QUESTIONS FROM STUDENTS & VISITORS
Please Send Your Questions To: Contact-Bill
or To: Bill@PureMeditation.org
This page is updated almost daily.
The most recent question is listed first.
This question is from Fatima Abdullah:
What’s the easiest way to control my emotions?
The easiest way to control your emotions is to catch them at the exact moment of their arising. You have to be on top of them instead of them on top of you. It’s called “mind over matter.” The way you get on top of your emotions is to not get attached to them. You have to watch them from a distance instead of letting them get under your skin to fester. The practice of Divine Detachment is the secret of natural self-control.
The hard part of course is that you have to be living in the present moment. Mindfulness is meditation during moment to moment activity. This is what needs to be practiced. This is the reality-based way to live. Remember that thoughts and emotions are personal and lower than You. You — the Real, Aware, or Spiritual You are always above and distinct from them. Your job is to stay on top of them by moment to moment due diligence. There is no easier and softer way.
Abraham Heschel said, “Self-respect is the fruit of discipline, the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” What are your thoughts on self control and do you view your self as a good example?
Most sentient beings know the difference between right and wrong in terms of personal behavior, but few of us actually do what we know is the right thing to do at all times. — Not taking that third helping of cheesecake. Not exercising. Not being patient at the long check-out line. Not being angry at that rude clerk or aggressive driver. Not really listening to the person speaking. Not responding instead of reacting. Not taking life so personally instead of neutrally, etc. The list goes on.
Self-control is about doing what you have to do not what you want to do. The secret is to not do it begrudgingly. That kills the spirit of it. Ideally, what you have to do and what you want to do are one and the same. If not, so what? Do it anyway. Grow up. Accept that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” As long as we’re in the flesh there will be the temptation to do the selfish thing over the right thing. We can transcend temptation by simply breaking any attachment to it and to any of its corresponding negative emotions such as doubt, fear, regret, self-disrespect, lack of dignity, lack of self-esteem, lack of joy, etc.
As to the second part of your question, I do view myself as a good example of self-control because I define self-control as orderliness in all things — as opposed to living without structure. That said, I am not perfect so I continue to be a work in progress.
What do you mean that the personality is unconsciously biased?
The personality is biased because of being born self-centered. This causes a lack of clarity which negatively effects every area of life.
The whole purpose of life, in part, is to overcome that inherent bias so you can live more in reality. In reality, you don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. You live on a higher level which is more peaceful, intelligent and joyful.
Because the personality is inherently biased, it will need some method of correction. The method I teach is that of detachment, which is about keeping a reality-based distance from all that you see, hear, think, feel and do, all the time to the best of your ability.
(Please note that Detachment is not cold and aloof as commonly misunderstood; it is a powerful attitude of unconditional love.)
Do emotions create thoughts, or is it the other way around?
Thought is the creative male (yang), while emotion is the receptive female (yin). They work together as a team, but thought is the instigator, the prime mover.
On the personal level, thought creates emotion: When you think of the past you feel regret and remorse. When you think of the future you get worried and anxious. When you think of success you get excited. Thoughts of failure bring depression. If you think a fallen tree branch is a snake you become full of fear.
On the impersonal or spiritual level there are no thoughts or feelings; there is only knowing (intuition), and there is only real happiness which is not an emotion but the inherent nature of being and which is above thought and feeling.
What simple steps can one take to overcome fear?
Fear and anxiety are of the unknown. They’re all in the mind and futuristic: an upcoming exam, biopsy diagnosis, job appointment, etc. The obvious and glib remedy is to not go to the future but to stay here in the present moment. In the present fear is impossible. But you asked for “simple steps” and staying in the present is very difficult.
Less difficult is staying in the present day. Live one day at a time in full and relaxed awareness instead of in the mental and emotional future. Build a brick wall around this present, twenty-four hour day and don’t leave it. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
Another step is to “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Why? Because “a fear faced is a fear erased.” Ignore your fears. Just dismiss them and go about your business in confidence. The more credence you give them the more power they have over you. False power. That’s how we create our own monsters.
Just remember that your higher awareness is absolutely fearless. That’s where you want to come from instead of from your thinking, feeling, personal mind. Keep a reality-based distance from all thought and feeling — especially negative and fearful ones. To live in detachment is to live in your higher awareness instead of in your lower, fear-filled mind.
