This means that we must clear an area of our psychologically cluttered ego-personality space so that we can detect the signals coming from the energetic heart. The key to doing this is observation. When we are lost in thought, when we are not present, we are immersed in and identified with our thoughts and feelings. Well, as many of you may already know, we are not our thoughts and feelings. These are the contents of consciousness, not consciousness itself. These are holographic memory imprints recorded in our minds through routine contact with the third-dimensional world. These imprints are the junk drawers and storage closets of our psychological space. We don’t necessarily need all this stuff! And we certainly do not need to be laying it all out on the floor of our consciousness each day, only to put it all back again.

If you make the decision to step in and observe your next habitual reaction to something you see on television or something a co-worker does or says which causes you to react, STOP and observe your reaction. Do you make your “usual” comment? Do you laugh or complain without a thought as to why? Does an unkind thought and negative emotion enter your mind? Whatever occurs—OBSERVE IT. Bring your attention to these “knee-jerk” reactions. Interrupt the automatic flow of habitual thought and emotion. This is the “stuff” we keep accumulating and storing in our closets. This is the material blocking the light of the soul from entering your field of awareness. This is the “noise” drowning out the inner voice of the energetic heart.

If you put enough effort into interrupting the chain reaction thoughts and emotions of the ego-personality, you will disrupt them to the point where you will have created sufficient silence for the voice of the energetic heart to be heard. This does not happen overnight. It takes perseverance, but it can be achieved. It should also be pointed out that the complete silencing of the mind and emotions is not possible or even necessarily desirable. It is natural for these subjective instruments to record and respond to the environment. Simply learn to see them in their proper perspective. These thoughts and feelings are your servants. They serve you—the soul, the higher self. You are the artist creating your life expression, your work of art. Your thoughts and feelings are your brushes and paints.

Our goal is to restore order to our inner lives so that we can bring the six heart virtues into our own lives and the lives of others. Think of the mind and emotions as an appliance, like a washing machine. When we want to wash clothes we operate our washing machines. When our wash is completed our washing machines stop operating and remain off until we need to wash more clothes. Our problem is that we leave the washing machine of the mind operating all the time, even if we have no clothes to wash. Emotional self-mastery means that we are in charge of the washing machine. We are not the machine; we are the machine’s operator. We learn how to use it efficiently and for the right reasons, thus avoiding unnecessary stress and wear on the parts, costly repairs, and downtime.

If we observe the continuous operation of the mind and emotions as they habitually react to the encounters around them, we will soon learn that most of this activity is needless and even harmful to our well-being. The ego-personality is habituated to the noise of the social order. This third-dimensional noise impairs and reduces the sensitivity of our emotional and mental energy fields. This insensitivity to the transmissions of the energetic heart severely limits our abilities to practice when-which-how, to say nothing of gaining emotional self-mastery. If we cannot get in touch with our own heart energetics, how can we expect to help others? Recall, the exhortation: “Physician, heal thyself.”

One cautionary note before moving on—observation is not self-absorption. We are observing our internal processes with an impersonal attitude. This means that we have compassion for ourselves, but we are not attached to the thoughts and feelings that we have. We are like the surgeon who has diagnosed a disease and can correct the problem without any feelings getting in the way of the procedure that must be performed. If you suddenly find yourself identified with the thoughts and feelings you are observing, stop and refocus as the observer, the one who will determine the quality and nature of these contents of your consciousness. As the observer, you are the wise and compassionate judge who determines how your thoughts and feelings are contributing to your practice. Are they positive or negative effects?

If we observe negativity in the mind, we can take action and stop it. We create a psychological space from which we can step in and restore positive thoughts and feelings based on the virtues. However, we need to be present in order to take charge. When we begin to do this, even for five seconds, we have begun a process that will lead to even more control, and ultimately, self-mastery. This is the beginning of effective practice of when-which-how. This is the beginning of increased awareness and sensitivity to the transmissions of the energetic heart.