Physical suffering (i.e. pain, illness, and disease) is caused by too much negative emotion building up in the body. When a person is overwhelmed by negative emotions such as anger, hatred, fear or jealousy, then vital energy is diverted from the normal functioning of the body. In this state, the physiology of your body changes, your heart beats faster, adrenaline is released, you lose sleep, and your body starts to malfunction. If this is your normal state, then disease is likely.
But is it possible to change your emotions, to change the way you feel? Can this really be the antidote to suffering? Yes, of course. The first step toward solving a problem is becoming aware of the problem. There are several levels of awareness:
Level 1: Physical awareness—you are aware of your overall state of health, whether you are in pain, whether you are tired, etc. If you are aware of yourself only on this first level of awareness, then you are unaware that your physical state is your body's reaction to your emotional state. You don’t believe there is anything you can do in your inner realm to improve your physical state.
Level 2: Emotional awareness—you are constantly aware of whether you are in a positive emotional state (excited, blissful, happy, inspired) or negative (fearful, angry, jealous). If you are aware of yourself on both the physical and emotional level, then you will be able to dissolve negative emotions; thus preventing physical illness. However, you remain stressed or unhappy much of the time because you are letting your ego run your mind and are unaware of what causes your emotions.
Level 3: Mind awareness—in this state you are fully aware of your thoughts most of the time. If you are mind-aware, then you have some ability to control emotions because you can try to change your thoughts. Awareness on this level will allow you to live in a more positive state and maintain good physical health. However, you may sometimes fail to control your negative thoughts or fears because you are unaware of your true identity.
Level 4: Essence awareness—in this highest state of being you are conscious, enlightened, awakened. You are aware that you are not your thoughts, and you occasionally exist in the blissful realm of no thought. In this state, negative emotion is no longer present in your being and neither is pain, disease or illness. You cut it off at the top so that your body can remain in its natural, perfect state. You are aligned with a higher intelligence and your life flows beautifully without much effort.
Essence awareness is only possible when you have mastered the other levels. Mastering any level requires full acceptance of what is. Accept everything about your pain, your emotional state, your crazy thoughts, everything going on within you. Accept everything in your life as it is, even if it is painful at first. Now, watch your problems begin to dissolve as you increase awareness one level at a time.
Transformation is the process whereby you first become aware of yourself on the physical level, then the emotional, then the mental. Finally, you discover your true identity, your true essence. When this journey is complete, you become pure love and you are a source of light to the world. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.
Emotion is a reflection of the mind in the body.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Image by Darren Kall