Where did your mind go when you read the title of this post? Did you think of it as someone else or yourself, experiencing a heated emotional state? It wouldn't be surprising as this is generally the context in which we use the word temper--as if someone's "got one." However, in this post I'd actually like to focus on the aspect of the definition of temper that references it as: a neutralizing or counterbalancing force. So rather than one energy winning over the other, you'll learn how tempering enables you to better work with your emotional energies peacefully, side by side. I'd like to show you how you can enjoy the advantage of tempering as a tool for healthy living.
Beginning this journey you might reflect on how you are using the energy of your temper. It is true, each of us have been born with a proclivity to a certain temperament. However, our thoughts, experiences and beliefs to a large degree create the lenses which determine the expressions of our thoughts and emotions, therefore, temperament. There will certainly be habitual patterns around the ways in which we respond or react to things that happen to us or in our world. In other words, this may be a more unconscious thought pattern. But looking for the healthiest way to deal with our tempers, we strive to maintain a sense of presence which allows us to detach from the pattern, enough to look at it, observe and understand it. Prescribing to the teachings which say the true-you is not your mind or your body, you may believe you are far more than a pattern of expression. From this perspective, you gain the wherewithal to step back and take a broader view. This may not prevent you from having that moment of heated temper initially, but awareness will give you a few precious seconds to pause and regroup as you grow in a new intention. A lovely application of tempering.
Let's look at the energies of the sun and moon as examples. The energy of the sun of course is hot. Imagine if the sun were to shine hotly over the course of 2-3 days with no night, no moon. You and anything else outside would feel the scorch of that heat and dryness, and there would be a feeling of depletion: an energy drain. This leaves little to no energy for reflection or healing. The sun is also the energy of growth and achievement, which easily explains why if your life feels like all achievement, that this will lead to burn-out. If we had the same situation, but with the moon, we would have wet, coolness and reflection, and a lack of that positive uplift go-getter energy that the sun brings. We would experience all resting, restoring and healing. So you see, these energies of sun, which are seen as masculine--growth and achievement--and moon, which are seen as feminine--resting, healing and restoring--are tempering energies to each other. If we look at it this way, we see how vital it is for us each to have both of these energies, and to intelligently apply a tempering process so we can achieve and sustain balance. The reward is they actually support and enhance the other when in balance. This translates to fewer extremes, like burn-out from too much hot energy, or an over abundance of emotional heaviness and lethargy from too much cool, resting energy.
There are other ancient and mystical examples alluding to the wisdom and power of tempering. We see it in Tarot through the Temperance card. It highly reflects this balance or union of both masculine and feminine energies. There are signs of balanced union on this card between the conscious and subconscious mind, between male and female gender where gender is seemingly androgynous, and the balance of the earth and holy union. Essentially, it depicts the union of dualities. The Yin/Yang sign also depicts this balance of energy. Yoga goes even further by suggesting the transition or tempering times of day and night are held in balance at dusk and dawn, and known to be auspicious times to meditate. At these times, it is neither fully day nor night. This sacred balance at dusk and dawn not only supports us in feeling more open and neutral, it offers us a greater ability to align with the Oneness/Unity of Spirit.
The purpose of tempering ones emotions is not done in order to nullify feelings, but to preserve one's vital energy and refine the energy of expression. Who hasn't gotten mad about something only to regret blowing all that energy on anger, or maybe spent too much time in self-pity that may have lead to apathy? Seeking balance and true union is a beautiful intention. It can save us from the eventually ravages of extremes. We can learn to temper our thoughts with cooling energy when they get too hot, or bring in some heat and lightness when they get too heavy, dark or overly emotional. Preserving yourself through this elegant use of tempering energy is a benefit to you as well to those with whom you are in relationship. Let's face it, life is precious. What we can say for sure is living a life of extremes will surely shorten or complicate it. Living a life of balance in all things will surely simplify and bless it. So...the short answer? Temper, temper.