyness of the planet earth in the firmaments and the virtual insignificance of a human being, they would not act in such a way. When emotions choke us, all reasoning goes out the window. Some individuals who had severe problems with their tempers and anger management problems have been completely cured of this bad habit after they began studying Falun Dafa, the most complete science, as explained in the text Zhuan Falun.
Emotional problems permeating 21st century societies are so rampant that people in several European countries as well as in the United States have established organizations such as "Emotions Anonymous," patterned after the twelve-step "Alcoholics Anonymous" organization. EA deals with emotions such as depression, anger, broken relationships, grief, anxiety, low self-esteem, panic, abnormal fear, resentment, jealousy, guilt, despair, tension, loneliness, obsessive negative thinking and boredom. The more technologically advanced we become, the more we seem to regress in positive human values. One American scientist in particular, Dr. Karl A. Menninger, stands out for his awareness of the connection between emotions and their manifestations in the human body, and had pointed to these findings as early as 1938.
Plastic surgery changes people's physical features on demand, but not their souls. In cases of accidental disfigurement, such surgery is warranted, but, more often than not, people submit to such procedures out of a strong desire for "skin-deep beauty." Is a beautiful mind not a better attribute? Psychiatrists see numerous patients whose severe problems have their roots in emotions. It is normal for anyone, even someone who has learned and genuinely practices the principles of Falun Dafa, to experience momentary twinges of mild emotions; that is human nature. What these cultivators of Falun Dafa have learned, though, is to largely ignore these feelings, to make their rational minds take over, to keep things in perspective and not dwell on or become overwhelmed by any emotion, which can become the path to hell.
Medical literature is full of accounts of people whose emotional problems are at the root of their myriad physical ailments. A few examples worth relating are of patients who had extreme, unreasonable and unfounded fears, which manifested themselves as elevated blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweats and inability to get a good night's rest. The emotion of lust has led many people, men and women alike, to promiscuity, resulting in sexually transmitted diseases and has broken up marriages in the process, leading to yet more emotional trauma. Jealousy and rage have prematurely aged people, caused them stomache aches and in extreme cases had led to murder. Overwhelming melancholy/ sadness has facilitated gastro-intestinal problems, either because of poor appetite, poor diet, or tremendous weight gain from overeating. These examples illustrate how emotions can cause real physical ailments that could have been avoided if emotions had been kept in check.
In his book Zhuan Falun, the author, Li Hongzhi, mentions, "people's illnesses are 70% psychological and 30% physiological." Considering these wise words from this great man, it is well worth to keep a check on one's emotions and treat them lightly, if not for one's immortal soul, at least for proper physical well-being. Doing so makes people healthier, more readily inclined to become good people, which they manifest by a willingness to help others to become better people or reach their potential.
To find much more good advice from Zhuan Falun, I highly recommend for anyone suffering from strong emotions to study that book. The countless benefits will be unimaginable.
1. "Zhuan Falun," Li Hongzhi, available at Barnes and Noble, other bookstores, and all major libraries, or for free downloading from the Internet
2. Information about "Emotions Anonymous" may be found at Http://www.mtn.org/EA
3. "Human Mind Revisited," Sidney Menninger, International University Press, 1978
"Love Against Hate," Karl A. Menninger, Harcourt, 1976
"Vital Balance: The Life Process in Mental Health and Illness," Karl A. Menninger,
no publisher listed, 1983
"Man Against Himself," Karl A. Menninger, Harcourt, 1976
4. Center for Applied Behavioral Sciences, Topeka, Kansas/USA