1. Buddhist

What Is Life Without Emotion?

I get many questions from people who have the impression that to be a Buddhist, to view things with dispassion, with equanimity, is to live a deadly life, dull, boring, robotic.   They can’t imagine a life without all the emotions of the ego-mind that they very much identity with as being themselves.

And that actually makes the point.   As long as we are not free the control of our ego-minds, not only can’t we free ourselves from suffering, but we also can’t imagine a life without all the emotions that get our juices flowing.   We can’t imagine what our true self, our heart, would provide us that would take the place of those emotions and make our life interesting, passionate.

Let me try to answer the question.   But first, it is essential for you to acknowledge that all this juice in your life, all the emotions, judgments, cravings, and attachments not just cause you to suffer, they are the cause of your suffering, not events or aspects of your being.   We tend to get nostalgic about the things we are comfortable with because they are familiar, even if they cause us suffering.   We fear the unknown.   But there is no progress on the path to end suffering without acknowledging this truth.

If you free yourself from the control of your ego-mind, or even to the extent that you do (as with most things Buddhist, it is an incremental process), and reconnect instead with your true self, your heart, you will be driven by a different dynamic.   For your heart is light, love, faith, trust, compassion, humility, gratefulness, joy, contentment, strength, courage, and wisdom.

How would this change your life?  It means that you would react to life experiences not our of fear, or pride, or your deep-seated insecurity.   Instead, you would see your experiences as just being the way they are.   They would not impact your psyche in any way.   You would view them with equanimity, knowing that regardless what life throws your way, you will be ok, safe, because you have returned home and will always return home to your true Buddha nature and be at peace and happy.

So if you see something that is terrible, you would still acknowledge its negative nature, but you would not react with emotion.   You would use your rational judgment to decide how best to respond to the situation.

If someone says something to you critical, you will not react with emotion as if attacked.   Instead you will hear what the person said clearly.   And if what they say is the truth, you will use it as an opportunity to grow and strengthen yourself.   If they have thrown a falsehood at you, you will not take it personally, knowing that it comes from their trauma and you will have compassion for them.

What about love? Will that emotion be gone from your life too?  Love as you have thought of it in the past will indeed be gone from your life.   For most people love is based on either lust or what the other person does for you, how they meet your needs, usually a combination of the two.   But this is not true love because it is all about you, it has little to do with the other person, their needs.
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True love is loving the person for who they are, not for what they do for you.   True love is reflected in your driving force being wanting nothing but what is in that person’s best interest.   That person’s needs become your needs.   What you used to feel were your needs, while still important become secondary.

True love is complete trust and faith.   And it is mutual.   There is no greater comfort than knowing that you have complete trust and faith in your companion.   There is no more need for ego; in fact, ego would be destructive of this relationship.   

And when you undertake some effort not to satisfy some ego-need but because it arises from your heart, you will experience a joy and a passion that was missing before.   One cannot have unburdened joy when doing something to satisfy the ego because there is always some psychic need, some insecurity, lurking behind the action.  There is always an element of fear and frustration.

So as you can see, life free of the control of the ego-mind, free of its emotions, judgments, cravings, and attachments, is not boring or dull.   It is in fact far more enriching, more fulfilling than your former life.   

And, and this is important, being one with your true self, your heart, does not keep you from being in this world, working, making money, playing, etc.   It just makes you not of this world.   You will be marching to a different drummer.

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