There seems to be a strange idea which has been around for at least a decade, maybe longer, that we aren’t supposed to feel pain. That somehow the goal of life is to get to some Zen place where we can take whatever life throws at us without batting an eyelid.
The more I engage with the real stuff of living the more I think it is a crock of shit.
That kind of philosophy leads to denial of what is real, not engagement. Emotions are useful guides to navigating the world. And they should not rule our actions, but we need to feel.
I don’t want to live in a world where I don’t experience grief when some precious element of my life is removed. I want to experience love, joy, anger, frustration, peace. But I want to get to a space where those emotions, particularly the negative ones, flow through me unimpeded and therefore quickly.
The only way I can think to do that is to pay attention to the areas of my life which are not free. Where is my interior freedom constrained? If there are people I would rather not interact with, how do I come to a place where I can interact and allow the emotion that may be evoked to pass quickly? If there are things I’d rather not do but which are necessary, how do I embrace the task so that it isn’t emotionally demanding.
It is about learning to feel what is real, to accept the emotion and to allow it to pass.
The image in my mind is a water pipe. When strong emotion comes and the pipe is clear, i.e. I have interior freedom, the emotion can be very strong, but it will pass smoothly and quickly through my system. Every area of my life, or relationship which I declare to be ‘off limits’ is an impediment. With every emotional surge, eddy currents are set up and the result is turbulence. The more impediments, the longer and the stronger the turbulence.
Where are the areas of unfreedom in your life?