Emotional Self-Control PART I.
by Fr. E.S.Q.S.
I had touched upon this point briefly in a recent article I had been writing concerning unity and the planetary collective consciousness. Unfortunately, I was unable to give the matter the attention it truly deserves and, so, I had decided to write a separate, short article addressing it. I had been discussing the nature of the world 48, the emotional world, and man’s part in it. I had been discussing some of the things that man needs to do at this particular juncture and one such thing was to learn (emotional) self-control. Thus, what follow is a short article addressing the matter of emotional self-control.
Defining our Terms
Before beginning, I suppose that it probably wouldn’t hurt to take a moment or two and define our terms. This is how any proper, reasonable discussion begins – and especially when something isn’t clear. What does, “emotional self-control” even mean? Probably we could begin by defining, “self-control” seeing as that is really the crux of the issue here.
“Self-control” means essentially what it says: control over oneself. Simple enough, right? Well, actually, that is not really a sufficient explanation. For one thing, who or what is in control? How is this control effected? What is controlled?! Yes, yes – “oneself”, but what does that even mean? Current psychological explanations leave much to be desired.
In the first case, we need to understand the esoteric position – namely: the Self is the one exercising control over the self (or the not-Self). Even this sounds a bit convoluted. Probably it is necessary that people study the esoteric constitution of man beforehand and, so, can see that man is an evolutionary monad in a first triad in a causal envelope; that man “is a soul that has a body”, as the old saying goes. This body – or, rather bodies (envelopes more precisely) – and their types and kinds of consciousness are not his own. These envelopes and their consciousnesses are his tools of apprehension and expression in the worlds of man (47-49). As such, we have just addressed two of the three questions above; we have explained who or what is controlling and we have explained – to a degree – what is being controlled. What we have yet to explain (how to effect this control) will be addressed throughout the rest of this article.
NOTE: Before beginning, I’d like to take a moment now and call to your attention the fact that this is, undoubtedly, an imperfect standpoint. I am surely missing a great number of useful details and – quite possibly – I am even mistaken on some points. As such, please bear my infallibility in mind when reading. Think for yourselves. Accept what makes sense and leave the rest; likewise if there is an discrepancy between what I have said here and Esoterics proper, then you would be wise to forget what I have said as I have probably made a mistake.
How to Effect Control
The very first method I will mention is what I suppose we could call, “intentional feeling”. What this means, properly speaking, is that we choose to feel some types and kinds of feelings deliberately and consciously. For example, we could choose to deliberately and consciously cultivate some particular feeling; some particular character quality. If we take the time and make the effort to return our attention to this feeling or quality again and again, it becomes a part of us in due course of time. This is actually one method which is mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – of course, nobody really pays attention to this work. Everyone skips to the section on concentration, meditation, and the promise of lower siddhis or psychic powers. “As a man thinks, so shall he become”, as the saying goes. It is also the same with how he feels. Feeling better takes effort. Feeling better is intentional. It does not come by itself; rather, it comes by hard work and effort. One secret: make others feel better and you will feel better also. A few feelings, qualities, and useful dispositions that can be cultivated in this way include: gratitude, gladness, joyfulness, happiness, kindness, trust, appreciation, admiration, devotion, and loyalty.
The thing about all of these feelings is that they are “high” feelings, noble feelings, belonging to higher emotional consciousness (48:1-3). Striving to develop these “high” feelings, these noble feelings, is the same as striving to develop higher emotional consciousness. What comes with that is a gradual release from the bonds of lower emotional consciousness (48:4-7) and its varied expressions of hatred. Cultivate love and you will cultivate the higher emotions (48:1-3) – but this must be done intentionally. It can never be done by force. Love (and all related noble feelings) can never be commanded forth.
TBC in PART II.