What are the most effective ways to improve emotional intelligence?
My top three ways are:
1. Awareness: The most obvious way is to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Thoughts are included here because thoughts usually precede feelings. When you think of food you feel hungry: when hungry you think of food. And you become more aware by applying item 2:
2. Detachment: — is about Keeping your distance from both positive and negative feelings. Being attached to positive ones and disturbed by negative ones is not intelligent because you’re letting emotions control you instead of you controlling them. Krishnamurti said, “The secret of my (emotional) intelligence is that I don’t mind what happens.”
3. Self-knowledge: Know that thoughts and feelings will arise whether you like it or not. The intelligent response then, is to like them. To “like” them, in this context, means to allow them. But allowing them doesn’t mean to indulge them. Understand that they are a part of your DNA. Zillions of them have been accumulating in your subconscious since birth. The intelligent way to treat them is to first, notice they’ve arisen, then drop them immediately — thinking absolutely nothing of them. Swat them as you would a mosquito on your arm.
Does enlightenment come by degree or all at once?
Both. Enlightenment can come by degree or all at once. Instantly may seem preferable but unless you’re prepared for it, it likely won’t last.
At least, that was my experience. Enlightenment came to me in a flash even though I had never practiced meditation or any other spiritual discipline. I won’t share the whole experience here except to say that the bliss, intelligence and power that came to me was overwhelming. But being unprepared and untrained for it, I used the power for selfish purposes and as a consequence, gradually lost it over a period of about three months.
The loss was the most devastating thing I’ve ever known. I then devoted my whole life to learning what it was I experienced and how to get it back. Nothing on earth was more important or valuable. The scripture about “the pearl of greatest price” comes to mind.
What happened was I had spontaneously and totally overcome my ego which left me with only my higher, real self operating. And the using of the power for selfish, egoistic purposes had contradicted my egoless state right out of my life. I was back living in miserable self-centeredness.
Enlightenment has been steadily returning to me degree by degree this time, and I am diligently careful not to ever again abuse the joy and power that comes with it.
How do you overcome fear?
You’re asking about fear in general, so I’ll give a general answer.
Two popular quotes come to mind: “Face the fear and do it anyway.” And, “A fear faced is a fear erased.”
There are hundreds of fears from leaving your comfort zone, to fear of ants, to fear of public speaking — which is up there with fear of death, and everything in between.
Overcoming fear of any name or nature begins with understanding that all fear is of the mind so is not really real. It’s real in the sense that you’re really feeling it, but not real in that it’s not who or what you really are.
The real you are the pure awareness above all emotion — and that’s where you want to come from and remain if you want to be free of fear itself. — Free of the mind itself.
You overcome the mind with all its falseness and fantasy by keeping a respectable distance from all its thinking, feeling and sensing.
What about physical fear — such as when a hungry lion or rogue elephant is galloping toward you? There are many documented cases of men who don’t run but just stand perfectly still and calm.
Fear exudes a scent that animals can smell. If they sense no fear and there’s no running away, the animal just stops in its tracks. Its instincts — and its own fear, have been neutralized. It just relaxes and looks at you with curiosity and respect.
This is the power of poise that comes with personal detachment from all inner and outer experience.
What is the best method you have for controlling your emotional state?
First, the worst method for controlling your emotions is to repress or suppress them. This will give your emotions a permanent home in the back or subconscious part of your mind. These repressed emotions become a constant and subtle dark cloud blocking the sunlight of your spirit going forward.
The opposite of repression/suppression of feelings is to honestly and unflinchingly face them. But simply facing them is not enough; you have to face them with detachment, objectivity and indifference.
Detachment is so you don’t get enslaved or dependent on them in any way; objectivity is to keep them at arm’s length; and indifference is the attitude that one emotion is no better or worse than any other.
This is how you control your feelings instead of them controlling you. You can’t stop negative feelings with willpower; you can only stop or change them with detached awareness. Detached awareness works like a laser beam that cauterizes and fizzles out anything that’s not positive or real.
You control negative or uninvited thoughts the same way. Thought-control needs to precede emotional-control because negative feelings are usually triggered by negative thoughts. You “think” a fallen branch is a snake so you feel fear.
