Emotions and Unlearning
As we start down the path of unlearning there are a few things that we must take into consideration. The first thing to consider is our emotions, for our emotions cloud what we observe and therefore hinder us in the process of discovery. A Shadow attempts to be completely unbiased when dealing with any given situation or feeling (for clarification feelings don't mean "emotions" I use the word to refer to instincts or the force), this is how we obtain balance. Now, to become completely unbiased we must learn to control our emotions. You may be thinking "holy cow, I have to unlearn my emotions!?! My emotions arent really a thought or a belief, so how am I ever suppose to change them?" Relax and let your panic subside this is not what's intended. The object is not to unlearn the emotions themselves, for an emotion crops up whenever it chooses. What we strive for is an understanding and the ability to separate our emotions from what is really happening around us.
Emotions have always been with us, and from the day we were born to the day we die we will have to deal with them. But somewhere along the way we have allowed our emotions to became more then they are meant to be. We have allowed our emotions to become actions rather then just feelings or warnings as they were originally intended.
How can emotions be actions, you ask? Well, you tell me. How many times have you been so mad that you stormed out of the room or raised your voice and then later realized that there were better ways to handle the situation? How about a time when you were so in love with a person that you failed to notice the differences between the two of you, and when the clouds cleared away you realized that this wasn't someone you could spend your life with? Jealousy, anger, doubt, Love, excitement, these are just some of the emotions that we allow to become emotional "action habits" (for lack of a better way of putting it). An action habit is the initial reaction we take when one of our emotions arises. Instead of looking into why we feel the way we do, we allow ourselves to be lead around by a habit that formed long ago, and we probably can't even remember where it came from or why. When dealing with emotions probably the most dangerous one, the one that we let get away from us most of all is fear; we must remember that fear is just an emotion and should be treated accordingly. Fear is just a warning signal to ourselves that something might not be right, and like any warning we weigh it and then make a decision, we don't ever let a warning control us.
The first step to taking control of our emotions is a fairly simple one; we must catch or at least notice at some point when we are letting our emotions become actions. This isn't a very hard thing to do especially once you've been made aware that it happens. After we start to notice that are emotions are creating an action we then move on to defining what response we give to any given emotion. Up to this stage it sounds pretty easy, huh. Well, don't get to happy the next steps get a little more difficult, for this is where some unlearning comes in. Now you must examine the action and try to determine from where it came and if the reaction is constructive or destructive. Why do you act the way you do? Are you still able to think objectively about the situation or have your emotions clouded your judgment? How could have you handled the situation better? Then the last step is learning to listen to your emotions, assess what they are telling you while being objective with the situation or feeling and then let the emotion go. At no point should you ever ignore your emotions, this is unhealthy and just as reacting to emotions without thought is bad, ignoring them completely is even worse. By ignoring an emotion you are letting it build up inside you, and like a can of pop that you put in the freezer, if it's left there too long it's going to burst. Balance is definitely not attained in this fashion.
By letting go of an emotion we are acknowledging it and then letting it flow through us and away. The emotion has done its job in telling us something important or brought up something that we need to look at in ourselves and once we have accepted it's information it no longer need to be there. Anger, excitement, jealousy, doubt and any other emotions only hang around because we make them, because we like the feeling, it infects us and we breed more of whatever emotion comes. How are we suppose to learn from them if we are using them more as a drug for our actions then as a guide and counselor? By letting our emotions go, we don't get addicted and we can be in balance with ourselves and the world around us.
The process that must be done when unlearning emotions is tedious, and like patience, must be relearned everyday. However, once we start to understand what our emotions are trying to tell use they become just as much an ally and a power as the Force itself. Our emotions have the power to warn us of things in the world and also the power to tell us when something inside of ourselves needs to be looked at. Our emotions tell us much about ourselves and the world around us. All we need do is listen and learn.