How to Pursue the Truth (5) Part One
During this period we fellowshiped on the first aspect of how to pursue the truth, which is about letting go. We mainly spoke about the first part of this topic—letting go of various negative emotions. How many times have we discussed the subject of letting go of various negative emotions? (Four times.) Do you have any paths for how to let go of negative emotions? The various negative emotions that we fellowshiped on and analyzed superficially appear to be kinds of emotions or thoughts, but actually, at their root, they stem from people’s erroneous outlooks on life and value systems, and people’s flawed thoughts and viewpoints. Of course, people’s various corrupt dispositions lead to the emergence of different erroneous thoughts and viewpoints, which in turn give rise to various negative emotions. Therefore, the emergence of various negative emotions has its origin and its causes. The negative emotions that we have discussed are not momentary or impulsive thoughts, nor are they thoughts and viewpoints in the simple sense of these words, or fleeting moods. These emotions have the ability to influence people’s way of life, what they practice, and their thoughts and viewpoints, as well as the perspectives and attitudes with which they view people and things. These negative emotions are concealed deep within people’s hearts and in their minds, they constantly accompany them in their daily lives and impact the perspectives and stances they take when looking at various people, events, and things. These negative emotions have a significant negative effect on people’s daily lives, comportment, and the paths that they choose in life. They invisibly result in various adverse consequences for people. Hence, people must slowly understand and resolve these negative emotions through the pursuit of the truth, and gradually let go of them. Letting go of these negative emotions is not like discarding a physical object, which you no longer think of, and which no longer dominates you afterward; it is not a matter of picking something up and letting it go in the simple sense of these words. So, what does it mean to “let go” in this context? Primarily, it means that you must expose and analyze your incorrect thoughts and viewpoints and the incorrect perspectives and attitudes with which you view people and things, until you understand the truth. Then you will be able to truly abandon your negative emotions. Regardless of what negative emotions arise in you, you must resolve them by seeking the relevant truths, until you possess the principles and paths for practicing the truth. Only then can you completely break free from the torment, bondage, and influence of negative emotions, ultimately attaining the ability to submit to the truth and to the environments that God has arranged, thus standing firm in your witness. You must view people and things, comport yourself and act according to, with the truth as your criterion. Only by doing so can you completely let go of your negative emotions and incorrect thoughts and viewpoints. Why is such a complex process needed to completely let go of them? The reason is that these negative emotions are not tangible things. They are not emotions that temporarily possess or afflict one’s mind. They are established, pre-existing, or even deeply ingrained thoughts and viewpoints that form within people, and their influence on people is particularly severe. Therefore, various methods and steps are necessary to let go of these negative emotions. This process of letting go is also the process of pursuing the truth, is it not? (It is.) The process of letting go of these negative emotions is indeed the process of pursuing the truth. So, the only way to face negative emotions is by seeking the truth and resolving them based on God’s words. Do you understand the meaning of this statement? (Yes.)
