Buddhism is an ancient tradition that has been carried out for millennia. It is more than religion, it is a life philosophy that has the goal of uncovering the true nature of mankind. It offers an unparalleled insight into the causes of human suffering, attachment, and unrealized desires. This is achieved through meditation, contact with nature, and relaxation. The Atlas of Emotion is a tool inspired by a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and the noted psychologist, Paul Ekman about the science of emotions. This atlas is a visual journey through the world of emotions.
What is an Atlas of Emotions?
Combining the buddhist philosophy with scientific advances and from the field of psychology, Ekman created a sophisticated "emotional map" that helps people have a better understanding of what emotions are, how they are triggered, and which are their effects. It gives us the ability to become aware of the emotions that affect us and how to control them. This is a virtue most of us ignore by nature, but if mastered it can help us lead a healthier way of life. With the Atlas we realize that suffering is optional and balance is the key to a happy life.
In the project, each emotion is represented by a continent and a color. According to its creators, sadness, disgust, anger, enjoyment, and fear are the strongest emotions that rule human impulses. Each emotion undergoes a process and there are different states of being that increase their influence on our consciousness.
How can it help us understand human emotions?
In the case of the Happiness continent, the states vary in intensity, going from ecstasy, excitement, compassion, and joy to sensorial pleasure. The Atlas has detailed explanations for each of these states and the range of intensity within a person.
Triggers bring forth an emotion and awareness usually takes place at the end of the process, if at all. For the happiness continent, the triggers involve social interaction, helping others, eating chocolate cake, exercising, spending time with loved ones, among others. This project was supported by a scientific board and experts that developed a study in 2015 called Perspectives on Psychological Science. The results of this study point out that there is enough evidence to suggest that the bulk of emotions can be neatly distributed across these five continents in the Atlas of Emotions. This research was possible thanks to the involvement of major universities across the world and it erased the notion that the emotions are determined by the social environment.
The complete methodology, buddhists principles and the emotional map are available on Paul Ekman's official site. The combination of scientific knowledge and centuries of ancient knowledge create an attractive alternative for improving quality of living. It opens a window that allows you to understand negative states of mind and see them as fleeting moments.
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