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The Ten Commandments of Everyday Living: 4

Dispel negative emotion as a matter of psychic hygiene as you would wash your hands after coming into contact with anything unclean.

Regardless of creed and culture and the ease of access to water, the idea of doing the daily round, whatever that might involve, grimy and in clothes stained with food and excrement is unacceptable. Such personal neglect takes us below a universally recognised standard for human dignity. Many people have jobs and hobbies which involve getting dirty but this is a state of affairs to be remedied at the first opportunity. Generally we find it uncomfortable and unpleasant to be physically dirty, and from babyhood onwards, we recognise the change in our psychological state brought about by getting cleaned up. Keeping prisoners in conditions where they cannot keep themselves clean is used as a means of breaking their spirits, and to permit young children to go dirty is considered to be cruelty. Adults who allow themselves to fall into a state of slovenly physical neglect are perceived to be mentally ill or socially subversive.

Yet when it comes to astral dirt we live in a state of degradation because we are conditioned to believe that we are powerless to clean ourselves up because we have no control over our emotional reactions. Such guidance that exists tends to focus upon avoidance of negative states by encouraging positive attitudes, and for sure, this is a vitally important part of astral hygiene; but although we might take great care to avoid walking under ledges where pigeons are sitting, we could still be the target of a bird flying overhead, and the chances are that the bird might be from our own coop.

This is an article not about negative emotions per se but about the opportunity that exists in challenging their hegemony by taking action to dispel them. The more frequently and the more purposefully that we challenge the presence of negative emotion the more effective will our efforts become: dirt, as we know, does not stick to a smooth or shiny surface. It is passivity which allows a negative state to install itself.

Negative emotion is a reaction which sets self against ‘other’, in the form of people, things or situations. It reinforces the state of separation which is the default setting for the personality. There will always be some part of the personality that is invested in the barrier between self and other created by a negative emotion whether it is anger, hatred, fear, resentment, jealousy, envy or spite. 

We generate our own negative emotions and we can pick up the energy generated in an emotional state by another although distinguishing between the two may not be easy as the negative energy from another person may call up a response of the same quality from within ourselves. Like attracts like on the astral plane.

Just because we cannot see an emotional state in the way that we can see bird excrement, we are never unaware of its presence, although people often do claim this in order to avoid having to own and deal with it. The presence of negative emotion, whether we have generated it or whether we have picked it up, makes us feel uncomfortable and alienated from the world around us and if we are willing to look, we are usually able to identify the quality of the emotion we are hosting. Commonly the cause will be identified as something done by another or a situation set up by another and this is the beginning of the renunciation for responsibility for self.

The pigeon on the ledge is ‘other’ also but if a bird dumps on us we take action to clean ourselves up because pigeon mess does not add anything to self. In fact we consider that it diminishes us.

Negative emotion, however, stimulates and gratifies the separated self. We feel justified in hosting it, we feel justified in targeting others with our toxic energy and even though it is such an uncomfortable presence, we accept it and feed it.  

We will never gain any degree of control over negative emotions, whatever they are, for as long as we perceive that we need them, benefit from them and are justified in indulging them. Accept that. And yet to the person trying to move on in consciousness from separation, negative emotions are a good deal more corrosive than pigeon mess. When we accept that, we will try to reduce the amount of time we spend in the grip of a negative state.

If we look honestly at ourselves and observe ourselves in relation to our negative emotions we will recognise their habituality of the reaction. Of course: they come from patterns within our own psyches and for as long as those patterns are intact and fed with opportunity they will continue to churn out the same old stuff. Weakening those patterns is slow work.

Negative emotions especially anger, resentment and hatred may have a job to do: they may have to alert us to the fact that we need to make changes either in a specific situation or in our approach to life. The sooner we recognise this and deal purposefully with the matter, the less time and energy dedicated to receiving that message from the emotional level.

The key to reducing negative emotion is empowerment. If we feel empowered to change things about our lives and are alert to what needs attention, we will not need to collect evidence from the emotional level in the form of negative experiences. Passivity and inertia create ideal conditions for negativity to take root.

