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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mind Over Emotions

We are emotional beings. We are rational beings. Both are powerful. Both can work with each other. Both can work against each other. Both can be in harmony.
I have often been seen as someone who lacks emotion due to the fact that I don’t often show publicly what I am feeling. But those who are close to me know that I do have emotions. They are there. I just don’t feel compelled to show them; it makes me uncomfortable. It might be a guy thing. Yet, as I the years have passed I have felt the growth of emotions to the point where it is not hard to feel the tears in my eyes when I am watching a movie or I am speaking to someone who I care deeply. Why is this so? I am sure there is a logical explanation, but that’s not what I want to talk about here.
I want to talk about the importance of putting mind over emotions. Personally, this hasn’t been hard for me. I’ve always been a logical person always weighing my decisions on reason and not emotion. I remember how I decided that I wanted to marry my wife. It took intensive rational thinking and after three days I was ready to propose. Of course I felt emotions. I was enveloped in them. But I made a choice guided by reason as well.
But I have observed so many times how people make decisions based on what they feel. They sacrifice what they believe for what they feel. They put emotion over principle. They put emotions over mind. This is dangerous. Letting emotions guide us and control us lead us to make decisions that we may later regret. I remember giving counsel to a young woman about the spiritual abuse her church was imposing on her and others and how she rejected what I said based on her close association to the pastor only to later realize that her emotions had blinded her. Her emotions were put over her reason and it led her and others astray. Emotions are dangerous when given free will. They must be guided by reason.
When we don’t put our mind over emotions, we run the risk of being manipulated by others. It’s easy. A few weeks ago I was sitting in church listening a sermon on the prodigal son. I though the interpretation of the parable did not do justice to the text. But even worse, we saw a video that modernized the parable. As I watched it I felt more contempt until the music started playing. Then I started to feel like I wanted to cry. Some tears felt from my eyes. Many around me were crying even men! For a moment I forgot what I “thought” about the sermon and gave in to my emotions. They are powerful. They can blind us from reason. They can justify anything. That’s why it’s important to balance them with our reason.

Have you heard the expression “Common Sense”? Well, our sense is derived from our reason. But these days it means very little. We need some Enlightenment. But it can only come when we put mind over emotions.
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