There is a generic term for all negative emotions – unhappiness.
I have seen whole corporate cultures become destabilized, unhappy and therefore unproductive when infected by negative and destructive emotions. Because the ego is driven by a need to look good and be right, these situations are difficult to turn around without significant attitudes of humility in key opinion-formers. If this doesn’t happen because of the inflexibility of these people with frail and sensitive egos, the prognosis won’t look good. Those driven by frail egos with hyper sensitivity to their own esteem will tend to blame everything except their own frailty and blindness for the situation. If they have the courage to look, they will soon discover that Scapegoating will never bring resolution and peace.
But what of positive emotions?
Do positive emotions have the opposite effect on the physical body? They do indeed, but there is a difference between short-term positive emotions that are ego-centred and ego-generated, and the deeper emotions that emanate from our natural state of connectedness with our spirit.
The ego is always looking for happiness in all the wrong places. Happiness for the ego comes when happenings are going the way the ego wants them to go. In contrast, our spirit always wants to lead us to joy. Joy comes through our spirit harmonising with – and finding its place in – the divine narrative that is continually unfolding. It is an experience with a unique quality.
Why ego happiness is always anxiety prone and contaminated
What appears to be positive emotion generated by the ego already contains its opposite, which it can too often quickly become – what the ego calls love is often possessiveness and an addictive clinging that can turn into hate within seconds. Anticipation about an upcoming event that looks like hope is really the ego’s infantile overvaluation of the future. It easily turns into its opposite – feelings of anger, or of being let down if the event doesn’t fulfill the ego’s expectations – which in turn becomes bitter disappointment.
Whichever way you see it, the ego’s happiness is always conditional. Praise and recognition may have you feeling alive and happy one day, while being criticised or ignored will have you dejected and unhappy the next. The attention paid to you by a member of the opposite sex might send you to cloud nine, but the removal of that attention can let you down badly.
The ego’s pleasures are always vulnerable to a change of circumstances.
The pleasure of a wild party can quickly turn into the bleakness of a hangover the next morning. The ego’s so called happiness is transient because it stems from the mind’s ego-centred identification with external factors. These external concerns are all unstable, being tied to circumstances that are liable to change at any moment.
Joy and peace are unconditional spiritual states of inner being.
What we call the deeper emotions are inner conditions that are not really emotions at all but spiritual states of being. These are the states of being Jesus taught his followers and tried to lead them into.
Jesus, along with all the most significant spiritual teachers, taught the need to escape ego.
The first lessons he attempted to teach his new followers were in The Beatitudes found In the gospel of Matthew chapter 5:1-12. In the Greek, from which they are translated, is a remarkable psychological paradigm. It’s a shame Freud didn’t take the time to study and learn from the Master Teacher. There is nothing in the Beatitudes that will, if integrated, inflate the ego. Just the opposite! They are all about living a life detached from the powerful demands of the ego.
Happiness is when happenings are going the way our ego wants them to go.
While the emotions that the ego pursues as pseudo-happiness all exist within the realm of opposites, there is sharp distinction in the spiritual states of being which have no opposites, because they emanate naturally from deep within the wellsprings of our own spirit. Joy is not dependent on circumstances.
From within the spiritual state of being come its fruit – love, joy, hope, peace, patience, and endurance. These are all expressions of an ego free of the need to look good and be right because the spirit that transcends the ego know it is ok.
Integration and authenticity without a drivenness to be something else, are clear hallmarks of a spiritual state.