Years back, my relationship to emotions was the same as my relationship to the weather is now. For example, I don’t really follow any weather forecast—for me, it’s quite easy to look through the window or just get out and be in the weather. I don’t really care if there are prospects of good or bad weather. It’s quite nice to know every now and again, but they get it wrong as well. As you know, it’s quite a chaotic process anyway. But what is clear is that I cannot produce a sunny day. I might feel like I need some sunshine, and perhaps it’s been raining non-stop for too long, which happens in this part of the world, but there is no way that I can produce a sunny day.
What I can do is practice, so that the weather not being what I imagined, wanted, or needed it to be does not spoil my day. In other words, realizing that emotions, unlike the weather, can be cultivated was a real game-changer for me. It was a huge shift. It doesn’t mean that I am always able to do it, of course, but it’s very useful to know that it’s possible. Something beautiful about positive emotions is that they not only happen out of the blue or because of reasons that are not clear to us, but we can practice and cultivate them. We can even create them on request, on the spot.
Even though I think there are amazing things to be learnt from all states, including the darkest, I quite like realizing when the exploration of certain emotions is no longer productive, and having simple ways I can work towards transmuting them into something useful. This reminds me of when John Dupuy talked about the alchemy of emotions. In a way, I’m talking about the same thing—not letting negative emotions take over, knowing that at some point, there are perhaps things that we can do in order to change negative emotions into life-affirming attitudes, emotions, thoughts, or whatever.
This goes back full circle to why I chose to focus on gratitude and the HeartWave meditation for our first experiential session (July 23, 2014 iAwake teleseminar). I really don’t know if gratitude can be considered a form of love or not, but I feel they are very related. When I feel love for people, living things, situations, ideas, or when I am in a loving attitude, I tend to be grateful for what happens to me. And vice versa, if I feel grateful, or if I practice gratitude, I become more loving. They also create very similar effects; they permeate my emotions and the things I feel, think, or do in quite clear and recognizable ways.
Practicing gratitude is very easy, and it powerfully shifts our attention from focusing on what’s lacking to focusing on all that already is. So, in a way, it’s like an antidote―an amazing general antidote―and it requires so little that nothing can really stop me from doing it. As I said, gratitude is very connected to feelings of love and happiness, so it tends to put us in a lovely state of appreciation and value, quite dissonant with negative feelings, which are typically focused on what’s wrong according to our fixed ideas and agendas about how things should turn out.
I find that practicing gratitude is really spiritual as well, because it counteracts our tendency to take things for granted. In a way, we all do this to different degrees. I think that our brains or our body-minds are really specialized in generating shortcuts for everything and optimizing efficiency to a point that sometimes, we’re not very present to the things that we might be experiencing. This is the price that we probably pay for that tendency of our body-mind to learn things and make them automatic. So, for me at least, and I hope for some of you, practicing gratitude can prevent this auto-pilot mode from taking over. In a way, the less things that one takes for granted, and the more things that one feels thankful for or acknowledges, the happier and more connected to purpose― and also to the present moment―one feels.
Javi Otero is an Alpha Tester and Experiential Customer Support at iAwake Technologies. His work as an artist and acoustic stimulation researcher is currently shaped by his interest in the practical applications of biofield entrainment and energy medicine. He likes to explore and practice creativity in its widest possible sense and is passionate about anything that might help us further experience the wonder of being alive.
Photography by Javi Otero
Adapted from iAwake Technologies’ free, weekly teleconference call on July 23, 2014.
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