When we first began fellowshiping on negative emotions, the various truths that we had previously fellowshiped on generally had not touched on this topic, so it was a very unfamiliar subject for all of you. People think that it is normal to have negative emotions, and they think of them as separate from corrupt dispositions; they believe that negative emotions are not corrupt dispositions, and that they have nothing to do with one another. This is incorrect. Some people believe that negative emotions are merely temporary thoughts or ideas that have no impact on people, and therefore, they believe that it does not matter if they let go of them or not. Now, through multiple sessions of fellowship and analysis, it has been proved that negative emotions do indeed have a real impact on people. In the past, we always fellowshiped on understanding and dissecting corrupt dispositions, and we only touched upon negative emotions a bit while exposing corrupt dispositions, but we did not fellowship on them in much detail. Now, after several concrete discussions, I hope that you can focus on this topic and start learning to analyze and understand these negative emotions in your daily life. When you understand their essence, you can reject and turn your back on them, and gradually let them go. Only after letting go of these negative emotions can you get on the right track in pursuing the truth and embark on the path of pursuing the truth. These are the steps that you must take, is that clear? (Yes.) Although negative emotions may not possess and control people to the same extent as corrupt dispositions when it comes to people’s lives, existence, and the paths that they take, these negative emotions are also unavoidable. In certain situations and to a certain degree, the negative effects that they have when it comes to binding people’s thoughts and influencing their acceptance of the truth and whether they walk the correct path or not, are no less significant than those of their corrupt dispositions. You will gradually begin to appreciate this in your future pursuits, experience, and praxis. Right now, as you have only just encountered this topic, some of you will not have any awareness or knowledge of it, and even less appreciation of it. When you experience this subject matter in the future, you will feel that negative emotions are not as simple as they seem. They occupy a significant place and space within people’s thoughts, the depths of their hearts, and even in their subconscious. It can be said that these negative emotions fuel and drive individuals to act based on their corrupt dispositions to a great extent, and that they fuel and drive the control and bondage that corrupt dispositions have over people. They cause people to live stubbornly by their corrupt dispositions when it comes to how they view people and things, and comport themselves and act, so you should not underestimate these negative emotions. In fact, in one respect, there are many negative thoughts and viewpoints hidden within negative emotions, and in another respect, different negative emotions are concealed within people’s corrupt dispositions, to varying degrees. In short, these negative emotions occupy people’s hearts, and they are of the same essence as people’s corrupt dispositions. They are both facets of negativity, and they are negative things. What does “negative things” mean here? What does it refer to? One aspect is that these negative emotions do not play a positive role in people’s life entry. They cannot guide you or help you to come before God, to actively seek His will, and to then achieve obedience to Him. When these negative emotions are hidden within people, their hearts are distant from God, they guard against Him and avoid Him, and they may even secretly, subtly, and involuntarily suspect, deny, and judge God. From this perspective, are these negative emotions positive things? (No, they are not.) That is one aspect. In another, these negative emotions do not lead people before God to submit to the truth. They lead people on paths and toward goals and directions that contradict and oppose the truth. This is without doubt. The function that these negative emotions serve within a person is to make them protect themselves, safeguard the interests of their flesh, and maintain their vanity, pride, and status. They constantly control you and bind you, preventing you from listening to God’s words, from being an honest person, and from practicing the truth. They make you believe that you will lose out if you practice the truth, that you will lose face and status, that you will be ridiculed by others, and that your true self will be exposed to the world. These negative emotions control people, dominating their thoughts and making them only think about these negative things. Now, is the essence of these negative things contrary to the truth? (Yes.) So, while negative emotions are constantly reminding you of these things, at the same time they are also constantly hindering you from practicing and pursuing the truth. They act as walls to your pursuit of the truth and as stumbling blocks on your path toward entering into the truth reality. Whenever you wish to practice the truth, to speak honestly, to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, to act according to the principles, or to sincerely expend yourself for God, pay a price, and show your loyalty to God, these negative emotions immediately burst forth and prevent you from practicing the truth. They constantly emerge in your thoughts and flash across your mind, telling you what you will lose by acting in that way, what your ending will be, what the consequences will be, and what you will be able to gain. They repeatedly remind you and warn you, preventing you from accepting and practicing the truth, and from submitting to God. Instead, they make you think about