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June 23, 2016
Our emotional responses shape our experience of the world. Emotions can feel profoundly enriching, 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.
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 and Buddhist scholar Alan Wallace, develops our emotional awareness and helps us investigate our potential for genuine happiness.
Eve Ekman is the co-creator of the Atlas of Emotions, a project with Dr. Paul Ekman funded by the Dalai Lama. Her upcoming Cultivating Emotional Balance course is being held in San Francisco, learn more here.