Purification of the Emotions
…Purification is a twofold process that clarifies the emotions, or astral body, and the mind, or mental body. Since emotional problems lead to mental confusion, the emotions must be purified first. Many of us experienced traumas in childhood that have crippled us emotionally. Since a rationalist paradigm currently predominates even in these dawning days of the Aquarian age, emotional well-being has little importance in society. We are told to simply “deal with it,” get over whatever might be bothering us, and let reason dictate our actions. Too often such a strategy leads to emotional repression. Anger, depression, and apathy result from a consistent denial of emotional realities. The problems with not being encouraged to open to our emotions can lead to being labeled as not mentally healthy, and subsequently treated with drugs that suppress extreme emotions. While this may allow people to function in society, these conditions can result in further repression, since no one wants to admit to emotional disturbances when such problems are equated with insanity.
Fortunately, a solution to any emotional problems we may face does exist. Though it may not be easy, we can purify the astral body and balance our emotions by means of a few simple exercises. Before performing any of these exercises, however, the student must first practice the discipline of emotional fasting. Make an effort to consciously refrain from the indulgence and expression of strong emotions, both negative and positive. When powerful emotions overwhelm you, focus on breathing steadily and evenly while allowing the emotion to dissipate of its own accord. Do not feed it by focusing attention or thought on the object of this emotion. When the feeling has passed, resume your activities. Do this for one day at first, then try fasting from strong emotions for two or three days at a time.
Once you find yourself able to disidentify somewhat from your emotions by the above method of emotional “fasting,” you will be ready to undertake the practice of emotional purification. Emotions give life to the astral body, just as blood gives life to the physical body. Astral energies can originate in the unconscious, subconscious, or superconscious portions of the psyche. Energy from all three of these sources manifests itself as emotion. In the previous astrological age of Pisces, the creation and perfection of the astral body was paramount. The path of Initiation in the Piscean age could only be followed through suffering and sacrifice. In the Aquarian age the focus has shifted to the mind and the mental body. Therefore, the Aquarian Initiate must learn to rise above the astral plane and the emotional body that inhabits it. Sensitivity of feeling must be developed and refined to allow a greater range of empathy and expression. Positive emotions must be cultivated, and negative ones transformed through a conscious uplifting or enlivening process. Music, physical exercise, and writing can all serve as tools to this end.
By means of disidentification we can learn detachment from desires, feelings, and relationships. To disidentify from a given emotion, we must realize that we are separate from that emotion. When we cease to identify with a feeling, it will no longer have power over us. Instead, we will have power over it. Any emotional suffering that cannot be avoided must be recognized as an opportunity for personal growth and spiritual development. By facing and accepting such suffering, we can gain courage to take emotional risks and trust our own feelings of love even if this means we might be disappointed. Empathy and compassion for others will enliven our hearts and help us to maintain a healthy perspective when facing our own emotional difficulties. Remember, fate can put you into a situation, but you can decide how to respond. The way that you perceive and act toward an emotionally charged event can make the difference between catastrophe and catharsis.
In order to achieve the proper frame of mind for meditation, three preliminary exercises will be of inestimable value to the student. These three exercises should be performed just before the meditations listed at the end of this and each of the following parts of the present course. The first exercise is called introversion, which means to focus the attention inward and let the outer world recede from consciousness. Find a place and time where you will not be disturbed, assume a comfortable position, loosen any tight articles of clothing, close your eyes, and look within.
The next preliminary exercise, supraversion, focuses the attention on the light of higher consciousness radiating down from the spirit world. At first it will be enough just to visualize a globe of light above your head, and imagine yourself rising up into this light until it surrounds you on all sides. Eventually you will be able to see this light clearly with your mind’s eye. Do not be discouraged if your inner vision is not clear at first. Just continue to imagine it as best you can. The third preliminary exercise is called infraversion, and involves bringing the light of the superconscious down into the physical body. First bring it down to the level of your head and concentrate on opening your third eye. Then imagine the light descending to the region of your chest where it fills and opens your heart chakra. When you have completed the threefold process of introversion, supraversion, and infraversion, you will be ready to meditate.
Do your best to meditate upon and answer in your mind the following questions:
- How have your emotions been harmed by experiences you have had in the past?
- What are you doing now to heal your emotional wounds and cultivate positive feelings?
- Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by powerful negative feelings?
- How do you deal with negative emotions and transform them into positive ones?
- What techniques have you found or developed to help you achieve emotional peace and balance?
This is an excerpt from one of the 25 required master’s courses in the University of Metaphysical Sciences curriculum.