yourself, consider your own interests, and as a result, you are unable to practice the truth or simply submit to God. In an instant, your thoughts become bound and controlled by these negative emotions. Although you want to practice the truth at first, and you are willing to submit to God, and want to satisfy Him, when negative emotions arise within you, you involuntarily follow them and become controlled by them. They seal your mouth, bind your hands and feet, and prevent you from doing what you should do and from speaking the words that you ought to. Instead, you end up uttering false, deceptive, and judgmental words, and engaging in actions that contravene the truth. Your heart immediately grows dark and becomes trapped in torment. Your original ideas and plans are good—you want to practice the truth, and to offer up your devotion in order to do your duty well, and you have the drive, the desire, and the will to practice the truth. But at critical moments, these negative emotions take control of you. You do not have the ability to turn your back on or reject them, and in the end, you can only surrender to these negative emotions. When negative emotions haunt and disturb people, when they control people’s thoughts and prevent them from practicing the truth, people appear so powerless, helpless, and pitiful. When there are no major issues occurring and when there are no principles involved, people think that they have limitless strength, that they are strong in resolve and faith, and they feel that they are full of motivation. They believe that they cannot love God enough, they think they have a God-fearing heart, and that they can do no wrong, that they are incapable of creating disruptions or disturbances, and that they are certainly incapable of intentionally doing evil. But when something happens, why can they not help how they react? These involuntary actions of theirs are not planned or desired, but they still happen and become a reality, and they are far from how those people wished to act. It must be said that the occurrence of these things and the repeated appearance of such phenomena is caused by negative emotions. It is clear that the impact of negative emotions on people, and their control over people, is not as simple as people imagine, nor is it as easily resolved, and it is certainly not as easy to let go of or forsake. No matter how loudly people usually shout their slogans, no matter how strong their resolve usually is, or how high their aspirations are, or how great their God-loving hearts and faith in God are, when faced with reality, why does that resolve and faith, and those aspirations and ideals fail to have any effect? How are they influenced and stifled by transient negative emotions? It is clear from this that negative emotions have taken root in people’s lives; they coexist with people’s corrupt dispositions and they have the ability to influence and control people’s thoughts and viewpoints, just like corrupt dispositions do. At the same time, and more seriously, they control people’s words and actions, and more than this, they control their every thought and idea, and their every action and behavior in the face of all kinds of situations. So, is it not very important to resolve these negative emotions? (Yes.) Negative emotions are not positive things, this can be illustrated in two ways: Firstly, negative emotions cannot lead a person to actively come before God; secondly, they cannot enable a person to successfully practice the truth in the face of reality, and enter into the truth, as they would like to. They are stumbling blocks to people’s pursuit of the truth, they hinder people from seeking and practicing the truth. Therefore, negative emotions must be resolved. By looking at the effect and essence of negative emotions, one can see they are not positive things. Moreover, it can be said that in their essence they have a greater ability to constrain and control people, to a certain extent, than corrupt dispositions. So, would you say that the existence of these negative emotions is a serious problem? (Yes.) If these negative emotions are not resolved, what consequences can be expected? You can be certain that these emotions will make a person live in negativity for a long time, and they have an even stronger ability to constrain and bind people, hindering them from pursuing the truth. Should such a serious problem be resolved? It should be resolved. At the same time as addressing their corrupt dispositions, people should also resolve their negative emotions. If people resolve their negative emotions and corrupt dispositions, their pursuit of the truth will go much more smoothly, and there will not be any significant obstacles to it.
Corrupt dispositions are hidden in some of people’s surface-level outpourings and approaches, as well as in certain states, so how do you discern negative emotions? How do you differentiate between negative emotions and corrupt dispositions? Have you pondered on this before? (No.) Dispositions and emotions are two different kinds of things. If we just speak about dispositions and emotions, is it easy to distinguish between their literal meanings? Dispositions refer to the things that pour forth from a person’s nature essence, while emotions are basically a kind of psychological state that people have while doing something. Regardless of how we interpret these terms literally, in any case, people’s emotions—especially their negative emotions—contain many negative thoughts. When a person harbors these negative emotions, this can lead them to live in a negative state and under the domination of various incorrect thoughts and viewpoints, right? (Right.) These negative emotions can remain hidden in people’s hearts for a long time, and if people do not understand the truth, they will never be aware of these emotions or feel their presence; they accompany