There has always been a question in my mind regarding the use of emotions in attaining enlightenment/self-awareness. It is said that emotions come and go in waves. That often times we try to suppress the negative emotions like anger, lust, greed, jealousy, fear, sadness etc. thereby creating a shadow space in ourselves comprising all the unaccepted parts of ourselves like the negative emotions. If we were to allow these emotions to run their course than they would simply pass through our body without leaving any residues. It is in generating/offering resistance to the emotions that we build the obstacles to the free flow of energy in our body. Given that all emotions are energies of different patterns and wavelengths we only need to give them free passage to enjoy good health and wellbeing.
So far, so good. But how does one allow a negative emotion to ride through without being adversely affected by it. Say I am in a situation where I feel intensely angry/lustful/greedy/jealous/fearful/sad, allowing the emotion's wave to flow through I need to remain aware that I am not the emotion. I do not identify with the emotion nor do I deny it. I take responsibility for the emotion acknowledging that it is mine and I can use the energy in the emotion any which way I want.
Patterns of emotional expression
Of course there are cultural definitions to the expression of emotions as for example we generally weep when we are sad or sit with a long face, shout or bang doors when we are angry or cringe and try to hide when we are afraid etc. patterns of expressing emotions tend to run in families since that is where we get our most intense emotional training. There might also be genetic predispositions to certain styles of expression. But emotions come and go in every one. Perhaps even in the most enlightened beings, except I would imagine that they have reached a stage where they experience a constant flow of different sensations, energy in a pure form. No labels, no names, which is what emotions are, our perceptions of situations including our minutest physical sensations.
For example I see a person across the road it is the next door neighbor, the one I do not like too much. Already the sensations are beginning to get labeled. I pretend I have not seen her in order to not have to interact with her. I put energy into looking away. There is a tightening of the stomach muscles, a tension in the forehead, all very miniscule, nothing that a passer-by might notice. I barely notice them myself. Yet it is there, the aversion that I practice in order to avoid an unpleasant interaction. The cumulative effect of these unacknowledged sensations all add up to give us the dis-eases that we carry. Hence I maintain that all disease is psycho-somatic.
If I see my next door neighbor and allow myself to meet her and learn from the event, recognizing the fact that she has the ability to get my goat, I may perhaps greet her in a civil manner. Neither expressing a dislike nor feigning a warmth. I might listen to what she has to say, without allowing myself to get hooked into any barbs or taunts she chooses to fling at me, remaining aware of the sensations that arise and pass to the best of my ability.
Or perhaps it is a day when I simply do not want to meet her and I cross the street aware of the fact that she might take offense but all the while remaining aware of my motivations and taking responsibility for my actions. So the next time that I encounter her and she questions me about why I crossed the street I can look her in the eye and tell her that it was because I had a heavy day and had not wanted to put any effort into socializing with her, especially since there are many times when I find interacting with her a challenge.
The point is when I take responsibility I ride the wave of the emotion/sensations rather than feeling that I am driven to act in a certain way or...