Emotions are a heavy topic within the Jedi Path. In the topic Jedi Misconceptions
we talked about Jedi not being emotionless robots. Instead it is about Emotional Stability. Equanimity if you will. The question that goes with that - How is that achieved?
It is about being so at home in your feelings that you can keep your critical thinking, your decision-making abilities because your emotions do not throw you through a loop. You know and understand your fear, anger, sadness, happiness, joy, depression, calmness, indifference, compassion, all your emotional states. You get them, you understand them, you have experienced them, and know them well.
When the voice of doubt sets in. You know it. You recognize it. You acknowledge it. And you move forward with a smile regardless. Why? Because you are familiar with the pattern. You know you better than anyone else - or at least you should. This is what we are about. Discovering those dark corners which many ignore. This way these things about ourselves cannot surprise us and throw us off course.
It is okay to feel and to feel deeply. It is okay to cry. It is okay to be mad. It is okay to feel joy. It is okay be be in love. It is okay to be heartbroken. The first step is simply understanding there are no negative emotions. There are simply emotions. They tell us a lot about ourselves. They are not to be bottled up, ignored, removed, or even controlled.
We control our reactions, not our emotions. Equanimity. You can feel without reaction. You may want to punch someone in the face. And you may have really good reason to feel that way. Nothing wrong with that. It indicates a sense of ethics, what you feel is right and wrong. When wronged or someone wrongs someone we care about our sense of justice kicks in (often into overdrive). However knee-jerk reactions are rarely the solution we are looking for or desire for the long term. Feel - Acknowledge - Accept - Embrace - Breathe - Now Act (if necessary).
Our biggest and most used tool is Meditation. Because it is our most effective in this field. One of my favorite articles on the subject offers this:
This point is pretty technical, but it?s really interesting. The more we meditate, the less anxiety we have, and it turns out this is because we're actually loosening the connections of particular neural pathways. This sounds bad, but it?s not.Full Article by Belle Beth Cooper
What happens without meditation is that there?s a section of our brains that?s sometimes called the Me Center (it?s technically the medial prefrontal cortex). This is the part that processes information relating to ourselves and our experiences. Normally the neural pathways from the bodily sensation and fear centers of the brain to the Me Center are really strong. When you experience a scary or upsetting sensation, it triggers a strong reaction in your Me Center, making you feel scared and under attack.
When we meditate, we weaken this neural connection. This means that we don?t react as strongly to sensations that might have once lit up our Me Centers. As we weaken this connection, we simultaneously strengthen the connection between what?s known as our Assessment Center (the part of our brains known for reasoning) and our bodily sensation and fear centers. So when we experience scary or upsetting sensations, we can more easily look at them rationally. Here?s a good example:
For example, when you experience pain, rather than becoming anxious and assuming it means something is wrong with you, you can watch the pain rise and fall without becoming ensnared in a story about what it might mean.
This is one of the core concepts in the Jedi Path. Emotional Well-Being and Acceptance. Meditation is a daily and core practice because of the known benefits. Which can be easily experienced by practice (no faith or belief required
). Jedi are not about removing our emotions or denying them. We are not emotionless robots. Instead we embrace our humanity and understand the role it plays in our lives. How it helps breed empathy and personal connections.