So what do I mean by ‘staying stuck emotionally’? Well, I mean any of the following: inability to feel your emotions, suppression of emotions, denial of emotions. In fact they are all much of a muchness. Another phrase is ’emotionally frozen.’
Many people simply cannot go there – go to the field of their emotions. I know, since I used to be one of them, till circumstances forced me to open up and travel the awkward and uncomfortable road towards emotional openness. Emotional openness doesn’t mean you are open with everyone you meet but certainly with yourself. For me now, when emotions arise, I sense them very much as strong energy, if you see what I mean. How to explain it? It’s just longing arising. It’s just sadness arising. It’s just whatever arising. But it doesn’t mean anything. It comes and it goes. Have you noticed that? That all experiences in life simply come and go? In the end it’s just pain (or whatever) arising, and if you just let it be, it passes. Sure, during the duration of the arising emotion, it’s not a nice feeling, but so what?
This ‘so what?’ attitude is really what they should teach kids in school. Funny isn’t it how in schools there is nothing taught about being emotionally healthy. Thus, without suitable role models and guidance about emotions, people grow up with great hang ups, and they are basically dysfunctional. By dysfunctional, I mean that people are not rooted in what arises within them, but are always escaping something, escaping the energies arsiing in them. On top of that the sense of the ‘me’, or personality, will insist on the fact that they are not dysfunctional, and so there is great incentive not to rock the boat of the lack of emotions.
Whilst emotions are frozen, there is a movement outward, into externals. The focus is on the outer in order not to see the inner. So the focus has to be reversed and turned inwardly whilst one is learning to be more open. Then eventually, the gaps between emotions arising gets bigger, and when they do come up, they subside quicker too.
Have you noticed that emotions have a unique pull, and that in some way there is a subtle enjoyment of them, perhaps because they replace boredom in such a dramatic way? Of course deep suffering can feel intolerable and it’s hard to say you enjoy it, but it can still be addictive in some way, which is why many hang on to grief, regret and others, sometimes for years. Overall, there is some pull. And since you can’t do anything about this pull (except only escape it through distraction), you may as well just let emotions be, just experience the fullness of them, and embrace it all fully; then see how they subside, till the next lot appear. They mean nothing (ie value judgments about yourself or others), and are just energy arising. The giving up of trying to fix emotions by replacing them with a ‘better’ experience is to get out of the way of controlling a life that cannot be controlled anyway. Then, there is a sublime sensitivity and aliveness.
Thoughts for a Sunday.
- The Mystery of God in Human Form – Swami Krishnananda - Dec 24, 2021
- The Absolute Waits Patiently - Nov 29, 2021
- God says, Remember me? (Suffering on the Awakening Path) - Oct 17, 2021