According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary alchemy means the following

1 : a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life 2 : a power or process of transforming something common into something special 3 : an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting

When we talk about the alchemy of emotions we will use all three definitions.
There is a whole gamut of emotions that we humans have to relate to, on the path of self realization. An emotion is a conscious mental reaction. When combined with energy, it becomes feeling and it becomes very powerful.

To begin to touch heaven, we must first feel the earth. This is what the Buddha did when he became enlightened. He said "The earth is my witness."

Emotions are our earthly companions. For as long as we are here, we will have them. They are our shadows. We are their light.

To begin we must be aware of them at every moment. We know when we are getting annoyed, angry or sad. They do not come unannounced. We feel them. If we didn't then we have become one with them and there is no longer a necessity to relate to them. To relate to them we have to see the seeming duality between "us" and them.

The so called negative emotions we dislike and the positive emotions we encourage. This is where we feel trapped. Compassion, kindness and love we call positive emotions. Even love as we know it we have to relate to.

They are all emotions and can become vehicles to self knowledge. The truth is that they are all self directed. We only see that they are directed to someone else because we are habituated into thinking that. When we become completely honest with ourselves we see that the cause of any emotion is not the other person, but ourselves. It becomes very tricky.

To transmute anything, you have to have a handle on it. Let us talk about the so called negative emotions first, for example, anger.

You feel angry about something or someone. You know this because you feel a constriction on your throat or a tightening of your stomach or blood rushing to your face. Your eyes squint. These are physical manifestations. The more important thing is that in your mind, you are absolutely certain you have been wronged. Something or someone hurt you.

You ask yourself, "Why am I angry?" Then you will come up with a reason and you keep exhausting the reason with "Why" and eventually, you will see that the anger is directed towards yourself. You have just performed discriminating awareness. To act out anger is to escape that emotion. It is paradoxical but it is true.

Sadness is self pity. The bottom line is that you feel unloved and unworthy or you feel that you did not do enough. This is actually more dangerous than feeling angry. Everyone feels this way sometimes. It comes with being a human being. With the healthy individuals, it comes and then goes away. With some people this has become a habitual way of thinking and they need medication to alleviate it. Sometimes even medication is not enough.

I am a biochemist and know that there are centers in the brain that control the expression of these emotions so I have to clarify that these emotions are felt by those that are not clinically diagnosed. Only these feelings as they are experienced by the majority as a part of normal everyday life.

To sadness the answer is this. Just to be alive is a gift. Everything else is extra. You have transmuted sadness to gratitude.

Jealousy is a feeling that someone else has some attribute/thing/possession that you do not have. To this the answer is that there is no one like you on earth. You are unique and have to be happy about that uniqueness because it gives you a chance to contribute the best that you can. Yourself.

And now we can deal with the so called "positive" emotions. If we examine them, they lead to three things. An equilateral triangle of compassion, kindness, and wisdom. At the center of this triangle is love. Love, not the kind that we can qualify so easily, the point of convergence were I to draw a line across from one vertex to the center of the opposite line is pure love.

How many times have you fallen in love? It does not matter. The point is that in romantic love, the feeling passes unless it comes with compassion and kindness. Kindness that is selfless, compassion that is total, and in some instances, ruthless.

Pure love is what Jesus Christ is, what the realized sages are, what we are in truth, if we only work to peel off the layers upon layers of conditioning that we have been accustomed to from one lifetime to the next. To realize this is the only real quest worth pursuing.

And the consequence of pure love? Heaven on earth.

© 2008 by Melinda M. Sorensson

Author's Bio: 

Melinda is a life coach who practices in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Melinda earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is a published author, and taught as a university professor for 12 years prior to becoming a Life Coach.Melinda is an Avatar® Master, a Certified Coach and a member of the International Coach Federation. Melinda's clients range from non-entrepreneurs to beginning entrepreneurs to those who are already seasoned in business. Melinda's book/journal entitled My Journey To An Integrated Life(ISBN-10: 0979650704) is now available at and the non profit bookstore