Emotions are the force that power our roller-coaster and drives us away from the peaceful, tranquil, middle of inner peace.
Over 2300 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle came up with his list of emotions.
- Anger: An impulse to revenge that shall be evident, and caused by an obvious, unjustified slight with respect to the individual or his friends. Slights have three species: contempt, spite, and insolence.
- Mildness: The settling down and quieting of anger.
- Love: Wishing for a person those things which you consider to be good—wishing them for his sake and not your own--and tending so far as you can to affect them.
- Enmity (hatred): Whereas anger is excited by offences that concern the individual, enmity may arise without regard to the individual as such. Anger is directed against the individual, hatred is directed against the class as well.
- Fear: A pain or disturbance arising from a mental image of impending evil of a painful or destructive sort.
- Confidence: The opposite of fear. Confidence is the hope (anticipation), accompanied by a mental image, of things conducive to safety as being near at hand, while causes of fear seem to be either non-existent or far away.
- Shame: A pain or disturbance regarding that class of evils, in the present, past, or future, which we think will tend to our discredit.
- Shamelessness: A certain contempt or indifference regarding the said evils.
- Benevolence: The emotion toward disinterested kindness in doing or returning good to another or to all others; the same term represents the kind action as an action; or the kind thing done considered as a result.
- Pity: A sense of pain at what we take to be an evil of a destructive or painful kind, which befalls one who does not deserve it, which we think we ourselves or someone allied to us might likewise suffer, and when this possibility seems near at hand.
- Indignation: A pain at the sight of undeserved good fortune.
- Envy: A disturbing pain directed at the good fortune of an equal. The pain is felt not because one desires something, but because the other persons have it.
- Emulation: A pain at what we take to be the presence, in the case of persons who are by nature like us, of goods that are desirable and are possible for us to attain--a pain felt, not because the other persons have these goods, but because we do not have them as well.
- Contempt: The antithesis of emulation (Persons who are in a position to emulate or to be emulated must tend to feel contempt for those who are subject to any evils [defects and disadvantages] that are opposite to the goods arousing emulation, and to feel it with respect to these evils).
Each one of these emotions, depending on the circumstances and severity, drive us up or down the roller-coaster and away from the middle, neutral ground of our center.
Regardless of the positive or negative nature of the emotion driving our roller-coaster the eventual outcome is that we are drained from the experience.
So how do we find our middle and avoid the stress and toll that the emotional roller-coaster takes on our body, mind, and spirit? Going forward, we will look at some ideas to try to live more of our life in the middle where inner peace reigns.