Q: What is the role of emotion for growth and understanding? I am often overcome with the emotion of appreciation, and empathy towards situations and others, sometimes too much so! When I see a kindred spirit; feel the resonance of creativity expressing aliveness; or am confronted with the raw humanness of this life.... the emotions often seem an untamed energy.
A: The lesson to take from a situation which raises this kind of emotion is to identify what in you is responding. It will be the same place as an inspired musician, for instance, is playing from-- think 'resonance'. In the artist it is expressed through fingers on the instrument. In you it will be different, but you have to recognise it, become familiar with it so that it could express, in whatever way.
Note that resonance is not about 'feeling great emotion'. That's easy; one can positively wallow when moved by something. The real trick is to raise the energy of the emotion into that space of clarity. Ordinary emotion is its underlay--the motivator and the energy to sustain it. You have mentioned 'clarity' a lot, so you know what it is you aspire to. When that clarity fine-tunes emotion, it is Alchemy (exactly what the old alchemists were on about).
It is the 'Higher Emotion' of Gurdjieff. It is 'unfolding', as you said.
Through this type of recognition, aided by such things as External Considering which stretches the inner senses as well as the outer, one day you may walk your path and there won't be a desert on either side, nothing behind, and nothing discernible ahead.
But you can't force it, as you can't force open the petals of a rosebud until the processes internal to it gently unfold it into a rose.