All you have to know and remember is that negative thoughts and feelings are all in your mind so are not real. Understanding this prevents your being so affected by them.
What should everyone fear?
Everyone should fear the consequences of being self-centered. No good can come from a personally-biased mindset because it’s not living in reality.
Reality is living in the law of balance or neutrality, while being self-centered is living one-sidedly and incompletely — which is a violation of that primal law.
Such people may seem “successful” in the world but they experience a lack of fulfillment, true happiness and peace of mind. — Which drives them to drink, drugs, over spend, over eat, over work — distractions of every imaginable kind.
The biblical saying, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” applies here. We can paraphrase it to: The fear of the Law is the beginning of wisdom.
So, how do we live in the Law? We live in the Law by living in our higher Awareness instead of in our self-centered personality. Pure, detached Awareness is our highest power — and the ultimate lie detector. Staying in tune with it, listening to it and obeying its direction is all we have to be and do.
Do we all wear masks to hide our true feelings?
We all wear masks, all the time, period! — unless you’re not living in reality, don’t know how to act, or don’t know who you really are.
“Mask” is the meaning of the word persona. The mask of personality is necessary to all social intercourse and relationships. We couldn’t function in the world without it.
There’s no time or place when we’re not playing some role or other, so no time or place when we’re not wearing a mask — except when asleep.
Even when alone, we’re wearing a mask. When reading we’re playing the role of a reader. When listening to music, we’re playing the role of a listener of music. When meditating, the role of a meditator, etc.
This moment-to-moment role-playing mindset gives us the detachment necessary to know that we’re not really the roles we play, but are just the actors in them. And that our real self is simply the higher awareness that knows we’re just acting and prevents us from getting too carried away with any role. — Or worse, prevents us from thinking that we really are a character we’re playing!
The personality itself is not real, not our true identity but merely an actor. To “think” otherwise is not living in reality.
Shakespeare the western mystic said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and woman merely players.” — He was right! His words can and should be taken literally.
Consciously wearing a mask is living in reality. Is living authentically and most intelligently. Yes, it’s an act, but the act is real.
All reality asks of us is to simply be the best and most loving actors we can be.
Can controlling your emotions have a psychological effect on your life?
Yes. Controlling your emotions can and do have a psychological effect on your life — a very positive effect. Uncontrolled feelings block creative intelligence from bubbling up from the subconscious in the form of intuition.
Emotionality and mentality come from the personal mind, while intuition comes from the higher awareness which is above and distinct from the mind.
Intuition and creative intelligence must pass through the mind to the awareness. If the personal mind’s thoughts and feelings are not silent and still, this knowledge cannot freely pass through it. This is experienced as being blocked or stuck. Goal achievement becomes frustrated and stressful.
If you make decisions, when your mind is not silent and still, they will likely be wrong or mistaken. This is because the personal mind is biased in its perspective so sees things only one-sidedly instead of wholly.
All that said, how do we control or still thoughts and feelings? We don’t still them by indulging or romancing them, we still them by simply watching them from a reality-based distance. The stillness of your higher awareness “enlightens” those lower faculties into becoming silent and still themselves — effortlessly and automatically.
This question from Peter Coultas:
What’s the difference between an emotion and a desire?
It’s reciprocal: When you think of food, you get hungry; when you get hungry, you think of food.
Emotion can initiate desire and desire can become emotional.
When resentful of someone over a perceived slight, your ego desires to get even. Get revenge.
Desire can become emotional if the object of your desire is hard to find or get. The conundrum is this: The more emotional your ego becomes, the less likely it is to succeed.
Emotion blocks clarity. Puts blinders on the creative impulse. Emotion sees a thing personally instead of neutrally. Partially instead of wholistically.
Operating here is the law of attraction or of detachment. Getting an emotional distance from the object of your desire is necessary to attainment. This is the meaning of the paradox, that to achieve something you have to not (emotionally) want to achieve it.
Desires need to be sought impersonally because on some level you already have what you want. And to pursue it as if you didn’t already have it is folly like a dog chasing its own tail.
This question from Ginalyn Gloria:
What is emotional awareness?
Taking your question at its face, we could say that emotional awareness is paying particular attention to your feelings as opposed to your thoughts, sensations and physical activities — which seem to have secondary importance to you.
