Saturday, October 16, 2010
Appropriate Emotion - To Be Or Not To Be - That is the Question
To be or not to be. This is the question that seems to have plagued society since before Shakespear wroe those famous words! It is at the background of all that we do.
When people get down, I hear someone proudly retort:
"Come on, put a smile on your face!" - Is it okay for me to feel unhappy in this moment? If not, then why not? Why do we put pressure on ourselves to always be happy? Does sadness, grief, fear, anxiety, depression and other such 'negative' emotions have any purpose?
"Come on, think positively" - there is a time for positive thought, and a time for honest reflection of our own situation and that of the world.
"Be grateful" - if I am feeling low, does it automatically mean I am not grateful for the blessings in my life?
There are a deluge of self help books and 'guru's' touting new ways we should be happy, which imlies that we are not happy, and that happiness is some sort of requirement in society. 50% of the population is addicted to one sort of anti-depressant medication or another. If you are one of those that doesn't take anything for your depression, please reflect, just because you don't 'do drugs' or 'take pharmaceuticals' doesn't mean you don't self medicate. Overeating, overspending, compulsive sexual habits, addictions of one sort or another to take one out of 'reality' even if for but a moment, seems to be the modern day answer to the blues. Needing to constantly be busy, whether on your cell phone or constantly needing to be busy texting, or rushing from one 'crises' to another, is a sign of either being genuinely successful in business, or being addicted to the 'need' to be busy and have the appearance of being popular. It takes one out of the present, into useless chitter chatter, that has become the norm for almost everyone I see. Distraction is the new drug. I see people taking a walk whilst talking on the phone, lunching and talking on the phone whilst in good company with their friends, texting whilst driving (not recommended!)..... it's an addiction as much as any other addiction. What is happening in society, as it speeds up, is we are becoming addicted to adrenaline, which is a hormone released when we are stressed. We live on it, and eventually learn to love it.
What is wrong with feeling your feelings fully? Why do we feel afraid to show our true feelings to one another? It's as if emotion has become the new 'f' word. Don't show it! Put on a brave face! Get botox and don't frown! Pop a pill if you are sad (avoid feeling your feelings)! Take this medicine if you have PMS (and avoid feeling your pain)! Take this drug if you are anxious or insecure (lose your ability to feel your intuiton)! Have coffee if you feel tired, have a sleeping pill if you can't sleep, distract yourself with shopping, food, or just create a damned busy life! What are we afraid of as human beings? Isn't the world perfect just as it is, with all it's ups and downs? Is this a place where we are supposed to experience only happiness at every moment? Does sadness and depression not have as much value as joy and happiness? Forgive me for saying it, but I think both have amazing value! Is there a fine tuned balance between pleasure and pain?
So next time you feel sad, without reason, perhaps it is a call from nature, for you to slow down, pay attention to the simple things in life, take some alone time away from the busy hustle and bustle of modern day life. If you have have your moon, feel your feelings fully, and take space alone. Don't be afraid to be alone. This is where God and Goddess can be found. It is not to be found in the fickle fleeting distractions of this world.
To be or not to be. That is the question. Is it nobler in the mind to suffer? Or should we put on a brave face to the world, so that we 'fit' in with a positively numbed societal structure? I believe feeling every feeling, is a natural experience of life. It is God given, for a good ultimate purpose, of bringing us to our knees, for honest introspection, and for deepest levels of healing and spiritual growth. Each emotion carries within it, the remedy and the perfect lesson for our ultimate well being. Be not afraid to ride the waves of life as it comes, there is perfect grace for us all, in every experience.
Practical Application: Next time you feel depressed, tired, rundown, anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, afraid, angry or despair, take time for yourself the next available opportunity you get. Go into seclusion, shut off your phones, shut down the computer. Gaze at the trees as they twinkle in the sunlight and watch them flutter as the gentle breeze makes them dance. Perhaps light a candle and burn some essential oils like Geranium or Lavendar. Go deep within, into the peace and quiet, using your breath to carry you away into the inner worlds. Say an honest prayers to God or Goddess, or to your Master, and ask for Them to give you help through the difficulty you are having, whatever it may be. Be as painfully honest as you can with Them, and with yourself, and then the deepest of healings can happen. If your mind is racing, forgive yourself and ask to be relieved of so many thoughts and desires. Trust that in your surrender, God will take care of your life, and it is safe to let everything go. Begin your sadhana (spiritual practice), prayers and chanting from this deep honest space, and real growth, real happiness, will ensue.