Emotional life has been looked at in many ways throughout history - as a result of 'humors' in the blood, disease, the unconscious mind, hormones, phases of the moon, and many other variables.
Today, we are coming to understand that emotions are what they seem to be, namely, e-nergy in - motion. This perspective opens the door for us to much greater freedom than we have had in the past. For as energy-in-motion, emotions may be seen as passing through us - arising, cresting, diminishing, fading. They may be perceived as 'waves' that move through our awareness, creating feelings that are felt in the body that therefore seem to be part of us. Nevertheless, how we feel depends entirely on our relationship with these 'waves', something that we have a choice about.
One choice that we can make is to believe that what we feel is who we are - natural, inevitable, unchanging, characteristic. This perspective binds us to the emotion of the moment. It creates an expectation that the same feelings will arise again and again because they are somehow intrinsic to our being.
Another point of view holds that emotions are energies that we 'carry'. They come from various sources: from past lifetimes or from the past within this current lifetime; from inherited energetic patterning common to our family of origin; from predispositions and characteristics that our soul has chosen prior to taking birth for purposes of healing and growth. This last is the most fundamental reason for our emotional structure, namely, that we have chosen it without knowing that we did so.
Emotions are not who we are in our deepest reality. They are, instead, a medium for growth and transformation. We can, if we choose to, ride each wave of feeling without letting it consume us and without acting it out. We can know that energy is moving through, and while it may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is there to be noticed, not to be identified with.
Here is the key - to notice, but to not identify. What is most essential about the use of this key is having another place within ourselves to stand while trying to handle difficult emotions. This other place must be one of quiet, of non-judgment, of light. It must allow us to join our personality-self with our soul-self even only in part, so that in the midst of emotional turbulence, we can watch it without fully 'being' it.
To have a spiritual center in which to stand is the critical element that allows us to witness emotions without becoming them. When we are in that center, we can feel what we feel without 'doing' anything about it. We can turn our feelings over to light and God along the lines of the following affirmation:
"I am a pure and blameless child of God. I forgive myself my anger (fear, grief, despair - whatever feeling is passing through) and I ask for healing."
Behind this affirmation is the premise: "I am not my emotions."
This is the fundamental assumption that can change everything. It can provide us with an attitude toward growth and healing that is tolerant yet firm, peaceful yet determined. It can allow us the space and the grace to know that we are in a healing process but that the process does not have to consume us. We are, at the same time, children of the light, and can strive to remain anchored in the light of our being even while difficulties of various kinds may be taking place.
When souls can learn to dis-identify with emotional energies that are 'passing through' and to identify with the level of the soul that lives in peace and unity within the divine Oneness, the world will move to a new level of harmony and peace in our common life together. For the life of the soul is the doorway to true and lasting peace on Earth.