The Book of Alternatives

The Chemistry of Emotions

Chemistry of Emotions

Ever wondered why some people cry easily and some don’t? Why some have fear of heights and some can dive straight from the sky? Why some are short-tempered and some as cool as cucumber? 

Priests, astrologers and our grandparents used to believe and many still believe that it has something to do with the positions of planets when one born. ‘He is born with this phobia’, ‘he has always been very emotional’ and the most common ‘That’s his destiny, no one can change it.’ On the other hand, science talks about ‘genes’ and ‘heredity’ where one born with some intrinsic attitudes and some level of emotional quotient, inheriting from his parents or ancestors.

Both the concepts might be partially or even completely true. But I don’t buy the fact that one can not change what is born with. However, even if we get to know that it is due to my parents’ genes or some planet’s position, nothing is going to change until we concentrate on how to change the way we are and we have been. What if we let go of the question ‘Why’ – Why am I always angry? Why I hate other religions? Why I have fear of heights? – and explore the possibility of ‘How’ – How to change it? – by understanding the chemistry of emotions and the possibility to change that ‘something’ we think we don’t have control over.

Emotions

Science understands the emotions through chemical reactions in our body. There is always some or the other chemical reaction happens in the body whenever we feel something. It is like our body is the vessel full of chemicals. If the body wants to feel something, it takes a set of chemicals and reacts them together. A force one could feel from his gut and every cell of the body starts to feel that particular emotion. Be it happiness, love, hatred, anger, jealousy or grief; you name it and body have all sorts of chemicals to arise any emotion or feeling you want to experience. It can also prepare mixed feelings. Like, hatred with fear, happiness with tiny tears or jealousy with anger. A human body is an excellent lab for experimentation but who is the scientist? Who does all these experiments? Who can control these reactions? It is your mind who is in charge and since you can control your mind, you can control the way you feel. The good news is YOU ARE THE SCIENTIST!

Emotions are mostly triggered automatically given a particular circumstance and stimulus. The body reacts to something in a certain way every single time unless the mind interferes. If someone does not agree with our opinions, we feel angry. There is nothing bad in it, is it? If we feel good when someone understands us, then it is simply okay to feel a little bad or angry when someone doesn’t. It is temporary feeling and would sink in very quickly and easily. But the worse happens, when someone again argues with us and doesn’t understand our point of view. And then again someone does the same. Every single time we feel bad, we get angry. But this time the anger has doubled or tripled. Gradually, it doesn’t remain a temporary feeling but becomes an emotion, the way of the body to react and the same chemical reaction happens when a particular circumstance takes place. The circumstance and the stimulus trigger the anger in you automatically. And the body keeps on doing the same thing unless you, the scientist interfere.

How do you change the chemistry? Since mind can control the body and you can control the mind. Thus, by training your mind, YOU can control the way you feel, not any other person, and not any circumstance. Having said that, we all agree sometimes we get out of control and training the mind is a difficult and lengthy task, perhaps, an alien task for so many people. You know, you have to meditate, some have faith in God, some become superstitious and some grow spiritually. In all these processes, one thing is common – The interpretation by the body of a particular stimulus or a circumstance. Just by changing your perception and interpretation, you can control the chemistry of emotions.

I tell you something amusing; when OSHO died, no one cried. All his disciples celebrated his death. They danced, they sang, they laughed like there is no tomorrow because when OSHO was alive, he taught his disciples to celebrate his death. He is going to some other place, somewhere more beautiful, more comfortable and more serene. Why does someone want to cry if he is going to someplace better? Death is the time when everyone is drowned in grief and despair. Someone’s death easily triggers a sad emotion in you unless you interpret the death in a different way. None of his disciples cried as they taught their mind something different from what the world has taught their mind. Death can be a moment of celebration just like birth.

I am not suggesting to start dancing when someone dies in your neighborhood. Don’t blame me for that, you might end up in jail. But the idea is one does have a choice and can control the way he wants to.

However, all emotions and feelings are important to the body. Sometimes anger makes people fight for their rights, sometimes fears can take you out of the mess. When you touch a hot iron, instantly you jerk your hand off before you realise it, the fear of getting burnt helps you in this case. So do feel the emotion and express them wholeheartedly because the repressed emotions would harm you much more than an expressed emotion. Many spiritual texts book, masters, some doctors, scientists and the quantum physics claim that repressed emotions do manifest into a physical illness. Thus, it is important to express them and let go of the guilt of having reacted in a certain way you would not have wanted to.

Monk - Chemistry of Emotions

Even monks practice meditation and train their mind day in day out. They feel happy and content most of the time but they still have all the chemicals available to trigger anger, sadness or jealousy. One of the possible reasons for their contentment is that they have reduced the stimuli which trigger these emotions. Amidst the simple life of a monk in the monastery, they feel grateful for whatever they have. But that does not mean they cannot be angry. Many monks could not adjust in a city, chaotic, busy life and hence, emotions tend to arise even if a person does not want to. For that, they train their mind and interpret all the stimuli and circumstances of the world in a way which is very simple and clear.

The feelings are temporary, they come and go, they change in a split second but emotions are rather permanent. When a feeling is attached to a particular incident, person or experience, it becomes emotion as a story is knitted with it and mind cannot forget it easily. Then, they are difficult to handle and tackle. It takes time to train the mind and the body to let go. But gradually, by being aware of the emotion when it arises, expressing it in a certain way in order not to harm others and yourself and interpreting differently to the same stimulus and the same circumstance, CHANGE WILL HAPPEN. The more you be aware of it, the less you feel it next time.

Chemistry of Emotions

So next time your body messes up with the chemicals in your vessel, you know who is the Scientist. Thus, I leave you with a quote from Conversations with God by Neal Donald Walsh:

Feel your feelings, cry your cries, laugh your laughs, honour your truth. Yet when all emotions are done, be still and know you are God!

If you like this blog, the books which might help you understand more the physiology of human body its connection with the mind is SUPER BRAIN by Deepak Chopra. In fact, all his books connect physiology with spirituality in some or the other sense.

Super Brain - Deepak Chopra
Click to buy the book!

Check out the Library of Wisdom for more books like this.

Let me know your feedback, opinions, ideas, suggestions in the comment section or at love@anatman.in. I need your motivation to continue. If you wish to read more of this type of blog here is the one Black or White?, the first blog I wrote. It’s about embracing the Ambiguity. 
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