Lower Self: Negative Emotions
Negative emotions are a major obstacle that prevent one from reaching the Divine Present. Preoccupation with irritations, anger, judgment or self-pity, etc. veil reality. Furthermore, negative emotion creates a strong, illusory sense of `I` that conceal the nature of the lower self. When blaming others or events for one`s negativity, it is impossible to see one's own internal faulty attitudes that are the cause of the negativity. However, because attitudes are possible to change, a positive attitude can enable one to harness and transform the powerful energy behind the negativity.
Ouspensky: Expression of negative emotions is always mechanical, so it can never be useful. But resistance to it is conscious. Only those who have a certain control of negative emotions can work on self - remembering and get good results.
Sufi tradition -- Ibn Arabi: When you restrain your anger you outrage the devil, since you have tamed your animal self and subdued it.
The lion traditionally represents the emotions of the lower self; a roaring lion is a strong negative emotion. The non-expression of negative emotions is the beginning of transforming them into presence. When the feeling of `I` is distanced from the negative emotion, its powerful energy can become fuel for the state of Presence. Not justifying ones negativity, but rather stepping back to observe the negativity circulating within already begins to transform and redirect this volatile energy.
Christian tradition -- Gospel According to Thomas: Blessed is the man who consumes his lion, and cursed is the man who is consumed by his lion.
The Bible, I Peter 5:8: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
Christian tradition -- Philokalia, Evagrios the Solitary: We once heard a story about one of the holy men of prayer who was assailed by the spiteful demon. No sooner had he lifted his hands in prayer than this demon transformed himself into a lion and, raising his forelegs up, he sunk his claws into either cheek of this athlete of prayer. But this man simply would not yield. He did not lower them until he had completed all his usual prayers.
Arabian Nights: He took the sword and, rushing upon the lion, smote him between the eyes.
Journey to the West Ch. 29: “Bodhisattva,” said Monkey, “he's the blue-haired lion from under your throne.” The Bodhisattva said a spell and shouted, “Return to the Truth, beast. What are you waiting for?” Only then did the fiend-king return to his original form, Manjusri placed a lotus-blossom over the monster to tame him, and sat on his back.