How many different emotions are there?
The answer is all over the board. I’ve read that there are as many as 7000 emotional expressions, and depending on the source, anywhere between 4 and 14 basic or irreducible emotions.
Yoga says that all emotions fall under (or can be reduced to) one of two categories: Love and Fear.
I shared this image on last week’s post, and I share it again because it is a relevant and important topic that touches everyone regardless of age, race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, economic status, academic intelligence, or level of enlightenment. It is highly impactful because fear does not stay contained within one individual — it ripples.
Fear can be a great friend. It helps us survive when danger is present. Our body goes into fight or flight mode to give us the adrenaline, will and inner strength to respond accordingly.
Often, however, we are not in imminent danger, and we mistake fear for Truth (Love). We go into fight or flight thinking we are responding accordingly. We make false evidence real. And we do an excellent job enrolling others in our story and finding experts who can support our evidence.
How do we know the difference between false evidence and truth? Below are some questions to ask yourself. Listen to your body (rather than your head). If you find yourself needing to process, consider that you might be needing the time to gather false evidence. Truth is (in most cases) spontaneous:
- do you point at things outside of yourself as reasons why something is not working?
- do you believe that eliminating things in your external environment will make things better?
- do you recognize and own your current capacity to manage what is in front of you?
- do you ask for help? Or do you try to control the situation?
- how often do you feel in flow, versus how often do you feel the need to process?
- what is your relationship with transparency and sharing?
Emotions are God-given faculties. Rather than being an inconvenience, they shine light on the work we must do. And often, they shine light on what is absolutely working!
When fear is harnessed, they can act as guides to help us stay on our path. Emotions give us that extra push, will and inner strength to respond according to what is happening before us; to stretch us beyond our current capacities and into our next most radiant Self. Like a dashboard of a car– if the pointer points to empty, it simply means we need to feed it more gas. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with us. Or that someone else did something to make it happen. Fear is the fork in the road that asks us to make the next choice: Love or more Fear. Often, the scary, vulnerable, out-of-control thing is love; the controlling thing is fear.