BOOK REVIEW: Emotional Wisdom by Mantak Chia & Dena Saxer

What is the role of human emotions? What can they tell us about our health and well-being? Are they good or bad? Have you thought about emotions and how they impact your life? Should they be managed or prevented at all costs? These are some of the questions you will be invited to ask and seek answers to when you start reading the book Emotional Wisdom by Mantak Chia and Dena Saxer.

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One of the aspects I loved about this book is that it introduces you to Taoism, a Chinese philosophy that teaches us how to go through life in harmony. The most basic principle of Taoism is that there’s a universal cosmic force that flows through all things. This energy constantly binds and releases itself, contributing to the greater natural order of the cosmos. Emotions are not excluded from this dynamic.

There are positive and negative emotions. Positive emotions are usually an indicator that we are in harmony with cosmic energy. Negative emotions mean there is something out of balance and which needs some tender loving care. They help us identify when we are out of balance and need to recalibrate. They can also work as a sign or compass for decision-making and pursuing creative endeavors (e.g. painting).

Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain… you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain (Eckhart Tolle)

Emotions are a form of energy and they are part of our human existence, no matter how much we try to deny them. I would like to know exactly when human beings decide that emotions are ugly and bad. This false belief has taken a toll on us. We have grown to reject emotions and disregard the value of emotions, especially the negatives ones. Negative emotions are messages from our soul saying there is something that is just not right.

According to Chinese Philosophy, the internal root cause of ill-health is the existence of an emotional imbalance, and Western medicine has finally caught up with this valuable insight. Studies have shown that negative emotions make our blood thicker and more acidic, making it more difficult to circulate in the body. A lot of findings like this have been discovered in the field of Psychoimmunology, which studies the mind-body connection and its impact on health and well-being.

Today’s problem is that most of us don’t want to feel and process negative emotions. Instead of sitting with them and learning what they want to tell us, we either get paralyzed or seek ways to numb ourselves (e.g. food, violence, sex). In the long term, it is our body that pays the highest price through discomfort and disease. Emotional Wisdom addresses these emotions and teaches you techniques to deal with and release them. One of these techniques is the inner smile meditation.

The inner smile meditation is a Taoist practice that has you visualizing and experiencing an event that makes you smile in your mind’s eye and extend the energy of that smile to all your organs and body parts. It takes you about ten minutes to perform this practice and the result is that you will feel more relaxed, more at ease, and also kinder to yourself. This occurs because you will be helping your body reduce stress hormones: adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol.

There are other very interesting and useful concepts and techniques in this book, Emotional Wisdom. I strongly recommend it if you are already familiar with eastern philosophy, or you want to learn more about it.

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