Emotion Vs. Intellect in Personal Transformation

Peaceful

If Knowing is Acting, how do we go beyond the intellect in order to really feel, understand, and truly know what the sages know so we can act accordingly?

If you ask the “how” or the process, I won’t be able to tell you in a precise way.

The process is different for everybody.

What I can only say is based on my version of the story which, naturally, is based on personal experience.

The “how” of every transformation necessarily involves the emotions.

Emotion is more powerful than the intellect. Emotions move the body, whereas the intellect may or may not. Intense emotions penetrate every fiber, every cell of our being, causing the transformation of these very cells; the transformation of our physical as well as energetic bodies.

How potent emotion really is?

How do you think people like Hitler are able to influence, as if in a spell, large numbers of people including undoubtedly highly intelligent ones? People whose I.Q. are even much higher than Hitler himself? He appealed to these people’s emotions.

How do you think political organizations and governments, religious institutions, capitalist companies and the media, stir and play with people’s emotions to advance their interests? By evoking fears, insecurities and even sympathy.

How do you think highly intelligent and technologically advanced aliens, such as the Greys, look up to us, very much desirous of that one thing that we have – our ability to feel? You would think that these advanced beings, on their way to greater evolutionary heights, fully equipped with high intelligence and technological prowess, would not be bothered to take an interest on little dramatic earthlings like us. But they do because of what we have which they had long killed within themselves in their unbalanced quest for technological advancement.

We can learn from their experience as they learn from us.

If emotions can be used in very destructive ways, it can also be used in very positive and transformative ways.

Deaths, separations and breakups profoundly affect us that their effect on us are almost always life-changing. Emotion is so powerful that people in love go crazy and it changes their body chemistry.

Emotion is a very effective tool for personal transformation which may eventually lead to that which we seek – enlightenment.

To use emotion for personal transformation, it is crucial that one is able to feel deeply and intensely. And you feel deeply when you fully engage with the world. You interact with other people who serve to trigger within you deep and intense emotional reactions that almost always lead to changes in your life.

In spirituality, this technique or process seems to be the opposite of the other path which involves withdrawing from the world. That path of withdrawing from the world, a path which many in the past have taken, may actually be a longer path.

It was after seeing the truth, after he was enlightened, that the Buddha aptly advised his followers to take the Middle Path.

In my personal process, I am both a recluse and a “party girl”. I immerse myself fully into the world and then extricate myself to contemplate on my experiences and extract the insights I got from them. I follow my passions and whatever it is that is summoning me. This oftentimes requires boldness and vulnerability as I can get hurt and wounded in the process. But each time I come out of an emotionally charged experience, I gain more invincibility and a new level of illumination.

So feel deeply. Live passionately in the world. Play hard. Taste fully the flavors the world has to offer. Seek balance between the two extreme paths. You do not have to deny yourself one thing in order to get another thing.

Finally, do not wait until you “know” what the sages know before acting on their deep realizations and teachings. Because deep inside you, something already knows what the wise ones know.

 

The Stream of Peace

White-Lotus

There is a continuous stream of peace running in the background,

quietly, it runs, in the background,

drowned by the noise in the foreground.

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It is a clear, peaceful stream flowing,

unobstructed, unconditioned, pure,

unaffected by the turbulence around it.

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Peacefully and joyously constant, it remains

oblivious of anything else – aware only of itself and its purity,

quietly, it flows . . .

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Within this peace is joy, within this joy is love,

peace, joy and love – all in one – untouched, uncontaminated,

innocent: knows no regrets, no blame, no sin, no karma.

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A steady stream . . .

a source of strength, a fall back, a respite from it’s opposite –

the ever-shifting, tumultuous, raging river of the manifest world.

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It is certainty where there is uncertainty.

It is order where there is disorder.

It is the light where there is darkness.

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This is where we want to be.

It is heaven – undisturbed peace, true love, lasting happiness.

It is God – constant, cannot be taken away, never abandons, never fails.

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It is ever present . . .

It is enlightenment.

And it lies in wait to be uncovered.

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A steady stream running in the background

drowned by the noise in the foreground.

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The River’s Journey

When I was not slumbering, I spent long hours sitting at the balcony looking out to the river of my hometown. Each time I sat there by myself, I imagined Grandmother telling me more stories about the River’s Journey.

“In its journey, the river undergoes many experiences and changes. It even changes its color and size. Here in our village, the color is usually what you see now, crystal and shiny reflecting the sun’s radiance. But depending on the life around it, a river may turn into other colors.

“In the olden times, when we didn’t have mirrors hanging on our walls, we went to the streams and rivers to look at our reflections. The river is our mirror ― as we are alive, breathing and moving, the river is also alive, breathing and moving. If you poison the river, you will in turn be poisoned by it. Like the healthy blood flowing inside our veins, the river is the blood of the earth, and as long as it is healthy and keeps flowing, all life on earth is nourished.

“The river may grow big and may also shrink. It may unite with other rivers coming from different directions. If they find a common ground, two or more rivers unite to form a bigger and a more powerful river. Joined rivers travel for a while, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, sometimes forever. Often, after traveling together, joined rivers separate and go different ways. But they would no longer be the same as when they first met, for they would have already given and taken something from each other. It is like in a family, or between friends.

“You find a friend to share your journey of life with. You and your friend walk some distance and you give and take and share and learn from each other. But a time may come when you may have to go your separate ways. When this moment comes, you would no longer be the same people as when you first met, for you would have added to each other’s experience in the journey.

“Maybe you have to part ways for the reason that you have different opinions on how to travel downstream. Perhaps your friend wants to explore more of the nooks and crannies of the big towns while you prefer to flow on the more laid back riverbeds of the countryside. You had a father, a mother, sisters, brothers and me. Some of us leave first. You continue the journey with your siblings, but as you are all grown up, you are drawn to explore different directions. Despite this, all of us, in the end, would eventually meet at the final destination and be reunited again as the one big family that we are.

Bakun waterfalls

Bakun, Benguet Philippines

 

“And when in your journey, you find yourself confused and agitated, or in a turbulent mood – when as if your emotions are like the river rapids – in a rough flow – so to speak, don’t resist where the current brings you next. Do not be discouraged or disturbed by constantly shifting landscapes. Does the river get intimidated and perceive itself a victim when an immovable giant boulder blocks its course? No, the river simply curves smoothly around the obstacle and flows on.

“Does the river cringe in fright when it finds itself standing at the edge of a precipice? Certainly not. The river takes a leap of faith; it is then that the murmuring river becomes the roaring mighty waterfalls! It survives the leap and discovers more of itself – its abilities and possibilities.

“The river knows that after a rough flow, a smooth flow awaits for it, right at the next bend. And when there is not much happening and the river is smoothly flowing, does the river complain of boredom? Again, no. The river takes such quiet moments as opportunities to get itself clear. So you see? The river yields and yet it is invincible. The river can tap into its ancient spirit’s wisdom, and know, that this is truth.”

“The river’s spirit is ancient?” I suddenly reacted.

“Only as a way of talking, we may say that some rivers are quite old, having been flowing on the surface of this earth for a very long, long time. Yet we may also speak of rivers which are newly fashioned. An old river has already smoothed and refined many jutting rocks and rough stones, so those parts of it coming later may follow the same path without wounding themselves too much.”

I sensed Grandmother’s presence and wisdom as I channeled more of her River’s Story in these imagined conversations. I felt greatly relieved from my illness of pathological pessimism.

Excerpted from: Becoming Mad and Asking Why the River is Flowing by Allu Kuy. 

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