As we Think, so we Become
As we Think, so we Become

What are you feeling right now? Our emotions have a dramatic effect on our energy field, positive emotions being energising and uplifting, and negative ones draining us and even causing physical pain. Being mindful will help you to become aware of your emotions with a certain amount of detachment, so you don’t become overwhelmed by them.

The ability to recognise how we are feeling without reacting to it allows us to change our focus. Focusing on positive emotions really does make you feel good!

We are usually aware of physical aches and pains, but often put aside our emotions while we get on with ‘life’: a demanding job, looking after children, shopping, going to the gym, cooking, watching television – perhaps we stuff our emotions down so that we can get on with it all, or perhaps we just keep so busy that we never have the time or the solitude to examine and recognise what we are feeling.

Are you hurting? Are you angry? The two emotions are often intertwined, anger being a protective response when we feel that our needs or expectations have not been met.

If you are expecting to meet a friend at 10 a.m. and they arrive an hour later, you probably will feel angry!


How do you feel when you are experiencing negative emotions?

Negative emotions have a dramatic effect on the energy field and can make you feel drained, heavy, tired, slow, closed and mentally foggy. Sometimes one can feel a literal pain: a sensation of crushed glass in the solar plexus, a squeezing feeling in the chest. Negative emotions can make you ache all over. Did you know that when you tell a lie or are dishonest your energy field shrinks? A simple test with kinesiology will show that a muscle becomes weak when a person concentrates on a negative thought. Concentrate on a positive thought, and the muscle will test strong again!

Anger may bring the illusion of strength, but in the heat of the moment we are at our most vulnerable. In a moment of anger a burning wave rushes up the body, and once it reaches the head our logical mind shuts down and we become completely irrational and destructive. It can take months for the energy field to recover and replenish the energy lost in that moment. We feel sharp and hard within when we are angry, and there is no sense of inner peace or perspective.


When we are feeling positive emotions we feel alive, light, energised and confident. Time seems to move faster and we are caught up in the moment. We have a sense of energy flowing and moving. We feel free and everything seems effortless and fun. It feels as if we have more air to breathe in and more space to breathe out. There is a sense of balance and harmony.

We don’t have to question ‘why’ when we are happy. It is a natural state of being. But do we pay enough attention to our positive emotions?

In the Buddhist tradition positive emotions are deliberately generated, cultivated and practised. One method used to weaken the grip of negative emotions is to focus on the ‘antidote’ of that emotion. For example, the antidote of ‘anger’ is considered to be patience and tolerance. So instead of thinking ‘I must not get angry’, one would rather think of the benefits of patience and tolerance.

Compassion is also deliberately generated in Buddhism, with the view that the more one thinks about it and practises it, the more compassionate one can become. What exactly is compassion? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama believes that ‘… true compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively …’1

The reasoning is that ‘… all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it’,1 and that ‘once you have accustomed your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others and the wish to help them actively overcome their problems …’.1

He believes that compassion can be developed and generated through patience and mindfulness.


Perhaps the key to managing our emotions is mindfulness and the ability to be aware of an emotion without reacting to it: feeling neither like nor dislike, just acceptance.

Mindfulness is a skill that is a combination of self-awareness, being in the present moment and paying attention.

When we are mindful we have just the right amount of attention engaged in something; enough effort to keep focused and alert, but enough relaxation to be calm and centred, so that we don’t get completely caught up in whatever is going on. When you are mindful you are aware of your state of mind, your feelings and your body.

According to Alyss Thomas,2 you can recognise that you are being mindful when:

  • You feel that you are in flow and you are breathing rhythmically.
  • You feel balanced and effective, involved but calm.
  • You allow feelings and thoughts to surface into your awareness without suppressing them, but you don’t let them distract you.
  • You can focus on something, but you can take care of yourself at the same time.
  • When necessary you can focus and concentrate without getting easily distracted.

Being mindful will help you to recognise and become aware of emotions with a certain amount of detachment or distance, so that you don’t become overwhelmed or swamped by them. It is then easier to use logical thought to analyse the emotion if it is still bothering you.


Once you have achieved this understanding, you can choose to change your focus (let the emotion go), perhaps putting it aside so that it can be dealt with at a more appropriate time.

It is important to acknowledge and accept emotions, but it is not always necessary to react to them. Strong negative emotions may seem overwhelming when we first experience them, but can often be transitory. Feelings, fears and emotions all pass with time, especially if we do not feed the flames by focusing on them exclusively or dwelling on them too much.

It is also possible that a sudden ‘mood change’ may be an emotion that you are sensing from somebody around you. Many sensitive people are completely unaware that their so-called ‘moodiness’ is due to the fact that they are tuning into other people’s energy fields and picking up other people’s emotions. Being mindful will help you to realise that ‘this emotion may not be mine’ and to move on without being affected by it or reacting to it.

So what are you feeling now? After writing about compassion and mindfulness I am feeling inspired and motivated! Focusing on positive emotion really does make you feel good!

Before we finish, find a memory of a moment when you were at your most compassionate: a moment of loving-kindness, thoughtfulness, caring. Tune into that moment and remember how it made you feel: soft, gentle, warm, loving, powerful.

Now hold that feeling in your heart so that it may lighten and brighten your day, lift your spirits, and give you the strength and tranquillity to face whatever lies ahead.


  1. The Dalai Lama (author), edited by Nicholas Vreeland. An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life. USA: Back Bay Books, 2002.
  2. Thomas A. The 1000 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask Yourself: That Make Life Work for You. New Zealand: Exisel Publishing, 2005.
continue to top