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A Cognitive Beginning

Emotional Mastery continued...

Emotions don’t just appear. They start with your thinking. We could therefore say that if you had cognitive mastery you would automatically gain emotional mastery.

This next section explains how in any situation the thought is the trigger for the emotion. Notice the two different examples and outcomes that arise.

1. Situation: A situation or event occurs.
2. Thought: Our cognitive mind sets in and gives meaning to this. In other words thoughts arise.
3. Emotions then arise
4. Behavior is the result.

Example 1:

Situation: My husband is not yet home and it's late.

Thought: My thought he does not care about me. I have to do everything by myself. He doesn’t think that I have two small kids to bath and give dinner too. He doesn’t think that I too have been at work all day.

Emotion: Frustration which builds with my thoughts and turns to anger

Behavior: As my husband walks in the door he receives the full blow of my anger

Example 2:

Situation: My husband is not yet home and it's late.

Thought: He has an important job. He is providing for his family

Emotion: love and happiness

Behavior: Husband walks in and I give him a kiss and am delighted to see him

Understanding how our cognitive process influences or emotions and then our behavior is not enough. This is theory. Practice is needed in order to be aware of your motions and to inquire about them.

Inquiry and Non-resistance

Mindfulness practice or any practice that helps you to go still and  become aware of yourself is key to emotional mastery and freedom. When you are aware in the moment then you can question your thoughts and distinguish between fact and your perception. What is important is not to resist or judge. When you look at what is happening in a situation as if you are almost an objective observer, you can inquire. When you resist then the emotion will heighten and not let go of you. This requires practice. In the life coaching that I do with my clients on a spiritual level we use meditation and any mindful practice to gain emotional empowerment.

Emotions let go of you

In the beginning of this article I mentioned that emotions serve a purpose. I had had enough of my anger, of my dissatisfaction with life, of my despair and feelings of despondency so much so that I was searching hard and far to find emotional mastery. So you do have to want it and when you want something badly you are prepared to work for it and work I did.

Formal and informal meditation and every time a negative thought arises questioning it gently and that means also non-judgmentally almost in a loving way. This led to my negative emotions letting go of me. When I practiced being aware and there are so very many beautiful and wonderful ways of doing this, I gained myself back. The irony was that before when I strove to be in control I was just the opposite.


My evolvement is a journey that I am still on. Once you embark on that journey you fall in love and there is no wanting to turn back. When I experienced love instead of war in my home, when I am conscious that I CAN spill the milk and laugh instead of telling myself "Silly you" I feel like I am on cloud 9. When I spill the milk it takes two seconds exactly to clean and yet before I made such a fuss and drained myself of energy. Rome was not built in a day. Patience is required and the more still you become the more mindful you are. It cannot be forced.

The evolvement is seen when you notice soon after a situation (see above, Cognitive Beginning) that you were not in control of your emotion. Even at this point, as you become aware, you can stop and inquire about your thinking. You notice your evolvement when you notice in the moment of your anger that you are angry and question your thoughts and belief at that moment. You reach the next stage of enlightenment and emotional mastery when in the moment you are aware of your thought and can respond in the way you choose rather than react.

I highly recommend Byron Katie teachings of "The Work". She has such an easy way of inquiry and of questioning of your thoughts, particularly those that cause you suffering. Today when I am aware of any negative feeling I can imagine her program and the questions and I write these down to discover what is the thought that is making me feel other than my true self.

So in the example 1: I could ask for each sentence:

Is it true my husband does not care about me? No its not true… BONG
Is it true I have to do everything myself? No its not true, my husband does so much….BONG

Is it true : He doesn’t think that I have two small kids to bath and give dinner too. ? No he knows we have two small kids….perhaps I need to think about asking him for help or someone else when I am tired or on a regular basis if he works late.

Emotional Mastery is gained from personal growth development and practice.  Cognitive mastery in my experience is a prerequisite.  Mastering your mind and creating inner silence leads us to respond with conscious choice and awareness and thereby being able to control our emotions.  


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