June 23, 2016
Our emotional responses shape our experience of the world. Emotions can profoundly enrich our lives, such as when we feel pride from great success or the elation of new love. They can also feel painfully unbearable, as with profound grief or embarrassment. Sometimes we may want to hold on to emotions forever, and other times we may want to banish them immediately, but the fact is, emotions often feel, and indeed are, beyond our conscious control. And in a lot of ways, this is a good thing! A world without the pull of emotions would be bland, to say the least. In addition, our emotions provide vital information, even—or perhaps especially—when they’re painful or difficult to experience.
Still, most of us would welcome having a greater understanding of our emotions and more of a choice about our emotional responses. The good news is, we don’t not need to resort to elaborate technologies, rigorous therapies, or medications to achieve a more balanced emotional life. We can do so by simply by becoming more aware of and familiar with our emotions. Cultivating Emotional Balance, a training designed by Paul Ekman, PhD, and Buddhist scholar, Alan Wallace, develops our emotional awareness and helps us investigate our potential for genuine happiness.
Eve Ekman, PhD, is the co-creator of the Atlas of Emotions, a project created with her father, Paul Ekman, PhD, which was funded by the Dalai Lama. Eve is also a lead facilitator for Cultivating Emotional Balance workshops and retreats.