Law is a coherent set of rules that govern behavior. As individuals, we govern our behavior using motivation, which reflects our value system. This value system can be thought of as our personal law system, the set of rules we use to determine our reactions to situations in life.
We interact with these values through emotional processes, especially during the initial stages of life. Later, as the rational mind matures, logic and reason can become more dominant and take over for the emotions. But this intellectual maturity isn’t biologically hard wired; it has to develop through practice. Like a muscle, our rational capacities need to be exercised.
Now, this doesn’t mean emotions stop playing a major role in our lives. But once the rational mind begins to mature, the emotional processes evolve and become part of the data collection mechanism we use to guide our lives. Like our sense of sight, emotions and feelings can tell us a great deal but they need to be “unpacked” through contemplation—by using philosophy. Emotions reveal what is below the surface of our consciousness, while the mind through reason and logic allows us to discover spiritual values.
These spiritual values conflict with our animal values, the ones we needed earlier in life to help us grow. But now that the mind is active, these animal values need to be discarded in favor of spiritual values, so as to continue personality evolution.
If the term spiritual values doesn’t resonate, consider utility.
The animalistic motivation to avoid disgusting things is highly useful when we’re children by making us feel intense negative emotions—such as the smell of rotten food. But as we grow older, these intense negative emotions hold us back.
In short, we don’t need to feel these negative emotions in order to know, at a rational level, that we don’t want to eat rotten food.
Thus, by using reason and logic animal motivations, of a largely emotional nature, can grow to become a rational argument—a logical motivation. And once properly done, this newly created rational motivation no longer causes intense negative emotions. We react logically to things we used to react emotionally to. A logical argument for not eating rotten food can replace the mildly traumatic experience of smelling rotten food, liberating us emotionally.
The more we’re able to arrest our value system away from animalistic emotional control, the more coherent and adaptive our consciousness becomes. Eventually, we can make contact with personally transcendent values—spiritual values.
For example, a spiritual value is one that sacrifices the present in favor of a beneficial future. The desire to take vengeance against someone that harmed us will make us feel satisfied when we’re upset, but conflicts with the value of harmlessness and morality.
The spiritual value to be moral (to act with harmlessness) requires mental guidance—that is, our emotions tell us to act out vengeance while our rational mind tells us to be moral. Therefore, the mind, with its powers of reason and logic, act as a countering force against the often anti-social nature of the animal value system.
Eventually, if we follow reason and logic properly, we can discover spiritual values that help us reprogram our subconscious. This results in a change in emotional expression.
Through the power of the mind, we can retune our emotions to be in harmony with spiritual values. Instead of feeling a strong desire to act with vengeance we feel a strong desire to forgive. And after the retuning of the subconscious mind has taken place, we feel from forgiveness in the same satisfaction we used to feel from vengence.
The mind and emotions are meant to work together. When we rediscover how to do this, we gain freedom from trauma and begin the personality building process that imparts self-mastery and wisdom.
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