Question: What are emotions?
Acharya Prashant: How do we identify emotions? If I am saying emotions, if I am using that word, how do you know that you are emotional?
L1: You feel it.
AP: You feel it. How do you figure out that somebody else is emotional? Alright, sitting in front of you as I am, do I appear emotional to you right now?
AP: How do you figure that? Here I am sitting in front of you, let say: I am a picture. Do I appear emotional? Could the picture be depicting something through which we can say, ‘Yes, he is emotional right now’?
AP: When and what? Let say: I am a picture here. Now, this picture probably does not appear too emotional to you. What would this picture looks like when you would say that this fellow is emotional?
L1: By expressing.
AP: By expressing. So emotion is something that you can see through the eyes . What can you see through the eyes? Can you see thoughts through the eyes?
AP: So you can only look at the material through the eyes, not thoughts. So in that picture, you would only be looking at the body. You cannot get into thoughts. So the expression of emotions, the very definition of emotions, has something to do with the body. Alright, if for example, you can see material tears, then you will say that I am…
AP: Then you will say that ‘I am emotional’. Either sad or afraid or happy, excited, overwhelmed; but if there is fear in the mind, in the subconscious, would it show up in the picture?
But the same sadness that flows in the form of tears, is that not always present somewhere in the mind lurking behind? That is there, but when it is present in the mind, do you say that somebody is emotional? Anybody here who has never cried? We do cry, and we are likely to cry in the future as well, right? Then, when tears would be there, you would say that the fellow is emotional; when tears are not there, then you do not say that the fellow is emotional.
It is just a question of the expressed (the material) versus the unexpressed (the subtle).
So when that which is in the mind shows up in the body, then we say: emotion are there.
Am I right?
Somebody is pictured this way (gesticulating anger), now you would say, ‘He is angry, emotional’? Has this anger just sprung up from nowhere? Or was it always there in the seed form in the mind? Yes, but when the anger is there in the seed form, you do not say that the fellow is…
AP: When the anger gets expressed materially in the body, then you say that the fellow is…
AP: Now, I want to ask, is it wise to say that emotions are any different from thoughts?
Emotions are just expressed material thoughts.
When the thought becomes so intense, so powerful, that it starts showing up even materially, then you say these are emotions.
So if we are talking about emotional relationships, we are in fact talking about relationships based on thought because emotion is a thought. Now, if a relationship is based on thought, can it have Love or will it have a business exchange?
We are going step by step.
First of all, we saw that what we call as the emotional relationship is, in fact, a relationship based on thought. Now, if a relationship is based on thought, can it be a very loving relationship?
If you have very thoughtfully chosen somebody to relate to, then you are only choosing that which thinks!
If I am very thoughtfully deciding which jacket to wear, then I will only choose that jacket which ‘my’ Self—the ego—allows me to wear. ‘I have put in so much of thought in it.’ So, the relationship that is based on emotions is a relationship based on ego.
Kabir yesterday told us (referring to the former discourse) that “The Real purpose of a Lover must be to take you beyond yourself.”
But if I am choosing my lover based on thoughts and consideration, then surely I have chosen a lover who will help me remain that which I am. So emotional relationship will prevent you from changing; an emotional relationship can never be the agent of change. Because an emotional relationship is based on thought, and all thought is just for self-preservation. So, your partner will help you to stay where you are; in fact, your partner will become very angry if you actually do change.
If you remain who you were—juvenile—at the time of the inception of relationship, then your partner will be so happy and comfortable; but if somehow, by Grace, real change starts coming to you, then your partner will become restless; in fact, your partner will say “Please go back to what you were! Kindly do not change, kindly continue to be what you always have been. I do not want you to change, and if you are changing, you are actually being disloyal. It is a kind of treachery.”
Have you not seen this happen?
That is what happens to the relationships based on emotions. They are not at all spiritual in nature. They are your enemies; in fact, they are your biggest bondages. If someone comes to you with tears, pleading, to not to change, then you should know that it is all just… Maya!
L1: “To not to change in a way that is really a change”—is this another cage?
AP: Oh! That would be very acceptable to the emotional person.
L2: When you come up to your partner in a foolish, silly way, then this will be a likeable change.
AP: This change will be readily acceptable. In fact, lovers often like it when the partners act silly. It is so sweet.
(Mockingly) ‘Chomuuu’ (using a funny pet name), is so silly.
But have you ever seen the partner is going crazy and saying that “My chomuu, is so enlightened!”
Now an enlightened Chomuuu is such a threat!
You can not like him. But silly Chomuuu is so cute. You always want a wife who will care for you like a kid: ‘Now my Chomuuu is a kid, and if my Chomuuu is a kid then I am surely a kid’s mother, so the kid will remain dependent on me.’
Now this is an emotional relationship. It has nothing of wisdom in it. You talk silly things to your partner, and the partner may just say, ‘you are silly’, but will not feel offended, will not feel an existential threat; but if you will start talking wisdom to your to your emotional partner, then the relationship is doomed to fail!
If any of you are in an emotional relationship, try sharing the Upanishads with your partners and see what happens.
Oh! You will hear an explosion.
L3: Before the bus was leaving for the airport I went to Valeria’s (one of the colleagues on India-Tour) husband and said “I am the one who will be responsible and will be her guide throughout her journey to India. Then he says, “Oh! it’s very nice, but please bring back her as she is!”
L2: My wife shall be pleased if I go back changed.
AP: But changed in a way that is acceptable!
This is a good occasion—this morning—to remind ourselves that if we really love the person, the animals, the things, the structures, the universe that we are with, then we must allow it to change in a way that takes it to its peace.
If you are really a loving partner, a loving father, a loving being, you will assist the other as much as you can in moving towards her destiny, and we all have a common shared destiny.
And that destiny is Peace.
~ Excerpt from a Learning Camp Session. Edited for clarity.
View the session at: A relationship based on emotions is a relationship based on ego
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: What is emotion?
Article 2: To just know is to know without thought
Article 3: Knowing Ego is Freedom from Ego