people at all times, just like their corrupt dispositions. Many times, these negative emotions are hidden within people’s various incorrect thoughts and viewpoints, and these incorrect thoughts and viewpoints cause people to doubt God, to lose their genuine faith, and to even make all kinds of unreasonable demands of God, and lose their normal reason. Under the packaging of different reasons, thoughts, and viewpoints, these negative emotions hide within a person’s corrupt dispositions and within their various incorrect thoughts and viewpoints, fully representing that person’s nature essence. Corrupt dispositions manifest themselves in the various states that are revealed through people’s comportment and actions—these different states carry within them people’s corrupt dispositions. Although negative emotions and corrupt dispositions are distinct from each other, there is a necessary link between them in some regards, and they can even become intertwined and inseparable from one another. In certain respects, they can support each other, fuel one another, and they can depend on each other and coexist. For example, the distress, worry, and anxiety that we fellowshiped about last time are one kind of negative emotion. It is this kind of negative emotion that causes people to live in distress, worry, and anxiety. When people are trapped in these emotions, they will naturally form certain thoughts and viewpoints, leading them to doubt, speculate, guard against, misunderstand, and even judge and attack God, and they may also make unreasonable and transactional demands of God. At this point, these negative emotions have already escalated into a corrupt disposition. So, what have you understood from this example? Can you distinguish between negative emotions and corrupt dispositions? Tell Me. (Negative emotions give rise to certain incorrect thoughts and viewpoints, while corrupt dispositions are more deep-seated, and cause people to misunderstand and guard themselves against God.) I’ll give an example. Take the negative emotions of distress, worry, and anxiety. Say that a person falls ill, and they think about their ailment and experience distress, worry, and anxiety as a result. These things control their heart, making them afraid of their illness becoming serious and of the various consequences that come with death. They then begin to fear death, to reject death, and wish to escape it. This series of thoughts and ideas arises due to their ailment. In the context of this ailment, this person produces many active thoughts. The source of these active thoughts is based on the interests of their flesh and is clearly not based on the fact that God governs all things, or on the truth. That is why we categorize these as negative emotions. That person feels bad because of their illness, but the illness is already upon them, and they have to face it—they cannot escape it, so they think, “Oh no, how should I face this illness? Should I treat it or not? What will happen if I don’t? What will happen if I do?” As they continue thinking, they become distressed. The various thoughts and viewpoints they have about their ailment trap them in distress, worry, and anxiety. Has this negative emotion not then already begun to take effect? (Yes.) When they first start experiencing their ailment, they intend to try treating it, but then they feel that doing so is not appropriate, and plan to live by their faith instead, fulfilling their duty normally, while still worrying that the ailment will become serious. What is the appropriate way to handle this? They lack a path. Under the domination of their negative emotions, they always feel distressed, worried, and anxious about this matter, and once distress, worry, and anxiety arise within them, they cannot let go of them. They feel plagued by their ailment—what should they do about it? They start to think, “It’s okay, I believe in God. God will heal me. I have faith.” However, after a period of time, the ailment does not improve, and God does not heal them. The person continues to feel distressed, worried, and anxious about the matter, saying, “Is God going to heal me or not? I just have to wait, God will heal me. I have faith.” They say that they have faith, but deep down, they are actually living amid their negative emotions, thinking, “What if God doesn’t heal me, and I become seriously ill and die? Will I have performed my duty in vain? Will I not be able to receive any blessings? I should ask God to heal me.” So they pray to God, saying, “God, based on the many years that I have fulfilled my duty, can You take away my illness?” Pondering further, they realize, “It is not right for me to ask God that. I shouldn’t place such extravagant demands on God. I should have faith.” When they have faith, they feel like their ailment has improved a bit, but after a while, they think, “I don’t feel like my illness has really gotten better. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse. What should I do? I’ll try harder and exert more effort in my duty, I’ll endure more suffering, pay a greater price, and strive to make God heal me. I’ll show God my loyalty and my faith, and show Him that I can accept this trial.” After some time, not only does their illness not improve, but it worsens, and they feel sadder and sadder, and think: “God hasn’t healed me. What should I do? Is God going to heal me or not?” Their distress, worry, and anxiety intensify. In this context, they live continuously in the midst of negative emotions like distress, worry, and anxiety due to their ailment. From time to time, they develop some “faith” in God and they offer a bit of their loyalty and determination on occasion. Regardless of what they do or which approach they take, in any case, they are constantly trapped by emotions of distress, worry, and anxiety. They are deeply bound by their ailment, and everything