Quick Addendum - Emotions
Fran Kelso (thank you, Fran!) put up this interesting blog the other day, which I commented on:
She thanked me for the addendum to her remarks and suggested she hoped more people read them... so....
I'm re-posting the comment here -- with some additional comments about emotional memories.
"If we were really in control of our thoughts [and emotions], negative thoughts [or emotions] would not arise unbidden. Basically, most people are not in control of their thoughts [or emotions] 80% of the time, whether they are positive or negative. These can be described as temporary thought[/emotion]-objects flitting across our field of consciousness.
Aware of them, we can choose to act upon them or not, as we please. It makes absolutely no difference if they are positive or negative in this case.
But one has to be strong enough to maintain awareness and not be captured by the undesirable thought [or emotion] and instead be captured by the desirable ones.
Hence, replacing a negative thought pattern with an arbitrary positive one is helpful but it isn't enough. We have to make sure the desirable thought arises with as much strength as the negative one. [Also, because emotions arise in the body, it's impossible to replace the emotion with a positive one without great effort, so it's better to live through and fully experience the emotion, instead of shunting it off with an ego-strategy that often replaces it with another emotion -- for example, shame replaced by anger.]
By the way, who is the 'you' that you say is taking control of your thoughts and doing this replacing? What is that part of us deciding if a thought is positive or negative?
Whatever it is, that must mean there must be a higher agency in place in each of us -- higher than the part that of us thinks!
And that's true.
So the necessary process is more accurately described as being consciously aware enough that whatever thought flits across our minds [or emotions that arise in our bodies], we don't have to be captured by [them].
Only then, through observation, can we begin to diminish this unwanted pattern of thought [and deplete the emotions of past events that no longer exist]. After that (or concurrently) we can put in place a new pattern of thought.
But it has to be a desired pattern, not just a positive one of any kind."