machine receives an illusory identity from expressing negative
emotions, and thereby one loses one’s conscious identity. Virtually everything that one gains is
at the expense of negative emotions."
to the Fourth Way, one of the major barriers to divided attention
and self-remembering is the outward expression of negative emotions.
The spectrum of negative emotions includes all forms of irritation,
frustration, impatience, boredom, judgment, anxiety, worry, suspicion,
jealousy, self-pity, anger, indignation, hatred, resentment, and
fear. These and other negative emotions may feel legitimate and
seem worthwhile, but in actuality they are based on imagination.
Simply put, we imagine that other people and circumstances conspire
to make us negative; that they are the cause of our negativity
and suffering. As Mr. Ouspensky said, “Almost all our personal
negative emotions are based on accusation: somebody else is guilty.”
Psychologically, we justify this notion and feel the urge to vent
a reaction of irritation, opposition, anger, and so on.
outward expression of negative emotions is usually considered
harmless, a necessary release of energy, or an inevitable show
of character. After all, it seems valid that someone or something
has made us negative and that we have reason to blame them, as
well as the right to register our complaint. The Fourth Way, however,
reverses this rationale by explaining that negative emotions are
merely a byproduct of the wrong view we have of ourselves and
other people, of the world in general, and of the suffering in
our life. As Mr. Ouspensky said, “We think that negative
emotions are produced by circumstances, whereas all negative emotions
are in us, inside us.”
the point of view of the Fourth Way, expressing negative emotions
is never useful, never necessary, never a measure of strength.
On the contrary, it is a sign of mechanical weakness, it is pointless
in itself, and it is due merely to immaturity and shortsighted
thinking. Most importantly, expressing negative emotions is detrimental
to consciousness. This is because the psychological manufacture
and release of negative emotions corrupts awareness. Said another
way, negative emotions resist and reject—they negate—our
perception of reality. They distort the truth and prevent us from
seeing and accepting each moment as it is. This may sound absurd
simply because we are so accustomed to negative emotions and unaware
of the consequences of expressing them. Yet, as Robert Burton
has said, “One pays for this unconscious manifestation with
one’s conscious life.”
a Fourth Way school, special attention is devoted to controlling
the expression of negative emotions. The purpose is to transcend
the feeling of ‘me’ in negative emotions and harness
the unexpressed energy into the conscious presence of self-remembering.
This includes trying to kindle, not only a point of view, but
a state of presence that sees oneself, other people, events, and
suffering as they are, not as we imagine them or would prefer
them to be. In this process, the effort of not expressing negative
emotions serves as a stepping stone to divided attention; as a
catalyst for conscious presence. Needless to say, it requires
great mastery over oneself.
on negative emotions
Ouspensky said about negative emotions: “You cannot struggle
with negative emotions without remembering yourself more, and
you cannot remember yourself more without struggling with negative
emotions.” He also said, “It is not enough to observe
them, it is necessary to resist them, because without resisting
them one cannot observe them. They happen so quickly, so habitually
and so imperceptibly, that one cannot notice them if one does
not make sufficient efforts to create obstacles for them.”
This explanation forms the basis of work on negative emotions,
yet there are two more points worth mentioning. One is that non-expression
does not mean inward suppression. It means disallowing outward
expression. The other point is that non-expression is but a first
step. In right order it is coupled with an awareness of why you
are doing it: namely, to rise above the insistent feeling of ‘I’
and promote the presence of self-remembering. This is really the
focus. Negative emotions themselves, whatever form they take,
simply fuel this added effort toward a higher state of consciousness.
for next issue: the many ‘I’s
thought, movement, sensation, and emotion produces a feeling of
in us which, moment after moment, we mistake for consciousness.
In the next issue we will examine how this happens and how to distinguish
consciousness from the mechanical sense of ‘I’.
of interest on our web site
See video clips of Robert
of Real Work by Girard Haven
reading about the Fourth Way
See the web site in your
language (home page menu)
We offer a series of free introductory lectures on a regular basis
in cities around the world. To register for the series, call our
USA information line (1-800-642-0212) or find
a center nearest you.
Foundation of the Fourth Way
Self-knowledge · Levels of consciousness
Man as a machine · Consciousness, will, and unity
Obstacles to awakening · Three lines of work
Theory of Centers
(requires lecture 1)
Ways to Seize and Prolong Presence
The 4 lower centers
The sex center
The soul, the spirit
(requires lecture 1 and 2)
How to introduce and sustain self-remembering
of Friends is a Fourth Way school
with centers worldwide. Membership is
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a center nearest you.
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copyright © 2004 · all rights reserved
part of this newsletter may be copied, reprinted, or reproduced
in any form without written permission from the Fellowship of
of Hercules from the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina; c. 500-480 BC,
Thoughts on negative emotions
cannot help expressing his unpleasant emotions simply because he
is weak. Self-observation and and self-study must, from the first,
be accompanied by the struggle against the expression of unpleasant
possibilities of development are contained in conquering negative
emotions and transforming them.
Expression of negative emotions is always mechanical, so it can
never be useful, but resistance to it is conscious. We
have much more power over expression of negative emotions than we
think, and we can learn not to express them. When you realize that
nobody else is responsible for your irritation, little by little
you will begin to feel differently.
is very important to stay above all annoyances. Condemnation and
negative criticism are always and everywhere wrong. They lead nowhere
and can only spoil everything.
one’s negative emotions is voluntary suffering because the
machine does not want to give them up. The expression of negative
emotions is a sign that something is consuming the present. Negative
emotions and all the unhappiness associated with them are the result
not abandon yourself.
to respond, not to react. Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much
as your own thoughts unguarded, but once mastered none can help
you as much. Buddha
can achieve nothing by resentment. Homer
is energy acting of its own impulse. Heaven is energy obeying something
is a brief madness. Unchecked it becomes extended madness which
brings shame and finally death. Petrarch
that yearns the truth to know, still further inwardly must go. Lewis
pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of hell are with
me. The former I graft unto myself. The latter I translate into
a new tongue. Walt
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