they do is to improve and cure their illness, and to find liberation from it. When a person lives in the midst of such negative emotions, they do not just think about their illness briefly; rather, under the domination of those negative emotions, their thinking is often very active. When these active thoughts cannot be brought to pass or when reality does not align with what they want, from time to time, numerous ideas or even approaches emerge from their mind against their will. They say, “If God doesn’t heal me, I’ll still fulfill my duty, but if God truly won’t heal me, then my faith in Him is useless, and I’ll have to treat the illness myself.” You see, they think to themselves, “If God doesn’t heal me, I’ll still perform my duty well—this is God testing me,” but at the same time, they are also thinking, “If God truly won’t heal me, then I’ll have to treat the illness myself. If I have to treat it myself, then I won’t fulfill my duty. If my faith in God can’t even cure my illness, why should I believe in God? Why does God heal others but not me?” They are continuously entangled by their negative emotions, and not only are they unable to reverse or transform their incorrect thoughts and viewpoints, but these negative emotions lead them to gradually misunderstand God, to complain about God, and to doubt God during the process of experiencing their ailment. This process is that of the gradual transformation of their negative emotions, and of them entering into acting by their corrupt disposition. Once a corrupt disposition takes charge of a person’s actions, that person will no longer just possess negative emotions—certain thoughts and viewpoints, or judgments and resolutions will arise within them, and they will produce certain actions. When a kind of emotion transforms into a kind of state, it is no longer simply a matter of negative emotions, of thinking about something or living in a certain status, it is about this status producing thoughts, viewpoints, and resolutions, producing movement and actions. So, what dominates these thoughts, viewpoints, movements, and actions? It is a corrupt disposition that dominates them. Is this process of transformation not all smoothed out now? (Yes.) At first, people produce negative emotions within a certain context, and these negative emotions are just a few simple thoughts, viewpoints, and ideas, but these ideas are all negative. These negative ideas stagnate within people’s emotions and go on to cause them to produce various incorrect states. When people are living in incorrect states, and deciding what to do, how to do it, and what approaches to adopt, erroneous viewpoints and theories form within them, and this, then, involves their corrupt disposition. It is as simple as that. Is this clear now? (Yes, it is clear.) So, tell Me about it. (In certain contexts, people produce some negative emotions. At first these negative emotions do not go any further than a few negative ideas. When these negative ideas go on to give rise to various incorrect states and people start deciding what to do and adopting certain approaches, they become dominated by certain thoughts and theories. This, then, involves their corrupt disposition.) Ponder on this and see if you understand it. Is it not simple? (It is.) It sounds simple, but can you distinguish between negative emotions and corrupt dispositions? Regardless of whether they are easy to distinguish in theory or not, in any case, have you understood the distinction between negative emotions and corrupt dispositions? (Yes.)
If the various negative emotions that we have fellowshiped exist in your own hearts, can you discern and dissect them? (We can somewhat discern them.) If you possess them, you ought to be able to discern them. The purpose of discerning negative emotions is not to merely have a general theoretical understanding of them or to grasp their meaning and that’s all. It is to break free from the torment of negative emotions after gaining practical discernment of them, and to let go of these various negative emotions that should not exist within people, like the negative emotions we fellowshiped about earlier. Now, based on the distinction between negative emotions and corrupt dispositions that we just fellowshiped about, can we say that negative emotions are a root cause or a context that leads people to reveal their corrupt dispositions? For example, in the case of illness, if you do not develop negative emotions such as distress, worry, and anxiety due to the illness, it proves that you have knowledge and experience of the matter, that you possess correct thoughts and viewpoints, and genuine obedience. Consequently, your thoughts and actions in that regard ought to align with the truth. Conversely, if you constantly experience negative emotions about a certain matter, and remain trapped in negative emotions constantly because of it, it is natural that various negative states will arise in you because of these negative emotions. These negative states will cause you to naturally reveal your corrupt disposition while you are in those incorrect states. Then, you will act based on satanic philosophies, violate the truth in all respects, and live by your corrupt disposition. Therefore, regardless of how we differentiate between negative emotions and corrupt dispositions, in sum, these two things are connected, and they are inseparable. In particular, they share a common essence in that both negative emotions and corrupt dispositions are negative things—they share the same essence and underlying thoughts and viewpoints. The thoughts and viewpoints that lead to the emergence of negative emotions are all negative, they are all satanic philosophies, and these negative things lead people to reveal their corrupt dispositions and to comport themselves and act based on their corrupt dispositions. Is this not so? (It is.)