“Emotions trigger actions. Actions trigger reactions. Reactions trigger emotions. This is a never-ending cycle. As human beings we emote; this is in our nature. Whether we like it or not, we must face our and others’ emotions constantly. How we face them makes all the difference.”

In Preethi Saravanakumar’s latest book, Pearls of My Mind, the introspective poet turns her imagination toward the Tantric concept of Chakras with a self-help book that combines traditional Hindu beliefs, New Age philosophy and personal interpretation into an insightful guide to handling negative emotions and striving for higher vibrational modes of thought and being.

In it, Saravanakumar takes cues from Charles W. Leadbeater, whose 1927 book The Chakras introduced the idea of the relationships between the seven colors of the rainbow and the seven chakras. In a series of seven chapters, she delves deep into each chakra using the symbolism of colored pearls, demonstrating the chakra’s relationship to emotions — both positive and negative. Depending on how you process (or don’t process) these emotions, your reactions (inward and outward) will indicate what state of mind or “role” you are in at the moment.

AN ITERATIVE PATH OF ASCENSION

Saravanakumar outlines three such roles, which she calls the “Three “S’s”: Spiritual Newbie, Seeker, and Sage. A Spiritual Newbie is akin to a child, reacting and acting “only from his/her lower emotions,” with little reflection first. A Seeker will pause to assess a situation before reacting. He or she questions and gathers information, considering the perspective of others. A Seeker can choose how to react, if only outwardly. A Sage, on the other hand, is able to choose not only how to react, but how to ultimately feel about the situation, releasing negative emotions and transmuting them to love, compassion and other higher forms.

Whereas many spiritual writers speak of ascending from one spiritual stage to another as if on a staircase of achievements, Saravanakumar’s concept of roles is more forgiving than that: “We keep changing roles as our emotions move from lower frequencies to higher,” she explains. Even the most reactionary of us experience moments of Sage-ness: “In fact, everybody touches this space and leaves every day. It may be for a second or a minute.” And even Sages “must endure the lower spectrum of emotions, not giving in to the negative thoughts.” According to Saravanakumar, it’s all about balance — and tipping that balance in favor of the positive.

This idea that spiritual growth is iterative rather than linear gives hope to those of us who struggle daily with our emotions, reactions and actions. Some days are better than others, some worse. The key, Saravanakumar says, is to learn through each experience; self-reflect and consciously choose our reactions and actions; and strengthen our ability to transmute negative emotions into positive ones. This ability to transmute emotions is ultimately where happiness and contentment are found. Writes Saravanakumar, “One who can stay longer in this space, even when everything around him or her is shaking, is equivalent to any Sage.”

TRANSMUTING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS

How, exactly, do you do this, though? Here Saravanakumar gives us some much-needed keys. First, she’s formatted the book with space to reflect on a myriad of negative emotions, the situations we have encountered them in, and what we have learned from these experiences. Second, she devotes a chapter to “Integrating the Pearls” where she provides a series of “mediating emotions” or “anchors” through which we can transmute our negative feelings to positive ones. These essentially help us to reframe our experiences and get us over the hump of our baser reactions. Once we see the inherent integration of negative and positive expressions as two sides of the same coin, we can rebalance our states of mind accordingly.

As an individual soul or mind, there’s not a lot we can know about others’ intentions, feelings, thoughts, or desires, even when they express them to us. There’s not a lot we can do about things that happen to us and around us — and not a lot we can know about why they happen or don’t happen. Saravanakumar encourages us to focus instead on what we do know:

“What we know is that life happens. What we know is that we exist and feel now. What we know is we experience pleasure and pain. Then what can we do to make our experiences better? Well, maybe we can think better. Maybe, we can act better. And maybe we can react better.”

Pearls of wisdom, well strung.

Pearls of My Mind is available for purchase from Amazon.

Preethi Saravanakumar is a software developer by profession. Writing poetry remains her major passion; she also writes children’s literature. Preethi has written hundreds of poems, which have been published in a variety of places, including her blog, Instagram and even in a few magazines. Her first book of poetry was published in 2011, and her latest volume, Scribblings of My Soul, recently won an International Impact Book Award for Poetry and Firebird Book Award in Mind/Body/Spirit category.