You’re not asking about control of the emotions, so I won’t go there. If it’s only emotional awareness that interests you, I’ll assume you want to increase your emotional awareness.
You can do that buy increasing your degree of detachment from your feelings. I’m not at all saying to repress them, but to get a little more distance from them. As soon as you notice a feeling has arisen — whether good or bad, pause a moment. Step back and experience it from a distance instead of directly.
To experience directly instead of detachedly causes you to become entangled or lost in your feelings. This is what the average, unenlightened person does.
Detached awareness will not only let you feel your feelings much more vividly, it will also help you to realize more clearly that the real you are not your feelings but are the pure awareness above them all.
Why does the ego feel neglected when it is not busy doing something?
The ego feels neglected when it’s not busy because it’s not real, and uses busyness as a distraction from seeing that reality.
The ego is the personality falsely thinking it’s real, falsely thinking it has control of anything whatsoever outside of the higher awareness — which is the source and foundation of all personal power.
Living without the higher awareness as an integral part of the living experience and process is not living in reality, and can bring only negative outcomes such as frustration and unfulfillment.
Notice that meditation is just the opposite of busyness: It is silent and still. Meditation practice is death to the ego — which is why it’s so hard to meditate, so hard to just sit still doing nothing.
You can overcome the temptations and distractions of the false ego by just watching the mind from a wisdom-based distance. The deceptions of the ego can’t survive the powerful bright light of Detached Awareness.
This question from Vanessa Gallagher:
How can I become more creative?
The word “become” shows you understand that you’re already creative and that you just want to know how to become more so. It seems you’ve reached a certain level of expression and are experiencing some difficulty going beyond it.
The personality becomes more creative and intelligent to the degree the mind-body connection is made. The personality is an expression of what your higher awareness radiates to you. But certain conditions have to be met in order to make that connection.
The personality needs to become as impersonal as the higher awareness is impersonal. That’s when and how the mind-body connection is made. That’s when and how intelligence from the higher awareness – called intuition can transfer to your mental faculty for processing. We can also call it creative intuition.
How to become more impersonal is the whole goal and purpose of “meditation” or the meditation mindset. It’s about not perceiving or taking anything in life personally. It’s about keeping a little distance from all inner and outer experience during all moment to moment daily activity to the best of your ability.
To the degree you be and do this, creative ideas will bombard you from every direction.
This question from Ankur Sah:
Do we control our own thoughts and feelings, or are we only aware of them?
Being aware of your thoughts and feelings is how you control them. Thoughts and feelings cannot be controlled using willpower, but when you watch them — witness them from a distance — they stop by themselves. The key word is distance.
So, simple awareness alone is not enough. It’s not qualified. Your awareness has to be detached or objective in to control your thoughts, feelings and perceptions.
We get easily caught up or lost in our mental and emotional activities. This gives them false power. Power they don’t really have. With detachment we separate our awareness from the things it’s aware of. This gives us clarity and clarity is power. Thoughts and feelings are then stopped at will — effortlessly.
This question from Ruth Jenkins:
Can you give a list of things I should get emotionally and mentally detached from?
In general, you want to let go of everything all the time. This defines freedom and wisdom. Whatever you don’t let go of controls you instead of you controlling it.
Being attached to anything whatsoever saps physical energy and creative power. You are not your real or higher self. You cannot be or live your potential. You are blocked or stuck. Disempowered. Limited.
The only thing in the world to be attached to is Pure Awareness. This is the most high thing. Attachment to anything else whatsoever corrupts and contaminates the purity of Awareness. That said, here are 15 common attachments to get rid of:
1. Negative, toxic people. 2. Anger & resentment. 3. Worry, guilt, remorse, & regret. 4. Needing to impress others.
5. Needing to control others. 6. Needing to satisfy others. 7. Seeking perfection rather than excellence.
8. Needing to be right about everything. 9. Needing to be the center of attention. 10. Wanting to be rich & famous.
11. Taking anything personally. 12. Needing the approval of others. 13. Wanting things to be different than they are.
14. Any kind of negativity whatsoever. 15. Baggage from the past.
Negative self-talk is hard to get rid of because it’s become a habit. Easy to get into and hard to get out of. The ego likes beating itself up because it’s a way of convincing itself that it’s real — which it’s not. The personal you is not an ego. It’s simply an actor playing its various roles the best it can.
