Human Spiritual Structure: Emotions
Notes in progress © 1998-2002 Alan McAllister  

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Emotions are the expression of the thoughts in the body. If so all thoughts have an emotional component. But some more so than others, depending on the nature of the thought, and the samskaras that is represents. Even the highest forms of bliss that are experienced in the aftermath of samadhi appear to be felt as well as thought.

The emotions are the expression of the vrttis. Each chakra has the capacity to express a range of vrttis, but in practice will only express some of them to varied degrees. In fact these are not all expressed all the time, or all at the same time. There can be certain triggers that stimulate emotions. The balance of the vrttis determines the strength of the response to these triggers.

There must be a very complex relationship between physical and mental components. The actual expression of the emotions depends on the secretion of hormones by the glands that correspond to the vrttis. This can be in response to real or imagined stimuli. A real snake, or the rope that looks like a snake in the dark. This implies that the mental image is the root stimulus, and yet this stimulus does not have to make it into conscious awareness (although it usually does) to have to response occur.

But what the conditioning that sets the response is multifaceted. Past experiences can create associations that strengthen a response, or produce a response in some people that does not exist in others. E.g. the man who becomes nauseous at the smell of bananas, due to a long rough sea voyage in a banana boat. Some may be completely biological, e.g. reaction to someone else's fear or sexual arousal. But even this is complicated. How much is due to direct biological response to phemerones, how much to an energetic or psychic sensing of the others emotions?

Thus we come back to the idea that the samskara's, from present or past life regulate the settings of the vrttis and the responses to stimuli.

In the expression of emotions it is said that some of them are current, in response to the present-time situation. Others are stored, old emotions that were tucked away at the time, and which can arise in response to various triggers at a later time. These are often very powerful, due both to their accumulation over time to repeated similar situations, and perhaps to the energy and effort that has gone into containing them over the years. When they finally erupt they can be overwhelming.

While the result of suppression may be an eventual explosion, or a slow rotting away on the inside, it is said that uncontrolled expression only leads to further expression. In opening up the stored patterns, the cakras are set and the more energy flows through that configuration the more set, or open it becomes. Thus one seeks a third way, in which the energy is transformed, neither suppressed, or given unlimited expression. Where does the energy, or force come from, if not the original stored energy? Is it simply that the set of the vrttis colors incoming cosmic energy in a given way, and the more it flows the more comes? In which case it is only by changing the picture, the setting of the vrttis that the outflow will change its character. Just as the more love we give the more we get, so to with other emotions. So we must not only open ourselves as a channel, but cleanse ourselves so that the energy remains pure as it flows through us.

But how does this relate to the idea of elemental emotional beings? Is this simply the clairvoyant's picture of the above, seeing the drawing in of the energy, as it steps down to the emotional level, as the inflow of an external being? Or are they seeing the old stored energies, which having been shunted aside take on a quasi-life of their own. If there are independent beings, that like to find expression, it is only when we are in resonance to start with that they can come in. Once they are in, then they can amplify and nudge us further in a given direction.

How does one tell the difference?

The Setting of the Vrttis

The Expression of Current Emotions

The facial expressions produced by various emotions is common to all people, and appears to be part of the body's expression of that emotion. Even deaf and blind children display the same expressions. In reverse, the assumption of various expressions produces the associated emotion, including appropriate autonomic nervous responses, which vary from emotion to emotion.

The gastrointestinal and cardiac systems are involved in the expression of most emotions, and are linked to the sympathetic nervous system. This is aroused by all strong emotions and excitements, producing a similar range of physical reactions for many emotions. There are some differences between emotions and also variation in the physical "symptoms" in different individuals, but in general they all involve the same division of the autonomic nervous system. [HB] [It seems probable that although the stimulus is the same (e.g. preparing for an exam) the emotional response actually varies. Some may be nervous with fear others with excitement. I.e. the variation in the samskaras or pictures that are activated may explain part of the variation in the physiological reactions.]

The Expression of Stored Emotions

Channeling Emotions: Emotional Beings

The lower emotions, the vrttis of the first three chakras, arise due to the four basic aspects of the vrtti kama and the attachments formed in satisfying them. If the energies of the lower chakras are repressed, and fail completely to rise to the level of the heart chakra then the person will be "without feelings". E.g. emotions are associated with the first three chakras, and feelings with the fourth. [See also comments by Micheal T.]

Emotions and Perception

The emotional response to perceptions is intimately bound up with their interpretation or meaning. However, there is a circular affect, in that the emotional state prior to the perception will color its interpretation. This agrees with the idea that perception in general is only meaningful in relation to the immediately proceeding perceptions.

The loss of the ability to recognize a paralyzed limb as part of one's self is apparently bound up with the loss of any emotional connection to it. In a person who loses their sense of color, there is a strong emotional reaction to the new view of the world, which is so different than it had been. This may include depression etc., but also a sense of ugliness and anger at the world. This begins to fade as the person moves on to creating a new world view based on their new way of seeing, and may give way to a real joy at a new way of experiencing life. [AM]

Emotions arise in part on the basis of relationship to self, including ones level of attachment or avoidance. Thus a developed self (body) image would have large role in defining ones emotions. [SFF]

Communication of Emotions

Studies show that emotions are generally communicated between two people, even if it is at a subconscious level. There are physical reactions, mimicking the communicated emotion. Studies also show that in general emotions flow from people who express strongly to those who don't. These processes are speculated to have to do with the unconscious recognition of facial and other non-verbal clues, as they are found even when looking at photographs. [EI]

The interesting question is, how much of this is in fact an energy process, i.e. what might be termed a psychic interaction. It is noted that people who receive emotions are often not expressive. This might be because they are actually more sensitive, and have an inward focus, trying to control all the energy they are picking up from others, attempts to avoid interactions due to fear of invalidation, or knowing that they will probably pick up more unwanted energy. [ahm]

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Created February, 1998.
Last updated September 19, 1999.
© Alan McAllister

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