Here’s a nice tool that might help keep emotion from ruling you – view it as color. This can help you zoom out and see the bigger picture when you’re stuck in the middle of it, like when you’re really angry or really sad.
First, imagine your body as clear. That’s when you’re at peace. When you’re mad, imagine it turning red. If you’re a only a little mad, then it’s light red or pink. If you’re really mad, then it’s dark red or maroon. Since emotions are all temporary, even the darkest of reds will fade with time into a lighter and lighter shade of red until you’re no longer mad. Your body has become clear again.
So here’s the question… When your body is red, is it a good time to be interacting with someone? Is it a good time to make decisions? Would it be a better idea to stop thinking, breathe some, and just let your body cool off? Imagining these colors helps me take the personal sting out of it. I drop the story and remind myself that there’s anger in my body now, that’s all. It’s red, and that happens from time to time. If I breathe for a bit and chill out, that red will fade. Once that happens, I’m in a much better place to interact with people or to try to fix the situation. No big deal. And I can easily acknowledge just how mad I am using colors, too, and it doesn’t seem so personal or heavy. It’s just color in the body. No big deal.
The same works for any other feeling. Sadness might be blue, for instance. The colors themselves don’t matter – it’s the overall concept. It’s just a color in your body, and all colors are temporary. Let’s remove the personal sting from emotion. Emotions are totally normal. Let’s become experts in emotion, though, so they don’t rule us. And if you’ve been reading A Clean Mind and practicing, then you probably know more about emotion than most people on earth, by far. It’s really pretty simple, though I know that practicing in the moment can be challenging.
When I start my next blog, A Deep Mind, I’ll talk about another reason why emotions aren’t personal – because who you really, really are is not a person. Any person is temporary, and who you are is definitely not temporary – and that’s really awesome news! But for now, let’s take the personal out of the equation by simply viewing emotion as temporary color in the body. Go chill out some and that color will fade. And that’s good news, too.