Negative self-talk sets you back so much because you allow yourself to get lost in it. Spending so much energy on mentality and emotionality. This is being excessively self-absorbed. Remember that you are not your thoughts or feelings. You are above them and they are below you.
I would guess that you don’t meditate. Meditation would train you to catch a negative thought — or any thought, immediately upon inception, so you can let it go almost as immediately — instead of indulging it and wallowing in it.
Who’s in charge here, your thoughts and feelings, or you? The “You” is your all-powerful, higher awareness — when it’s not compromised by being dragged down to the level of the lower personality — which, in this case, it has.
The remedy is to simply keep a respectable distance from all thought and feeling. Distancing yourself is the essence of meditation, and is what gives you the clarity and power necessary to overcome negativity of any name or nature.
Question from Timothy Villegas:
How can I take control over how I feel and think? I’m doing Shambhavi Mahamudra by Sadhguru to see if it helps. Is there any real way of taking charge of my emotions and thoughts?
There are very many meditation techniques. Some will “work” for you and some won’t. Before I suggest how to tell the difference, let me say that if you’re trying too hard, no meditation will work. If you’re impatient or have some preconceived expectations, again, no meditation will work. The paradox about meditation is that you have to be in control of yourself in order for meditation to help you to be in control of yourself.
You can tell if a particular meditation resonates if something about the experience catches your attention — kind of makes you pause a second. It’s a very simple and delicate thing that you’re likely to overlook if not careful. It kind of nudges you into paying more attention. This is a subtle transformational experience that has potential. You can cultivate and exploit it with continued practice.
All that said, what you can do is simply and calmly watch unwanted thoughts and feelings from a respectable distance. Then an amazing thing happens: unwanted thoughts subside all by themselves. Same with negative feelings: watch them from an indifferent distance, and they will subside or change to their opposite pole: sadness will turn to joy, depression will change to elation, etc.
So the secret of self-control or mind-control is detached awareness of all present-moment experience. The absence of control is the absence of awareness — detached awareness. This is the difference between you controlling your experience or it controlling you. Absent-mindedness is the devil’s playground.
Question from Jake Wilson:
What’s wrong with having a big ego?
Most everything’s wrong with it. I say most because there’s one good thing about it — that you’ll learn a valuable lesson from it when you get a sufficient number of negative outcomes. The number depends on how stubborn or unconscious you are.
The main thing that’s wrong with having a big ego is that the ego is false. A false identity. It’s your personality thinking it’s the highest thing. Thinking it’s God. Thinking you did yourself. It’s operating on a false premise from which nothing good can come.
The personality of itself is and can do nothing. This is a truism taught by masters of most every religion and philosophy through the ages. To think you’ve achieved anything by yourself or by your personal mind alone is delusional.
The so-called ego is your personality being self-centered instead of neutrally centered or God centered.
Being egotistically self-centered is being one-sided or biased in all your perceptions. This causes virtually all the mistakes you make and consequently all the stress, frustration and failure you experience. (“Pride goeth before the fall.”)
The pride and joy that come with personal achievement must include within it some humility and gratitude. – They being the acknowledgement and wisdom that you didn’t do it yourself. This attitude of humility and gratitude ensures your continued success.
True success is a wholistic happening not an egoistic or selfish one.
Question from Kay Miller:
Which emotion is called a silent killer?
Resentment can be considered a silent killer. No other emotion, including hate, shame or fear is more damaging to the immune system. Resentment is a violation of many laws and principles of the universe — including harmony, positiveness, acceptance, forgiveness, love, freedom, detachment, balance, etc.
The mind and body are directly related, so that if one persists in this emotional dis-ease long enough, it likely will become a physical disease. Resentment literally eats away at the person like a cancer.
We are frequently tempted to self-righteous judgment and anger. Giving in to it indicates a low level of emotional intelligence and self-control. If you disagree with something, do it with reason not emotion. Practice getting and staying poised or neutral in your moment to moment response to life.
Pause before reacting to anything, especially to any seeming offense or injustice. Take nothing personally. Practice staying above it all and let no person, place or thing drag you down.
Yes, this is much easier said than done — which is why we have such a thing as meditation.