The Hidden Meaning of Alchemy – Transforming Base Lead into Gold
What are we truly made of? What makes this life as a human being so complex and so often contradictory? Are we anything more than just a collection of chemicals and water held together in an increasingly loose bag of skin? Are we really nothing more than the sum of our thoughts and feelings and the components of our physical bodies? It’s a complex issue to consider but let’s start with the raw power of our emotional energy.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed, for example, by the raw energy of your anger? Have you ever felt the darkness well up from within the depths of your heart and cloud your vision, filling you with so much anger that you could lash out in a burst of temper that others would find disturbing? Do you ever feel the cauldron of anger simmering and boiling just beneath the surface like a volcano that’s about to erupt? Well, it’s a very familiar aspect of the human condition and it certainly isn’t helpful to pretend that these feelings don’t exist. Because these powerful feelings form an undeniable part of the human emotional experience.
The fact is, we all feel anger. Life is an intensely emotional experience and anger, like all negative emotions, is part of the spectrum of emotional expression that affects all of us. The purpose of drawing attention to this potentially destructive emotional energy is to question whether you’re in control of your anger – or whether your anger is in control of you. In other words, have you learned to master your emotions or do your feelings run riot through your day and take you to places that you’d rather not visit? It might be helpful to bear in mind that here is a wide gulf between the two states of either being in control or being subject to the random eruption of emotional energy that can easily ruin the day.
You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger. – Buddha
When we consider the nature of anger, it’s very useful to remember that all negative emotions have their roots in fear. That’s right. That means we need to look beyond the superficial manifestation of our emotional reactions and look for their origins – below the surface and beyond the obvious. Whenever a negative emotion arises – and anger is a perfect example of a destructively negative emotion – we must ask ourselves a very simple question:
If fear is the origin of all my negative feelings, then what am I afraid of?
Our language and culture encourage us to connect our anger with whatever seems to be provoking that particular response. We assume that some external event is capable of making us angry. Someone says something foolish – and we react with anger and irritation. Somebody makes an unkind remark – and we feel the anger rising up in a tidal wave of righteous indignation! In fact, we never seem to run short of things to make us angry. Have you noticed that? There’s always something – or someone – that has the capacity to touch a sensitive nerve and spark a furious response in us.
Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, to feel stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is you’re giving someone or something outside of yourself the absolute power over your happiness. You can always choose to not let things upset you. – Joel Osteen
But the anger couldn’t possibly reside in the external events that prompt us to respond with such negative feelings. There is no emotional content in any event per se. We are the ones who add the emotional flavour to any moment, event or occurrence.
So, if we accept the idea that our anger cannot come from outside of ourselves, we need to ask ourselves:
Where does it come from?
Well, the anger – and the fear that spawns all of our negative emotions – must reside within us. That’s where our emotional reactions are seated. Within us. Not in the world around us. Not in the external events. Inside our emotional centers where all of our feelings are generated.
So, if our emotions are generated within us, this is the perfect moment to recognise that we are responsible for all the feelings that we attach to everything we see and do, to the way we respond to everything that’s going on around us. And when we ask ourselves in a moment of anger what we might be afraid of – the anger is transformed beneath the light of our scrutiny into a passing cloud that melts away under the light of our rational enquiry.
I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him. – Booker T. Washington
In this moment of logical introspection, we discover the power to transform the base metal of our anger and fear into the pure gold of reason and self-control. We free ourselves from the contaminating weeds of fear and channel our energy into more positive and supportive thoughts and feelings. Anger loses its grip on our reactions. Fear dissolves in the light of our scrutiny. As we learn to expose the shadows of our fears to the bright forces of logical reasoning, they disappear. Being free from the haunting tendrils of these lingering old habits, we discover new levels of energy and enthusiasm for our lives. The power that was locked up in our doubts and fears is released and channeled into the pursuit of our dreams. We turn the leaden weight of our fear into the refined gold of achievement, success and personal fulfilment.
Make today the day when you practise the alchemy of personal transformation. Let go of your fears. Release your anger. Focus on your goals. And travel lighter without the weight of all that negativity in your baggage.
When angry – count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. – Thomas Jefferson