Dealing with negative emotion therefore needs to be part of a broader strategy that almost certainly will take time to put together and time to show results, however long term the strategy may have to be. This does not leave us helpless in the immediate term. We can challenge and aim to banish each manifestation of negative energy as it shows, dealing the best we can with the state in the circumstances in which it has arisen, in order to reduce the amount of time that it has us in its grip. This reduces the amount of time in which we are in a condition where we are ourselves generating toxic energy, which should be the concern of anyone aware of the interconnectedness of all things and a sense of responsibility.

Realism about the scale of the task that confronts us is essential. We do not wash our hands expecting not to have to do it again. As we wash them we know that we will do it again and again, and we are accepting of this: the repetition is not an emotive issue. And it must be this way when we banish negative emotion.

One of the problems experienced by disciples whose emotional bodies have become sufficiently refined to receive higher energies, is that they will frequently believe, especially after a particularly significant experience or time spent in the presence of a teacher, that they have risen above the lower stuff and are full now of only love and light. When powerful negative emotions resurface, as they surely will, they feel as though they have failed and become despondent, often reacting by abandoning the efforts they have been making. In such cases the real problems are not the negative emotions at all but spiritual pride and inappropriate expectation.

Mostly we will take the patterns which generate negative emotion to the grave because dismantling them is not something that we will achieve in the circumstances of everyday life where we are drawing constantly upon personality consciousness which is cemented by association, but they need not always control us and shape our lives. Damage limitation in the form of reducing the amount of time we spend in a negative state is something towards which we can usefully aim. This will release energy to be used constructively. Damage limitation involves us in self control but not repression: even though it is not outwardly expressed, full awareness and close observation of this inner state is part of the discipline. Appropriate action is then taken.

Appropriate action will always involve:

Minimizing the amount of time that we are in this state by drawing energy away from the solar plexus. This can be done by mental or physical activity, physical exertion being the most immediately effective. It is not easy to focus the mind when the emotions are raging although reciting mantras should be possible, but mental exercises can be used later, as shown below, to clear the emotional body.
Avoiding feeding the state with self justification whether through inner dialogue or through talking to others with the intention of proving that we are right. Agreement and sympathy are treacherous friends because they lead us deeper into the astral mire.
Avoiding identification: we may be experiencing a negative state but we are not one with that negative state and are able to observe ourselves in the grip of this state in the role of onlookers.
Avoiding blocking agents such as drink or drugs of any kind, including sedatives because they destroy the opportunity to deal consciously with the situation. This, after all, is spirituality: this is the reality of transformation. Spirituality is a journey towards energetic refinement, not a destination.
Avoiding making decisions or trying to sort out even the situation which has caused it, whilst in the negative state. Sift through the emotional evidence later.

The exercises below are recommended for clearing the emotional body of the debris of emotional states.

Purification ritual - attributed to Mikhail Ivanov

To be undertaken daily.

Drink down a glass of water in a state of consciousness, saying first

‘I greet thee, good, pure living water, faithful servant of God. Instil purity in me’.

This affirmation may also be repeated to good effect when showering. Ice cold water which stimulates the circulation is to be recommended for moving on insistent negative or obsessive thoughts. It is also good for the skin, especially if there is a tendency to dry or chapped skin conditions. Remember dirt does not stick to a smooth surface.*

Clearance exercise – attributed to Reshad Feild

To be performed at the end of each day and especially at the close of a day in which there have been shocks or other intense emotions.

Lying on the back, visualise a film of water like a sheet which can be drawn up the body from the feet. Re-run the day’s events in sequence from the moment of waking and, at the same time, draw up the sheet of water. The aim is to bring the sheet to the top of the head as the recapitulation process reaches the present moment. The likelihood is that sleep will intervene but persist with this aim.

* In a career of saying unpopular things, I have never knowingly said anything as unpopular as emphasizing the importance of cold showers when dealing with negative emotion. My friends, what is your spirituality really worth to you if you cannot endure a few moments of physical discomfort in return for a release from the grip of toxic emotions? Remember to a person trying to move on from separation, negative emotions are as useless as pigeon shit and a good deal more corrosive. Just do it!

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