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Directly Experiencing Emotions


The questions I am most frequently asked are related to the emotions. Many people seek to be free from difficult emotions such as anger, fear, and grief, and seek to attain more of the pleasant emotions such as joy, happiness, and bliss. The usual strategies for achieving happiness involve either repressing or expressing negative emotions in the hope that they will be released or pushed from sight. Unfortunately, neither way reflects the truth of one’s inherent self, which is an unmoving purity of being that exists deeper than any emotion and remains unaffected by any emotion.


There are certainly times when it is appropriate to repress or express an emotion. But there is also another possibility: to neither repress nor express. I call this “direct experience.”


To directly experience any emotion is to neither deny it nor to wallow in it, and this means that there can be no story about it. There can be no storyline about who it is happening to, why it is happening, why it should not be happening, who is responsible, or who is to blame.


Whatever emotion arises in consciousness can be met fully by consciousness, with no need to hide in stories or analysis. In your willingness to not follow the workings of the mind, but just to be still and completely experience whatever emotion is arising, you will see that it is nothing. Emotions are only held together by thought, whether that thought is conscious or subconscious.


You have the power to simply stop and say, “Fear, anger, grief, despair—okay, come.” When you say, “Okay, come,” and you really mean it, and you are truly open, the emotion cannot come because in that moment you are not telling a story about it. I invite you to check this out for yourself. Fear, anger, grief, or despair only exists when linked to a story! Yes, this is an amazing, simple, yet profound discovery. It is huge! You can actually recognize that what you are running away from does not, in truth, exist, and what you are running toward is already here.


This is adapted from Gangaji’s book, The Diamond in Your Pocket, 2007



Join Gangaji for a live online meeting on Sunday November 12 at 4 PM PST. Freedom Inside: A Course In Self-Inqiury is a monthly online course with Gangaji. This month we will be considering, The Nature of Our Emottions. Call in to speak with Gangaji and watch the livestream.  Learn More